How Do You Treat Spammy Hubbers?

Traveling Man denotes hub hopping
Traveling Man denotes hub hopping | Source

Hub Hopping

I read in the HubPages tutorial section that hub hopping will increase your profile score and it did. I enjoy hub hopping so having my score go up is a nice benefit.

I also enjoy reading hubs that generally I would not seek out.

However, reading new hubs that are hot off the press can be either an enjoyable experience or an adventure into the world of Spam.

In my "hopping" I often click the hubber's profile to see what else they have written that I might enjoy reading, noting their profile score and scores on any of their other published hubs.

And sometimes I come across hubs that are pure advertisement for some personal agenda, otherwise known as Spammers!

New to HubPages? Here's a Great How-To

Spam Attack by awordlover

My definition of SPAMMERS is:

  • hubbers who write one hub (non-descript, advertising or self-promotional),
  • enter their hub topic in the search box and
  • then go on a hub hopping spree visiting all "like minded" hubbers
  • leaving a short comment on each visited hub (it is usually copy pasted from one to the next),
  • click SEND COMMENT,
  • click SEND FAN MAIL,
  • click FOLLOW,
  • asking others to FOLLOW them

and in no time at all, their own profile score shoots up. Why?

Because leaving comments and fan mail makes one curiously go to visit that hubber so they get hits on their hubs and profile views, and "nice hubbers" click FOLLOW on them as a return courtesy. Most of all, they don't even look at the hubber's content. They just click FOLLOW.

I am seeing too many hubbers with thousands of follows (click on their recent activity) where they leave comments ASKING to be followed back.

Writing The First Hub - Observations by awordlover

HubPages requires new hubbers to write one hub, although I have seen profiles that are months old and still have no hubs listed. Maybe they unpublished them right after, I don't know.

But some people write that first one and then abandon HP for whatever reasons - health, writer's block, loss of interest. Often I have found a "first hub" is either introductory (hi, my name is and I'm new here), or it is promotional for some company they have a vested interest in, or the hub is just plain non-sensical (making no sense).

Some are poems without rhyme or reason, throwing out random thoughts with no connection at the end of the poem.

It seems they just want to get it over with, so they can fill the requirement.

Lately, I have found new hubbers writing hubs that are either spam or purely promotional, i.e. being linked to a personal website for their business. These are the hubbers who write one hub, or up to five hubs in the same subject (of their business) in the hope that they can get free advertising at HP.

After I left a comment regarding using hubs as advertisement, one such hubber wrote back to me saying that after giving it a few days, having written only one hub that his business did not increase as much as he thought it would, and he decided to abandon his account.

Other hubbers are little more determined (or are they dense?) and write up to maybe five hubs to see if it generates business for them on their website (in hits, actual sales, etc.). If they don't see any dramatic increase, they usually abandon HubPages and look for other ways to get free advertising.

Following others

Call me old-fashioned, but I think following someone on HubPages (or any other site) should be earned and you should only follow those you hubbers you are genuinely interested in following.

If someone asks you to follow them, and their topics are of no interest to you, do you feel compelled to click FOLLOW?

Many people do.

Many people don't care how many or what topics they follow. They just want to see a high number next to the word.

I'm not in the numbers game. I don't care how many followers I have, nor do I go out of my way to follow people just because they left me a comment or they clicked FOLLOW on my profile.

If you have to ask for people to follow you, is it the same as earning the followers due to your own merit or content?

When your readers arrive, don't leave them unsupervised. Moderate your comments.
When your readers arrive, don't leave them unsupervised. Moderate your comments. | Source

Our Audience

I'm all for free enterprise and think everyone in this world should have the opportunity to make a success from their business. But I just don't want to see it happen here at HubPages.

Each of us has a different experience here at HubPages because of the different genres in which we write. My health hubs attract a certain type of reader just as your computer technology hubs or poetry hubs attract a certain type of reader.

Like some hubbers, I have notifications set up so that within a few minutes of someone leaving me a comment. An automated message is sent to my email box, which remains open on my desktop all day. Usually I moderate the comments within an hour and for the most part, the comments are favorable.

But if it is a self-promotional comment, who asks me to follow them back (especially when they have only one or no hubs showing), I don't allow the comment.

