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Death of Orble and the Dark side of On Topic Media

September 24, 2015

Death of Orble and the Dark side of On Topic Media

Well, it has finally happened . The open door of retribution, personal vendettas and good old fashion cyber bullying has closed down. Orble.com no longer exists. A site that once boasted that it had thousands of writers (of which only about 100 were regular writers) is nothing more than a memory.

For those who are wondering where it all went here is the latest report from their website:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, tn3n11@pair.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

In technical terms, this means that site has been deleted.

Orble was pretty much a hobby horse for its director Dr Jon Deutscher who initially advertised for writers on the popular job site Seek.com.au. Offering payments of up to $40 per article Orble lured many hopeful and unsuspecting writers. The reality was that aside from paying for the URL of your choice the site required writers to set up their own ‘AdSense’ accounts on Google and link it back to Orble. The writers would only be entitled to 50% of the revenue generated through readers clicking on the web ads. Unfortunately, you needed to research Orble’s terms and conditions thoroughly to find out all of these details. The business plan was not very different than other blog sites that set themselves up after Time magazine declared in 2006 that the ‘persons of the years’ where the millions of people who anonymously contribute user-generated content.

The reality was that most writers did not chase the dollars because it was also a social platform where people could comment on each other’s posts. For most people any question about working from home as a paid blogger was pure fantasy. However, the people that did stick around did so for something other than financial reasons. The strength of Orble was also its greatest weakness. It was more of a social site than it was a site for writers. The other weakness it had was its internal scoring system for popularity: a rather oblique mathematical formula where the number of reads in the first few minutes was worth more than the number of reads later on. There was also a voting system to add extra points. Commenting on a blog post seem to earn the most points. The system was fine if you are more interested in writing than in being top of the heap. However it was easy to rig and favoured people wanted to play the system.

Some examples border on the comical:

  • One person wrote multiple posts per day just to prove that he could obtain the top spot on the Orble chart.
  • Another group set themselves up a ‘Post of the Day’ blog where they could vote together and pump up the popularity of their own sites.

Yet there were some who went to infantile levels trying to ruin the ratings of other popular writers.

  • One writer told me that she would lose votes by a certain select crowd if she ever commented on certain person’s posts.

Childish I know, but this is the level that social media operates at.

The narcissism of spoilt children demanding attention for their disposable efforts did take a darker turn when a small group of “writers” decided enter into the realm of cyber bullying and cyber stalking.

Most of their efforts were ineffectual angst with snarky replies created by false identities. Muppets popped up from all over the place to give their cloned opinion about why other people were just horrid for the sin of holding an opinion different to their groupthink. Sometimes anonymous players would turn up and sometimes multiple new muppets would turn up to join the fictional outrage.

Yet it did take a dark turn when a particular cyber bully discovered that he could forge the identities of other people.

  • This person put disparaging and offensive remarks on other people’s sites to frame an innocent person who was consequently banned from Orble.
  • Another use of the false identity was to place obscene and pornographic images on the front page of Orble to intimidate other writers.
  • One writer logged on to find a photograph of his own wife had been placed on the front page of Orble with a caption calling her a prostitute.

So how did Orble’s CEO react to these violations on what he claimed was ‘family friendly’ blog site?

  • The innocent person who was banned from Orble was completely cut off and never permitted back on.
  • The pornographic image stayed on the front page of Orble for 3 days before it was removed
  • The person whose wife was used as bullying fodder was also cut off from Orble the moment that he complained. Only after a major protest and overwhelming evidence that Dr Jon Deutscher had acted rashly and unjustly was this man’s account restored.

In other words, there was a culture of cyber-bullying that was operating directly under the watch of Dr Jon Deutscher and if anyone dare complain they would be banned from Orble.

Following episodes of continual cyber-bullying Dr Jon Deutscher enforced a three strikes rule to outlaw what he deemed were inappropriate comments. The unfortunate problem is that the policing of the inappropriate comments was being run by the very cyber bullies who attacking people. See the example below of a person who was threatened with expulsion:

Translation:

hi (name deleted),

im afraid the link you provided does not go anywhere

however, a piece of advice, as you are apparently a new user, you might want to watch what you say about other writers on this network, there is a Three Strike Policy now being enforced

you never really know who is moderating (the site or individual blogs), or where the moderators loyalties lie, many Orblers have share a certain intimacy due to admiration, respect, or infatuation . . . some even cohabit

you might want to watch what you say and how you address people, you may insult someone not knowing who is enamoured with them

hell hath no fury like a moderator struck

In the weeks that followed the Great Purge of Orble took place where every possible enemy of the above “enamoured” person was expelled from Orble.

Conclusion

What was once an unpaid community of writers soon dwindled down to a boring group think or political correctness. Oble may now be defunct but it was already brain dead long before Dr Jon Deutscher pulled its plug. It also seems that writers can no longer access the intellectual materials that they contributed to the Orble site.

