How To Recover And Reuse Your Bubblews Articles

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When Bubblews finally ceased operations in November of 2015, it did so in a manner that was entirely characteristic of the way the site had operated throughout its history. The shutdown occurred suddenly and without warning. Users, some with hundreds of articles on the site, suddenly found their content no longer accessible. If they hadn’t kept copies of what they had written, there seemed to be no way to retrieve that material once Bubblews was offline.

BUT… if you are among the hundreds of Bubblews members who lost valuable content when the site shut down, there is hope! If you move quickly, you may be able to recover at least some of your articles.

Some of your deleted articles may still be stored on the web

On the internet, "gone" doesn’t necessarily mean totally gone. Even though your articles may have been taken offline or deleted by the site that hosted them, copies may still be available on the web. There are two major methods of finding and retrieving such copies: Google’s cache and the Internet Archive site.

Have you ever lost articles because a site shut down without notice?

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Retrieving articles from Google’s cache

When Google indexes a page, it retains a copy of it in its cache for some unspecified period of time. (This is true of other search engines as well). As long as your article remains in Google’s cache, you can recover and download a copy of it.

VIDEO: What is Google's cache?

Here’s how to retrieve a webpage from Google's cache:

Note: This method should work with any article that has been indexed for search, no matter which website hosted it. For this illustration, we’ll assume the hosting site was Bubblews. The examples will use my Bubblews ID, which was RonFCCC.

First, do a Google search for your articles

Only web pages that are still indexed by Google (or Bing) can be retrieved from the cache. So, the first step is to do a search that lists your articles in the results. Here are some search terms you can use:

1. To find a specific article enter the following into Google as a search term:

"TITLE OF YOUR ARTICLE" site:bubblews.com

Searching for a specific article
Searching for a specific article | Source

2. To get a list of all your articles that are still indexed, enter:

[your user name or ID] site:bubblews.com

(Note: do not include the brackets around your ID)

Search term to find all your articles
Search term to find all your articles | Source

Note that if your article does not appear in the search results, it’s really gone and cannot be retrieved from the cache. But don’t give up yet! Be sure to check the Internet Archive as explained below before concluding that the article is totally lost.

Once you’ve found an article you want to recover, retrieve it from the cache

Check to see if there is a down arrow (a downward triangle) to the right on the line just below the article’s title (see the illustration below). If so, click on that down arrow and a box with the word “Cached” should appear. Now you can click on “Cached” to bring up your article, if it’s still available.

Checking to see if your article is cached
Checking to see if your article is cached | Source

If there is no down arrow, or if you click “Cached” and get a 404 error, your article is no longer cached, and cannot be recovered by this method. However, it's possible that even if the article no longer exists in Google's cache, Bing might still have it. Use the same process to check for it on Bing. And, as mentioned before, check the Internet Archive before giving up on it.

IMPORTANT: Be sure you don't click title of the article - that will just take you to the Bubblews site, which is no longer accessible. Click only the down arrow (triangle).

Copy or download your article

If you are able to retrieve your material, you can now either copy and paste it into a document on your computer, or download the entire webpage. The advantage of downloading the page rather than copying and pasting is that the downloaded page retains all its formatting – it will look exactly the way it did online.

For instructions on how to download your article so that it retains its formatting, see How Writers Can Safely Archive Their Online Articles.

Retrieving articles from the Internet Archive – The Wayback Machine

Web pages that are no longer available through the cache may have been stored by the Internet Archive. This is may not be true of Bubblews articles – none of my posts to that site have been archived. However, I had more than a hundred articles posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network at the time it shut down in 2014. All of my Yahoo articles that I checked were available via the Internet Archive. If you have the URL of the webpage you want to recover, you may find that it's retrievable through the archive. Here’s how to check:

Go to https://archive.org and enter the URL of your article into the Wayback Machine text box.

