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Unrelated links or products?

  1. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    Hi All,

    I received an email from Hubpages -

    "We are writing to notify you that your Hub contains Unrelated Links or Products. Your Hub remains published, giving you the chance to address this violation."

    There are no flags or warnings on my account page and nothing indicated in the Broken Links section.

    The Hub is a family memories story and is not a "featured" Hub, in other words "idle", which is fine with me. It has no external links, only links to several of my other similar hubs. It has one Amazon capsule which features Kindle products.

    Should I just ignore the email?


    1. sleepylog profile image87
      sleepylogposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      This happened to me and continues to happen and I didn't realise that it was spam email sent to me by someone who wanted me to click on the link in the email so that it would take me to their website. I use a Linux OS on my PC so many of the programs that would infect my laptop don't affect my PC. When I clicked on the link in the email to take me to the Hub in question, nothing happened. I always thought it was just some fault in the html code in the email. I know now it was my Linux OS protecting my PC. I should have realised at the time that it was spam because those emails always came into my spam box. Any other emails from HP  always came to my inbox.

      I realised what was going on though when I used my laptop, which runs on Windows7,  a few days ago and I received such an email. I clicked on the link to take me to the allegedly offending Hub only to have a pop-up appear on my screen asking me take a survey about how satisfied I was with their website. Now I assumed it was a survey from HP asking me to rate their website, plus I was enticed by the promise of an awesome prize. So I completed the survey and was then taken to a page to choose my prize. I thought things were too good to be true when the prizes on offer included an iPod and an iPhone. I chose my prize and was then asked to provide my mobile phone number so that I could receive my activation code. I thought that was a bit strange and I always hesitate to provide any private details. I figured HP would know all that and wouldn't need to ask me. That's when I scrolled down the page a bit and noticed that by providing my mobile number and pressing the submit button I would instead be subscribing to something that would cost me $10/month. I didn't bother to read on because I realised I had been had and promptly exited the website. Now anytime I want to access HP on my laptop I get directed to that annoying website asking me to take the survey at least once every 10 minutes!! I've tried getting rid of it by running various scans but haven't had any luck to date. So now I just access HP from my PC and I never have any trouble.

      I still receive the emails in my spam box and I just ignore them. I suggest that you don't click on those links and just go straight to your HP account and check the offending Hub through your account. If there are no warning there then you know it was spam. My guess is it's someone who knows how HP operates and they target hubbers with emails purporting to be from HP. I think it's called Phishing.

    2. Matthew Meyer profile image77
      Matthew Meyerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I would not advise ignoring any moderation messages, unless you are not concerned with the content being published.
      Repeated violations may also result in you account being banned.

  2. Millionaire Tips profile image90
    Millionaire Tipsposted 3 years ago

    No, you shouldn't ignore the email. Take a look at the Amazon capsule and see whether the items there are related to the hub. They shouldn't be Kindle products in general, but specifically related to the topic of your hub.

  3. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    Really? An ad for a reading device isn't related to reading?

  4. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    You said the hub was about family memories, not reading

  5. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    Yes, and people read it and it's about Christmas, when some people buy gifts. You're saying that no Hubber has Kindles in their Amazon capsules unless they've written about Kindles? That is just too ridiculous for words.

    I'll let it die on the vine before I'll change it just to conform with some idiotic rule.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Well, it makes sense to me.  If your Hub was discussing suitable Christmas gifts to give to your family, and you mentioned the Kindle as a possible gift, you could advertise Kindles.  If you were reviewing a Kindle book, you would advertise the book and the Kindle to go with it. 

      It has nothing to do with being spammy.  You don't have to write "sales Hubs" to be allowed to advertise stuff.  I write helpful articles about dance technique, for instance.  I can advertise DVD's on dance technique or equipment to help with exercises.  I can't advertise a DVD player.  It's fairly obvious to me.

      There's a good reason for having the "related links" rule and related means related.  I don't think it's unreasonable.

      1. Bill Yovino profile image90
        Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        You don't see the hypocrisy? If some Hubs are flagged for being overly commercial, why is selling the thing you're writing about is OK? My Hub is being flagged for basically being under-commercialized because I'm not touting the items that are for sale, only providing a link to something I think the average Internet reader might be interested in. By the way, I've never made a single Amazon sale in any of my Hubs so this isn't about money. That Hub isn't even "featured". I let it stay "idled" because it has no commercial value at all.  Hubpages rules are moving targets and arbitrary.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image93
          Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          No I don't see the hypocrisy. 

