I am very upset today. A place I have called my online home since 2009 has been recently bought by a company called VerticalScope, Inc. and all hell has broken loose on the board. This place is known as Kboards.com Writer’s Cafe. And I have learned what I know about self-publishing a lot from this place and the people that visit. I have made many friends over the years, hired editors, formatters and cover designers. It has been a corner stone resource for me in my writing career.
And now because of a new owner grab and their TOS change without informing the users of the board, it is now quickly becoming a wasteland. What was the best resource to find out about the Indie Industry is becoming quickly a billboard for advertising because of years of spidered/crawled post content. The VirtualScope TOS was changed to reflect that all posts and personal information collected now belongs to the new owners, and many of the authors, that used their pen names, book covers, links, and information to do business on the board suddenly are finding themselves with the possibility of this third party laying claim to their copyrighted content.
IT IS A SCARY SITUATION for CREATIVES! I have never seen anything like this. There are many people that have visited the board, including top Indie authors, like Hugh Howey and Jasinda Wilder, that have made Kboards.com home in the past. So, the legal repercussions are astounding. Plus, many EU citizens on the board are already exerting their GDPR rights, but many Canadian, US and Australian citizens are left trying to figure how to sort through this downward spiral of our online home.
I cannot even put into words how I am feeling–almost. Because there is one word coming to mind awfully clearly–betrayed. More comes to mind like trying to say the sale date of the board was in May, but the announcement was made in August this year. The new owners and their scathing disregard for the intelligence and knowledge of the Kboard users, and the utter jumping of ship of many of my good friends I’ve known for years is the reality of what has happened. The shock is disappearing, and the dust is settling. Writers are leaving Kboards and the Writer’s Cafe in troves. And this makes me ultimately sad.
I am documenting all of this so in the future, sometime when people look at the start of the digital age and Indie publishing, they will find WHY many of the posts, articles and information was deleted or destroyed from Kboards due to this implosion started by the management of its new owners. Plus, I’m trying to preserve the links and information so the truth can be known of what happened, because once the main users abandon Kboards, there will be nothing left but crappy pop up ads.
Here is a list of the other blogs, threads, and relating links documenting and commenting on what is happening:
I will add to the list above as more people post about what is going on and the steps that continue to alienate the members from what they have created over the years, one of the biggest Indie self publishing communities on the web.
Now, for my personal opinion, which I have been denied to be able to say on Kboards. I am very sad to see this happen to Kboards. I’m disappointed in the founder/creator’s family for not investigating into this corporation. Harvey Chute was the original creator of Kboards (Formerly Kindleboards), and died a few years ago. I know his family tried to keep it going and the moderators worked hard to manage and keep the community alive. But in August, when it was announce by the family that they had sold, they mentioned that it was just too much for them.
But they had a whole board of writers, many with tech backgrounds, that could have easily managed and kept the board going instead of turning it into a data mine for ads to run. Now it will be a wasteland, and it disappoints me that they sold the community out. Yes. That is how I feel. Because it could have been run by the members VERY easily and I’m sure many willingly would have done it. So, that is my two cents on how I feel on what has happened, and I think the Indie Writing Community has lost a fabulous resource. I AM CRUSHED!
I can’t even put into thoughts how much this board meant to me and running my business. I have posted and run multi-author promotions through it. I have found editors, book cover designers, and formatters. I have given loads of FREE self-publishing advice. Well, not anymore. Luckily, I still have my own brain and can still write down my experiences on my blog. And now, maybe I’ll have to start some “How To” books to at least preserve some of what I know.
I don’t know. The wounds are too fresh and I’m still trying to sort through the ashes right now. But someone posted a link to this video to keep the mood light. It made me cry. Because as this death of a message board is happening, people are still keeping their humor and the very core of the community is still shining through. I am SO going to miss it.
But at least all is not totally lost. People are leaving to other writing homesteads. The sad part is that the community will splinter, and we may never all be the same. But at least, there are refuges to go to now that the end has happened.
One of the members has started a new board for people to join. It is going to be more focused on writers, but readers are welcomed as well.
This is about where we are now. I’m letting the voices of Les Mis play as I’m typing, because I know the spirit of Kboards will continue somewhere else. But it won’t be the same. An era is ending today. I am hoping when the publishing world looks back 50-100 years later, they’ll see the gold rush of Indie Publishing, and wonder what it was like through our posts.
Long live the memories of my times on Kboards.com! You will always be in my heart. You gave so much to me, and I tried to repay by writing and helping others. To have that all suddenly taken and told that I don’t own and will never be able to use because of new owners, well. Them is fighting words for an author.
SO SCREW YOU VERTICAL SCOPE!-It’s coorporations like you that kill the internet. May your servers and ad revenue plummet from the ex-kboard members efforts to get the word out of what you’ve done to our community and warn others not to sell their heart’s blood to you ever. Stay strong! FIGHTING!
UPDATE: So, Kboards.com is still there, but it’s not the same. A lot of the regulars have left and migrated to Writersanctum.com. Kboards still has tons of annoying ads. I believe when you go to it, the website mines your computer to know where you have visited to throw ads back at you that are relevant. Why? Because on later visits, I’ve seen ads pop up in relation to where I had visited on the internet. Lots of places do this. Amazon, Google, and Facebook just to name a few. But they do it to target their ads or show you products or search words you might be interested in. This has been going on for awhile, like at least a decade, because this is how ads and searches can target what you need or like.
But, with the way that the new owners of Kboards are using the data, claiming they own everything on it including all posts and handles, etc. they can use their data they collect and own however they like. You know, If I’m going to be used, or my data or handle or words, I’d rather have it be with something that helps me. Not helps advertisers target me. I don’t like being the bait for tons of ads. And that is what Kboards is set up to do now. Click bait for ads now.
You’re welcome to go visit still. There are some people still posting, even some regulars still. But as the ads still plague people and more people leave, it will be eventually drained of real people that will flee to other more hospitable message boards.
So, the slow death of Kboards continues on. No matter how you look at it, it’s just plain sad.
Update Sept. 24, 2019:
So, it’s been about a year since the implosion of the Indie community on Kboards. The board is still up and running, but many of the regulars and locals that made it the board it was, have left. I really miss it. I have migrated to writersanctum.com.
But in many ways, nothing is quite the same without the old kboards. All the information is still there, being used by the company that bought it to lead people to their site. I’m sure there are data trackers there, because when I’ve gone back to check on some old posts for references, I started getting ads for what I’d searched on the internet. If you don’t mind that, then kboards.com can still be a reference for you. But the vitality and community isn’t what it used to be. And I miss it.
I have turned to more local support to writer groups in my community, and meet with them in person. It has actually been helpful, and we exchange anywhere from local info, feedback on writing, to how to do the best marketing for our books. I found them through meetup.com. If you’d like to meet local writers in your community and do some face to face networking and get support, it has been a valuable networking tool for me.
So, looking back now, I can see that kboards.com might be considered the incubator for the Indie community during the beginnings of the self-publishing industry at the start of the 21st century. I hope that people in the future reading this can know how it was a very supportive community on line, and I will miss it. I hope it goes down in history as the support structure it was. It was the sounding point for projects with Hugh Howey , Stories on the Go, for me, started my romance writing career with connections and support, and I’ll never forget it.
RIP Kboards.com edition 1. I’m sure edition 2 just will be a glimmer of what you were.