The Yahoo URL of the article I wanted to retrieve for this example was http://voices.yahoo.com/pennsylvanias-benevolent-gesture-bill-makes-sense-12218332.html. That is what I entered into the Wayback Machine's text box.

Once the article's URL has been entered, just press the Enter key.

Entering your URL into the Wayback Machine
Entering your URL into the Wayback Machine | Source

If the article you are looking for is in the archive, you should now see a page showing the dates on which that article was saved to the archive. You can choose any of these dates, though normally you would probably want the latest one.

Now, click on the date you have selected, either where the date is listed just under the article URL, or on the calendar.

Note: do NOT click the article URL or the Browse History button.

Retrieving the archived copy of your article - click on a date
Retrieving the archived copy of your article - click on a date | Source

That's it! Your archived article should now appear, and you can copy or download it.

An article retrieved from the Internet Archive
An article retrieved from the Internet Archive | Source

How to de-index your article to avoid having "duplicate content"

Most writing sites require that any articles posted to them not be available elsewhere on the internet. So, in order to reuse your articles anywhere but on your own blog or website, you must ensure that no other copies of that material are visible on the web. I say “visible” because the issue is not whether or not your content exists anywhere in cyberspace, but whether it can be found by search engines such as Google or Bing. In other words, you need to make sure your material has been de-indexed so that it no longer shows up in search results.

Once a page is no longer online it will eventually be de-indexed automatically. But that might not occur for up to six months or even longer. If you want that de-indexing to take place quickly so that you can reuse an article without being flagged for having duplicate content, you can request that search engines remove it from their search results immediately. With Google and Bing (the two I am familiar with) this is done through their Webmaster Tools. Note that to use Google Webmaster Tools you must have a Google account, while Bing Webmaster Tools requires that you have a Microsoft account.

Here’s an example of how to request that an article be removed from Google search.

Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals. If necessary, sign into your Google account. Now you should see the Search Console.

The Google Search Console
The Google Search Console | Source

Type the URL of the page you want de-indexed into the box, then click the Request Removal button. The Analyzing URL screen should appear, with the notation “This content is gone,” confirming that the page you want to remove from search is no longer online.

Confirmation that the content is no longer online
Confirmation that the content is no longer online | Source

Click on the Request Removal button.

The URL of the article you want removed from search should now show in the URL list with a status of Pending. That means the page is in the queue to be de-indexed. In my experience, that usually happens within 24 hours.

Success! The webpage will be removed from search results
Success! The webpage will be removed from search results | Source

Bing has a similar process. You can initiate it at https://www.bing.com/webmaster/tools/content-removal.

Now is the time to retrieve your articles!

If you are trying to recover articles from the Google (or Bing) cache, now is the time to get it done. As far as I've been able to determine, there are no guidelines as to how long a webpage may stay in the cache. My experience with my Yahoo articles after that site shut down was that it might be anywhere from three or four weeks to that many months. But eventually all deleted articles will be cleared from the cache.

This is especially important for Bubblews articles, since they do not appear to have been comprehensively saved in the Internet Archive. So, if you want to recover any of your Bubblews posts, now is the time.

© 2015 Ronald E. Franklin

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26 comments

jaideepkhanduja 12 months ago

Just for your information - the site is non-functional now. Here is the message that I see on their home page:

'Greetings,

After being up and running for almost 3 years now we regrettably need to inform you that we will be shutting Bubblews.com down. The climate for display advertising has drastically changed and made it impossible for us to sustain the business model and operations.

We want to thank everyone that was a part of this journey. We wish you all the very best.

–Bubblews


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

jaideepkhanduja, yes, that's the way it's been since the shutdown. But these methods are not accessing the Bubblews site at all. In fact, it's because content on that site is inaccessible that these recovery procedures are needed.


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 12 months ago from California

This is a great guide, Ron. I did save most of my posts when the site was still functioning - I knew that one day something like this will happen, and I recycled a couple of them into hubs. Using the cached method, I can see that some of my posts are still indexed, but some are already gone. Time for more recycling!


