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How Do You Deal With Spammy Hubbers?

Updated on September 12, 2018
awordlover profile image

My articles are written from my perspective as a long time writer on HubPages, a retired healthcare professional and an educated patient.

Traveling Man denotes hub hopping
Traveling Man denotes hub hopping | Source

Hub Hopping

The HubPages tutorial section says that hub hopping will increase your profile score and, for me, it did. I really enjoy hub hopping and reading new articles hot off the press. So having my profile score go up while doing something I enjoy is a nice benefit.

Hub hopping gives me an opportunity to read hubs and topics that generally I would not come across.

However, reading newly written hubs and the work of new hubbers that haven't been moderated yet can either be an enjoyable experience or an adventure into the world of Spam.

In my "hopping" I often click the hubber's profile to see what else they have written that I might enjoy reading. I note their profile score and the scores on their other published hubs.

But sometimes I come across hubs that are pure advertisement that have some personal agenda. These are known as Spammers!

Pick your battles when dealing with spammy comments. Delete, don't compete.

You'll read the good, the bad and the ugly. Choose your replies wisely. Sometime no comment is the best comment. HubPages is a nice place to read, write and learn. It's not about hub wars.
You'll read the good, the bad and the ugly. Choose your replies wisely. Sometime no comment is the best comment. HubPages is a nice place to read, write and learn. It's not about hub wars. | Source

Spam Attack

Please don't mistake this as a recipe for success. It isn't.

It is the plain truth of how someone - a Spammer - infiltrates our writing community, causes havoc as he flits from hub to hub, littering the same copy-pasted comment everywhere.

The gender "he" is being used generically.

A SPAMMER is someone:

  • who is an opportunist with a main objective to make money fast (News Flash: HubPages is not "that" kind of site)
  • who has figured out how to scam our system to increase his hubber score by doing little or no work
  • who writes one self-promotional hub which usually smacks of an advertisement,
  • who looks up hubbers writing on same topic, then goes on a marathon hub hopping spree with an agenda, but doesn't read any hubs.
  • who abuses our HubPages FAN MAIL rules and ignores networking etiquette by leaving comments to say he is FOLLOWING each hubber and boldly asks (or demands) for a FOLLOW BACK.
  • whose tersely worded message is copy-pasted like graffiti in the comments of the articles of every hubber that he Follows, with the sole purpose of racking up as many FOLLOWERS as possible. .

In no time at all, the Spammer's profile score has escalated to the mid 90's and now outranks even the most successful HubPages writer. Why?

It is because they figured it out the formula. The nature of the beast is that the more Followers and visits to their profile, the more their scores will increase. By spending as little as four or five hours hub hopping, dropping comments hither and yon, the time investment pays off when they see they achieved high scores far quicker than someone who has been writing on HubPages for a couple of years.

They also learned that while good writing is important, it is not absolutely necessary to rank high enough on the site to gain Followers, hoping this will increase the popularity and sales of their product.

The mistake is when hubbers FOLLOW BACK. They are giving the Spammer exactly what he wants.

There are some hubbers who are too busy to go view the profile, so they just click FOLLOW as a return courtesy, never reading the work of who they Followed.

There are other hubbers who are curious and will go view the profile - even if they suspect he is a Spammer - on the off chance of finding someone whose writing they like enough to Follow too.

If the Spammer gets enough people to Follow him back, he will have succeeded in two different arenas: 1) by hoodwinking a lot of people to follow him blindly even though his hubs have no redeeming literary qualities and 2) in scamming the system that is in place.

Usually anyone who has to ask for a FOLLOW BACK doesn't have the art of writing as their priority. Their priority is making money over producing good writing. For these types, generally their articles do not warrant the Follow.

What Would You Do? Pick One Answer

If someone Follows you and asks you to Follow Back, do you

See results

New to HubPages? Here's a Great How-To

Writing The First Hub - My Observations

HubPages requires new hubbers to write one hub, although I have seen profiles that are months old and still have no hubs listed. Maybe they unpublished them right after, I don't know.

But some people write that first article and then abandon HP for whatever reasons - health, writer's block, loss of interest. Often I have found their "first hub" is:

a) introductory (hi, my name is and I'm new here), or

b) it is promotional for some company they have a vested interest in, or

c) the hub is just plain gibberish - makes no sense.

Some are poems without rhyme or reason, just throwing out random thoughts that leave the reader hanging because there is no wrap up or conclusion at the end of the poem. They tell me it is a style of writing poetry. I am an iambic meter gal.

Some first hubs that I've read seem like they just want to get the first hub over with, so they can fill the requirement.

