Today, via an email from staff, HP has revealed that
"The revenue from the Related Searches ads is not shared"
These groups of RSS style adense ads appear down the right side, and the bottom of all hubs, irrespective of whether the ad program is tuned off or on. They first appeared on hubs about 8 weeks ago.
This would appear to break the long standing Revenue Sharing Deal (60:40) on HP.
For background see: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/111578
Perhaps HP staff could clarify this situation.
Hey janderson99! It's OK for you to say the email was from me. You are always free to ask for clarification from us directly. Confrontations are not necessary (though perhaps you're feeling a bit bored this splendid Friday evening and want to stir up a little drama. I suppose this is an option... though then... there's Netflix).
The revenue with this particular link unit is not shared- mostly because, as I understand it, the ads are actually on another page. Rest assured the live ads on your Hub ARE included in the revenue split.
I can't provide all that much more information about how the link unit works, though I've pinged Paul E about this thread and he'll weigh in if he is available (that said, it's the weekend, he might be away with his family, so no promises). I might be offline much of the weekend too, so if anyone has questions about this, please email me directly. I am happy to provide any answers or explanations I can.
A quick link for maximum convenience: simonesmith.hubpages.com/#email
[EDIT: IT IS NOT FRIDAY!!!! Damn. But not damn! This means Paul will be able to easily respond by a reasonable hour tomorrow morning. ]
Uhh...Simone...It's only Thursday (I asked my wife to verify that).
I really hope that HP isn't getting to you - you're far too young to lose it already.
Clearly it is. I asked my wife to verify, too. But... apparently she's not around?
Jon, sorry for the confusion; you have it right.
A little more clarity. Revenue earned on Hubs and profile pages are part of the HP Ads program where Hubbers have the capability of earning. Search, topic pages, and tag pages, when they existed, have never been part of the shared-revenue program. This hasn't changed since we launched the company nearly 7 years ago. We have always excluded pages from the program where we control the content on the page like we do with the related search pages (search), topic pages, and like we did with tag pages in the past.
I know it can be a bit confusing because Hubs have undergone several iterations of design through the years, but I hope this clarifies things for you.
Pardon any typos, I'm feeling a bit under the weather.
Is it possible to opt out of 'Related Searches'?
Could you develop this as an option?
I can't see how this provides any benefit for me.
It simply draws people away from my articles, my related article links and the ads that I share the revenue for.
I think to call them 'searches' is misleading as they are simply pages of Google ad links.
Have a nice weekend! Cheers!
Hey janderson99! I'll step in to the best extent possible.
1. Not now.
2. Sure! I've added that as an item to discuss in our next community meeting.
3. The income from the ads on the resulting page would pay for our implementing any/all changes you suggest (as well as site maintenance, etc.).
4. Janderson99, I think your articles are far more compelling than a Related Links ad unit, but I appreciate your concern.
5. As I understand it, the unit is actually configured on literally related searches. So it's less misleading than you might think.
I hope that helps!
A "related searches" is far different than the ads in question. First of all, related searches are located at the bottom of the hub, after the reader has read the hub. These ads are located at the side of the ad, in a floating sidebar, thus constantly tempting the reader away from our hub.
Secondly, the related searches usually are to actual content, not simple ads, which the related searches are.
It's not confusing -- it is just wrong.
2 cents here - if the "Related Search" led to other hubs - I could understand this (Even if I wouldn't particularly like it - the widget is far too prominent).
However - the Related Search feature doesn't lead to other hubs - it leads to a page filled with Google Ads. Do we get paid for the click that leads a user to the Related Search page?
This has nothing to do with internal traffic flow, everything to do with ad serving. If a hubber leads a user to a related search ad page they 100% deserve their share in any revenue generated from the traffic they send to that page.
I don't think it could be in any way deemed reasonable that by placing an intermediary page between a visitor and an ad click to stop a hubber from receiving entitled earnings is at all reasonable.
Because - that's all that related search is from what I can tell.
It is an advertisement on a hub, that does not share the profit equally. Just because it takes a visitor through an intermediary page on Hubpages doesn't make it any less wrong that the earnings are not shared.
If earnings from the Related Search page are infact shared, and I misunderstood something here, I apologize. But trying to pretend that this is not blatantly breaking the 60/40 rule if earnings from the page are not shared is a complete falsehood.
It's a two step ad unit.
If related search led to other hubs, fine. It's spreading traffic throughout the site, maybe I will get a few interested readers through it in return. But this isn't the case. It's a 100% net exporter to another page which has the sole purpose of generating Adsense revenue.
It is in no way, shape, or form, related to tags or categories.
To Paul Edmondson
So why did you say in another previous post about this topic
"Revenue share hasn't changed." and "You can always switch out of the HP Ad program and compare the results." When you well know that the Unrelated Search links appear on all hubs regardless of whether or not you are on HP Ad Program!
http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/110112? … ost2344322
You don't put 11 scrolling links each leading to a whole page of unrelated ads on our hubs for "other pages" you control. There is no other or previous comparison for what is happening here.
I agree with Janderson99 that authors should have the right to opt out of Related Search ads as it does us no good at all, on the contrary, it damages our reputation.
Hallo Sue Adams! I'll try to answer to the best extent possible.
