Poetry.com is a website formerly owned by Lulu.com that allows writers to share their poems with the wider community.
Before March 7, 2009, the domain name Poetry.com was owned by New Catalyst Fund (NCF). The site was previously run by a Maryland-based company called The International Library of Poetry, also known as the International Society of Poets and the International Poetry Hall of Fame. This company was considered by many[who?] to be a vanity publisher. Poetry.com claimed to coordinate monthly poetry contests and other services through its website, though the actual competitive nature of these contests was disputed. The site's ostensible primary purpose was publication of poetry anthologies submitted by aspiring authors, and invitations to poetry conventions hosted by the group. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland classified the business as a vanity publisher, and noted that the quality of the poetry submitted to them "does not appear to be a significant consideration for selection for publication."
On March 7, 2009, Lulu.com purchased the domain from NCF. Publish Today and Noble House Publishing, the branches of Poetry.com that managed the publishing and printing of their books, subsequently went out of business.
In April of 2011, Poetry.com was purchased by a group of investors (Scott Tilson, Jeffrey Franz) from Lulu.com for undisclosed terms. The purpose of the acquisition by the New York based private investor group was to create an Internet based creative social expression service, with the first acquisition being Poetry.com. In April 2012, Poetry.com was launched with 14 million archived poems, with reviews of poems being guaranteed in 60 minutes or less by the active community.
According to its press release, Lulu had aggressive plans to completely revamp Poetry.com and bring it under the Lulu brand. The site would be renamed Lulu Poetry, and it would be targeted to poets who wanted to connect with their peers and have access to resources to receive reviews and feedback on their poetry, as well as recognition, contest prizes and assistance in publishing their work.
Critics of the International Library of Poetry's business model described its practices as "deceptive and misleading" in that they misrepresented their activities as a contest based on the quality of poetry submitted, whereas in fact the quality had little or no influence on the outcome. It was also accused of describing the anthologies it published as a "real literary credit that poets can be proud of" while simultaneously producing anthologies that were available on special order only and which were full of poor quality poetry. Other critics pointed out that standard industry practice was for winners of poetry contests to receive gratis copies of any publication of their work, and that ILP failed to follow this protocol. Also, Poetry.com did not always work correctly.
The Better Business Bureau commented that it had received "hundreds" of complaints concerning ILP, and that it considered the business a vanity publisher. In 2004, the New York State Consumer Protection Board launched an investigation into ILP, which it said "takes advantage of people both emotionally and financially," but it suspended the investigation due to a shortage of complaints.
As of April 2014, Poetry.com's web site lists terms of service that state by submitting content on Poetry.com, you grant Poetry.com a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right ... and license to use, license, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, communicate to the public, perform and display the content ....
- "Writer Beware: Vanity Anthologies". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2012-20-22.
- Margo Stever (2004-11-01). "THE CONTESTER: Poetry.com Struggles for Legitimacy". Poets and Writers Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- "Lulu.com Launches Lulu Poetry". Yahoo.com. Retrieved 2009-04-14.