On HubPages—October 21, 2011

As I begin to write this, I am reminded of something I have oftentimes said. Be careful to not bite the hand that feeds you. It could be entirely true that, in a way, I do earn some money by publishing my musings and well-intentioned opinions here on this website. The hands of HubPages could well contain food. Perhaps if I sat here long enough, and wrote to my little heart's content one day I might actually be able to send the fruits of my labors from this place to my mortgage company.

Okay. Probably not. Still. I start a war with HubPages with some hesitation.

I have made it very clear in an earlier posting on this very website that I have very much enjoyed being here. It's a great site with a lot of great people, and even greater writers. I like the sharing, and I like the multi-levels of feedback. Good or bad, in the end, it's all good really. Right? Everything is a learning experience, and I've never once "unfollowed" someone because of something they've said, or an opinion they've shared. I don't know if someone has "unfollowed" me. At least I can't think of a time when that may have happened.

But something has gone terribly wrong. In a way I feel a bit betrayed. HubPages has betrayed me. They have unfairly targeted something I've written here simply because some filter has decided that a link, or a reference doesn't quite fit to their liking. Don't get me wrong. It's their site. They can have whatever kind of site they want to. I've never once said anything besides that. I respect the fact that they want a clean, user friendly site that has a wide appeal. I get that. I can appreciate that. I want to be a part of something like that. You know, I'm a conservative, and we conservatives can appreciate certain things like that.

In reference to my recently unpublished hub entitled, "Lottery Payout: The Dream of the Big Win," the moderator set alert tells me, "This Hub promotes gambling, the sales of alcohol or tobacco (including e-cigarettes), sale of weapons, and/or sales of prescription or illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. Please remove the content or links promoting these subjects, and submit this Hub for republication. It will be reviewed, and republished if the Hub is in compliance with our Terms of Use."

Digging deeper into the moderator set alert, it lists only one link that is problematic and that has caused this alert to be generated. It's the link I inserted to the MegaMillions Multi-State Lottery official website. The hub was indeed about the lottery. It was indeed about playing the lottery. Yes. Playing the lottery is indeed gambling. But it's legal gambling. And while my article certainly was making the case for playing the lottery, it was in no way encouraging anyone reading the article to do anything other than make an informed decision that would be guided as well by their own sensibilities on the subject. But what about the link to the Powerball Multi-State Lottery official website? Why was that link not listed in the alert?

In another hub that was unpublished, "Made in the USA: After the Great Recession Pt.2," the link that was noted was a link I posted to the Boston Beer Company, which was referenced because it happens to be the only truly large beer company left in America today since Anheuser-Bush and Miller Brewing were both taken over by foreign companies.

I have a hub entitled, "Lost Wages, Nevada," which is about gambling which has not been unpublished, and which contains links to casinos. I have two hubs that are reviews of pubs which contain links to some of the beer company websites for the beers they serve there that have gone unscathed as well.

Who triggered the alerts? What triggered the alerts? And why just those hubs? Why just those links? It simply baffles me—though I'll readily admit I can become easily confused.

Still.

So I wrote to the HubPages team in response to my unpublished hubs. Like I said before, saying goodbye is tough. I enjoy writing here. It's worth a shot to at least put my thoughts before the team and see what they may have to say on the matter. I pointed out the questions I've posed here. Why those links? Why just those links?

The reponse I got back was cold. I am inclined to believe a person didn't bother to look at my questions. I don't think they bothered to read my letter. For that matter I don't think they've bothered to read the hub they've seen fit to take down.

This is what they told me:

Hello Jim,

Thank you for your email. Linking to websites that facilitate gambling is a violation of our Terms of Use. This is outlined in several locations on our website, such as our FAQ:

http://hubpages.com/faq/#gambling_topics

HubPages is a private business, not a public entity. Like most websites, there are many topics which are protected under free speech that are not permitted on websites like HubPages. Please feel free to publish any content that violates HubPages Terms of Use elsewhere. Let us know if you have any questions. 

Their response leaves me with no further words at the moment.

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Comments 13 comments

GoGreenTips profile image

GoGreenTips 4 years ago from Indianapolis

Interesting, I in the process of writing a hub which isn't commercial. I allow ads on my hubs, but really i just enjoy writing. Anyway, I always set to low ads. But when i placed a link to an article on my website, which isn't affiliate site, but just articles similar to the one that i was writing, it stated that my hub would be considered commercial and I had to set my ad setting to high.I removed the link and was able to set the ad setting back.

Anyway, although I like hubpages and plan to stay, some rules are a little strange.

Good luck!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

GoGreen, yes. Strange indeed. The best thing about writing is that if you can do it, it has a place anywhere. This is one place where it can go. Or not. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.


joer4x4 profile image

joer4x4 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

"HubPages is a private business, not a public entity."

They must be kidding, extremely stupid, or just lying about their product like so many do today. Everything about Hub pages is public and without you and the public they would be out of business. They only provide the tool and produce no product. The writers produce the product.

Hubpages does make it a bit easier to publish but one could do just as well somewhere else. One reason I don't publish many hubs is the restriction on promoting yourself, your site, or even your own hubs. They want to control your profit by enhancing their own profit. Sort of like a firewall, let everything in and nothing out.

