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From A Moderator’s Mouth: Overly Promotional Hubs
Whether you've had a hub flagged for overly promotional content, whether you're looking to avoid being flagged, or whether you're wondering what Hubs merit flagging, it's helpful to know exactly what to look for, so I've put together this Hub to tell you what we at HubPages look for. I hope it serves to clarify our rules and the moderation process, for hub-writers and hub-viewers alike!
Feel free to leave additional questions in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.
What is Overly Promotional Content?
The FAQs are a little more explicit about a specific definition of the term itself, but there remains much to be said about the particulars we look for when removing a Hub from circulation and asking an author to revise it. If your hub has been flagged as overly promotional, check against the following common problems to see whether your Hub falls into any of the following categories.
More than 2 links to a single domain
There is sometimes confusion over this, the simplest of the "overly promotional" guidelines. Web newbies may think that, in linking to different pages on the same site, they are not in violation of this rule. We do not look at individual pages, but rather at the domain name (everything before the .com or .net). Affiliate links like Clickbank sites and cloakers** like TinyURL, though they may navigate to different domains, all count as a single domain for the purposes of the 2-link rule. In general, news sites and wikis are exempt from this rule. **Note: cloakers provide their own specific problems, which are addressed in the section of that name, below.
Excessive use of cloakers
Some Hubbers think they can get around the 2-link rule with the use of cloakers or redirections. In fact, the use of cloakers backfires; they are considered "wild cards" and add to the total number of links to whatever other domains you've linked to directly. For example, if you have two affiliate links in a Hub, and one cloaked link, that puts you over the limit. In the same way, one affiliate link and two cloakers would also push your Hub into the category of overly promotional.
Short hubs with links
A Hub of only a paragraph, with little substance, or with a teaser and a link to "read more" is also considered overly promotional, since it does not provide our visitors with any real content, and simply bounces traffic to another site.
Promotional RSS feeds
Obviously, the use of RSS feeds often (if not always) means more than two links to a single domain. They do generally provide an exception to the 2-link rule, except in two cases. The first is affiliate feeds. We provide Amazon and EBay capsules to allow users to generate revenue from the display of relevant products on their Hubs, so affiliate links to these sites are redundant, and affiliate feeds to other websites break our 2-link promotion rule. The other is when a user has linked to the same site both in the body of the text and in an RSS feed capsule, especially when these make up the bulk of the outbound links on the Hub.
Placing links to sites with content unrelated to the subject matter of your Hub is not permitted. This includes attaching a section to the bottom of every Hub advertising your blog, site, or affiliate opportunity, unless the Hub itself is about the same topic. Of course, the 2-link rule still applies in these cases, and "hiding" the link or links at the very bottom of the hub below a comment or RSS capsule won't make a difference in your link count.
A Few Final Words
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of criteria. If your Hub has been flagged, but does not easily identify with any of these situations, that does not mean it is not overly promotional or was wrongly flagged. I am merely offering up some problems I often run into in the hopes that it helps answer some questions Hubbers commonly raise when their Hubs are moderated. If, after reading these common problems, you are still unclear as to why your Hub has been flagged, send an email to email@example.com, rather than simply resubmitting it without making changes, as this may result in the banning of your account.