When you come across one or more hubs that are purely promotional, linked to a personal website for their business, they are looking for free advertising on our site.

Our moderators can only monitor so many hubs so they need hubbers to send a message to alert them.

After I left a comment regarding using hubs as advertisement, one such hubber wrote back to me saying that after he gave his one hub a few days, that his business did not increase as much as he thought it would, and he decided to abandon his account.

Despite my inclination to reply that all things need time and that Rome wasn't built in a day, I didn't want to encourage him.


HubPages Network of Writing Sites

HubPages Network
HubPages Network | Source

Advertising on HubPages

Years ago, when I first started writing on HubPages, the site was pretty new. There was all kinds of marketing to promote HubPages. There were a lot of businesses who joined just to use HubPages to advertise. Although these types of accounts are shut down pretty fast, there are still some lurking here and there.

HubPages now has a network of sites. There is no reason why writers can't find a site to publish their work. Each has different guidelines working under the same code of ethics that HubPages is known for.

Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a quick Google search "Advertising on HubPages." This is Thalamus

The site is literally a clone of HubPages, much like the Russian site of a few years ago
The site is literally a clone of HubPages, much like the Russian site of a few years ago | Source
When your readers arrive, don't leave them unsupervised. Moderate your comments.
When your readers arrive, don't leave them unsupervised. Moderate your comments. | Source

Delete comments of disabled profiles.

If a name is grayed out so that you can't click on it to visit the profile, you can either delete the comment or keep it if it offers value to the conversation
If a name is grayed out so that you can't click on it to visit the profile, you can either delete the comment or keep it if it offers value to the conversation | Source

Following others

Call me old-fashioned, but I think following someone on HubPages (or any other site) should be earned and you should only follow those you hubbers you are genuinely interested in following.

If someone asks you to follow them, and their topics are of no interest to you, do you feel compelled to click FOLLOW?

Many people do.

Many people don't care how many or what topics they follow. They just want to see a high number next to the word "Followers."

I'm not in the numbers game. I don't care how many followers I have. I also don't out of my way to follow people just because they left me a comment or they clicked to FOLLOW me.

Make it a choice, not a requirement.

Your Audience - Don't Be Afraid To Delete Comments

I'm all for free enterprise and think everyone in this world should have the opportunity to make a success from advertising their business. But I just don't want to see them advertising it here at HubPages.

Each of us has a different experience here at HubPages because of the different genres in which we write. My health hubs attract a certain type of reader just as your computer technology hubs or poetry hubs attract a different type of reader.

Like some hubbers, I have notifications set up so that within a few minutes of someone leaving me a comment. An automated message is sent to my email box, which remains open on my desktop all day. Usually I moderate the comments within an hour.

If someone leaves self-promotional comment, or asks me to follow them back (especially when they have only one or no hubs showing), I delete the comment.

Sometimes when I go to the hub to moderate comments, a mystery commenter left a note but I can't check out their profile.The name is not clickable because their profile has either already been disabled or there is a conflict of some sort. If I can't click to view the profile, I delete the comment.


Don't let people use your hub comments to advertise their business

Always moderate your hubs. Delete all comments that have promotional links to the Spammer's website or business
Always moderate your hubs. Delete all comments that have promotional links to the Spammer's website or business | Source

Ghost Hubbers (Spammers) - My observations

A case in point: One day, on one of my hubs, I had 14 comments from "ghost hubbers" ( Spammers). If I didn't have my notifications set to moderate comments first, then these would have been auto-published. These were 14 people who joined HubPages, left a comment on numerous hubs, then just up and quit HP. All 14 of them! What are the odds!

Their names were grayed out and not click-able. Their profile pictures were a silhouette, depicting an inactive profile. These are Ghost Hubbers. Delete their comments to keep your thread tidy.

If you suspect someone is a Spammer, and if you can click on their name, it should take you to their profile page. A quick look at their "Activity" might show they have been busy leaving similar comments on umpteen other hubs, asking to be Followed Back.

Moderate Your Comments

Whether you are on vacation or working in the garden, you can check notifications to moderate hub comments. Do you check?
Whether you are on vacation or working in the garden, you can check notifications to moderate hub comments. Do you check? | Source

People Are Talking On Your Hubs

I have my settings set up so that comments are NOT automatically published, meaning I have to approve or deny each one.

I do this on purpose, precisely because of this type of commenter.

I think all hubbers should use this feature, so that spam and rude comments do not auto-publish. They would be best left unpublished because of content or tone.

I have visited many hubs where a spammer has left the same comment on each one. The reason they are still there is because comments were set to auto-publish and no one is presently watching the store..

