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Who is our competition?

  1. EricDockett profile image96
    EricDockettposted 13 months ago

    In the blog post about moving away from subdomains Paul referenced comparing HubPages to competitors several times. To me, this indicates HP has identified certain sites as typical of the kind of site HP is attempting to morph into.

    I ask because I think it would be helpful to have some idea of what end HP has in mind with all of these changes. It's obvious that the old "content farm" model is out and for for good reason. But what is the new model?

    If HP staff can't give an official answer to this I understand, but does anyone else have any guesses?

    1. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      What a very good question!

    2. Marisa Wright profile image92
      Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      That's an interesting take, because I'd have thought our competitors were still the content farms.  After all with the loss of the author sub-domains, HP is back to being one big multi-topic site so how can it be anything else?

      1. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        So, you're saying HubPages considers all "content farms" as competition?They are sitting in meetings saying, "How can we make this the best content farm on the web? Brainstorm, people!"

        "Content farm" is such a vague term. Are all multi-topic sites content farms? What about multi-topic sites with only a few writers? How many farmers does it take to make a "farm?" Does it matter if the authors get paid or not? Are sites with many authors but heavy oversight (such as those Will listed below) "content farms?"

        It seems like HubPages is aiming a little higher, and I'd imagine they have something specific in mind beyond "content farm".

    3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

      I did not view his comments this way at all.  To me, our competition, as individual writers, is any person or site that writes on the same topics that we do.

      For example, if you write about Cancer issues, your big competition is going to be the American Cancer Society, followed by the many medical sites that provide information about this disease.  Your articles, no matter how good, likely will not be highly ranked against those sites.

      On the other hand, if you write about a topic that is covered by other individual writers, and your article is a good one, you might well receive good page views.

      1. rebekahELLE profile image91
        rebekahELLEposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I tend to agree with you. Not everyone writing here publishes the same kind of articles that would be found on the above mentioned sites.  Competition could be any kind of site that is well ranked with similar content.  Think about the sites that show up with a search for your hub topics or more specifically with your URL's.

    4. stricktlydating profile image85
      stricktlydatingposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      I've noticed certain sites like Wattpad, Tumblr, Blogger and Worldpress sometimes outrank me in the Google search results when my content at  Hubpages is copied by one of their users. I can spend a few hours a week filing DMCA's to get the copied content removed to maintain my ranking. I guess your competitors depend on the subjects you write about but for me the above sites seem like my competitors.

    5. Dale Hyde profile image85
      Dale Hydeposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      Create your own blog or website.....enable Google Adsense....has worked well for me. smile

  2. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 13 months ago
    1. paradigm search profile image79
      paradigm searchposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      I never heard of the last three. Any of them worth bothering with from a writers' revenue point of view?

      1. Will Apse profile image89
        Will Apseposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Oddee is wierd but will pay you a hundred dollars for an article. You will need to come up with a winning subject and a long article. Anything to do with mating rituals goes down well. Especially if it involves humans.

        1. paradigm search profile image79
          paradigm searchposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          5 million views a month ain't bad. Maybe I'll send them a mating ritual picture...

          1. Will Apse profile image89
            Will Apseposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            I think they would pay not to receive my mating ritual pics.

  3. makingamark profile image74
    makingamarkposted 13 months ago

    In order of ranking

    about.com ranked 29 in USA on Quantcast - about.com reaches over 31 million U.S. monthly people. Top site by far - but not open to submissions. They employ "experienced online freelance writers who are credible authorities in their fields".

    The way in which they recruit people to write for them may mean that Google treats them in a different way.

    This is about.com's alexa profile http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/about.com and this indicates 36% of its visitors come via Google - but its retention and average length of stay rates are more like Hubpages than Instructables

    instructables.com ranked 76 in USA on Quantcast (and quantified); - It has 112.6 m global views monthly; 43.9 global visits monthly, 31.8 Global unique monthly visitors including 16.9 monthly visitors from the USA. Also much more male oriented and has a  wealthier demographic and has WAY MORE pageviews per visit when compared to HubPages - indicating much better engagement and better retention of the audience. I'd love to see their average length of stay figures!

    They also have a very interesting membership system! This is a website which is not going to go away and I suspect is not counted as an article farm by Google.