It you're an expert on any given subject and do it for a living, you don't want to publish on hubpages. It's fear of losing revenue and to them it's unpaid advertising.

One could go elsewhere, keep all the profits, and have more control over the publishing. They overvalue themselves with the 40% they keep but I understand people just don't think things out today and undervalue their hard work and time. This is one reason our economy will crash soon.

PS. It is hypocritical when they accept ads for Publishers Clearing House. That is gambling as many spend their money to buy magazines in hopes of winning!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 4 years ago

I have a hub with no ads because someone didn't like the content. One of these days I'll just take it down and write another one on the subject. Don't let it get to you. It's important for you to keep on writing here!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Joer4x4, I sort of think along the same lines about this HubPages thing. It IS their site. It IS their company. But exactly as you said, it is also OUR work which provides the revenue for them to keep the site going. In this piece I stated that it is best not to bite the hand that feeds you. I used the phrase in context to my current issue I have with HubPages because, as I've said many times, I enjoy it here, and despite it all may actually decide to stick around, yet fighting with the powers that be might cause our little relationship here to end—at THEIR hand. I enjoy PUBLISHING here, if you really want to call it publishing, right? But at the same time aren't you and I the hand that feeds THEM? Who really loses in the end? Me, or HubPages? I think it's easy enough to conclude that the guys who head up this site aren't really writers, and while they may be businessmen they may be able to start a new venture somewhere else, I can also write somewhere else. It goes with me. That's not to say that I'm a GREAT writer with potential to make a lot of money doing this, BUT I can say that there's much more potential for me to make money doing this outside of here than inside of here...

So, then the question becomes, where does that really leave us? :) I think HubPages should be a little bit wiser. As I said, and when I say it I don't mean it to belittle ANYONE who writes on this site, but I've been in the writing business both as an editor working with established writers in the horror field as well as having been involved with Dorchester Publishing (a paperback house) for many years, and one thing I CAN say is that REAL writers don't stand for censorship at all. Frankly, neither do real publishers. I've never met a single writer who's said to me, "I don't mind it when someone cuts me off." If HubPages messes with any of its real writers, they're (the owners of this site) not going to have much to work with in the end, and exactly as you put it, they won't need to worry about being a "private" business, because without real writers they won't be able to stay in business.

Thanks very much for stopping by.


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 4 years ago from West Virginia

Springboard,

We all know that hubpages is headquartered in San Fran Sicko USA, a more un-American place would be difficult to find within our borders. I hope you still stick around here, I enjoy your writings!!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

I don't participate i the AdSense program. Maybe that's the way to go.In any case I think it was the links that set up a flag rather than the topic.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Sheila, thanks very much for the encouragement. I've actually been considering doing just that. Sticking around. I will take the hubs in question elsewhere, and as I said in my earlier hub, "Goodbye HubPages," I will start to look for a place to put the hubs that were unpublished here, plus use this as an opportunity to clean house a little bit with some of my older, lesser performing, or out-of-date hubs.

As for the staff of HubPages, I think some of us need to put them in their place. It's their site, but our work, and I think they're taking a risk if they start pissing us off. :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Sheri, I'll do my best...and as well to stay out of trouble. lol. The latter part may be difficult, though.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

As i said before when all these changes started tehy lost a lot of the top writers which is a crying shame.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Pop, I do like the idea of getting paid SOMETHING. But I don't think it's Adsense who has the problem based on my other use of Adsense elsewhere. The issue is HubPages and some underlying cause or agenda they've taken up recently. I've never gotten a single letter from Google telling me stop doing something. Not yet anyway.

Hello, yes. Not to mention I've read the stuff the "team" writes, and its clear to me they need top writers here. If they'd have gone the site alone on the merits of their own body of work, this site would never have made too many pennies.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

That letter was cold, like walking into your local bank as an account holder and being greeted in such a way that makes you feel like a stranger.

I've seen enough of your writing now to know that your material is quality and a giant leap above the ramblings of others and I am offended by the stark response you received.

If they are making themselves out to be a business, then they are the kind of business I do not want to give my time and money to.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Alexander, that's part of the problem I think. They're not exactly sure what their role is in this site's administration. I think it's clear that the creators/moderators are not publishers by trade, nor are they editors. In fact, they may not even really be businessmen. They are writers of code and algorythms, creators of web sites, but not creators of CONTENT. If they fail on both the publishing aspect, having failed to understand how the real writing business is supposed to work when you take editorial control over content, AND on top of that fail to understand what attracts your base customer which, in this case, happens to BE the content provider who creates the material which draws in the audience, which is the organic traffic, then your business model is flawed as well and cannot continue to be successful. I think they are making big mistakes, and as I've said many times through this. Writers can take their work elsewhere. THEY (the site's creators) will have to start all over. It's harder to recreate success twice. And if HubPages goes the way of the wind (which I'm not suggesting it will by the way), I'm not sure the creators of this site can repeat the success. Someone smarter, and who has a better idea will simply come along and be what this site either does not want to be, or cannot be. That's the nature of business, and businessmen who don't understand this don't stay in business. So, if nothing else it should be interesting.

Bottom line is that a writer writes, always. And if he writes well, someone will always want to read it. It doesn't matter where it goes for the transaction between writer and reader to take place.

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