          There is a rule which says that if you write a Hub and decide to put ads in it, those ads must be directly  related to your topic.  There's a good reason for that rule, because Google will penalize a site for links which are unrelated. HubPages doesn't want that and neither should you.  Moderators have to apply the rule equally to everyone whatever the topic of the Hub.  You're asking them to make an exception in your case on the grounds that there aren't any obviously related products, so they should be kind and give you more latitude.  That's not reasonable IMO.

          You may as well delete that capsule anyway, because you're never going to sell a Kindle from that Hub. If you want to make sales from Amazon capsules, you must persuade the reader to buy before they click on the capsule.  Amazon has a one-day cookie, so if the reader isn't already keen to buy there and then, you won't get any commission.  That doesn't mean you can only use Amazon capsules in "spammy" sales Hubs.  For instance, say I write a Hub about ballet stretching.   As part of that Hub, I mention how useful Therabands are and provide a good exercise you can do with them.  In that case, I'll include an Amazon capsule advertising Therabands and a DVD on theraband stretching.  Those will sell.  But if I wrote a Hub about ballet stretching and advertised the therabands without explaining how useful they are, I wouldn't make a single sale.

          That may explain why you haven't made any Amazon sales yet.  Take a look at the Amazon capsules you've used in your Hubs - are they related enough?  Are they next to the text that refers to them?  Is there any text that refers to them?

          1. Bill Yovino profile image90
            Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            This is an idle (non-indexed) Hub, so the downside is...?

            1. Marisa Wright profile image93
              Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Like I said, the moderators have to apply the rule to everyone equally, whether the Hub is featured or idled, commercial or non-commercial. 

              Besides, you could take it out of idle by changing one sentence.  What do you expect them to do - allow you to have an exception while it's idled, then have to keep an eye on the Hub to make sure it stays idled?

          2. brimancandy profile image82
            brimancandyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Curious. Marisa. I have a hub about Lady Gaga, with amazon capsules, that were intended for Lady Gaga music and another capsule for Cher. But, when I looked at my hub today (Before I made an edit) The products were Tony Bennet CD's in the Lady Ga Ga capsule, and In the Cher capsule, was nothing but Christmas music. Is that not the same thing as advertising a product that has nothing to do with the subject?

            I of course changed those ad capsules so the right artist is where it is supposed to be. But, how can we stop Amazon or Adsense from putting ads on our hubs that have nothing to do with the subject? I actually found the Tony Bennet music kind of annoying.

            Any thoughts?

            1. Marisa Wright profile image93
              Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Yes it is.  A few people have been caught out by that recently.   It seems that if you want to use Amazon capsules these days, you have to choose specific products instead of using keywords, because the search is returning some odd results.

  6. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    Your hub is not about reading ebooks or selecting Christmas gifts. So no, a kindle is not directly relevant. It gives a hub a spammy look if you just link to high ticket items. So the rule is there for a reason

    1. Bill Yovino profile image90
      Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Really? And those Google and other ads placed there by Hubpages are more relevant? People who read stories on the Internet wouldn't be interested in a device that enhances that experience? So, if I wrote a Hub about Ebooks and then added a Amazon capsule to sell Ebook Readers, that wouldn't be spammy. So I guess what you meant is that my hub isn't spammy enough. I should become a shill for whatever ads are placed on my hub. I'm disgusted by the hypocrisy. I'm done.

      1. psycheskinner profile image82
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        You are basically saying kindles are relevant to every website.  IMHO as a reader I already see Kindle ad as a hallmark of slapdash content sites that just want a big royalty.  The truth is  no doubt somewhere in the middle.

        Regardless, that's the rule.  If you can't live with it, Hubpages is probably not for you,  Sites get to make their own rules for their own reasons. There's not really any point getting upset about it.

  7. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 3 years ago

    I totally agree with what Marisa is saying here, but Bill, if you want to sell a Kindle from that hub, why not dedicate a paragraph or capsule to selling it?

    So if the hub is all about family get-togethers at Christmas, all you need to do is write a sub-heading about how Ma wants a Kindle for her Christmas, and the big advantage Kindles have for reading in bed under the covers when the nights are cold.

    Point out why Ma wants a Kindle over a book - one hand holding, backlit etc.

    Now your Kindle has reference to the hub topic.

    I mean, by the same token, you could sell a Christmas tree.

    Just add a paragraph about how this year the family got together under the lights of a Barcana tree, because it looks like a real tree but without the mess of the needles dropping.

    I agree things that could be part of a Christmas celebration could relate to the hub, but you need to add those words to make it relate directly.