    Plus their Alexa profile makes for interesting viewing! http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/instructables.com 41@ of its visitors come via Google

    hubapges.com - ranked 85 in USA on Quantcast (and quanitifed) - It has 26.0M Global Unique viists monthly (of which 14.8M are from the USA), 30.7M Global Visits and 44.1M Global Views

    this is the alexa profile http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/hubpages.com which indicates only 17% of visitors come via Google

    Wikihow ranked 608 in USA on Quantcast - "wikihow.com reaches over 3.0 million U.S. monthly people."

    eHow.com describes itself as "the leading how-to resource on the Internet. Its mission is to offer real world solutions for everyday questions" - BUT is not quantified publicly on Quantcast

    Forget about
    * howcast.com - it only reaches over 169K U.S. monthly people
    * oddee.com reaches over 127K U.S. monthly people
    AND
    *ezinearticles.com reaches over 177K U.S. monthly people

    To give you an idea of how small scale the latter operations are, a popular blog can achieve their visitor numbers.

    1. Solaras profile image92
      Solarasposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      Interesting statistics; thank you for that. 

      I took a quick look at Ehow and Wikihow with a random topic - "How to get into college."  Ehow was a little better, but both proffered standard advise that any high school cafeteria worker might offer.  Ehow's advise looked like a "How to plant a tomato" article. It contained weird illustrations on how to apply to college.

      Both sites came up on page 1. Google is F'd up if that is what they think is good content to provide to users really wanting to get an edge on the competition in applying to a good school.

      Over and over again, I find garbage results on topics I am researching, and I find that Amazon often dominates 5-6 of the first spots on a product review search. I thought they were trying to make the searches provide just one page per site on the first page.  Somehow, their top advertiser seems to win  nearly the entire first page.

      Very discouraging to the average writer.

      1. justholidays profile image80
        justholidaysposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        By the way, Ehow is/was often fed with stolen materials. Rewritten content taken from personal sites and the like. Found my own content rewritten over there a few years ago - I don't know if their "writers" still get their content from other sites but they did in the past.  I've never understood how this site could get G's good graces.

        1. makingamark profile image74
          makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          I didn't know that. Mind you that's an accusation which you could level at many article sites.

          In fact it makes me wonder whether that's what started Google's hate campaign - the fact that so many have reproduced material which is not original.

          IMO if sites focused more on the plagiarism better they might do rather better!

          1. justholidays profile image80
            justholidaysposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            Indeed, it's common to see whole pages stolen and published elsewhere, but HP is specialist in getting their content stolen and Ehow in the time I found some of mine over there, was specialist in republishing stolen material, even though it was rewritten.

    2. Will Apse profile image89
      Will Apseposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      You seem to be only interested in who has the biggest whatever.

      Hard to learn in those circumstances.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Who are you addressing?

        I learned a long time ago that it pays to investigate how a website stacks up in online street cred terms.  Otherwise people can waste a lot of time and effort for very little or no return.

        I've seen far too many people invest in tinpot outfits trying to get artists to sell their art when the reality was that they were a scam - and the only visitors were the artists visiting the site to see if they had sold any art.

        The same thing happens with article sites.

        Most recently it has paid to look very closely at how their traffic has been trending.

        The only site mentioned which is accessible to writers which looks like it might be worth taking a second look at is the instructables one. There again - that's for a very particular sort of "how to" writer who also likes producing ebooks.

      2. Marisa Wright profile image92
        Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I think you're misinterpreting her remarks.

        The OP asks who Paul Edmonson thinks his site is competing with, and surely he's looking at successful competitors - which means he's going to look at those who are equalling or beating HubPages in attracting traffic to a similar mix of articles?

        1. makingamark profile image74
          makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          That's what I thought - hence my interest in where exactly HubPages ranked in terms of similar sites.

      3. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        When did this thread change into one about learning how to write articles?

        the OP asked what HubPages had in mind as an end product - and how this compared to what competitor sites produce.

        In point of fact, asking the question and looking at the competitors has turned up some very interesting information in relation to the instructables model:
        - which is obviously very successful and is one which can be translated into a variety of sites
        - plus has a membership model which is very different to that of HubPages.

        1. Will Apse profile image89
          Will Apseposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          Heaven forbid these forums should help anyone learn anything at all.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image92
            Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            Not at all, that's what they're for.  But it's completely off-topic from Eric's original question.

