Wellsphere’s Dishonest Acquisition of Bloggers’ Intellectual Property

In HealthCentral’s acquisition of Wellsphere, it has come out that Wellsphere has, rather dishonestly, gotten bloggers to give the company full rights to their written work — even if it was originally published on a the writer’s personal blog.

This is particularly frustrating for me because I turned down a well-paid gig for this very reason. It is something I checked for on Wellsphere, but somehow missed. I admit, it was in the fine print, but e-mails with company representatives were murky.

I have requested to have my account with Wellsphere removed and am no longer participating in the health blogger awards. If you are a blogger, please read ChronicBabe’s post on intellectual property rights. You may want to consider cancelling your account as well. In a show of solidarity, registered members without blogs may want to do the same. To do so, email your request to, and If that doesn’t work, try this method from Kerri at Six Until Me.

[via ChronicBabe]

Update: I realized Wellsphere is the company that created an account for me last year and republished my content without my permission! I had them cancel it in November, then was dumb enough to sign up again this year for the blog awards. Apparently flattery will get you everywhere with me.

9 thoughts on “Wellsphere’s Dishonest Acquisition of Bloggers’ Intellectual Property”

  1. How is this dishonest again? It seems to me Wellsphere agreed to repost content, offered up increased exposure and possible traffic, and made their TOS available to read. So what was dishonest? Did they not deliver on what they said they would do?

  2. I have a feeling that if enough of us get together and petition Google, that Google might override the official “lawfulness” of the action and operate from an ethical point of view. Wellsphere’s hidden print is what the internet IS NOT about…and Google might penalize them, making the content that they’ve stolen worthless in terms of search engine ranking. That might be our best hope.

  3. I’ve been a contractor with HealthCentral for more than two years now. They have always treated me with the utmost respect and consideration. My prediction is that Wellsphere bloggers will come under HealthCentral policies and find themselves treated in a very straight forward and respectful manner.


  4. Thank you Kerry for this post. I joined without realizing. A friend mentioned about the google problem with same content. Up till then I hadn’t noticed that my whole posts had been copied with no direct link back to my post on my own blog. I eventually had my posts removed and in the same removal requests asked for membership termination. Yesterday I received a message from someone on wellsphere so checked and I’m still listed as a member. I’ll request again now.

    Google has a facility for reporting problems with unauthorized copied content. Unfortunately I think the fine print we agree to gives them permission to do what they like and also states I think that we can make no claim for compensation.

    However I think that a complaint can be made if content is not removed promptly. As a precaution I saved my communication with the website.

    I’ll be reading Chronic Babe’s intellectual property rights post. Thanks again for that.

  5. I sent an email request last night to Wellsphere and was surprised to discover that my account does seem to be canceled. I did not get any response to my email though; I only discovered it when I went to check this morning.

    Thanks for posting about this – I think a lot of us are feeling pretty scammed right now.

    Be well,

  6. Kerrie – thanks for the heads up. I’ve contacted Wellsphere at to cancel my account. Their privacy policy says you need to request an account cancellation as well as to have your personally identifiable content removed. We’ll see how quickly they respond.

  7. Kerrie, I’m so happy to see you write about this and talk about your own experience – that they created an account for you without your permission. And thanks for mentioning my piece on the topic. The bottom line is that no matter how small your blog, if you’re writing something and publishing it online, it’s good to know your rights. For example, does your blog have a copyright symbol on it and the current year? A simple step like that can protect your work.

  8. What a shame. And now it’s as though they’ve been rewarded by selling their worthless stolen content.

    I got an uneasy feeling from the e-mails I received from their Dr. George Rutledge, but I couldn’t put my finger on the whys of those feelings. Until now.

  9. I turned WellSphere down because of what Kerrie had previously warned me about.

    It did seem they were just wanting all bloggers’ content with no real benefits to bloggers. As bloggers probably know, Google penalizes both blogs if w blogs have identical content. When WellSphere said they planned to publish full articles rather than just links or a couple of paragraphs, I moved on.

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