1. Because it hasn't; as Paul says "Search, topic pages, and tag pages, when they existed, have never been part of the shared-revenue program"
2. Yeah, that's true. Sorry for the confusion. Switching from one program to another ain't gonna change anything.
3. It's in the queue of options to discuss implementing!
I am going to be charitable, and assume the related searches, in their prime position, are there to keep the company afloat.
HP must have had a huge revenue drop along with the rest of us.
I would be interested to know if it is paying off for them, or do people hit the back button when they land on a page full of ads.
I would also prefer if the related searches actually carried related ads, as many do not.
I also think the spelling/grammatical errors on the related searches detract from our hubs.
ie - on a hub I have open in another tab at the moment, one of the searches reads "writing a books", and the ads on that page include an ad for a credit card.
Right you are, IzzyM! Thanks for looking at both sides of the coin.
About the other things you mention:
1. I don't know about the unit's actual performance, but if we've kept it thus far, I reckon it is indeed doing it some good.
2. "Related Searches", as I understand it, tend to be more related to the searches of the viewer than the content of the Hub. I could be wrong, but I think that's why some of the options seem unrelated.
3. Yikes- hadn't noticed that. Thanks for bringing the grammatical issues up! Could be because those are actual popular searches being displayed (as we all know, many are poorly-worded)
Not only would I hit the back button, I would never go back to that site again!
If I see the words "related search", I assume that following the link will take me to more information about my topic of interest.
If I am taken to a page that consists solely of ads, with no information, I am going to feel cheated, feel the site is exploiting me and seeing me purely as a punter and cash cow. That site will lose any trust I might have had in it previously.
I can see why it would be impossible for us to get a share of this revenue, since the "Related Searches" goes to another page which isn't within our sub-domain, so the connection is lost.
I don't like them for another reason - which is that I've noticed the 'related searches' are not always very related. I know Google is generating them, but we all know that Adsense and Google Search don't talk to each other and often give contradictory advice - so I am not confident that we won't be penalized for these unrelated related search topics appearing on our Hubs.
As I explained above, my understanding is that the searches are more related to the searcher (this is at least how I understand it); not the cotent of the Hub. I could be wrong, but that's the impression I got. ^_^;;
My first thought was that the extra money was needed to pay for the QAP program!
It seems to me that perhaps the letter of the "revenue sharing mode" isn't broken but the spirit is.
But my traffic is up, and I am earning 3x more from my hubs than I was 3 months ago (not there yet, but if this goes on I will be able to afford a beer on HP everyday!), so it is hard to get too worked up about it.
I'd rather write on a site that wasn't 100% fair but got traffic, than an absolutely virtuous site that got none.
I just wish they didn't have mistakes in them! Surely the typos in my content are enough. And I imagine the ad page they go to is damn ugly! But it serves the fools who click on them, rather than "my" ads or Amazon links right!
Heck yeah- that thing ain't cheap!! Paying for human ratings of Hubs comes at quite the pretty penny.
I'm sorry that you feel the spirit of our revshare is broken. I have always felt really proud of HubPages' offering more than so many other sites (which offer 50-50 instead of our 60-40 in favor of writers).
I am, however, delighted to hear about the growth in traffic you have experienced.
Sorry about the lackluster grammar of those related searches! I think it's the nature of the unit. I'll see if there's anything we can do about it.
You are doing a very good job at pacifying everyone Simone. It still doesn't do away with the facts that
1. We don't like the R.S. ads feature
2. We don't want it on our domains
3. HP has gone from an 8 rank to a 5 since I've been here. HP needs more cash to survive? The only way to get back to higher ranking is a better site. We appreciate your efforts at cleaning out the junk, but you are messing it up again with cheap, misleading and offensive advertising. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater as they say.
4. I sometimes get the feeling that HP management are so desperate for money, they blindly try things out that often do more damage than good. What about concentrating on the wonderful moderation job, but getting rid of Related Searches?
5. Just for once, please allow us, your bread and butter, to continue building up our reputations as authors and, with less junk on the site, watch HP growing back to its former glory?
I don't imagine anyone likes the related searches. Better hope QAP does the trick. Better hope the ad economy picks up some more, too.
I second that for sure.
The text ads at the bottom of the hub are a duplication of the so called "Related Searches" ads in the sliding side bar. When a reader clicks on either of those, they are led to an entire page of crap advertisement totally unrelated to our hub's content. And... we do not get any money for it.
I am certain that if more authors knew about this type of cheap, misleading advertising on their hubs, they would agree with most of us here on this forum that we do not want them on our domains.
As I mentioned in another thread about this same subject, since they look a lot like AdSense link ads, why not just replace them with that and everyone wins.
Like Marisa very correctly pointed out "Adsense and Google Search don't talk to each other and often give contradictory advice" so maybe link ads would be a safe alternative.
Yeah but it doesn't seem to be catching on huh?
The reader gets to this "other page" for our hubs, instead of clicking ads we would get paid for.
So, tell me again why this is a good thing?
Calling the ad links "related searches" is VERY annoying to me as an Internet user. I hate it when websites do that. When I click on something that says "related searches" I expect to be taken to a page that has links to related articles on HubPages, not a page-sized Google Adsense block with links that are UNrelated to the topic (as often seems to be the case).
The deceptive title lures people away from the page only to be disappointed, and has the dual effect of making authors lose out on ad income and making visitors disinclined to click anything if they visit HubPages in the future.