Check your notifications often to see who left you comments, especially if you allow comments to post without approval.

Check in often to see what people are talking about "on your hubs".

There is enough advertising on our hubs in sidebars; you don't need commenters to "use your hub" to get free advertising for their business.

Start removing anything that is not flattering to you. Also remove anything that is promotional of other websites that don't belong to HP, and also comments that sound like the person might have been drunk when they wrote them....you know the ones -- they make no sense.

Take control of this, and it will leave a better impression on your visitors when they read your work and when they scroll down to read comments that other readers left for you.

Reading the comments of others often prompts me to leave my own comment. If I see a bunch of spam comments, I am not inclined to talk. I move on.

Checklist

Once a week or so, you should visit the comments of each of your hubs and use the "Delete Comment" button for anything that is not appropriate, spammy, self-promotional or otherwise offensive.

  • You should be very protective of your hub. After all, you own it.
  • Treat your work and the vehicle (HubPages) as you would a prized possession.
  • Don't allow people to write whatever they want in the comments of your hub.
  • Unpublish any hubs that are unflattering, have broken links or need more work until they are ready for your public.
  • Be choosy what you want your visitors to see when they read your body of work, including the comments.
  • Be watchful that your work is not copied

Move on without leaving a comment on any hub that is spammy with links to any business.  If the hubber didn't think enough to moderate the comments for spam, chances are that they won't see your comment anyway.
Move on without leaving a comment on any hub that is spammy with links to any business. If the hubber didn't think enough to moderate the comments for spam, chances are that they won't see your comment anyway. | Source

HubPages Is A Great Community of Writers

Because we are serious writers, I think we should all do our part to help police this problem better.

Hub hopping is one way we can help HubPages staff.

Flagging and reporting the hubs while you are hopping goes a long way to helping the staff of HubPages weed out the bad apples.

What do you think?

© Feb 16, 2012 Anne DiGeorge

Update: HubPages has implemented a quality assessment (a waiting) period for each hubber before publishing hubs which is a great idea. Before hub hoppers even get to see an article, HubPages decides if it is worthy or not.

Progress is happening!

© 2012 awordlover

Comments

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  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    You are indeed welcome, I can be quite opinionated but I am a sweeite.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    4 years ago

    We are all entitled to our opinion. Thank you for voicing yours.

    Rachael

  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    Not steep at all. Hubbers should NOT be allowed on the forums unless they have 50 hubs in addition to being on HubPages for AT LEAST 2 YEARS. That would be appropriate.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    4 years ago

    Hello gmwilliams, Waiting to have 50 hubs is a bit steep. Publishing 50 hubs is a big accomplishment. awordlover only has 38 published after 3 years on hubpages. If she had to wait until she had 50, she'd still be waiting to talk in the forums. Some writers are not as active as others. We agree there should be a better policy to keep after the trolls, maybe Moderator for a day or moderators for each forum. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

    Rachael O'Halloran for Anne DiGeorge

  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    Yes, there are "hubbers" some who are here for years and yet no content. However, they are the trolls who spam forums. Each new hubber should have at least 50 hubs before participating in the question and forum sections.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Hi RedElf:

    Well, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have an opinion about your last statement "infringing on their right to free speech." ::smile::

    One of the wonderful benefits of moderating one's own hub comments is you get to decide what gets approved to appear on your hub as a comment and what doesn't. So a person's right to free speech stops when they hit REPLY and release their comment into cyberspace. They exercised free speech at the time of writing. My rights as a hubber then begin.

    In this instance on hubpages and many other websites, it is probably the only way someone's right to free speech can be squashed and no one can be sued for it. Because as long as we "moderate" comments, we are in control of what we want our visitors to "feel" about us when they read our hubs and comments.

    Don't get me wrong, comments that don't agree with me or the hub are not automatically denied. On the contrary, I invite them since they are usually a good draw for others to join the conversation.

    I'm only speaking of commenters who go out of their way to be nasty in putting me or my writing down. "I hated this hub" and no other elaboration will most likely be moderated in a timely fashion and not get published. ::smile::

    TYVM for your comment...sorry for the rant.

