HubPages, Panda, and Duplicate (Stolen) Content
Why I Chose HubPages
I chose to write at HubPages because I had the freedom to write about anything I wanted to write about. I could publish informative articles, how-to articles, current events and political articles, and I could even publish rants (which is what this hub has turned out to be). I could publish all sorts of material without being subject to censorship or an approval process. Once I began publishing on HubPages, my material was being read, and I was earning money, too!
Another reason I chose to write at HubPages was because other writing sites (like Triond and Redgage) rely heavily on social networking for success. I don’t particularly care for relying on other members to read my material in order to receive traffic or to earn money. Any social networking on HubPages (was) for enjoyment, not for need.
Since Panda, I can’t really say this anymore. Although I still have the freedom to write about anything I want to write about, my material is not as visible on an internet search as it once was, and I have experienced a sharp decrease in readership and an even sharper decrease in earnings from Google Adsense.
It also seems that the HubPages’s ad program is based upon page views, and since my page views have plummeted due to Panda, a few dimes a day has not made up for my lost visibility and my lost readership.
HubPages’s Solutions to Panda
HubPages was quick to implement some changes in an effort to try to regain its reputation with Google. I thought that addressing the Amazon capsules and any links that redirects readers to other sites at the beginning of a hub were sensible ideas. Of course, since then, the Amazon affiliates program is no longer available.
I haven’t been very happy about the other changes. These changes, I feel, gear the site more towards a social-networking site—the type of site that I just don’t particularly care for—promoting, what I refer to as, swapping reads.
And while I do enjoy reading material written by other hubbers, and I enjoy having comments made on my hubs, I don’t enjoy having to rely upon members within the site in order for my material to be read (or to make money). Although I feel that HubPages is a community, I never felt that this was forced until recently, and this is a turn-off, at least for me it is.
Duplicate and Stolen Content
In April of this year, I happened to come across several of my hubs that had been stolen, some ranking higher on a Google search than mine. Not only did I find my hubs on other writing sites, but I found my hubs on blogs, too (one a local DUI attorney to boot!). Not only was my content stolen, but my titles were used. Not once did I receive a flag for duplicate content from HubPages, even when the site began cracking down on duplicate content that same month.
(If you have ever found your material stolen, I don’t need to explain the deflated feeling that it causes. I, still, can’t seem to write much of anything worth reading since this happened to me.)
This is very confusing because, from what I understand, sites with duplicate content were hit hard with Google (Panda), and I was also under the impression that duplicate content is something that has always impacted the PageRank of writing sites.
Although HubPages has a process for receiving complaints about material published on its site that may be a copyright infringement, HubPages doesn’t seem to have a process to protect (or even alert) its own members from being victims of copyright infringement. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
If you search HubPages for duplicate content or stolen content, you will come across articles and comments in both forums and hubs that indicate hubbers have experienced their content being stolen from this site. So, this isn’t something new.
I wonder why HubPages has never addressed this problem. I also wonder why HubPages isn’t currently doing something to address this problem since duplicate content is a factor with Panda. One would think that preventing (or alerting) stolen content for its members would be a priority, but, instead, it seems that focusing on social networking and creating more traffic from within the site is priority.
This is selfish.
Unfortunately, I am one of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hubbers who relied solely on HubPages instead of utilizing several different writing sites. So, not only am I battling this fear of having my content being stolen (without being alerted and/or protected), but I am also afraid to move some of my content to other sites, fearing I will be accused of stealing content even though the content is, in fact, mine.
The only good part about this experience is that filing a DMCA complaint with Google is quick and easy, and Google’s response time is more than impressive. Google removed my stolen content that was posted on Google Blogger and removed the content from its search engines. However, I had to find the stolen content on my own.
Google’s quick response doesn’t solve my problem of relocating content without fear of being accused of copyright infringement or being accused by a different writing site of stealing content or refusing to publish it, branding it as duplicate. It also doesn’t solve my problem of publishing new content on HubPages without fear of it being stolen so very easily.
Needless to say, this is what has curbed my activity on HubPages.
It has also resulted in a severe bout of writer’s block...