Why not just replace it with a normal ad block so that visitors know what's what? Or change the title from "related searches" to "Page of Unrelated Ads". Or increase the revenue share from 60% to 70% to make up for what we are being cheated out of?
Good Thinking. I totally agree.
I agree! Google has been reprimanded in the past about deceptive ads and links to such ads. This will come back to bite HP and its contributors. It reflects badly on the authors who have no choice but to host these sneaky and deceptive ad links. Why do it? Why no explanation or information about the change of revenue sharing policy?
Well said Calculus! I totally agree. From a visitor perspective it's not good practice at all. Building website trust is very important and this is just the kind of thing that destroys it.
It's not great for building trust with HP writers either!
The Learning Center and FAQ clearly show the 'Related Search' as being part of both the Ad program and Adsense Option (SHARED INCOME). Why has this not been updated in 8 weeks? More deception!
At the very least that needs to be changed to the related search is a red box labeled as "100% hubpages income". It is what it is, at least be up front about it.
Well that must be wrong because....
"We have always excluded pages from the program where we control the content on the page like we do with the related search pages (search), topic pages, and like we did with tag pages in the past."
So evidently related search was color coded wrong there.
Good catch, J Anderson. It's misleading to label the "related searches" blocks as part of the Hub Ads program when the revenues from those links are not shared with the content creators.
I agree with what's been said here.
I think there are many valid points made and excellent solutions given.
Now...will they be listened to or will the thread be closed?
I suspect it will be ignored, like the first three threads asking for the income ratios to be made clear.
Since we are the ones writing the Hubs is it really fair that there are ads on there that we do not share in?
Or am I thinking incorrectly?
I just searched for "related search" on HP and saw this under the search for forums:
The current thread
HP Revenue Sharing Deal Broken? Search Ads Income not Shared!
is not shown on the list of forums on Related Search.
In fact, if you type in
"HP Revenue Sharing Deal Broken? Search Ads Income not Shared!"
in the general (top) search box of HubPages, this forum thread doesn't show up at all.
Could this be because of the exclamation mark?, or because the word "related" doesn't appear in the forum thread title? Or can you think of any other possible reason why this forum thread cannot be found when searching for it on HubPages?
Furthermore, this is the result from a search for answers on "related search".
Despite the fact that someone did ask a question about it here:
What is the "Related Search" sliding feature at the right of our Hubs?
again, neither the question nor the answer can be found when searching for "related search" on Answers!
My worry if that If only the 11 hubbers that follow this thread are aware of the problem, how can the rest of the community get informed?
I agree with all the posters on this thread. Here are several issues with the related search on HP.
1. It is misleading the readers to a bunch of ads, when they are expecting additional information about the topic.
2. The related search topics aren't always related, and the ads on the page that is leading to really don't have much to do with the related search topic that was clicked.
3. I expect the revenue share to be 60/40 but when there are links taking people away from my page to go to a HP revenue only, then it really isn't fair to me. This feature makes the revenue split less than 60/40. At least the links to other Hubbers gave them a share of a revenue, and reciprocal linking to my hubs.
4. The related searches appear twice on the page, and are stickied, so they are the most prominent on my hub.
That my friend sums up everything quite nicely.
Thanks Millionaire Tips, and now there are 12 (out of 120,317 published users) who are aware of the problem.
I find it incomprehensible that in the midst of all the screaming about "quality" and the imposition of a byzantine rating system, HP has also decided on this "unrelated spam" strategy.
This deceptive use of advertising might give HP a temporary income boost. However, it not only cheats the writers here, but it makes the site look cheap. Since "made for Adsense" sites are heavily penalised by Google, I can see it having a negative effect on HP's income and, of course, a further negative effect on writers' income in the long term.
I just read this for the first time. I confess I've never checked what happens if you click on 'Related Searches,' but as a regular Internet user, I'd assume it was for related content or similar topics, not a spammy enticement to click on ads.
To me, that's misleading and since readers don't know how little input we have to the ad program, it reflects poorly on us and drives people away from our work. And yet, we did not create the problem.
Worse yet - this is just a shade away from having big letters in your hub saying 'Please Click Here' and directing people to ads. That would be a big violation of AdSense policies, so why would falsely labeling ads as 'Related Searchss' be a good thing to do?
The answer is simple. These ads are designed to make HubPages ALOT of money. Imagine having hundreds of thousands of pages all pointing to your adsense ads - on pages where you get 100% of the revenues.
They are designed so that the reader ALWAYS sees them. It doesn't matter how a Hubber designs a page. Regardless of the engaging content or original photos, there are always at least 5 lines of code that are actively trying to take traffic away from the page. They scroll up and down the page and move with the reader. These are just one step away from pop-up ads.
If they weren't working and weren't generating revenue for HubPages, they would be gone. I'm not making enough money consistently to do this test. But if I were, I'd look at revenues before this test started and after, to see what effect they have on Hubbers.
First HubPages tried to ignore questions about these ads, then Paul E. answered them as vaguely as possible, then finally they had to admit that they get all of the revenue. Now they really continue to ignore these topics and hope that this will go away.
I should add that if Hubbers are being paid by view and not click, then this isn't quite so terrible. But it's hard to know with the HPAd program, just what we are getting paid for. It also makes generating sales via Amazon or eBay much more difficult.
My experience (one hubber out of thousands) is that revenue from HP ads has increased around 25% since those ads went into effect.