    Anne

  • RedElf profile image

    RedElf 

    6 years ago from Canada

    Interesting. I moderate the comments on all my hubs. Usually I only remove links and copy the comment into my answer, though I have denied the odd abusive post. I have been taken to task about it by those who felt I was infringing on their right to free speech.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Thank you for your kind reply. When I started out here on HP 2 years ago, I knew no one here. I knew two things - I wanted to write and this was free and had a decent size readership. I haven't looked back since. I have learned by trial and error - more trial than error -- I can't begin to tell you how many unfinished hubs are on my account history. I'm afraid to delete them bec they hold a germ of an idea for something I had in mind at the time, and at some point, I'm hoping it will come back to me. LOL Seriously though, if I am able to share what little I have learned in two years and make a task easier for someone, that makes me happy. The hubbers who are pros at this game write for HP in their help center, so that's my HP 101 for learning. ::hint, hint:: TYVM for your comments. awordlover (aka Anne)

  • DREAM ON profile image

    DREAM ON 

    6 years ago

    I have learned many things from your very detailed hub.I appreciate all the points that you bring up many I was not aware of.You make me understand the world of the HubPages a little bit better.I am not a computer person and I have had many troubles in the past which may not affect an avid computer person like yourself.I am learning as I go and it is a long slow road.I have not understood so many things like back linking and traffic flow.I have tried my best to write poems and stories from the heart.I am far from an expert on any subject and many times during my life I have had endless struggles.I keep searching for people who love life and appreciate people for who they are.I will be the first to say I don't always make sense and it may not be something you would read or be interested in.I do however appreciate your writings and I keep learning from fellow hubbers like yourself.As I try to understand the fast paced world we live I only want to give back to the world that has given me so much.When I read how serious you take the HubPages I am proud to be a fellow hubber.You have only the HubPages and many hubbers in mind.I have always loved the connection of so many people all over the world.I am very thankful that a site like this exsists.Thanks for writing and sharing so many good ideas with other hubbers.Have a healthy and happy day.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Thank you Kimberly Lake. I agree wholeheartedly. :-)

  • KimberlyLake profile image

    Kimberly Lake 

    6 years ago from California

    I have seen quite a few people leaving links in their comment, that is rude to do. When someone comments on a hub it shouldn't be an advertisement for themselves, it should be to give the hub author feedback. I had a ghost comment on one of my hubs that was really nasty, when I clicked on his name his profile didn't exist. I agree, we need to flag these spammers and ghost hubbers. Thaks.

  • hoteltravel profile image

    hoteltravel 

    6 years ago from Thailand

    I very much appreciate you taking time out to answer my question. TYVM for the follow back. Wish hubpages say clearly that hub hopping and flagging bad hubs earn us brownie points. This will attract more hubbers. My score did not see as much increase as yours, but it did favorably affect my hubber score. There is hope as long as there are hubbers like us. As for calling your answer a rant, my previous comment qualify for something worse, I think. That just shows how dear this topic is to us.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Hi hoteltravel: Well I guess I ought to tell you, I found your question you asked before I found your comment on my hub. So prepare yourself, I left a long rant on your question. This is a very sore subject with me. I'm glad you are of like mind. TY for your comments and follow. Please take my answer to your question in the forum in the kind spirit in which it was meant. :-)

  • hoteltravel profile image

    hoteltravel 

    6 years ago from Thailand

    You have conveyed my views on the topic so well. I can't thank you enough for this hub. Last few days, I started hub hopping because I had some extra time. What I saw made my jaw drop to the ground. Such low quality writing and blatant advertisement of personal business websites. To add insult to injury, I came across one hub with adult content accompanied by explicit photos and another one offering female escort service with images. OMG! I started cursing myself for going hub hopping. Being a proactive person, I can't leave these lying around. So, started flagging each of the hubs and profiles and also their other hubs. As you said, all of them had less than four hubs. Out of frustration, I asked a question to hubbers whether they have seen anything like this. I received just three replies saying they never saw anything amiss here. I am happy that I came across this hub. Otherwise, I will start thinking the problem is with me.

    I would like to point out that leaving comments open for non-registered users is fine as long as comments on your hubs are not automatically published. I too received my share of spam comments, which lead to more flagging.

    I am relatively a new member here, but feel so comfortable in the friendly community here that I am growing very protective of it. I would love to read more from you on this topic on how to tackle this menace. I hope more people read this hub. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Dahoglund, I do see what you mean. If your traffic relies mainly on non-registered users, then it only means that you are more attentive to your hubs/comments and hopefully diligent in removing spammy stuff; you take care of your intellectual property. I was more or less referring to those hubbers who allow anyone to write anything and then do not go back and police it so that months, sometimes a year or more, and the comment is still there with links to websites that are no longer active (maybe because the business failed? who knows). TYVM for your comment and insight. Even hubbers who moderate comments after the fact is better than not doing anything at all. :-)

