I just left a thread where the main complaint was that squidoo writers were going to bring the quality down. But what surprises me is not the complaining but the lack of analysis of the big picture.
I started on hubpages years ago and left because of the articles that were being posted. Everything was being spun. I went to squidoo and watched the site change dramatically - especially recently. I never did a lot with either but I thought they were interesting concepts and worth the effort I put into them.
But...... What no one is talking about is what the merger REALLY means...
Squidoo and Seth threw in the towel. This business model no longer works. The internet has changed. The money isn't there. Google doesn't support these type of sites and the content it provides.
I know there are those who make an income from hubpages and work hard to produce great content, but for goodness sake, make sure you aren't putting all your eggs in one basket. Find more baskets and spread you work around. If you haven't put up a video on YouTube, give it a shot. Maybe write an ebook and sell it on amazon. Start selling tangible goods on ebay. Start selling tangible goods on amazon.
I am not chicken little. Take a hard look at what is really happening and evaluate your personal business model and make plans to change things up. Squidoo is gone. Hubpages can go away as well. The internet has evolved. You need to evolve with it.
Things are certainly different than they used to be for user generated content sites, but to say the business model doesn't work and that the money isn't there defies the evidence.
Hubpages still pulls in over a million visitors per day and is ranked 68th in the US out of all sites.
As long as Hubpages continues to improve quality and visitor experience I can't see them going anywhere soon.
The big picture is really simple. HubPages and Squidoo are both still overrun with low-quality "writing," that looks like the below, despite both sites working to remove it. (This example comes from HubPages, and is the entire Hub.)
If the two sites are combined and the weak content really removed, there is a lot of viability.
The site owners make enough money still. On my own personal blog, when I was publishing daily and had 500+ traffic daily I was making $100 per ad space, without chasing down advertisers or stressing about marketing schemes. Translate that into a network with a few hundred writers and daily posts and more marketing, etc. Writers in the network make a small fraction of the profit coming in.
I think the change is not so much the need for writing sites but the need for easier to find content overall. Also, content which is not the same regurgitated rehashed stuff which you can find on a dozen other sites. I really think niche sites are the future, where the information is relevant to one niche and kept updated by people involved in that niche. Readers would know exactly the information to expect and it would be there, in quality more than quantity.
You are right. 100%.
After all, when the first Panda happened, Matt Cutts said Google was declaring war on "content farms" - and he made clear that his definition of content farms included all revenue-sharing sites including HubPages, Squidoo, Associated Content, Helium etc etc. That stance has never changed.
So I haven't been surprised to see Helium, Yahoo! Voices, and now Squidoo closing down (not to mention any number of smaller sites). I am surprised that HubPages is upbeat enough about the future to buy out Squidoo. Maybe their sub-domain structure has worked better than I ever thought possible.
The new shower curtain pages will ensure HP success.
Matt Cutts said he would destroy all content sites apart from one and it looks like HP will be the one.
We just need to add Giant Hubbers and Quests and our victory will be complete.
God forbid! I think the monsters, quests, and points are part of what destroyed Squidoo. They couldn't afford to pay much anymore so they applauded when they could no longer afford to throw money. You could level up without doing much serious writing. All I ever wanted to do was get paid a bit for the effort I put in.
Quests were nice. HubPages had topic suggestions before. Some of them were just silly. I spent at least an hour just surfing the suggested topics for all sorts of half baked ideas and phrases. I don't know why HubPages dropped that. It was fun and I'd even find a great topic to write now and then.
Get ready for world domination with Hubpages!
I agree with not putting all eggs in one basket.
But people are still clicking on ads. As long as that occurs, content sites can still work. And I don't think Google is going to get rid of Adsense ads in a hurry as it's a moneymaker for them too.
I don't know about that--from a very promising upswing in my earnings back around the holidays in 2013, (I have very few 'seasonal' hubs), to the current time, August of 2014, I've seen my earnings tank to below ridiculous levels. It is certainly no incentive to keep putting forth any effort.
I don't really think HubPages is going to collapse. If you felt your business model was no longer working, or able to, why would you invest in acquiring another site's content, hiring editors, and the myriad of other things HP has been doing to improve?
I think HubPages is evolving with the times and they are very relevant. I've seen hubs near the top of search results again which gives me hope.
As for the advice to not put all your eggs in one basket - very true. This should be the case with any online writing because one never knows what might happen. Those of us who make our livings this way do tend to diversify.
Because they need new content and authors and Squidoo came along. It was an opportunity to add a load of new stuff at no cost - I am assuming they didn't pay anything. But any look at the rest of the market and the inability of Squidoo to climb back up says a lot about this game, none of it good.
I understand your skepticism but I'm sure the owners of Squidoo will be walking away with a tidy sum. Companies don't usually give away their most valuable assets for nothing.
My point is - it isn't worth anything! Didn't Yahoo just close theirs this year? Too much money even to keep it hosted, and no buyers.
Maybe they offered Seth a job.
In 1998, Seth Godin sold his online company YoYodyne to Yahoo for $30 million, and then served as their head of direct marketing for two years. He could easily give away his share of Squidoo, and has always been a guy who just moves forward without looking back much. Anyone who didn't realize this about Seth has just never taken the time to read up on him.
Their original community head left to start a dog website. Their lead programmer has been traveling the world and doing a lot of Crossfit. After a decade, they are all interested in other stuff, which is how most humans operate.
And if you think Squidoo isn't worth anything, that's just your opinion, man. To me, it's been worth nearly $40k in eight years, and I don't think the money is completely dried up.
As you of all people know Relache - one's own judgement is best.
Oh and I don't believe in gurus.
And for all his self-proclaimed genius - he misjudged the right time to sell Squidoo.