Amazon has increased closer to 75%. eBay has gone up, but never did much for me, so it's hard to say how far.
Bottom line; income has grown and while it is possible income might have increased 50% more than it has, there is no reason to think that is true. I don't think those ads grew my income, but neither do I think they decreased it.
When did they go into effect?
I'd like to check mine as well.
My experience it that earnings are steady, and given that there is no way at all these ads enrich us, any changes others experience are caused by some other factor--not the addition of this feature. Some parts of the recent changes can help some of us, this part cannot.
I think I seen the new ads started to appear 8 weeks ago. I don't like the idea of these ads on my pages without providing me any benefit, after all, it is my content they are siphoning from. That said, I haven't noticed any change in revenue that can be related to these ads.
No change here either.
My April 2013 earnings were $1 more than my April 2012 which REALLY sucks considering all the work I have put in since last year.
My April 2013 earnings are about one fifth of the earnings I had in April 2012.
wilderness - Imagine how much more income you would have received if HP had shared the income from the Related Search ads? Given their prominence and they way the compete with the other ads the extra income lost to authors is not trivial. Obviously we will never know, but HP would not continue with them if they did not make substantial income. Why not simply share the income and restore the trust in the partnership with authors and the 60:40 deal policy.
HP can do, and will do, what they like to run the HP business. However trust is important in any partnership and transparency about the rules, deals and policies is crucial. The deceptive way that this policy change has been handled has eroded that trust. There is a lot of trust in the other aspects of the revenue sharing. Why doesn't HP be upfront about this policy change which affects the revenue sharing deal? All authors should know about the changes as it affects the partnership. We can argue about not liking it for various reasons. We can request that HP share the income and change the heading 'Related Search' to make it clearer that they are ads, and make the listings more related. HP will make the decision. But authors should be properly informed about policy changes that affect them if the partnership is to be healthy. Trust, respect and transparency are the real issues IMO.
From what I see:
The Related Ads use keywords from the hub to lure readers to a page with nothing relevant. My browsing history, my left ankle!
The last two months are the first and second time in the past two years I did not earn an Adsense payout! How long have these ads been siphoning readers from our page?
While I don't necessarily disagree that the income should be shared, I can imagine all I want and it won't fill the money bucket. I can imagine I would have gotten $1,000 a month without those ads, or by sharing them, but it doesn't mean I would have. Partly because you're right - the income for HP is probably substantial, but that does NOT mean that "my" share (60% of that from my puny set of hubs) would have amounted to more than a dollar per month. We'll never know, but that isn't a reason to think we hubbers are losing a fortune.
I believe that whilst on the HP Ad program technically we are paid based on views, but the amount of time the reader stays on the page also influences the amount we get paid per view, so if the reader doesn't hang around because they click away to one these Related Ad pages it could negatively impact on our earnings.
Digby - I totally get it that this tactic makes a ton of money. I just worry about the deceptive way it's labeled. People come to our pages searching for content, not ads. So the term 'related searches' tricks them into thinking there are other articles they might want to read.
That's very reassuring Wilderness. Thank you for sharing those trends.
Marcy I completely understand your fears. It seems they want to have us keep increasing the quality of our Hubs. Then they decrease the number of ebay and Amazon products we can easily showcase. Then they hit us with this.
But if veterans like Wilderness are seeing an increase in revenues (which is the major reason I'm here) then I feel hopeful.
However if HubPages is losing a lot of money, then perhaps we are better off with a little of something, then more of nothing. We can't know how much money they are making and what the toll of the past few years has taken.
Simone has mentioned in other threads that they didn't have the bandwith for a recently planned contest. I've never been sure if that was another word general staffing levels or if it was meant as really not enough computing power. Either way, it didn't sound good.
I think you make a good point, and it's borne out by both a post from IzzyM ( http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/111781#post2380725) and the reply to that post from Simone.
We don't know what HP's income is, we don't know what their costs are or if there is any profit left. What we DO know, though, is that they have suffered along with the rest of us by a huge decrease in traffic, a decrease that has only recently been recovered after years of being low.
We know that HP has some big expenses at the same time they've seen a fall in traffic and income; the QAP, the MTurers, the Apprentice Program; all of these are designed to bring that traffic back and HP, not hubbers, have covered that cost. We have benefited from those programs, and hope to do so even more in the future, but we haven't paid for them: HP has.
We can make a guess at what the income is. HubPages was just about to break even when the first Panda hit.
And it just doesn't seem fair that someone runs ads on something you wrote and you get nothing for it.
Isn't that why we get upset when someone scrapes our Hubs?
When someone scrapes our hubs, that person is not helping us in any way. That can't be compared to HP. They are providing the business behind us that allows us to write without maintaining and paying for a domain.
If you tried to have your own domain to write under, unless you knew how to design for the internet, you would have a lot of learning on yoru hands, and your domain could easily get lost with no income at all. HP not only provides the expertise and the equipment, but they provide the 24-hour maintenance and the related employee and work site costs of running a business that keeping the equipment available to the internet requires.
While I completely agree that "related searches" is a very incorrect and misleading label for the ads that go to another page, I see a lot of comments in this thread that show a lack of understanding about the costs of running a large domain like HubPages. We need to remember that, while there are many, many subdomains on HP, most of them probably don't earn enough to be self-sustaining. If HP tried to charge everyone for the sub-domain, that wouldn't work either. So there needs to be an income stream that will allow them to operate - and, for all of our benefits at some point - to grow.
