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A HubPages Three Year Report Card
A Preface I Guess
The first week of January 2015 will mark my third anniversary here at HubPages, so I thought it was the perfect time to issue a report card for that writing site. As a former teacher, I have a fair amount of experience in giving report cards, and as a veteran at HP I have a fair amount of perspective, so this article is a natural.
Report cards are a way of measuring progress. As far as I can tell, they were never meant to be a negative experience, although I seem to recall a few negative experiences during my childhood after mine arrived in the mail. Regardless, this is not meant to be negative. This is simply a look at progress made by HubPages and areas of concern where I think HP can improve.
I’m sure there will be some who think this is meant to be negative in nature. I’m sorry if you think that. I happen to love this site. I’ve given this site thousands of hours of my time. I’ve grown as a writer here. I’ve supported hundreds of writers here. I matured here, and found my confidence here.
But HP has some work to do, and I refuse to wear rose-colored glasses and pretend that everything is all right, because it is not. The teacher in me will not shrink into the background and pretend that all is well.
So, I’m ready if you are. Get comfy and I’ll pontificate for awhile.
HubPages has spent a good amount of time lately introducing us to three new editors on their staff. They all seem quite qualified, and I have no doubt that they are nice people. My only question is this: what the hell are they editing? If they are editing the HOTDs, then they are failing miserably at their jobs. I gave up counting the number of HOTDs that have spelling and grammatical errors. I hope to God those articles were not reviewed by the editors before they were chosen as the “best of the best.” If they did edit those articles, then they really shouldn’t be editors on this site, and if they didn’t edit the HOTDs, then why didn’t they?
There are currently nine editors working at HP. From what I can see, that’s about eight too many.
I give the editing staff a D, only because I don’t believe in failing students.
HubPages is a business, and since they have been in business for quite a few years now, obviously they are doing something right. They make their money on advertising, and they make enough to pay their fifteen staff members, so all is well in Hubland. Or is it? Before they bought out Squidoo they were losing writers at an alarming pace, and one has to wonder why that was? Was it because of poor management? Was it because of an unresponsive management? Was it because of an inflexible management style?
But they did buy out Squidoo, and they did see their numbers increase, and I’m sure their profits rose once again….but did their managerial problems disappear or were they masked by the influx of new writers?
Since I’m the teacher and this is my grading system, I’m going to give the HP Management a C minus. I would have given them a D, but I was feeling generous with it being the holiday season. There are too many things wrong with the site to give a higher grade.
The pay share to writers is ridiculously low. HubPages knows it, the writers know it, everyone knows it. In years past, to make up for the low payouts, HP would occasionally have contests with cash rewards, but they don’t even bother to do that any longer. Why pay out cash rewards when the suckers keep writing for pennies, right?
Consider this if you will: this month, to date, there are over 971,000 hubs written on HP. I wonder what kind of ad revenue HP makes from that number of hubs? If they make one dollar per hub they are closing in on a million bucks for the month of December. Pay off the fifteen staff members, and they still have a sizeable chunk of change left over. Heaven forbid they consider tossing a few extra pennies at the writers.
Of course, the HP management team could have encouraged veteran writers in a myriad of different ways, to make up for the lack of payouts, but they haven’t even bothered to do that. They give a shout out to new writers with their “Rising Stars” feature, but really, all that amounts to is a pat on the head to placate a few while the majority languishes in obscurity.
Advice to HP management: hire a community relations person. It will be that person’s job to encourage writers, communicate with writers, and generally spread good will to writers. Hire me if you want. I work cheap, obviously, based on my three years here at HP. I was voted Most Supportive, so pay me a few hundred bucks each month and I’ll take the time to make HP writers feel like someone gives a damn about them.
Come to think of it, a C minus might be too high.
There are two marketing specialists working at HP. Christy Kirwan seems to at least make an effort to reach out to the community of writers, so I assume she is a real person. I’m not sure what the other marketing member does. I’ll give this team a C because of Christy’s efforts. The grade would have been higher if Simone still worked for HP, but unfortunately, for all of us, Simone moved on to much-greener pastures.
Engineers and Software
I have no doubt that this group earns their money. It can’t be easy to keep a site of this size up and running daily. Sure there are occasional delays, but for the most part, this team does a pretty good job….not outstanding, but still worthy of a B grade.
Only one person works in the Education Department, but she does a pretty good job educating writers to write the HP way. I’ll give her a B for her efforts.
Sure, whatever! I don’t know what this means or what they moderate, and that fact alone means they get an incomplete for their grade. Actually, I do know what they do, but when they contact writers, it is always an automated message, so they get no grade from me because of their lack of people skills.
The Community of Writers
If there is a more supportive group of online writers then point me in their direction, because the HP Community is outstanding. Yes, there are some who never support or praise others, but by and large, this group gets high marks for their efforts. I don’t need to expound for too long on their virtues. I’m giving the community of writers an A minus.
Here is where the HP management is missing the boat. HP has a stable full of thoroughbreds that they ignore, and from a marketing standpoint that simply makes zero sense. Every year they give a Hubbie Award to the person most likely to work for HubPages, but as far as I know, HP has yet to hire one of their writers. What’s up with that nonsense?
So the report card shows one D, one C minus, one C, two Bs, an incomplete and an A minus. Not exactly something to brag about but hey, it’s better than failing all of the classes. The worst thing I can say about this report card is that it resembles my report cards in high school. When I came home with one of these report cards, my dad would whoop my butt. The staff at HP can be happy in the fact that my dad is no longer with us because those whoopings could be painful.
So There You Have It
I expect nothing to be accomplished by writing this but it makes me feel better. I’ll be interested in your thoughts on the report card. Feel free to share them in the comment section.
To my fellow writers on HP….THANK YOU! You are the heart and soul of HP, and the collective reason why I stay here.
To the HP Staff…..ummm….it’s been real!
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)