Sometimes when I go to moderate comments, it is already gone, maybe because the person thought better of it and deleted their comment.

Because "life happens," sometimes it takes me until the next day to reply. By that time, the "mystery commenter" has already visited dozens more hubs and left the same comment on each one.

I know this, because I can see it on their profile page by looking at their recent activity. I am very aware that my visit to their profile page just generated another hit for profile view number to increase. But in the interest of educating myself, I am willing to risk it. :-)

What Would You Do?

What do you do when you come across a purely promotional hub or hubber?

See results without voting
Ghost Visitor
Ghost Visitor
You can check notifications to moderate hub comments from anywhere. Do you?
You can check notifications to moderate hub comments from anywhere. Do you? | Source

Ghost Hubbers (Spammers) - my observations

A case in point: I had 14 comments on my hubs by "ghost" hubbers (my nice name for Spammers) - people who joined HubPages, left a comment on numerous hubs and when I click on their name (if I can still click on their name) it is often a dead link, meaning they deleted their account on HubPages already - either on their own or they have been banned by HP.

Many times when I use the search tool for their name, it either comes up with a profile page with only one hub written or else "not found".

If you can click a commenter's name, it should take you to their profile page. Often, I find that their profile pix is a silhouette, which usually means that they never even finished the "Edit Profile" process.

Regarding other commenters on whose name I can click, my visits to their profile usually show links to their highly promotional hubs and/or personal business websites. Some links even led to hubs that were maniacal in structure and verse.

Doesn't anyone proofread anymore? And some hubs make absolutely no sense at all. After reading some of these hubs, you have no idea what their point was. I just wonder "What were they thinking???"

Upon clicking a Spammer's name to see what they write about, there is usually one to five hubs on the same exact subject complete with links to an off HP website for that business, and the list shows that the commenter has been very busy visiting umpteen other hubs and leaving similar or the same comment in a short period of time.

Please don't support spammers who leave promotional comments with links to their own websites/businesses
Please don't support spammers who leave promotional comments with links to their own websites/businesses | Source
Check your notifications often. Don't allow someone to use your hub to promote their business or websites.
Check your notifications often. Don't allow someone to use your hub to promote their business or websites. | Source

Do You Moderate Your Comments?

I have my settings set so that comments are NOT automatically published, meaning I have to approve or deny each one.

I do this on purpose because of precisely this type of commenter.

I think all hubbers should use this feature, so that spamming and some rude comments do not publish to the hub, that otherwise would be best left unpublished because of content or tone.

I have visited many hubs where a spammer has left the same comment on each one and because it auto-published without a reply, I know the hubber had their settings set to allow anyone to comment.

Check your notifications often to see who left you comments, especially if you allow comments to post without approval.

Check in often to see what people are talking about "on your hubs".

There is enough advertising on our hubs in sidebars; you don't need commenters to "use your hub" to get free advertising for their business.

Start removing anything that is not flattering to you, is promotional of other websites off HP, and comments that sound like the person might have been drunk when they wrote them....you know the ones -- they make no sense.

Take control of this, and it will leave a better impression on your visitors when they read your work and then scroll down to read comments that other readers left for you. Reading the comments of others often prompts me to leave my own. If I see a bunch of spam comments, I am not inclined to leave my own comment.

My personal opinion is that I don't think auto publishing comments is a good habit to have. It is my opinion. Some hubbers are so active in publishing (or have a busy life) they just don't have time to moderate.

In that case, at some point you should visit the comments of each of your hubs and exercise the "Delete Comment" button to anything that is as described above.

  • You should be protective of your hub.
  • You own it.
  • Treat it as you would a prized possession.
  • Don't allow people to write whatever they want in the comments of your hub.
  • Be choosy what you want your visitors to see when they read your body of work, including the comments.
  • Be watchful that your work is not copied


I usually move on without leaving a comment on a hub that has spam comments with links to business on and off HP.
I usually move on without leaving a comment on a hub that has spam comments with links to business on and off HP. | Source

Read Them And Leave Them

Personally, when I am hub hopping, if there are a lot of comments that people leave to promote their own agenda, I often don't leave a comment at all. I read and move on.

