STEEM WHISTLEBLOWER - Second Edition:
"Hidden Gem" & "Featured" Post Makers May be CROOKS!
This is a "Calls It As I Sees It" article and in no way should be taken as fact or fiction, merely observations. Absolutely NO intention of personal attack, slander, fear mongering is meant to be present in this article. Please do your own research before you make your own decisions. Please leave your comments below.
The past month on Steem has witnessed rise to a new type of potentially devious scam, which at first glance is so well hidden one may even think they are attempting to help their victims. I'm sure wether you've been in the Steemit community since the beginning or just recently created an account you've noticed the latest fad of "Hidden Gem" and "Featuring" articles trending on the site and making a decent curation rewards.
An unfortunate possible truth is that these posts and the users creating them may actually be masquerading as "champions of the people" and offering people exposure for other users content at the cost of the actual reward, share in Steemit and respect the content creator deserves. It can be easily viewed as users that are having their content featured in these types of articles that they've basically sold their rights and privileges as a Content Creator and given these larger more powerful accounts the future fame their work should be getting them.
What the Steemit users in these "featured" types of articles may NOT entirely realize is that they've given up their potential future fame, reputation and happiness to the people "helping" them, which is serious exploitation of labour in my opinion.
When promoters (or exploiters) approach or are approached and talk to their featured users (aka victims) generally what you see is a the promoter promise exposure, fame, fortune and all of the other things that young aspiring writers flock to Steemit seeking. However what a large number of these promoters are failing to mention at all or at best in passing is that not only are they making around 33%-50% of the total payout from the victim's work but they're also essentially siphoning off the reputation and prestige that comes with being a "self made" Steemit success.
Creating and submitting good content is only around HALF of what it takes to truly be successful on Steemit. Sharing this information with you from my own successes on the site. You can have the most riveting, beautiful and basically perfect article written up but without proper interaction with the community and self promotion of the post it's unlikely to go anywhere. For every hour I spend writing and illustrating a "winning" article of my own at least 3 hours on top of the hour to create it is used promoting it and replying to those reaching out via comments...
Promoters may PREY on Unestablished Content Creators under a Guise of Aid.
The users crafting these "hidden gem" & "featured" posts know full well that it's difficult to get a start out on this site without countless hours of self promoting so they attempt to lure unestablished content creators with promises of fame and fortune. However the reality seems to lean towards that instead of trying to help these new unknown writers, artists and content creators out the promoters are actually just looking to line their own pockets with others hard work.
At this point in the article I feel the need to address a few usernames publically. Once again I would like to state that absolutely NO intention of personal attack, slander, fear mongering is meant to be present in this article. My first edition of STEEM Whistleblower was seen by some as a hateful or bullying action on my part and some regarded it as a "witch hunt". That was never my intention at all and I ask anyone listed below to rather than take offence and flag me out of spite or anger instead explain their intention below in the comments. This isn't being written because I mean to "start a war" or "witch hunt" anyone, this is merely a collection of information I've collected and my own opinion.
A Few Noteworthy Steem Accounts That Feature Other's Work Frequently:
I'm not here to purposefully harm anyone's reputation, say they had 100% ill intention or otherwise try and put users out of business with this article. Please internalize what's been said above when reading and keep an open mind if you do happen to find yourself on the list below:
@gavvet - While even I admit I've read and enjoyed a few of his featured authors posts I cannot help but wonder when I look at his blog if he's really even bothering to try and produce his own original content anymore. In the past month he's managed to post over 85 of these featured posts... 85 out of his last 110 posts are featured posts! What's even more troubling is that the blockchain doesn't show record of payment to all of these featured authors. What it looks like to me is that @gavvet is filling his pockets with SBD and Steem account with Steem Power as well as getting a CRAPLOAD of reputation for it. It looks like the account is on a few whale bot curation lists as well. The worst part about all of this is allegations surfacing from a trusted Steem user in which when he allegedly inquired about authors being paid out, to which @gavvet had no answer but an abusive flagging.
