Us writers need to watch out for each other. This is why I decided to share my story with WriterSquad as a warning for everyone else out there who might be experiencing the same (possibly without even knowing).
WriterSquad creates fake emails and fake profiles on its website with real writers’ names. They exploit other writers’ identities to gain backlinks. Here is how I found out that my name had fallen into their hands.
I work as a contributor writer for many websites. With my head buried in new writing tasks all the time, I rarely have the time to check up on the old published ones.
Luckily, about 2 weeks ago, one of the websites I was supposed to be writing for asked me to send an example of my work. My choice fell on my Why Coworking Space is the Best Investment for Small Business Owners post. However, I noticed something different about this post – my bio was changed.
The first link in the bio was writersquad.co.uk. I asked myself, “Who are the WritersSquad, and what are they doing in my bio?” You see, I am working for a different website, and I’d never heard about writersquad.co.uk before. Ever.
I headed to that website to find the explanation for this “mystery,” and there I encountered a new surprise – my author’s page. WriterSquad created my page on their website, listing me as one of their team members. Without me knowing it. Without asking for my permission.
This is where I started to put together the pieces of this puzzle. WriterSquad was using my personality to create my fake author page and my fake website ([email protected]) to gain backlinks.
As much as building backlinks is important, this is just UNACCEPTABLE.
I was never in such a situation where my identity was stolen, but I was determined to take action and get this whole mess sorted out.
First, I emailed the WritersSquad, asking to delete my personal info. The website did delete my profile and added a new author. The remaining issue is that they haven’t change the URL. My name is still in their URL.
My next step was to warn other writers. Maybe not everyone’s profile on that page is fake, but I had to give it a try. I didn’t want these imposters to take advantage of my fellow writers.
I emailed other writers from the list, and I got replies from two of them, Margaret Reid and Frank Hamilton.
Margaret told me that she knew about the situation and had already asked them to remove her from the website. How she found out about it? The editor had asked her if she wanted to make the WriterSquad “addition” to her bio, and she realized that something was going on. So, she emailed the WriterSquad by sending the email to “her” email address on the WriterSquad website.
They removed her profile, just as they did with mine. But they haven’t changed the URL, just as they haven’t changed mine.
As you’ll be able to see in the screenshot below, the name Margaret Reid still stands in the URL even though the page features a different writer, Joan Chen.
The other writer who emailed me back was also familiar with the WriterSquad scam. Frank told me that his bio was also changed without his consent, and the editors informed him of this change.
Despite sending several emails to his fake WriterSquad email, he hasn’t heard back from anyone from the website.
So, what exactly is WriterSquad doing here? They create fake writers’ profiles and assign them fake emails, however, they are using real writers’ names. Why real names? Because real writers already have published posts across the web.
Then, they use that fake email (such as [email protected]) to email websites that have published posts by their “targeted” real writers. Their mission is to get editors from those websites to add a new link to the author`s bio – the link to their website. All with the purpose of gaining backlinks to their website.
Is gaining backlinks justification for stealing someone’s identity? OF COURSE, NOT. They are exploiting someone else’s work for their personal gain.
The goal of this post is to inform all writers to keep their eyes open. If you come across WriterSquad in your formerly published bio, you’ll know what’s going on. And also, if anyone had already found themselves in the same situation, know that you are not alone.