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Fight Spam Hubs!
Read Google's Post
Google's Thomas Tran wrote a guest post on the HubPages blog about how to create quality content on HubPages. None of what they say is rocket science. I think this guest post may be a follow-up to the Panda update. Just thought I would pass this along.
Google Panda Update - Lessons Learned
You may have heard about the Google Panda update, otherwise known as the Farmer Update. I won't go into the technical details here - I just want to make one important point. HubPages was slammed by Google. Why?
HubPages is particularly attractive to spammers because it does not use the "rel=nofollow" attribute on outbound links. This makes it a golden opportunity for anyone who wants to manipulate Google rankings by stealing link juice from the community. Google noticed this, and now the true quality contributors are paying the price. Everyone on HubPages has lost credibility with the search engines thanks to the unethical behavior of leeches who are simply here to make a quick buck.
This is a community-driven web site. As it grows more successful, it begins to attract more spammers and black hat SEO shysters looking to take from the community rather than give value. As momentum builds, the task of moderating the site becomes more costly and time-consuming. Moral of the story: the community needs to fight back against spam hubs. We can't rely on HubPages to do it all. This needs to be a self-policing community with zero tolerance for spam.
I'm creating this hub to start fighting back. I'm not sure how this is going to work (I've been out of the HubPages game for 2+ years), but I do know that it will need to be a community effort in order to succeed. Please leave comments in the specially-designated comment capsule with any suggestions for how to fight spam and rally the community.
Example of a Scam - the "Auto Cash Funnel"
I just got an e-mail from an affiliate marketing program called "Auto Cash Funnel," which as far as I can tell is just another Clickbank scam. As one might expect, its creators claim to sell you a system with which a newbie marketer can make $5,000 in the first 30 days if you pay them a meager sum of $39. It amazes me how many gullible people are willing to pay for this kind of complete BS. Common sense would dictate that anyone with a "system" genuinely worth $5,000 in the first 30 days would not be selling it for $39, but it must be working.
I looked on Google and found that this program's affiliates had completely taken over pages 1-3. Most of them purported to be independent third-party review blogs, but they didn't do a very good job at that. Some of the blogs weren't even written in good English. I would link to them here, but I don't want to pass any link juice to them. Do a Google search on your own, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
None of these "honest reviews" say anything about how the program works, as one might expect from a pyramid scheme. If you're thinking of buying this program, let me save you $39. The secret: sign up as an Auto Cash Funnel affiliate and spam everybody. That's usually how it works with this type of program. If you're lucky, they might also throw in some shallow, poorly-organized, generic marketing advice.
I will provide a few links to spam hubs that are promoting this program. I have flagged all of them with HubPages and encourage you to do the same. I'm not hyperlinking these - again, I don't want to pass link juice to spam hubs.
You get the picture. Now how do we get rid of this crap?
Eric Graudins (2009)
When I first started playing with HubPages, I was experimenting with network marketing. At the time, I believed that I might be able to build a real, honest business out of MLM. I still think it might have been possible, but I eventually decided that I just wasn't that committed to MLM. I grew tired of being associated with get-rich-quick schemes.
I purchased a program at the time called "Renegade University." I put up a Hub about it on my old profile ("mlm writer"). I had found some good content in the training videos, but soon discovered that a number of RU students were blasting the internet with affiliate spam. I saw that if I stuck around these circles much longer, I was going to do some serious damage to my online brand. A number of RU spammers posted low-substance hubs consisting of pure promotional content.
Eric Graudins posted a challenge to all RU affiliates, and I decided to take him up on it. I created this hub in response to his posting. If you read it, you'll see that I capitulated, admitting that I could not satisfy the conditions of the challenge. Namely: I couldn't figure out how to actually make money with it. I did eventually receive some commission checks a few months later, though.
Why am I telling you all of this? Graudins did something I would like to see more of. What would it look like if the community made this a standard practice - demanding that spammers "put up or shut up?"