Why?

Because it tells me that after the hubber wrote the article, they didn't moderate or respond to comments, and abandoned the work to the masses to let anyone write their thoughts - good, bad or indifferent.

If they don't care enough about the work after they wrote it, I don't care to comment one way or the other. Just my opinion.

Don't let anyone hitch their wagon to you without your approval. Choose to exercise your right to approve or deny all comments.
Don't let anyone hitch their wagon to you without your approval. Choose to exercise your right to approve or deny all comments. | Source

Do not copy this article.

This means don't copy this article. It also means if you DO copy, a DMCA notice of copyright infringement will be filed against you.
This means don't copy this article. It also means if you DO copy, a DMCA notice of copyright infringement will be filed against you. | Source

HubPages Is A Great Community of Writers

Because we are a serious and great community of writers, I think we should all do our part to help police this problem better.

Hub hopping is one way we can help HubPages with this problem. Flagging and reporting the hubs while you are hopping goes a long way to helping the staff of HubPages weed out the bad apples.

What do you think?

© Feb 16, 2012 Anne DiGeorge

Update: Since awordlover wrote this hub last year, HubPages has implemented a quality assessment waiting period to each hubber for publishing hubs which is just a great idea. Before hub hoppers even get to see it, HubPages can decide if it is worthy or not.

Progress is happening!

Click here for ways you can help HubPages!

Updated October 3, 2013 by Fiona Powers, a member of awordlover's team

Updated 2/2/2014 by Rachael O'Halloran to replace pixelated Copyscape logos and correct format issues with photographs

© 2012 awordlover

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Excellent hub and I agree with your sentiments and arguments. I've seen quite a few hubs recently as well that were obviously just looking for traffic/business and didn't care about grammar, spelling or content - in essence they don't give a dam about their potential readers.

I then wonder, well if they are treating their potential readers on HP this way, do they treat their customers in the same off-hand, couldn't care less fashion? Personally I wouldn't visit their sites or trust them to provide good services or products if the quality is the same as what is dished up in their hubs.

I really enjoyed this interesting and informative article. Voted up interesting and useful!


Carolyn2008 profile image

Carolyn2008 4 years ago from Boston

I agree with everything you have written. I like to hub hop because I am exposed to a large variety of subjects. I have often wondered why hubs that are obviously written to promote their businesses are allowed to be published. I also set my hub comments section to be approved by me before the comments go public. Commercial spammers are not serious about writing serious, articulate articles. We don't want a person visiting this web site to think we publish primarily business marketing articles.


Capedium profile image

Capedium 4 years ago from Texas.

First, I must say, this Hub is very insightful.. Usually, I don't read any Hub that is not poetry or should I say literately. The title of your Hub was what got my attention, and once I started reading, I couldn't stop.. You made lots of valuable point here I must agree, but in thesame vain, what's the point, if they come and couldn't keep up and they left, and during their short time, they where found something they enjoyed reading and they left comment, comment is just a way of saying ; You are good, keep it up, I don't like this, you can do better.. I get your point, why comment when you a ghost, give reasonable comment, don't just comment, comment because you have reason to.. I mean, it is pointless.. My comment are free to all, is I notice any spam or abusive or inappropriate words, I report it or hide it.. There isn't always time, I will rather spend more time, sharing and engaging in gainful conversation with great Hubbers than border about fake commenters or what ever they are and the stupid game they play... That may not be the case for you.. Example am the young man who just want to write and be read, who just want to share the little knowledge God has given me.. Some are here to earn, some to make friends to help them in their publishing, some for advice, and some just want to read.. I don't know, I have probably said too much.. Am I making any sense at all ?.. Got to go. Thanks for sharing.... I enjoyed reading this particular Hub.


Insane Mundane profile image

Insane Mundane 4 years ago from Earth

Well, that was an elaborate way to define crappy article spinners and the senseless spammers. Hey, the good thing is, unless their Author's HubScore reaches 75 or more, their silly promotional, spam-like links will be counted by the search engines as No-Follow as opposed to Do-Follow, so they are more or less wasting their time, more than yours.

Amateur, careless spammers often make those obvious mistakes that you mentioned about.