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, kalinin1158. I've been seeing so many people who lost work they wanted to keep, I thought a guide was needed. I'm glad it helped.


NateB11 profile image

NateB11 12 months ago from California, United States of America

Useful info, Ron. I figured those Bubblews posts were lost for good, but obviously they are not. In the middle of reading this article, I checked on my old cached Bubblews posts and copied and pasted some to notepad. It's going to take me awhile to go through all of them. Only some can still be used elsewhere, most of them are just daily ramblings.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 12 months ago from USA

More great info from one of my favorite HP writers.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

I think it is very useful. I would like to try the Google cache method to save some of my articles. Thanks for the information.


Carola Finch profile image

Carola Finch 12 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Very useful information. I actually removed my articles on Bubblews manually just before the shutdown. Most of them were evergreen, so I plan on recycling them with different titles and if needed, updated info. I guess the lesson is to always keep backups of your work.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, NateB11, I'm glad this helped. Like you, many of my Bubblews posts are not suitable for use elsewhere, but some of them trigger ideas I can use.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks much, ologsinquito. I really appreciate that.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Venkatachari M, you are very welcome. I hope you are successful in recovering your posts.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Carola. Like you, I had backed up all my Bubblews posts. But if I hadn't, with over 600 posts still on the site I would have been very frustrated when the shutdown came. So, getting into the backup habit is hard but definitely worth it.


Carola Finch profile image

Carola Finch 12 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I agree that backup is good. I actually create all my articles first in Word. When I am ready to load them, I paste them into Notepad, and then cut and paste them into the website's template.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Carola, that's what I do with hubs, but for posts to short-form sites like Bubblews and now PersonaPaper or myLot, I just don't have the patience. So I type right into the site's editor. That makes backing up a separate chore I have to make myself do.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Ron, I viewed all the posts on Google cache browser and all are there. I will copy pasting only some of them which I want to keep in my records at word document. There are total 68 posts and I may keep only 20 or 25 of them. Others are not important. Thanks for the nice advice.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Venkatachari M, I'm glad you got the ones you want to keep.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 12 months ago from Asheville, NC

This is a very helpful Hub. Thankfully I saved most of my worthwhile posts from there. Thanks for doing this.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, suziecat7. I think this info applies far beyond just Bubblews, and I hope people will continue to find it useful.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

How cool is this? Thank you for filling me in. Someday soon.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 12 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

You're very welcome, Eric. Don't wait too long!


Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wow, amazing information, clearly organized and very useful! I will bookmark this and refer back to it! Excellent!


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 9 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Sparrowlet. I hope this proves useful for you.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 8 months ago from Long Island, NY

I always save all my content since I write everything off line before publishing. As for Bubblews, I deleted all my content there when they stopped paying. So by now they had all been de-indexed from search engines.

I have future plans to merge several related articles together into something better that I may use on HubPages. That's something others may consider doing with their saved Bubblews posts, assuming they saved them or were able to retrieve them per your instructions before dropping from the archives.

Ron, Your hub is very informative and well-detailed.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 8 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Glenn. I had almost 800 Bubblews posts, none of which could stand on their own as hubs. But going back over the list I found about 60 that might, once greatly expanded, be the basis for a hub. So, it's an idea worth pursuing.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California

I regret not having saved all of my articles. In the beginning I was saving everything, but I grew lazy. Bubblews was fun while it lasted, but it was a meltdown of Biblical proportions. Thanks for these tips, I tried a couple but alas, nothing worked.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Mel, my own laziness is paired up with my love of programming. So, I wrote an app that made saving and logging my articles in a database just one click away. Otherwise, I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered to save most of my Bubblews posts either. Like you, I enjoyed Bubblews while it lasted. But with its issues about payment, it was always a bit stressful for me.

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