Total SBD made from the @gavvet "featuring" posts: ~$91272.60 SBD (as of Aug 27th, 2016)
Total SBD paid to the featured author for their posts: ~$ ??? (still trying to calculate this)
Note: @gavvet seems to be also taking note of the SteemPower owed to the authors featured in his posts. This to me is a sign of hope and helps ease my mind to the fact he's maybe got good intention. However I'm still digging into the blockchain to look into if these SP payments are being made and how much of the reward SBD has been given to the featured authors.
@dragonslayer109 - The 19 year old son of @gavvet seen above (proof), @dragonslayer109 had been very busy promoting others posts for some time now, sadly neglecting his own original content in the process. One thing to draw to every Steemit users attention is that since taking the "hidden-gem" tag to heart nearly a month ago only one of his 67 recent posts appear to have been original ideas. While I admit I haven't had much interaction with this user besides the odd brief run in with him in the "2000SP" room on Steemit.chat. In this particular instance he was confronted about not paying out fully the earnings by a few well known Steemit users. Instead of dealing with the issues that were put in front of him in a rational or calm manner chose to attempt to summon his father @gavvet into the room to defend him. I asked him a few questions at a later time in the same chat room and he seemed to want me lure me to PM him to attempt to resolve it rather than speak with it publically. Now while I don't have enough information to make a judgement either way on whether this user has malicious intent promoting others post it is brutally apparent that his lack of want to speak publically with me on the matter and the fact he's seemingly abandoned the notion of working on his own content could raise suspicions to some.
Total SBD made from @dragonslayer109 "hidden-gem" posts: ~33275.57 SBD
Total SBD paid out to users featured in his posts: ~$ ??? SBD (still trying to calculate this)
Note: It appears unlike his father @dragonslayer109 takes the SteemPower earned from his featured authors and keeps it for his own account. I refuse to name call or anything in this article, as this isn't what this is about.. However I HIGHLY disagree with @dragonslayer109 keeping all the SP for himself and reaping both massive reputation rewards and Voting Power for merely reposting others work. This type of behaviour enforced will have a negative impact on the public view of Steem. Nothing he's doing in my opinion merits such reward when he may infact robbing his authors of the Steem Power and Reputation they deserve.
@knozaki2015 - Now this user is actually very decent to deal with and any time I've run into him he's always on the go, positive and working hard. Compared to the two listed above his "featured" posts are only a small percentage of his actual recent blog posts. Besides the obvious that he may actually be stunting authors growth while legitimately trying to help them I personally do not believe that @knozaki2015 is promoting others for his own personal gain and actually cares about his fellow user rather than using them to possibly farm reputation like the example given above in @dragonslayer109 mention. The only reason he made this list to be honest was to be brought into the spotlight and be thanked personally by myself for putting in what I consider an honest effort to help people on Steemit. Keep up the good work man, Hopefully you can help the community more in the future when we dream up some better ways to promote up and comers!
Total SBD made from the @knozaki2015 "Featured" posts: ~$6108.15 SBD
Total SBD paid out to users featured in his posts: ~$ ??? SBD (still trying to calculate this)
Note: @knozaki2015 is the type of guy that I think is good for Steemit. I do not know if he's paying out SP as well as SBD for the posts he's featuring so I'm unable to comment on that at this time. Will be further looking into it shortly. Hopefully I can get a faster way other than adding all the posts by hand and having to sort them manually and crunch numbers by hand to get calculations.
@stellabelle - Regarded by many (including myself) as the godmother of Steem @stellabelle was one of the first users on Steemit to start featuring other people's articles. One huge advantage her style of featured writer offers that must be touched base on is the anonymous posts. Not only have I found myself enjoying a number of her anonymous and somewhat "risque" articles she's spotlighted for users but with the freedom to write without fear of backlash while maintaining a neutral identity is awesome.