However, there are other article-submit sites that don't allow you to generate income from your writings, and the only perk involved besides exposure, is by promoting your own websites via their website (article marketing), so maybe that is where some of these clowns go astray.

Personally, I've wrote on so many other websites and blogs (including my own paid domains/websites and free-hosted blogs), that I mainly enjoy the interactive features here, but I'll still most likely create a few hubs from time to time...

However, there should be some rules when it comes to forum posters who blast posts all day long and have zero hubs after being with the site for several weeks.

Anyway, I know what you mean, as you are trying to keep this an authority site with high quality; nothing wrong with that! Ain't that an uphill battle, though? :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

So far I leave my comments open to also. I may change if I run into problems. However, sometimes I get comments from people who are not hubbers and in the long run those are the folks we want for traffic.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

TYVM Seeker7. I agree. :-)


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

TYVM Carolyn2008 - I agree with you.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Hi Capedium, Your comment was regarding people who actually left a constructive comment pertaining to your subject matter and then left HP. I was more referring to commenters who leave links to their businesses on your hub mixed in with a token compliment and leave HP for whatever reasons - usually that their tactic to gain traffic for their business did not pan out for them. I'm glad you are on top of removing anything spammy or abusive. There are some hubbers who don't even do that. So you are to be commended for removing those and keeping your hubs so that the comments are the ones YOU want others to see. TYVM for your comments and insight.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Hi Insane Mundane. Your first sentence made me chuckle! Regarding your last sentence: No, I don't think it is an uphill battle. If more hubbers policed their comments so that only pertinent were approved, and used the moderation option, this nonsense could be cut down considerably. Hub hopping is one way for HP to get help in this so that they do not have to employ/detail employees to do it, as reading/scanning each submission makes for very long days. Those who hub hop and take it seriously in regard to reporting commenters and hubbers as outlined in this article will indeed help fight that battle. TYVM for y our comments and insight. :-)


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Dahoglund, I do see what you mean. If your traffic relies mainly on non-registered users, then it only means that you are more attentive to your hubs/comments and hopefully diligent in removing spammy stuff; you take care of your intellectual property. I was more or less referring to those hubbers who allow anyone to write anything and then do not go back and police it so that months, sometimes a year or more, and the comment is still there with links to websites that are no longer active (maybe because the business failed? who knows). TYVM for your comment and insight. Even hubbers who moderate comments after the fact is better than not doing anything at all. :-)


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

You have conveyed my views on the topic so well. I can't thank you enough for this hub. Last few days, I started hub hopping because I had some extra time. What I saw made my jaw drop to the ground. Such low quality writing and blatant advertisement of personal business websites. To add insult to injury, I came across one hub with adult content accompanied by explicit photos and another one offering female escort service with images. OMG! I started cursing myself for going hub hopping. Being a proactive person, I can't leave these lying around. So, started flagging each of the hubs and profiles and also their other hubs. As you said, all of them had less than four hubs. Out of frustration, I asked a question to hubbers whether they have seen anything like this. I received just three replies saying they never saw anything amiss here. I am happy that I came across this hub. Otherwise, I will start thinking the problem is with me.

I would like to point out that leaving comments open for non-registered users is fine as long as comments on your hubs are not automatically published. I too received my share of spam comments, which lead to more flagging.

I am relatively a new member here, but feel so comfortable in the friendly community here that I am growing very protective of it. I would love to read more from you on this topic on how to tackle this menace. I hope more people read this hub. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Hi hoteltravel: Well I guess I ought to tell you, I found your question you asked before I found your comment on my hub. So prepare yourself, I left a long rant on your question. This is a very sore subject with me. I'm glad you are of like mind. TY for your comments and follow. Please take my answer to your question in the forum in the kind spirit in which it was meant. :-)


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

I very much appreciate you taking time out to answer my question. TYVM for the follow back. Wish hubpages say clearly that hub hopping and flagging bad hubs earn us brownie points. This will attract more hubbers. My score did not see as much increase as yours, but it did favorably affect my hubber score. There is hope as long as there are hubbers like us. As for calling your answer a rant, my previous comment qualify for something worse, I think. That just shows how dear this topic is to us.