OK. That was my two cents worth.
The comparison is just in relation to the one area where they are doing something that uses us and benefits only them. I think that was pretty clear.
You could argue we should let them doing one exploitative thing because they do other great stuff. But IMHO, why not just go back to only doing the great stuff and not siphoning off out traffic for their own adsense?
HP gets 40% in the revenue sharing deal - Why break the deal by taking 100% for the so-called 'Related Search' ads. HP Traffic is up!
I'm not sure how to take that "agreed". If HubPages was just about to break even when the first Panda hit, then it stands to reason they must be making a loss now.
Of course I want a fair return on my work, but I also want HubPages to survive as a platform. If that means allowing them to earn a bit extra on the side, then I can live with that.
If they do so openly. And I am not feeling that here, or if so just barely.
I would rather they took another 5% off the top than ads they call shred in the help section, but that aren't shared (and it takes 5 threads to confirm that).
It is like the different between "idled" and "not featured". Looks the same on the surface but feels a tad sneaky.
I agree with all the people who oppose the related search ads.
HP are trying to increase income with a better quality site? That will never be achieved by bombarding our readers (not theirs) with deceptive advertisement.
The sad fact is that there are many ways for HP (and us) to increase revenue without the ugly "related ads" and without breaking the 60/40 revenue share deal (and yes putting a link on a hub that leads to a page from which HP only earns isn't really keeping the deal in good faith).
1. Do something about Amazon modules so they are not blocked by ad blocker. I imagine it isn't rocket science, both Wizzley and Squidoo manage to do it. Increasing numbers of people use this extension, and there is no chance of any of them making an amazon sale from our hubs. Individually we probably don't lose that many sales from this. Collectively I imaging the site would make a nice bit of extra money if Amazon modules weren't blocked. Especially since I imagine HP sells enough on Amazon to get into their 8.5% tier.
This would not increase the amount of advertising on our pages in any way. To be honest I think most people install adblocker for pop up ads and other ugliness, I don't think they would be too bothered with the very discrete Amazon modules, and for people actually looking for advice about buying products these are very useful ads as opposed to a nuisance.
2. Start more affiliate programs. I would especially like to recommend Zazzle. When implemented properly with big pictures (again look at Wizzley) these can actually add visually to a page, rather uglify it). They do actually convert, probably not as well as Amazon, but I have earned from affiliate links I've placed on Squidoo. The Zazzle cookie lives for a very long time, and the pay 15% for an affiliate sale.
Both of these, and I'm sure there are others, would potentially increase both ours and HP payments, and they don't uglify the site the way the related searc does.
Well aa lite I have seen some discussion on how Google feels about affiliate programs, some saying they are neutral and others saying they hate it.
So adding affiliate programs right now might not be a good idea since HP as a whole seems to be gaining favor in Google's eyes at the moment, as in we are up some 6 million page views since March 4th according to Quantcast.
There is an awful lot of misinformation on how Google feels about affiliate programs, most of it the result of panic.
This is what Google itself says about affiliate advertising:
"Pure affiliate sites consisting of content that appears in many other places on the web is unlikely to perform well in Google search results and can cause your site to be negatively perceived by search engines. Unique, relevant content provides value to users and distinguishes your site from other affiliates, making it more likely to rank well in Google search result pages.”
So, if you have unique content and include affiliate ads which are relevant to that content, you won't have any problems with Google. It's the "pure" affiliate sites - just lists of products or links with either no content or spun content - that they're out to get.
What Marisa said.
Loads of affiliate content, with almost no original content, like the shower curtain lenses on Squidoo are bad. But it is easy for HP to ensure that we don't have too many Amazon or Zazzle or whatever links on our hubs, and hubs with too little "real content" wouldn't pass the QAP and wouldn't be featured anyway. In fact pages that are "overly promotional" don't just end up idled, but are at risk of being unpublished.
FYI Google has no problem with affiliate programs, it doesn't change anything. The issues arise when you have a page that adds no value.
For instance, one of my biggest problems with one Hubpages 'quality change' was the addition of the 50 words per amazon/eBay module rule. This meant that on some hubs I had to remove ebay modules (Where under each section I had an Amazon/Ebay price comparison).
One Google Quality Value Score is adding value to a page by including price comparisons, I therefore had to lower my page quality in the eyes of Google to keep some pages published unde Hubpages quality rules.
I see a lot of "HP needs to cover their costs" arguments. Well, obviously. That's why they take 40%. No one is disuputing that HP must take a cut to pay for maintenance of the site. Grass is green and sky is blue.
The point in dispute here is whether the "related search" ads violate the 40/60 agreement, which they clearly do since we are not getting a share of those earnings.
If the 60/40 split does not cover their costs, they should change it.
The huge advantage of hubpages is that it is relatively clear what that the deal is.
This 'related search' thing chips away at that.
I don't want to speculate on HubPages finances and whether they "need" to take a larger share. Only HP knows what HP earns. 40% is already a sizeable take; I'd rather they not place several unshared ads on our pages or appropriate an extra x% across the board, especially without telling us of the new changed conditions. Contributors also need the money, and whose to say that some contributors don't need the money more than HP does? It doesn't even matter which party needs the money more than the other. 40/60 is the deal everyone agreed to when they signed up. If HP is going to change the terms, then everyone should be made aware of it so they can make an informed choice whether to keep their content on this site.