I don't believe in gurus either. The purposely-mismatched sock thing is a such a red flag.
By the way, did you know that just a few years into Squidoo I got a commission to make a gigantic papier mache Squid mascot head that looked like their logo, which Seth then wore onstage at some conference? Everything after that was anti-climactic....
Yahoo as a whole is a mess. I don't think I would judge the entire industry by what they do.
I've not explored any writing on Yahoo sites, but I am abandoning my Yahoo e-mail addresses, because it has become a huge PITA!
When they did that upgrade in December last year I could not attach any images to my emails for 2 weeks. Now I have to restart it on a daily basis. It is a huge, hard to read PITA.
Yahoo bought Tumblr. I think that will have something to do with their dumping of Yahoo! Contributors. Although Yahoo seems to fumble everything they are still up there making money and keeping their main site active. I don't know what they will ever actually do with it all however.
The content industry is about a decade old. Shake-ups and mergers are happening all over. Given how many other content acquisitions have happened in this year so far, this actually isn't that surprising, albeit sudden.
You said don't put all eggs in 1 basket. But where are the other "potential" baskets?!
Make a video and put it in Youtube? As if you tube is going to bring you some bucks! It is another overcrowded market where getting a visibility is not easy.
Write an e-book and sell it in Amazon? There are thousands and thousands of them with little takers!
The truth is simple. Never think any of these as source of income. Just hobby, time pass, time waster-- whatever. If you get a few pennies in bargain, that's your luck!
Actually, if you think of them as sources of income, and work at doing them just as hard as a "real" job, they can turn into very good sources of income.
Hi Relache - I see that you were also on Squidoo, where else are you diversified? Are you happy about this merger?
I agree with Relache. There is still money to be earned here and we should work hard and keep at it. We just need to learn how to change with the times. Earn what you are able at Hubpages and elsewhere. If the site does go down, just use the content for your own website, blog, or eBook and keep on. There are always other options.
I feel that all of the other content sites that have failed will only make Hubpages stronger in the end. More writers and more content can't hurt as long as it is of good quality.
I agree. Keep in mind that people have been saying HP is surely going to fail pretty much the whole time I've been here the past 3 years. When Panda struck initially, it was brutal and I could understand the panic. The fact that HP survived that and is climbing back up in the ranks and modernizing makes me very optimistic. That being said, I know things can change quickly, so I diversify. Relache is absolutely right. If you work hard at it and treat it as your job, there is money to be made on sites like this, developing and promoting one's own sites, eBooks, and many other avenues.
I am a Squidooer being migrated.
A bit of insights: things were not too good lastly, and traffic was at its lowest, until a couple of months ago, when most of the lensmasters with good content started to see a great improvement in traffic.
All the changes Squidoo has made were finally bringing results, now the merge. This proves that Seth just wants to move on. It's like stocks, sell it while it's up.
I personally think HP is a better platform than Squidoo, it has a tighter control over quality, better traffic generation mechanisms, and more dialogue with contributors.
The reason I was more active with Squidoo was that it converts better. As an Amazon affiliate, you want people to click on those links, and you want them to look as part of the content, so they don't look too intrusive. This was done pretty well on Squidoo.
As for the content quality, there was some preparation for this merge. We didn't realize what was that for at the time, but there was a major clean-up.
No upward movement showing on Quantcast. Not for a very long time. Looks like October 2012 was the time to sell. Guess Seth called that badly wrong. Whoops.
No upward moving, I checked Quantcast too, but we were getting more visitors. How do you explain this? And there was a bunch of us, not only me.
I speculate that spam was removed, and traffic was redirected to good content. This translates into money for Squidoo, from the Amazon program. Anyway, it doesn't really matter now. As the OP says never keep too many eggs in the same basket.
That's my one sticking point about the merger. I have a lens that has spent nearly its entire eight-year life in Squidoo's top 100, and I worry about what is going to happen to it and a few others when they come over. I hope HubPages paid Seth enough so that he passes along the Big Squid's ability to nail those retail sales too.
The answer to your hope: probably not. The ability to nail those sales was in the Squidoo's layout. Squidoo passes the rank, by doing a 301 redirect, so sooner or later your lens/hub will be at the same position in SERP. But I doubt the the click-through rate will be the same.
I have a few lenses on the first page on Google. This means that my hubs will go up the rankings straight in the first position in the SERP, after the migration? And my lenses now on the second page, will go on the first page? This would be fantastic.
I have a feeling that Squidoo's format of the Amazon capsule will be one of the features that will be coming to HubPages sooner rather than later.
I never saw a Squidoo lens in Google's rankings.
I always see Hubs in the rankings.
This justifies that even though Google don't like content sites anymore, they still believe in HubPages. It's the one site that Google secretly favour out of all content sites. From now on, Google will keep embracing quality more than anything else.
And as long as quality comes first, HubPages isn't going to go anytime soon.
The obvious secret to success here is a business model that seriously gets rid of low quality articles and encourages good writers to join, write and keep upgrading.
I think we have all of the elements here to achieve that, other than the fact that the QAP seems not to have worked as well as we would like.
With tens of thousands of writers, you cannot expect a staff of 15 or 20 to be able to catch all of the low level writers, which is exactly why I have always encouraged writers to flag articles that do not have merit.
The more of that we do, the more quickly our quality will improve and the more Google will take notice.
We have the potential here, especially with this influx of new writers, to corner the content market and really do well, but we all have to do our part.
I don't know whether it is the merger effect or not. My page views today is suddenly nearly 80% more than what I had last week. It is about 300% more than what I had some 3-4 weeks ago.
To all the people wondering where their traffic comes from...hint, hint....you might want to go look at your Analytics.
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