    1. Bill Yovino profile image90
      Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I appreciate the advice but my intention was never to sell anything. I added that capsule when I first joined Hubpages three years ago and was just figuring out the lay of the land. I wrote that Hub as I did all of my others - because I had something to say, not something to sell.   I would sooner pull the plug on my account than change one word of that story just to conform with some arbitrary rule. Nevertheless, no one can convince me that a Kindle Fire is unrelated to any reading or research done on the Web.

      1. IzzyM profile image86
        IzzyMposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Back in the old days, a lot of us added links that we didn't need to. We did it because we could.

        This site has changed almost out of all recognition.

        But the fact still remains that anything you put in a hub has to relate to the content.

        So you add some extra text - right align it and color it blue if you like, to differentiate the content, or take the capsule out.

        Though if the hub is idled I am damned if I know why anyone bothered to point this out to you.

        1. Bill Yovino profile image90
          Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Horse dead. Beating continues.

          Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? If I compromise my ethics and add text for no other reason than to create a more direct relationship to an ad, I'll once again be in the good graces of Hubpages.

          If we've learned nothing else the past year, we should at least know that Hubpages has no clue as to what floats Google's boat. How many desperate arbitrary changes have we seen recently?

          I'll continue to strive for quality content over commercialism even if that's deprecated by the administrators.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I must be extraordinarily dense tonight because I just don't see the problem.

            You refuse to compromise your text, writing skills or message by adding something to make the Kindle relevent?

            Fine - remove the Kindle ad that adds nothing to the message and hasn't made a sale since day 1.  If you truly believe that it does add to the message, replace it with a photo of a tablet or e-reader.  You've spent more time and keystrokes here arguing the point that it would have taken to remove or replace that ad.

          2. Marisa Wright profile image93
            Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            OK, so you don't want to change your text.   So why not remove the offending Amazon capsule? How would that compromise your ethics?

            I agree.  However, unrelated links is one of the issues that Google itself has clearly identified as a problem.   The fact that Adsense is displaying Kindle ads is irrelevant - if you know anything about Google at all, you'll know that the Adsense guys and the algorithm guys don't talk to each other.   If you don't believe me, take a look at the ad layout recommended by Adsense - lots of ads above the fold - which is exactly the ad layout penalized by the algorithm.

            1. Bill Yovino profile image90
              Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              While I have tremendous respect for your talent and experience, I would venture to guess that you don't possess a clear insight into the Google algorithm. That is as strongly a guarded trade secret as the recipe for Coca Cola. Too many people here state their assumptions as fact when in reality they hold no more weight than a wild guess.

              1. Marisa Wright profile image93
                Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                There's a big difference between a wild guess and an educated guess. There are some excellent sites where you can gather knowledge from guys who do actual testing to work out what the algorithm is doing (I recommend SearchEngineLand for one). 

                Besides, if there is even a reasonable likelihood that a theory is true, and it is not going to hurt you to follow it, then it's just downright mule-headed not to.   In this case, for instance, we know from successful Amazon sales Hubbers that products don't sell if they're not closely related to the text.  So you're making a huge deal out of losing an ad that wouldn't have made you any sales in the first place.   

                The broken links warnings are easily fixed with a quick edit.  I'm sorry you felt it necessary to walk away from HP over such a trivial matter but it's your choice.

  8. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    Yes, clearly if I wrote anything--even a hub on how Amazon is destroying the world and should be boycotted--that would mean people should buy Kindles.

    1. Bill Yovino profile image90
      Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I guess no one who is interested in environmental issues could possibly be interested in saving trees by reading a digital rather than paper copy of a book or magazine.

      1. psycheskinner profile image82
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        If your hub was on that subject, or any other related subject, you could link to the kindle. But you aren't interested in understanding that.

  9. PickingProfits profile image84
    PickingProfitsposted 3 years ago

    as far as I am seeing, there is more and more of a focus on behalf of hubpages on high quality content with little self advertising. Now the reason I started writing on hubpages was because I wanted to learn to write better and also promote myself.

    Now it seems they want to squeeze you tighter and have you do work on hubpages for less benefits. It's kinda like raising your taxes. Well...the difference is, we don't have to write here. I like it, but after the recent junk that has been going on, quitting is something I have considered.  Here's a tip for hubpages.... Get rid of all the bogus garbage articles. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.  Only allow original, valid content that is unique. Stop it with recipes and fake product reviews.