On one hand we have Paul saying "We have always excluded pages from the program where we control the content on the page like we do with the related search pages (search), topic pages, and like we did with tag pages in the past."
And on the other hand we have the graphic that janderson99 posted which appears to show HP saying that Related Search is indeed shared.
Oh man, I hadn't even noticed those so-called "related searches," so I had to go take a look.
For me, it's not so much that HP is taking 100% of any revenue from them. It's more the way they make our hubs seem a bit spammy. Those things follow you all over the page, and as others have said, they aren't even real searches. Not good for ol' integrity and web reputation thing.
The only reason a visitor would click on the "related searches" (bogus) link is because they haven't found what they are looking for on our hubs. A way to combat this is to provide our own "Related Topics" with an eye grabbing graphic and enticing entry for them to click away.
To clarify the second to last post I made.
Search, tags, categories = internal traffic drivers with reciprocal return for participation.
Related Search = Lead to an ad page with no return for participation.
If Hubpages is hurting bad for money, or struggling with investor relations, then deceiving hubbers with underhand monetization is far from an ideal solution to fix the problem.
Maybe reviewing the issues that led to the exodus of the majority of high earning hubbers and the traffic generating knowledge they held could help the situation. Working towards changes that bring back the writers who know how to turn a profit would have far greater benefit across the board.
Acting like 'related search; is like any other non-hub page strikes me as disingenuous. These are ad pages, they are served traffic from hubs, ergo they are basically extensions of hubs. They are not like the Hubpages front page or help pages or other non-hub pages. They are different.
I totally agree with you.
The wording is wrong, these ads are not 'related search', they are 'vaguely related ads'.
They have a prime spot on the page.
They must surely detract from our hubs.
They break the 60/40 agreement.
I would ask Hubpages to remove them. If they are desperate for money, change the revenue split, honestly and openly.
I then have the right to leave my content here and accept a lower rate, or move.
Let's be open and honest.
I suspect that HP may be acting contrary to Google Ad Placement Policies (in spirit at least) with the use of the term 'Related Search'. Several of my loyal readers have complained to me that they were misleading (tricky ad traps)
Placing ads under a misleading heading
It's important that visitors to your site are not misled in any way and are able to easily distinguish content from Google ads. This policy prohibits placing ads under misleading headings such as "resources" or "helpful links."
http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/a … ng_heading
Just a further reason why they should be removed.
They do seem to break Adsense rules; they break everything we have been taught, in actual fact.
This could damage the site more than all the substandard articles they are so keen on hiding from the search engines.
HP staff do not have a good track record of listening to their authors.
I would beg them to re-consider, on this occasion.
We all want us all to do well, for the site to get back into Google's good graces; to be known as a site that offers useful, factual, interesting information.
Not one that cheats the reader into clicking useless links.
At least change the wording from 'related search' to 'related ads'.
And once that is done, be prepared for an uprising from the authors.
The 60/40 split should be fair, else change the agreement.
I hate to burst everyone's bubble but I have seen related search on many sites with the same re-direction to an ad list. If you hover over the 'related search' it is a google link that takes you to information relating to extensions etc. So it seems that this is actually an allowed method of directing users to Google Ads and is specifically designed by Google.
If you think about it - Google essentially does the same by having paid sites at the top of every google search - so 'related search' isn't mis-leading if you consider the business model Google already uses and has - it's simply directing you to sites that have paid google.
I note that I haven't formed an opinion about the lack of share of revenue though - just merely pointing out that this isn't going to get us on the bad side of Google....
"Placing ads under a misleading heading
It's important that visitors to your site are not misled in any way and are able to easily distinguish content from Google ads. This policy prohibits placing ads under misleading headings such as "resources" or "helpful links."
http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/a … ng_heading
Doesn't this disprove what you are saying then (Google can do what they like on their own search results etc as they are the 'bosses', how they treat other sites and site owners is a whole different ball game). Also the sites you have seen doing this same thing may not keep their Adsense accounts very long, or could end up going under altogether if Google choose to gradually make them vanish in the SERPS.
It's not a misleading heading by Google's own defintion therefore they cannot penalize anyone for using the same method- related searches leads to a list of paid for sites - just like you search for something on Google and you get a list of paid sites - same thing.
Can you please provide and example that uses the same heading
"I have seen related search on many sites with the same re-direction to an ad list."
No. Not in the mood to go back and have to prove myself - why is it that when anyone brings up something against the mass opinion they have to provide a gazillion examples - is my word as a long standing hubber not enough or am I f'in lying?
Sorry, I did not doubt what you said. I have searched and I can not find any examples using 'Related Search' as a heading term - that is all. I'm not saying they are none - I simply can't find one. I would like to check the details.
I apologize for any unintended implication.
No problem - just having a bad couple of days and re-evaluating what is important to me.
There are many examples of the 'link unit' being used and there's a whole section on Google on them:
http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/a … ;ctx=topic
I do note that google has a header 'google ads' but I can't find anywhere where they say it's not allowed to use 'related search' as in a way it is a related search (even though it seems only about 50% of the related searches are related!!).
I visit several hundred websites a day when researching hubs and have seen many cases using a similar link unit - I've simply ignored them and haven't thought less of these sites. I'll see if I can find some examples!