Currently On Topic Media is now more interested in the click-bait style of blogging with their “Weekend Notes” site (finally something more boring than the PC Orble).

Editorial comment:

“hell hath no fury like a moderator struck”

Hehehehe…..

Update 19-10-15

It seems that there are a lot of people who have been shocked with the sudden demise of Orble.

No news from Dr Jon Deutscher as to why this happen.  Nor has there been any effort to notify people before years of contributions and work was suddenly deleted.

Here is another view:

http://writtenlife.me/2015/09/12/what-happened-to-orble-com/

I found another website that finds Weekend Notes (also owned run by Dr Jon Deutscher) to be less than upfront:

https://weekendnotesgame.wordpress.com/

Classic quote:

There are hundreds of writers and editors being ripped off by On Topic Media, publisher of WeekendNotes plus a few hundred other very similar web sites it publishes in the same way..

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2015 1:13 pm

    Very sad story for me, after blogging with Orble.com for 9 years as http://www.realcrash.com. I was out of the Aussie loop, just blogging my Larouchepac.com derivative stuff… Oh, I would be talking about the fraud of the Pope pushing Global warming theory as an end of modern civilization right now…. but, I can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 24, 2015 1:32 pm

      Howie

      It is not such an issue for me.
      I have had nothing to do with Orble since I decided to leave in 2009.
      No regrets.

      Like

  2. September 30, 2015 11:04 pm

    Dude! Ive lost some material! But Im going to fb share….Because some of those who were purged are now together again. Otherwise known as Kleonaptra…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 1, 2015 8:05 am

      Kim Rose,
      Thanks for your comments.
      I am sorry to read that you lost your material. I used find all the deleted stuff easily on archive.org but for some reason it is now being blocked by something called “robot.txt”.

      I will check out your FB.
      Regards Damo

      Like

  3. October 7, 2015 8:06 pm

    How long has it been-a month or more? I’m glad this is all finally coming to light although I must say I was out of the loop. Oh, and by the way, I was an 8 year Orble veteran.

    James Rickard
    anglingfish.net

    Liked by 1 person

  4. October 18, 2015 8:43 am

    Hi Damo, I remember you AND Kim or , dare I say, Kleonaptra??? At least the Fall of Orble has helped get my butt in gear to shop my book around–which is mainly just a compilation of the blog postings I came up with.

    Like

    • October 18, 2015 10:31 am

      James Rickard,
      I think most people have moved on from Orble. Many long before it was shut down. Which I have no idea why it has happened.

      Like

  5. June 12, 2017 8:52 pm

    I wrote for Orble in the very early days… Initially some of us had actual contracts for flat payments. I was making several hundred dollars each month without adsense, however, the moment I missed one week (after a year of regular posting) the contract was voided and ads started appearing all over the blog.

    Various glitchy things started happening and when I inquired about fixes, or ways to minimise advertising content on the blog, I got nothing back. Deutscher began practising a policy of “can’t hear you”, and yeah – the community became quite toxic. So many blogs filled with nothing. The decrease of quality represented the absolute worst of internet blogging.

    To make things worse, when I took a 1 month break from one of my blogs on the network (which had consistently placed in the Top 10 film blogs for the first three years of Orble’s existence) it was simply handed to someone else who began filling it with reviews of T-shirt brands.

    Like

    • June 14, 2017 8:32 am

      Luke Bartolo,

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
      I was told that some people were getting paid but I never knew who or why. I can’t really say much about the contract you were signed up to, other than it looks like Dr. Deutscher was waiting for a violation so he could amputate it.

      The wall of silence from the good Doctor was something that frustrated most people. Sometimes the only way I could get through to him was to use the public forum.

      I think the toxicity in Orble started after I was there for just over 12 months. Instead of people with an interest in writing sharing their honest thoughts it became populated with political hacks of all varieties fighting for dominance of what was an open forum. No room for intellectual honestly when people start running smear campaigns to chase off their enemies.

      You will have to remind me what the name of your blog was. I know there was a number that changed hands from good writers to people of lesser skill. Same thing happened after I left. I did offer to purchase the domain name from the good doctor but he was not interested.

      Like

      • August 31, 2017 10:38 pm

        I had five blogs on the Orble network – OldMovies, Cult Fiction, Bookclub9, and two others I can’t remember the names of.

        I transported a lot of my film content to another blog ‘canetoadwarrior.blogspot.com’ just so I could preserve it online and write about film in more depth without fear of too much spam.

        Like

  6. September 1, 2017 7:31 am

    Luke Bartolo
    I do remember your blogs. and I will see if Caintoadwarrior is still up.
    I do not seem to get much spam here at WordPress.
    And if I take a break for a time no one deletes me.

    Like

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