    Either that, or let everyone in. Otherwise you end up with what we have now... EVERYONE gets beat over the head over nit picking little things. It's like putting speed bumps randomly on a highway to get people to go maximum 65 MPH. Horrble idea.

  10. 2uesday profile image87
    2uesdayposted 3 years ago

    There are two ways to use the Amazon capsule. Well there was the last time I used them, which is some time back (possibly a year ago when I had glitches happening with them).

    If you select the code for the product from the Amazon site and enter the code for that product in the capsule, it should put a stop to the unrelated products showing.

    However, when I use that method if the product I have selected sells out  then the page will have an empty Amazon capsule in that spot.

    The ads. shown are not the same for everyone who views the page. 

    Adsense ads. often track and offer what you have been searching for/looking at previously and so will be unrelated to the hub at times.

    An example would be if I am looking at gardening products and then look at a recipe page, it might show ads. for the former on a recipe page. This week I am being followed by adverts on quilting!

  11. boundarybathrooms profile image87
    boundarybathroomsposted 3 years ago

    Like wilderness said just remove the capsule, it's as simple as that. Why is it there? You don't care about making any money from it, so why have it? Ok, so maybe you want it there to 'help people' but in what way is it doing that? People aren't going to want to buy a Kindle just because they're reading something, it's like trying to sell someone a computer on an unrelated hub just because that person is most likely reading your hub on a computer. It's the same flawed logic

  12. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    The all-knowing, all-powerful Ads by Google has placed four ads on the Hub:

    Kindle Fire HD 7 Cases
    Christmas Gifts for Her
    Unique Christmas Gifts
    Uncommon Gifts

    So I can see that they're greatly offended.

    1. sleepylog profile image87
      sleepylogposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Please read my comment Bill. I don't think the email  you received was genuine and Google Ads had nothing to do with it.

      1. Bill Yovino profile image90
        Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Hi SleepyLog,

        Yes, I did see your note and I rechecked the email. This one is legitimate and the link is correct.


        1. sleepylog profile image87
          sleepylogposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Ok, then it's best you don't ignore the email.

  13. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
    LuisEGonzalezposted 3 years ago

    In a related post. I have had a Hub about "Nude Photography; the study of  shape, texture & form". There are no ads because of the subject matter. This hub has been around for well over a year and has been seen and moderated before (at least twice) .

    Yesterday the "moderators" unpublished it because it dealt with adult subject matter and had links to pornographic material...........Really?

    So the links to Amazon books that deal with professional books about photography and the nude are pornographic?

    BTW the images can hardly be considered porn since they do not show any "intimate parts" and they were moderated a year ago and have remained on the hub as they were in the first place along with the original Amazon links. In other words, I have not touched the hub since it was first published.

    I can understand the intention and welcome efforts to make HP better, but if it's a technical glitch it can get an author to edit unnecessarily or perhaps delete a good piece....................................hmm

  14. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
    LuisEGonzalezposted 3 years ago

    Just got an email about the hub and it was due to a glitch, but at least it gives me the confidence that staff does take a good look at things and try to remedy the situation whenever possible.
    My hat's off to them.

  15. snlee profile image81
    snleeposted 3 years ago

    by the way, do you make good earnings from Amazon capsule? Personally I find that they don't work is switching to ebay instead.

    1. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
      LuisEGonzalezposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I don't make much on Amazon since the customer has to buy, get it shipped and not return it. Ebay on the other hand can pay  you for clicks, so I make more from them than from Amazon. The only good thing about Amazon is that you can make a decent amount from just one sale.

  16. kohuether profile image79
    kohuetherposted 3 years ago

    I wouldn't say the Amazon capsule with the kindle in it is spammy.

    Okay but I am confused. It looks like the email is spam anyway?

    I would never, ever click on a link from an email like that. I always log into the account to check if there is a warning. If there isn't, I don't address it.

    It looks to me that the email is spam. Sleepylog wrote a long thing about how it was spam. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how a spam email caused everyone to question the ethics of the person who received the spam?

    1. Bill Yovino profile image90
      Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      It wasn't Spam email. Hubpages unpublished the piece, which as I stated above was non-indexed. As a result, many of my other related hubs (also non-indexed) were flagged for broken links because they contained links to the Christmas hub. Rather than change all of those hubs I decided to unpublish all of my hubs. So because some Hubpages administrator felt that having a Kindle ad on a non-indexed hub about Christmas was a flagrant violation, I've pulled out of Hubpages completely. I'm not a significant player here and they won't notice that I'm gone. I've made no money (or at least haven't received any) but I felt my hubs were useful to readers and many ranked very high in Google (a few in the top 3).

