I think the biggest one is that we can not trust popular opinions regarding the online business and activities; especially now that we know how Squidoo and other such big players slowly went out of the town. Big lessons. It will definitely take some time for us to digest. So many ex-bubblewers around here!
I've never written anywhere but HP so I have nothing to compare it to regarding lessons learned. My question to those of you who have the extensive experience as online writers is "could it happen here?" What is it about HP that puts this site above the rest? Or are we just as vulnerable as any other site?
I've watched a fair number of content farms fall and fail. Want to know what they all had in common?
Every last one of them either stopped or had never started communicating clearly and efficiently with their writers.
Some things that I see as warning signs are:
1. Repeated failure to communicate rule changes, especially when combined with frequent rule changes.
2. The inclusion of secret rules or purposely ambiguous rules.
3. Failure to respond to bug reports.
4. Censoring the forums and banning people who point out the mistakes they see the site making. Squidoo did this, silencing people who pointed out the impending train wreck.
5. Failure to follow Google's desires and suggestions in spirit or word or trying to get around them. One example is how Squidoo responded to Google's stated dislike of ads masquerading as articles by teaching lensmasters to write ads that looked more like articles rather than just telling lensmasters to stop writing ads.
6. Making communication a one way street, as Squidoo chose to do by disowning the forums when Squidoo started ignoring Google and users were objecting like crazy.
7. Taking on spam/junk ads like bellyfat ads and so on.
8. Taking away control of user content rather than just un-publishing content deemed unsuitable and re-publishing it if it's changed enough to meet the rules in both word and intent.
9. A patronizing tone in communications. Once the content farm owners start treating the writers like stupid, devious, powerless peasants, it's all over.
Of course Hubpages is just as vulnerable. But it has done better than any other site. Other sites like Successstory have less obvious problems but their income is laughable.
The bottom line is that generalist article writing sites are no longer really viable. Our best hope, I think, is that HP's silo idea will work.
Jan, why do you think "it's not happening here" right now?
Jan, if you find the post in this thread where Kylyssa outlines Squidoo problems, everything mentioned there has already happened at some point in the last few years on HubPages.
Thanks, relache. I read it. I'm trying to keep hope alive. I love HP, don't have anywhere else to go, don't feel like starting over, don't have the time. (Sigh) Successstory.com keeps hounding me but most feedback I received from other hubbers wasn't favorable about joining that site. Anyway, . . .
I learned...that it's a pretty good idea to have backup copies of all the material you post, so if a site suddenly disappears, like Bubblews did, you will still have your stuff. When I decided to quit posting on Bubblews a while ago, I made sure to make copies of everything before I deleted it from their site.
I used to be pretty diligent about making back-up copies of my Hubs too, but I've been slacking on that chore of late... now that I'm thinking about it, this would probably be a good time to get back on that horse...
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