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Hi Insane Mundane. Your first sentence made me chuckle! Regarding your last sentence: No, I don't think it is an uphill battle. If more hubbers policed their comments so that only pertinent were approved, and used the moderation option, this nonsense could be cut down considerably. Hub hopping is one way for HP to get help in this so that they do not have to employ/detail employees to do it, as reading/scanning each submission makes for very long days. Those who hub hop and take it seriously in regard to reporting commenters and hubbers as outlined in this article will indeed help fight that battle. TYVM for y our comments and insight. :-)

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    Hi Capedium, Your comment was regarding people who actually left a constructive comment pertaining to your subject matter and then left HP. I was more referring to commenters who leave links to their businesses on your hub mixed in with a token compliment and leave HP for whatever reasons - usually that their tactic to gain traffic for their business did not pan out for them. I'm glad you are on top of removing anything spammy or abusive. There are some hubbers who don't even do that. So you are to be commended for removing those and keeping your hubs so that the comments are the ones YOU want others to see. TYVM for your comments and insight.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    TYVM Carolyn2008 - I agree with you.

  • awordlover profile imageAUTHOR

    awordlover 

    6 years ago

    TYVM Seeker7. I agree. :-)

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 

    6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    So far I leave my comments open to also. I may change if I run into problems. However, sometimes I get comments from people who are not hubbers and in the long run those are the folks we want for traffic.

  • Insane Mundane profile image

    Insane Mundane 

    6 years ago from Earth

    Well, that was an elaborate way to define crappy article spinners and the senseless spammers. Hey, the good thing is, unless their Author's HubScore reaches 75 or more, their silly promotional, spam-like links will be counted by the search engines as No-Follow as opposed to Do-Follow, so they are more or less wasting their time, more than yours.

    Amateur, careless spammers often make those obvious mistakes that you mentioned about.

    However, there are other article-submit sites that don't allow you to generate income from your writings, and the only perk involved besides exposure, is by promoting your own websites via their website (article marketing), so maybe that is where some of these clowns go astray.

    Personally, I've wrote on so many other websites and blogs (including my own paid domains/websites and free-hosted blogs), that I mainly enjoy the interactive features here, but I'll still most likely create a few hubs from time to time...

    However, there should be some rules when it comes to forum posters who blast posts all day long and have zero hubs after being with the site for several weeks.

    Anyway, I know what you mean, as you are trying to keep this an authority site with high quality; nothing wrong with that! Ain't that an uphill battle, though? :)

  • Capedium profile image

    Ov Overo 

    6 years ago from Oklahoma

    First, I must say, this Hub is very insightful.. Usually, I don't read any Hub that is not poetry or should I say literately. The title of your Hub was what got my attention, and once I started reading, I couldn't stop.. You made lots of valuable point here I must agree, but in thesame vain, what's the point, if they come and couldn't keep up and they left, and during their short time, they where found something they enjoyed reading and they left comment, comment is just a way of saying ; You are good, keep it up, I don't like this, you can do better.. I get your point, why comment when you a ghost, give reasonable comment, don't just comment, comment because you have reason to.. I mean, it is pointless.. My comment are free to all, is I notice any spam or abusive or inappropriate words, I report it or hide it.. There isn't always time, I will rather spend more time, sharing and engaging in gainful conversation with great Hubbers than border about fake commenters or what ever they are and the stupid game they play... That may not be the case for you.. Example am the young man who just want to write and be read, who just want to share the little knowledge God has given me.. Some are here to earn, some to make friends to help them in their publishing, some for advice, and some just want to read.. I don't know, I have probably said too much.. Am I making any sense at all ?.. Got to go. Thanks for sharing.... I enjoyed reading this particular Hub.

  • Carolyn2008 profile image

    Carolyn Gibson 

    6 years ago from Boston

    I agree with everything you have written. I like to hub hop because I am exposed to a large variety of subjects. I have often wondered why hubs that are obviously written to promote their businesses are allowed to be published. I also set my hub comments section to be approved by me before the comments go public. Commercial spammers are not serious about writing serious, articulate articles. We don't want a person visiting this web site to think we publish primarily business marketing articles.

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 

    6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Excellent hub and I agree with your sentiments and arguments. I've seen quite a few hubs recently as well that were obviously just looking for traffic/business and didn't care about grammar, spelling or content - in essence they don't give a dam about their potential readers.

    I then wonder, well if they are treating their potential readers on HP this way, do they treat their customers in the same off-hand, couldn't care less fashion? Personally I wouldn't visit their sites or trust them to provide good services or products if the quality is the same as what is dished up in their hubs.

    I really enjoyed this interesting and informative article. Voted up interesting and useful!

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Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)