Total SBD made from the @stellabelle "Secret Writer" posts: ~$28,978.43 SBD
Total SBD paid out to users featured in her posts: ~$ ??? SBD
Note: As mentioned above I think the idea behind letting established users write anonymously through your account is amazing! I would however like to see 100% of the SBD and SP that the authors work generated sent to them. Not only is it the right thing to do but at the end of the day you're already so damn influential around here that I can only speculate that leading by example may change the ecosystem around here for the better. You're a trendsetter, attention getter and all around bad ass godmother to Steemit, I believe you'll do the right thing!
@jacor - Steemit users have brought this user to my attention and I will be investingating him and doing the a post update when I wake up from a nap.
If you're listed above, I challenge you as a Content Creator to shy away from featuring other's work and start focusing on your own stuff!
A Plea to return your featured authors their STEEM POWER!
(credit for this sweet array of info goes to https://steemstats.com)
With the exception of @stellabelle anonymous secret writer style articles which serve a purpose greater than to just "increase exposure" whether knowingly or not the other users listed above are actually harming the users they are featuring! While I highly doubt this was purposefully done, the need to increase awareness of this sort of thing in order to combat what I feel is a trend that devalues Steemit and it's authors as a whole is a must.
Using your popularity and followers to help promote your fellow Steemit is one thing, Making articles that are full of nothing but reposts with the intention of keeping any money earned off of it could be misconstrued as some as embezzlement. I'm all for people everywhere helping each other to achieve goals as a community.. But when you have people basically exploiting others (perhaps unknowingly) under a false pretense of helping them eventually someone is going to raise the issue.
With all of that being said I do not believe that these "hidden gem" and "featured" posts started out entirely with bad intentions. Fundamentally, the way promoting other users posts is done must be looked at closely in the future. Various examples need to be discussed and the strength and weaknesses of them need to be clearly outlined with something implemented to prevent this potential abuse of new Steemit users.
While I must admit even I from time to time toss other users links on my articles in an attempt to promote their work I have not and will NEVER make an article with the sole intention of promoting other users, especially if I know fully well I've been followed by mindless whale curation bots. Promoting and helping new users get a foothold and become successful on Steemit is a task that does need attention and I'm in no way condemning those that I've mentioned above in their attempts to do so, but artificially increasing users exposure and using your popularity and power to gain votes while seemingly skimming some for yourself off the top could be viewed by some as selfish profiteering.
Do we as a community want to send the message it's ok for people to use others skills, time and content under the guise of supplying help? By upvoting these "Featured" and "Hidden-Gem" articles you're effectively saying that! Steemit and it's users NEED to be aware of these things going on with this recent trend of posts and come to consensus!
REVISION: Where I May Have Went Wrong Writing This Article
When originally working on this article I was viewing it from a purely altruistic view and it seemed infact rather dire, but when looked on through philanthropists goggles with a dash of capitalism tossed in the mix it became painfully apparent that I'd overlooked a key element in what the hidden gem and featured had been trying to achieve.
With the business angle brought into light it became apparent I'd perhaps not considered all angles as I should when the article was originally written and therefore while it did receive an amazing amount of positive feedback from the community I cannot help but feel I didn't live up to my own standard I'd set when deciding to start voicing concerns of myself and others. All angles must be considered if one is to accurately paint a picture and I failed to do so by not taking into account that this may be a business venture to some rather than what I initially thought which was people truly wanting to help people.
REVISION: The Aftermath, Steemit Community Response & What's Being Done About It!
The comments section below is full of community feedback to this article and most of those that were listed above replied below with very agreeable actions to help get their teams of authors better compensation for their stories.
After looking at the community feedback and viewing a greater picture I'm proud of the way most of the users reacted when brought under scrutiny by myself for what I perceived to perhaps be far more sinister than they had intended. I personally apologize for failing to consider all angles before posting and in the future will spend far more time researching and considering all possible aspects of current events on Steemit before raising alarms.
Google Docs Spreadsheet Where I'm calculating the math:
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