            1. makingamark profile image74
              makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

              I+

        2. Mark Ewbie profile image82
          Mark Ewbieposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          I can't work out whether this is on topic or not.  It seems to be an example of pointless pedantry as far as I can work out.

          Will is a highly respected... etc...

          1. makingamark profile image74
            makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            We don't disagree - however Will has diverted the thread and is talking about a completely different topic.

            I'd love to see him start a thread or hub to share what he knows about how and where people can learn how to write articles

  4. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 13 months ago

    The OP asked which sites were HP competitors. I gave a representative list, from big to middling. The middling are more interesting in most respects.

    For the sake of anyone interested in learning a little about article writing, I would recommend a look at Oddee.

    It tells you how many pageviews an article has. That is very useful if you want to get an idea of what kind of thing works.

    It is not a niche site but it is genuinely successful with 5 million uniques a month from a mere 3 thousand pages.

    How does it do it?

    A few clues:

    Taboola ads. Has HP looked at Outbrain and Taboola? They bring traffic and/or income.

    The populist subject matter is similar to stuff here (Best Facebook Updates, Twenty Weird Flowers etc) but is done better.

    Hotlinked images work well (dunno if they have permission).

    The layout is simple but brutally efficient. I am guessing a stellar bounce rate.

    As for Howcast, it does what HP tried to do with videos. The difference is Howcast is doing pretty nicely and HP, unfortunately, failed. Something to be learned there.

    1. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      But telling people which sites are good for learning how to write is the answer to a different question surely?

      However if you just want feedback on how many pageviews an article gets start a blog and review your stats!

      If a site is a competitor for HubPages (i.e. what the OP asked about) then it surely has to be big by definition?

    2. Pearldiver profile image86
      Pearldiverposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      +1 Good post Will

      1. Will Apse profile image89
        Will Apseposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Thx. It is hard struggling through the ego swamps in this place. (Pathos)

        1. Pearldiver profile image86
          Pearldiverposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          big_smile
          Sadly the more some things change... the more they stay the same

  5. EricDockett profile image96
    EricDockettposted 13 months ago

    For whatever it matters, I did find Will's list thought-provoking, as I did MaM's statistical breakdown. Surely those sites are competition for HubPages at least in the SERPs. Looking at them, it's not hard to see some things they do better than HP, and some things HP does better.

    But they are also old-model content sites that suffer from many of the same issues as HP. Are these sites really the benchmarks for HP going forward?

    1. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      Again - a very good question.

      The article site is the dinosaur of the internet. It's also hated by Google who doesn't believe that it can provide the expert answers and believes it is the target of a lot of spam activity (i.e. the reason why there is a need to control membership and access to the site much better rather than sending people emails saying "your hub is spammy")

      To make it relevant to today's consumers it needs to be able to deliver the right answer to a question very very fast - and preferably on a mobile device.

      If HubPages Founders were to start again right now and design a site for the 21st century going forward would it look like HubPages does right now? I don't think so.
      * They don't have adequate control over quality to make it a "go to" site - as about.com does re paying it writers
      * They don't have control over spammers to make it a site that's pleasant to be on - as exemplified by the amount of spam I've reported this morning!
      * They are not providing navigation which is easy peasy and very fast. It's very easy to see a lot of other hubs which are irrelevant to the consumer's interests and very difficult to see more of the same by the same author.  If you lose the subdoimain then you need to build author 'weight' back into individual hubs.

      I've thought for a long while that article sites need to break up into completely separate sites with a specialist subject focus and then cultivate audiences and demographics which work well with that approach.

      After all that's where the real competition is - on the sites where the users and writers are the experts - or trying to learn about e.g. being a Mum for the first time, how to create better photographs, how to make a cake that tastes good etc etc etc

      My personal view is that the real money-making business for tech bods who like building sites (which I THINK is why HubPages got started) would be to create the software for people to create their own 'information" mini-empires - your very own wiki!

      1. Marisa Wright profile image92
        Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Yes, and HubPages is going somewhat in that direction by breaking the site into specialist sub-domains which it hopes Google will see as separate silos.  The really courageous thing would've been to break the site into specialist domains instead of sub-domains - thus creating the very thing Google is always saying it likes, specialist websites on single subject areas.  However I can imagine that would've been a mammoth task with far more risk of things going wrong in the process. 