      Did I cut off my nose to spite my face? Maybe, but in this case I stood up to someone I felt was being unreasonable and said "no, I won't accept your arbitrary judgement".

      Additionally, I feel that there is a significant amount of hypocrisy here. I routinely see top Hubbers with hubber scores of 98-100 using stolen content and photographs. Many hubbers (maybe most) think it's ok to use someone's photos just because you give them credit. Without written permission, you have no right to use photos that aren't in the public domain. I see many hubs attributing photos to "Google Images" or "Bing Search", yet these go unpunished.

      1. kohuether profile image79
        kohuetherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Wow! That's crazy. Have they been reported for the violations?

        In the end, it is better to have your own blog and your own domain. Although, I just recently got hacked so that has its own set of complications.

  17. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    The rules are what they are.  If you don't want to play by them then you have done the right thing by leaving.

  18. LindaSmith1 profile image60
    LindaSmith1posted 3 years ago

    Izzy hit the nail on the head with their suggestion. Simply add one paragraph as to how grandma wants a Kindle, why a Kindle is good, and how it can create family memories.  When I am stumped, I go to amazon and put main topic in search engine. In the case of family memories I saw photo frames, etc. Zazzle has christmas ornaments where you can add a family photo or photo of new baby that can be used on the tree, year after year.   

    If I am writing about things to do on a trip to Italy, I am not going to place an ad for a camera. But If scuba diving, snorkeling, boat tours are part of the things to do, adding the fact that a nice camera that can be taken underwater, the best one to use, and why buy it would be okay I think.

  19. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestions but I've decided to cut and run.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Best wishes for wherever you go.  I'm just a little concerned, though, that you haven't taken on board the advice everyone is giving you, and therefore you're going to struggle to earn income on other platforms too. 

      Repeat after me - Amazon ads must be directly related to my text,  Amazon ads must be directly related to my text . . .

      1. Bill Yovino profile image90
        Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks Marisa. It's never been about income.  I'm guessing that the "404" errors from my high-ranking hubs are more detrimental to Hubpages than a Kindle ad on a non-index hub, but whatever.

      2. Nursey profile image60
        Nurseyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        So true! ♥

  20. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    I may just have to rethink this "exile" thing. I just took a look at Squidoo and from my perspective, the content pales in comparison with Hubpages. Way too commercial for me and the layouts seem amateurish.  Please, someone beg me to come back...anyone  smile

    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Squidoo plays the same "featured/idled" game as HubPages (though it's fairer, IMO).   That means you can't just write a lens and wait for customers - you have to make an effort to get traffic and prevent it becoming invisible. You don't sound to me like the kind of person who wants to do that.

      If you've just unpublished your Hubs, not deleted them, then I'd heartily recommend staying here and republishing them.  Think of the work you'll save yourself!  And honestly, HubPages is no worse than any other rev-sharing site and still has a higher profile than most.

      If you've already deleted your Hubs, then I'd say you have two choices:

      One, IF you had a specialist topic (and only if), then start your own blog on that subject, using your Hubs as your starting content.    I can't emphasise enough that you must have a focus:  a blog about nothing in particular is a complete waste of time these days.

      Two, if you don't have a specialist topic, then try somewhere like Wizzley, Zujava, Xobba or ThisIsFreelance.   None of them has a high profile right now, but they are straightforward places to write.  Wizzley has a community forum where you'll find several ex-Hubbers.  Zujava, Xobba and ThisIsFreelance were all started by ex-Hubbers who (like you) got fed up with HubPages' rule changes.

      If you go for option two, you'll need to wait till your Hubs have cleared the cache - and check to make sure there are no stolen copies out there - before those sites will accept them.

  21. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    I'm not feeling the love. (sigh)

    1. viryabo profile image86
      viryaboposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Okay Bill. Do come back (or stay). smile

      As Marissa pointed out, HP is no worse than any other rev sharing site. You must believe this. smile

      And IMHO, its still the better one of the lot, at least for now.

      1. Bill Yovino profile image90
        Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks Viryabo, I did it for you smile

        A few observations from my exile and return.

        While I had zero hubs published, my Hubber Score went down to 68, then inexplicably bounced up to 72 - further evidence that Hubber Scores are unscientific at best.

        A hub of mine that was ranked #2 in Google before I unpublished it is ranked #1 now that it's been republished.

        Overall, my hubs are seeing more traffic since being unpublished and then republished. This may be because the publishing dates are showing as more recent.