But by all accounts these 'Related Searches' links on HP lead to pages of mostly 'unrelated Ads'. Google searches at least result in sites that are on the topic searched for!
Maybe because none of them suggested something was a normal practice that could be easily pointed to.
Related Searches on our hubs don't seem to relate well. The ad has nothing to do with the search results on one hub I checked.
Have you noticed that 'related searches' is no longer an option when entering a query? It used to be an option under search tools, which I used at times for keywords. Google removed it.
I have also seen these sorts of two-step ads (as Thisisoli characterized them) on other sites. And I believe HubPages is a premium Adsense partner, so they may have less stringent rules to follow and are provided with a wider array of ad display options by Google. Either way, since these ads appear on hubs, the revenue should be shared with the authors of the hubs as per the agreement.
That's the problem - the ads are not appearing on our articles but on an independant page.
I guess HP would argue that no one gains revenue when someone clicks on 'similar articles', the principle is the same. I agree while this isn't breaking the revenue share agreement, it does seem un-honorable!
True, it is on a new page, but that page is only accessed by clicking a link under the "related searches" block, and moreover it is page that consists entirely of an ad. The url for the new page is like the dynamic urls of links in normal Adsense blocks when you hover over the text, not static urls like topic pages. Like this:
http://hubpages.com/linkunit/?term=Dice … Sided-Dice
(it was so long most of it got cut off) In essence it's an Adsense block that just requires an extra muscle twitch in the finger. Also, I contend that not sharing the revenue from these ads does indeed break the 60/40 agreement.
We can go around like this forever - there are links to the homepage - any Ads on there are Hubpages etc. At the end of the day it's HP who decides what is shared and what isn't - and if you read the TOS there is a standard 'HP reserves the right...' clause....
I think Paul E has said as much as he's ever going to say on this....
I would say that it is breaking the agreement because it is an advertisement, even if it does have two steps to it.
Related searches is nothing more than an advertisement, a highly prominent one, that uses the visual attraction of floating constant beside an article.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is siphoning off rather a large amount of revenue from hubbers, and it annoys me immensely.
It seems that whenever I get spare content and I decide to put it on the Hubpages platform, something has happened that just makes me want to leave it again.
OK - apologies for the way I may have framed my responses. The 'section' we are seeing on Hubpages is using Google's Link Units technology - the only thing that HP may be doing wrong is change the 'related ads' to a 'related searches' - however I would think that HP have fully checked Google's TOS and probably even contacted Google directly to ensure that this change will not lead to a violation.
I"m not saying whether it's right or wrong, just pointing out it is a methology promoted by Google.....
Your link lead to this: Examples of Link Units
These are link units with no more than 4 links. These could be placed directly on our hubs and generate revenue for us. No objection to those, but...
There are 2 questions being discussed on this thread:
1. Is Revenue Sharing Deal broken?
I believe the answer is a clear "yes". According to http://hubpages.com/help/user_agreementHP user agreement: "HubPages will rotate Your third party IDs into 60% of the Impressions on the Hubs You create."
Just because the so called Related Search ads are links to pages and pages of mostly unrelated adverts, those adverts come from "Impressions on the Hubs we create". Without our Hubs, those links could not exist.
2. Do we oppose the Related Searches links on our Pages?
General opinion says "Yes" because of the deceptive nature of those links. No clause in the User Agreement permits HP to put 11 spammy links onto our pages.
The url for all those links lead to hubpages.com/linkunit/blah...blah
We are not allowed to put more than 2 links to the same domain on our Hubs, right? What HP are doing is against their own rules, putting no less than eleven links to the same domain on each and every one of our Hubs!
I'm not disagreeing - I'm just saying this is Google's technology so they are not violating Google's policy - also he clause in the TOS essentially gives HP the right to do anything they wish without letting us know. HP haven't broken any terms of agreement if you read them literally - it's simply an underhand way of doing things in many people's eyes...
That I think is main point here.
"Without our Hubs, those links could not exist"
Unrelated links to the same domain does seem inequitable. However, Hubpages is one of the top paying sites on the internet for writers, so whatever gets the job done, helps the writers.
I just don't understand why they don't monetize the forums (or other areas) if they need the cash. I think monetizing the heck outa the forums would kill two birds with one stone.
AdSense Program Policies
In order to ensure a good experience for users and advertisers, publishers participating in the AdSense program may not:
Compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior.
Encourage users to click the Google ads using phrases such as "click the ads", "support us", "visit these links" or other similar language.
Direct user attention to the ads using arrows or other graphical gimmicks.
Place misleading images alongside individual ads.
Place ads in a floating box script.
Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.
Place misleading labels above Google ad units. For instance, ads may be labelled "Sponsored Links" or "Advertisements", but not "Favourite Sites" or "Today's Top Offers".
HP Staff, you want us to follow the rules then lead by example!!!! Share it or get rid of it!!!
The Google rules don't necessarily apply because the adsense 'ad' is static on another page. The floating box is the lead to that page.
Maybe my perspective is too simplistic, but as as far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong) the TOS stipulate a 60/40 split in revenue for ads which are placed on our content. The related search are adds, is doesn't matter how they are dressed up they are ads, and they are also placed on our content, whether they take the viewer to other ad links is irrelevant.
The 60/40 deal is no more. They need to change their TOS, if this is how they're going to proceed.
Existing and potential writers need to be given accurate information when it comes to rev share, after all, this is the contractual basis on which writers agree to place content here.