        The only article site to have tried that solution is Helium - and they (a) delayed until the site was in such trouble, it was probably beyond saving anyway, (b) completely botched the transfer so that every single article on the site was de-indexed for weeks before the new specialist domains were launched and (c) completely botched the 301 redirects.   So the fact that it failed for them doesn't offer any clue as to whether it would work elsewhere.

      2. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        There are a lot of things I wish HubPages would do, or stop doing, or never did to begin with, but for the most part this way of thinking (to me anyway) is unproductive. I'm more interesting in figuring out what HP is trying to accomplish so I can adjust my own actions accordingly.

        Things are changing here. Some people are happy about, while others not so much. I'm in both camps, depending on what day you ask me. But I do believe HubPages is headed for better things, and I think I want to be onboard when it gets there.

        It's just a lot easier to get excited about a trip when you know where you are going.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image92
          Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          Maybe I am going through a bad patch, but when a Hubber like Relache says she is leaving the site, I start to question!   

          However, we do know where the site is going - it is splitting up into sub-domains by topic, with the stated hope that Google will see these as separate, specialist silos. 

          Based on that, then I'm not sure who PE sees as the competition, because I don't know of any other site that does the same thing.  Perhaps he is hoping that each one of those specialist silos will then compete with other specialist sites on the same subject?

          1. makingamark profile image74
            makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            What? Relache said she was leaving? When did that happen?

            1. Marisa Wright profile image92
              Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

              I am not sure if she is leaving altogether but that's the conclusion I drew from her comments on this Hub:
              http://hubpages.com/community/Improve-Your-Hub-Earnings

              1. Solaras profile image92
                Solarasposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                That was sobering.

              2. makingamark profile image74
                makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                Very interesting - and I have to say I wholly concur with her analysis.

              3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
                TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

                Sure sounds like she's planning on walking away.  That's a very bad sign for everybody here at HP including the team, and I do hope she will change her mind.  She was a force to be reckoned with here, and taught many of us a great deal about online writing as well as our role in it.  Very sad.

                1. Marisa Wright profile image92
                  Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                  She is essentially making the same point you did in your earlier post - that what HubPages really needs to do is stand back, take a hard look at the setup and identify the underlying problems of the site instead of tinkering at the edges with restrictive rules after the fact.

                  1. makingamark profile image74
                    makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                    Well I spent very many years working reviewing organisations and advising them about their strategy. I never thought when I retired to pursue art as a hobby that I would end up identifying so very many of the "same old same old" issues around strategic analysis and planning which cause organisations to malfunction.

                    An organisation is not 'bad' or 'redundant' when and if it falters. However it is certainly not 'wise' if it just keeps 'tinkering' and trying to fix a product without taking a long hard look at how things have changed and analysing whether it is still offering a service or product which delivers a good fit with what people want

                    I always used to ask the question "If you were starting out again with a blank sheet in the context you have to work in right now, would you create what you've got at present?". That often got people really thinking....

                  2. Solaras profile image92
                    Solarasposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                    She goes beyond that to say there is nothing HP can do to save itself, period.  It is a microcosm of the inevitable collapse of society, and therefore, a case study to be examined with relish. 

                    I have a habit of believing nothing is inevitable.   In the 1970s, the Arabs would own everything of value in the world; they would have all of the money thanks to their oil wells. In the 1980s, the Japanese would own the world: Europe would be their boutique, the US would be their breadbasket, Russia (then the Soviet Union) was pissed off to be left out of the mix. 

                    The world (and the USA in particular) has a way of adapting, often with unanticipated innovation, to change.  Few phenomenon have an inevitable linear direction. Whether HP or any eCommerce site outside of Amazon can continue exist, is yet to be seen. We are still in the infancy of an enormous paradigm shift in the way people learn information, share information, socialize and purchase goods. 10 years from now will look very different from today.

                    I hope we still have a forum like this to share information.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image92
      Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      I agree, of course they do.  The thing is, if HubPages is looking to compete with sites that have a completely different model, why is HubPages not making any moves to change its model to compete?

      1. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I think they are. Hence all the changes over the past year or two. But they aren't going to (I hope) mess with the two main tenets of the site, which is revenue sharing and the freedom to publish almost whatever you want.

        They could adopt a model like About where only certain "experts" can publish and everybody else gets kicked out. Or, they can do what they are doing and establish tougher rules.

        So, you can still write whatever you want, but it might not be featured. You still enjoy the revenue split, but no more running wild with Amazon ads.