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

I have seen quite a few people leaving links in their comment, that is rude to do. When someone comments on a hub it shouldn't be an advertisement for themselves, it should be to give the hub author feedback. I had a ghost comment on one of my hubs that was really nasty, when I clicked on his name his profile didn't exist. I agree, we need to flag these spammers and ghost hubbers. Thaks.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Thank you Kimberly Lake. I agree wholeheartedly. :-)


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 4 years ago

I have learned many things from your very detailed hub.I appreciate all the points that you bring up many I was not aware of.You make me understand the world of the HubPages a little bit better.I am not a computer person and I have had many troubles in the past which may not affect an avid computer person like yourself.I am learning as I go and it is a long slow road.I have not understood so many things like back linking and traffic flow.I have tried my best to write poems and stories from the heart.I am far from an expert on any subject and many times during my life I have had endless struggles.I keep searching for people who love life and appreciate people for who they are.I will be the first to say I don't always make sense and it may not be something you would read or be interested in.I do however appreciate your writings and I keep learning from fellow hubbers like yourself.As I try to understand the fast paced world we live I only want to give back to the world that has given me so much.When I read how serious you take the HubPages I am proud to be a fellow hubber.You have only the HubPages and many hubbers in mind.I have always loved the connection of so many people all over the world.I am very thankful that a site like this exsists.Thanks for writing and sharing so many good ideas with other hubbers.Have a healthy and happy day.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Thank you for your kind reply. When I started out here on HP 2 years ago, I knew no one here. I knew two things - I wanted to write and this was free and had a decent size readership. I haven't looked back since. I have learned by trial and error - more trial than error -- I can't begin to tell you how many unfinished hubs are on my account history. I'm afraid to delete them bec they hold a germ of an idea for something I had in mind at the time, and at some point, I'm hoping it will come back to me. LOL Seriously though, if I am able to share what little I have learned in two years and make a task easier for someone, that makes me happy. The hubbers who are pros at this game write for HP in their help center, so that's my HP 101 for learning. ::hint, hint:: TYVM for your comments. awordlover (aka Anne)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Interesting. I moderate the comments on all my hubs. Usually I only remove links and copy the comment into my answer, though I have denied the odd abusive post. I have been taken to task about it by those who felt I was infringing on their right to free speech.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago Author

Hi RedElf:

Well, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have an opinion about your last statement "infringing on their right to free speech." ::smile::

One of the wonderful benefits of moderating one's own hub comments is you get to decide what gets approved to appear on your hub as a comment and what doesn't. So a person's right to free speech stops when they hit REPLY and release their comment into cyberspace. They exercised free speech at the time of writing. My rights as a hubber then begin.

In this instance on hubpages and many other websites, it is probably the only way someone's right to free speech can be squashed and no one can be sued for it. Because as long as we "moderate" comments, we are in control of what we want our visitors to "feel" about us when they read our hubs and comments.

Don't get me wrong, comments that don't agree with me or the hub are not automatically denied. On the contrary, I invite them since they are usually a good draw for others to join the conversation.

I'm only speaking of commenters who go out of their way to be nasty in putting me or my writing down. "I hated this hub" and no other elaboration will most likely be moderated in a timely fashion and not get published. ::smile::

TYVM for your comment...sorry for the rant.

Anne


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Yes, there are "hubbers" some who are here for years and yet no content. However, they are the trolls who spam forums. Each new hubber should have at least 50 hubs before participating in the question and forum sections.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago Author

Hello gmwilliams, Waiting to have 50 hubs is a bit steep. Publishing 50 hubs is a big accomplishment. awordlover only has 38 published after 3 years on hubpages. If she had to wait until she had 50, she'd still be waiting to talk in the forums. Some writers are not as active as others. We agree there should be a better policy to keep after the trolls, maybe Moderator for a day or moderators for each forum. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

Rachael O'Halloran for Anne DiGeorge


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Not steep at all. Hubbers should NOT be allowed on the forums unless they have 50 hubs in addition to being on HubPages for AT LEAST 2 YEARS. That would be appropriate.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago Author

We are all entitled to our opinion. Thank you for voicing yours.

Rachael


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

You are indeed welcome, I can be quite opinionated but I am a sweeite.

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