In a previous post, I discussed my run-in with Rose DesRochers, owner of www.todays-woman.net. This post contains the story of my friend’s—I’ll call her Mary—experiences at todays-woman.net.
In March 2005, Mary joined todays-woman.net, unaware of Rose’s reputation. Rose was billing todays-woman.net all over the Internet as something like “the #1 poetry web site”, and Mary thought it might be a good place to get to know other poets. After joining, Mary looked around, read some of the poetry and articles, and posted a few times in the forums.
She immediately noticed that traffic to the web site appeared to be minimal despite advertising claims. This didn’t bother her too much, though, because everyone exaggerates in advertising. She also had trouble with slow loading pages even though she was accessing the site on a new (and fast) computer. Her e-mail to tech support regarding this issue was ignored or lost.
Then one day, Mary attempted to clarify something that Rose had posted in the forums (at that time, Rose’s posts made up 80-90% of all posts in the forums). Rose claimed that poetry.com was a scam. Mary explained that poetry.com isn’t technically a scam because people who buy poetry.com’s anthology, get one. It’s chock full of bad poetry, but it’s still a book. Mary also make it clear, though, that she agreed with Rose that site preyed on aspiring poets and was a good place to avoid.
The next time, Mary tried to log in, she found out that her IP address was banned and she could not access the site. In one of her several later e-mails to Mary, Rose said that she had decided that Mary was just there to “reek [sic] havoc.” So apparently if you disagree with Rose at all, you are a trouble-maker.
All in all, Mary got off pretty easy. She didn’t end up with an Inbox full of hateful and ungrammatical e-mails, and she didn’t lose the rights to any of her work (which, in my opinion, is wonderful).