        Obviously I'm guessing and only HP knows for sure, but balancing the original mission of the site with the new standards for success on the web has to be a tough task.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

          HP defines "expert" as someone who is either professionally trained in a particular field or a long term enthusiast who has plenty of experience.

          There are a number of people like that who write on this site, but probably not enough to keep it going.  To really make something like that work, they would have to employ such people to write, not allow them to freelance. 

          This would eventually do well, but would be very expensive, and I doubt the team could afford to do it.

          Thus, they are forced to spend their time constantly weeding out spammers and the like in an effort to get the site to lean more in the direction of expert writing.

          Their biggest mistake is in not vetting newcomers before allowing them to publish here, and not doing a better job of getting rid of vulgarity, spam and the like.  In recent months, they have been making a stronger effort in the latter, but wading through thousands upon thousands of dross is time consuming and difficult. 

          Thus, we limp along with what we have, ever hoping that the site will survive.  I hope it does, because if it terminates, I will no longer be writing online because I have found no better venue and sure as heck do not want to start over from scratch or become involved with starting my own site. 

          So, we'll see what happens.  I sure don't envy the work the team has to do.   Must be horribly frustrating, especially with people complaining and making threats all the time.

        2. tsmog profile image84
          tsmogposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          Thank you for that ‘Hope’ shared. I have no problem for a Feature status. However, I am in the learning process today with emphasis on traffic, the Google marketplace & SEO. Learned here in the forums that it takes 6 – 12 Mths. and boosts along the way too. Or, apparently a learning curve.

          For me regarding TT2's comment I agree with the definition for an expert. I am an expert in several topics, however they are saturated marketplaces. I have passions too as an enthusiast. My writing experience as a career is with corporate news letters for ten years - short, creates interest, and information with current events or announcements.
           
          Having been at HP 4 Yrs. I took hiatus about 2Yrs. ago.  Arriving back HP’s focus change was dramatic. For instance, the once 30 Hubs in 30 days challenge. Initially I wrote for the Social Marketplace leaning toward Creative Hubs with a degree of success. So with the new focus, I deleted near 200 Hubs. I have weaknesses with Informational. One is a natural tendency to over explain. So, I don’t post Hubs as I am learning Editing. I ‘fear’ having dross hubs. So, I don’t know what is the learning curve for that?

  6. integrater profile image61
    integraterposted 13 months ago

    Hubpages's biggest competitor hasn't been mentioned here. It has run away with a lot SE traffic in recent times that would have otherwise come HP's way . No, it is not Infobarrel.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image92
      Marisa Wrightposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      Why not name names?

  7. makingamark profile image74
    makingamarkposted 13 months ago

    One of the major learning lessons many took away from the Squidoo experience was NOT to put all their eggs in one basket - particularly a basket where you may own the content but you certainly don't own the site.

    That's one of the reasons why many of us have started to develop other sites.

    That's not necessarily with the aim of removing all content from HubPages - however it's always worth remembering that it is their site not ours.

    After that it depends on whether you want to be part of a community or would rather look after yourself and be independent of the "whims" of others.

    Also whether you would like to work to a managed timescale or one forced upon you.

    I think Hubpages can still be of value as a place where people keep some of their content.

    Is it a sensible move to have everything on this site? No, it contradicts basic business common sense.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

      For those who earn part or all of their living here, I totally agree.  However, for people like me, who are up in years and have income from other sources, it makes sense to stay put.

      Despite the problems, I like it here.  I have learned a great deal, met some fantastic people, have improved my writing skills significantly, have been able, with the help of another hubber, to produce my first online book and, frankly, while I like making a few dollars, I do not need them as much as many others do.

      So, for me, keeping my eggs in this basket works. 

      Writing here is one of the few things, with my health issues, that I am still able to do.  It is satisfying, fills my days, keeps me stimulated and has even helped me to physically heal from injuries I have had in the past.

      Each person has different situations.  If I were young and healthy, I would probably feel as many others here do.  But I'm not, so I am content to tolerate the tweaks and changes.

      1. Mark Ewbie profile image82
        Mark Ewbieposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I understand that sentiment.  HubPages has been and is a valuable place to practice, learn and maybe stay forever.  No single answer suits everyone.

        1. tsmog profile image84
          tsmogposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          1+

     
    working