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An Open Letter To The HubPages Staff and Management
Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself
My apologies to the Rolling Stones for borrowing a line from “Sympathy For The Devil,” but it seemed so perfect for this article.
My name is Bill Holland. You know me on your site as Billybuc. For sure a rather strange moniker, but it has been with me since my high school baseball days and since those were, and are, fond memories, the name has stayed with me lo these many years.
Anyway, as I approach my two year anniversary on your site, I thought I would drop you a line and tell you what I think of your writing platform, and if you don’t mind I have a couple suggestions I’d like to toss your way for consideration.
Since you just sent me a rather nice note congratulating me on my Best All Around Hubber Award, and since in that letter you told me I was one of your favorite Hubbers, I feel we have a rapport, a foundation of friendship if you will, and it is in that spirit of friendship that I write this missive.
Let Me State My Concerns
I don’t know if you have noticed from your office in San Francisco, but there is a rather large number of former Hubbers who have jumped ship and swam over to Bubblews. Of course, I am sure you gain new Hubbers every week, so maybe the numbers even out or even sway in your favor, but still, when an exodus of this proportion occurs, I’m sure it is at least a tiny bit unsettling. I know it is for me because many of those refugees are friends of mine and quite frankly I miss them.
With my ear to the rumor mill I surmise that the number one reason why you are losing so many writers is because they can make more money at Bubblews, and that certainly seems to be the case. Now I’m sure you have lost a few here and there because of petty considerations, but for the most part this money issue seems to be the biggie.
Writers who have been with you for years are wondering how they can make a payout at Bubblews within a month when they rarely made one at HP in two years, and I have to tell you, that’s a valid question. Writers work hard. It is no easy feat to crank out 1,500 meaningful words plus do research, add photos, etc., and if after that work they see pennies from you and dollars from Bubblews well, as I said, it is a valid question that they ask.
There are those who wonder why there are rarely any cash contests, and why most of the praise is aimed at new writers while the veterans languish backstage patting themselves on the back. Oh heck, I could do on and on, but I’m sure I am not writing anything that you have not heard, and ignored, before.
Appropriate for this letter
Now I Do Understand Your Position
I’m not an idiot despite what my former wife says. I have degrees in Marketing and Economics, so I’ve been around the Keynesian block a time or two. I know you are in this to make money. Pure and simple, right? And I say hooray for you and may the gods of Wall Street smile down upon you. I’m all for making money. Hell, most of your 77,000 published writers are all about making money too, so we do understand.
I understand that you make money on advertising. All of those ads that you put on our articles make you money. Every single time they are viewed they make you money. Every single time someone clicks on them they make you money. Hell, folks, you have a regular cash cow on your hands and again, I couldn’t be happier for you.
But you see, I come from a union household, and I can’t help but wonder about the little guy. I can’t help but ask myself how loyal those writers would be if you managed to just swing a few more pennies in their direction…..just spread a little more love their way.
Hell, folks, if you just had regular contests based on writing ability you might make a few more people happy. Hell, if you just relaxed your censorship rules a bit, or if you just did something other than sing the praises of keywords and SEO, you might make a few more people happy. How about a poet of the week award? Essayist of the week award? Flash fiction writer of the week award? Something that lets those who are not capsule-oriented and brainwashed know that their writing matters to the HP staff.
Are you satisfied with HubPages?
For the serious writers out there
Are you considering leaving HubPages in the near future?
You Will Find This Odd
Here’s the thing: I love it here. I’m not going anywhere. I was tempted by Bubblews for about a week, but in the end I came back to HP because of the writers. Some of my best friends are writers on this site and I like hanging with them.
I don’t write for the money so it makes no difference to me what meager pittance you give back to me. I don’t write for the awards. I simply write because I love writing, and I stay at HP because I think you have some incredible writers here, and I know you have some incredible people here. I am not some disgruntled writer with a list of grievances; I am a satisfied customer who hates watching his friends jump ship for greener pastures and yes, that was a mixed and clumsy metaphor. J
But don’t you see, I’m in the minority. Many writers need the money. Many writers have no choice but to leave your site because they can make better money elsewhere, and I just find that sad.
I know you can do something about this. I am quite confident that you can wiggle a few more pennies out of the coffers and pay a little better. I know for a fact that you can hold more cash contests. I know you can give more praise to established writers who toil in relative obscurity. I have complete faith that you can do these things.
But will you?
It all comes down, then, to whether you are willing to step up to the plate and swing for the fences, or if you are content to bunt and sacrifice every time. I can tell you from decades of experience that there is nothing exciting about bunting. People follow the homerun hitters and always will. Homerun hitters get the girls. Homerun hitters get the glory. Homerun hitters, in this case, get the writers.
Join me on my writing blog
- Artistry With Words | A topnotch WordPress.com site
A site just for writers about writing. Tips, suggestions, discussions, a great community for those who want to improve in writing
What change would you most like to see at HubPages?
So There You Have It
I write this letter for the little guy at HubPages. I write this letter for the struggling housewife who just needs an extra hundred bucks a month to break even. I write for the retired clerk who could use a few extra pennies over and above Social Security. I write this letter for serious writers who would love some recognition. I write this letter for the writers who have been loyal to you for years and have very little to show for that loyalty.
And this may surprise you, but I write this letter for you, the HubPages staff. I think, deep down, you want to have the best writing community online. I think you want everyone to be successful because you love writers and writing. I think you want these things but you have gotten so wrapped up in the daily tasks and chores that you have lost your vision of the future.
So don’t try to thank me. I was glad to help out. I know you would do the same for me. And seriously, if you need me to help you with this, and you want to chat about possible changes, then give me a call or drop me an email. I'm available to you any old time.
As 2013 comes to a close, let’s make a vow that you and I will try to make HubPages the best in 2014. I promise you that I will continue to support you, and I promise that I will continue to write high quality articles for your site. You, in turn, promise me that you will consider my suggestions and work towards some exciting new approaches.
Can we shake on that?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”