Agreed one hundred percent. We need to keep speaking up until these concerns are addressed.
Well this thread has been going on for two weeks and there are a lot of good comments, suggestions, ideas here.
I think the discussion for the most part has been calm and reasonable so I think this is the kind of thread that might make HP staff look at it and possibly consider some of our ideas.
How come we've had no reaction at all from HP staff yet on this forum thread.
Well they did respond twice early on but haven't said anything since to address these new issues that people have brought up.
A back and forth dialogue would be nice.
Well in my personal view, the only acceptable response from staff would be "We're sorry, you're right - what we're doing DOES break the 60/40 agreement and from now on, we'll give you your fair share. And we'll change the "Related searches" heading to something less misleading for the reader, to boot. Like "Sponsored links" or even just "Ads", for example."
But I'm not holding my breath. It's bank holiday here and I don't fancy spending it in my local A&E.
LOL...I had to look up A&E...
And I agree with you for the reasons I listed above.
If you didnt write the Hub in the first place there would be nothing for them to put the ad on.
And a LOT of other questions have been raised since those two replies that I think need answering.
livewithrichard brought up a really good point.
And thisissoli didn't just fall off the turnip truck either.
"If you didnt write the Hub in the first place there would be nothing for them to put the ad on. " I do believe we have a chicken and egg situation here - without HP to put the article on then there would be no Hub!
Sorry - it's in my nature to be the Devil's Advocate. I can see both sides point of view - and try and at least get people to think of the flip-side of the coin - I'm sitting on a fence here and it's very sharp
I agree with most points in the forum - but do not think many people would be happy with anything that HP said at this point.
We should get together. Your comments are exactly why I've not participated in this thread. I'll at least try to see both sides and I don't see that happening here.
As far as new points, suggestions and ideas; the only thing I see here is the point that it is a sneaky and underhanded way of adding to HP's income and the suggestion that it be either shared or removed. Nothing new in either case from prior threads, and nothing HP hasn't already responded to.
I did consider asking if it could be shared on an 80/20 basis as a compromise. The hubs are providing traffic, the ads aren't on the hubs, and the additional income is directly attributable to additional work by HP, nothing that the hubber did any differently. Didn't think I would find anyone here that would even think about a compromise, though.
Well HP isn't the only web 2.0 site, there are quite a few others out there. Whether they treat their writers any better, or whether one can earn more on them is another question of course.
Squidoo is even more ad-heavy (trying to be polite here), and from my experience their communications with their writers is worse. The newer sites, like wizzley and Zujava actually look really good, and seem to be run by very decent people, but at the moment probably don't have the critical mass to optimize your earnings.
But certainly HP isn't the only site where one can publish articles. Right now it seems to be doing well in Google's eyes, especially after the squid's recent fall from grace, but we all now that will not necessarily last.
Agreed - and I actually agree that the Ads don't really add anything to the quality of a Hub - although it does seem to be a preferred method of getting additional clicks to Ads that is promoted by Google - there must be some success with it otherwise Google 'link units' would not exist (they often have new ways of getting ads shown that are discontinued).
I guess the one thing that is missing (and we're never going to get from HP) is the Business Case for these - if the revenue generated from these Ads help keep the HP platform alive then as a user of HP I have to accept that.
I agree that some clarity is needed - and a convincing argument of why this seems to circumnavigate the 60/40 share...
Oh I would....
"We are removing the Related Searches, replacing them with Google Ad Links and sharing the income as usual."
I would be perfectly happy with that.
I think we've had the only response they want to give so far. 1) We're just experimenting with this, 2) the ad itself is not on a hub so you don't get a share.
I have a view. I don't like the adverts. They are misleading and spammy - low-rent stuff.
The revenue sharing is an issue of course but from my angle the main issue is one of quality.
Many of us have worked long and hard to bring our pages up to the right quality level - to provide decent results for visitors.
In a moment of HTML someone can slap a crappy advert block on. Those few extra dollars that the blocks make may lose a lot more in terms of repeat visitors, social sharing and quite possibly - yet another Google slap.
There. I have said my piece.
How about if the "Related Search" actually led to something.... related? I dunno, maybe a search of hubs matching the keyword used as the lure? Could these pages also contain advertising?
My suggestion is to replace the heading with
"Related Adsense Links"
This is completely transparent and honest - no deception involved and people understand that some of the links may be related to their general search history. The list of links under the heading is still enticing and highly targeted in most instances.
The revenue should be shared 60:40
I'd be very happy with that
Is the compromise that Reality Bytes came up with something you'd consider:
Related Search - actually lists some hubs based on the relevant keywords - and perhaps has a few non-HP Ads below the Hubs?
Any Ads on this Relatd Search page would be 100% HPs - this would just be like any advertising on search pages, topic pages etc. on HP.
The advantage is that other hubbers may get click throughs.
Not sure if HP would be open to this of course.
"maybe a search of hubs matching the keyword used as the lure"
is already covered by the gang of 8 images under Discover More Hubs at the bottom of the page.
I can see how effective these new links are, especially as they go up and down as you scroll, and the link text is spot on in most cases. Great idea - just remove any deception so the reader is not tricked, and they know they are adsense links, AND share the income generated from the hubbers articles.
'Related Adsense Links' (or similar) + 60:40 share =>>>>
Better for the readers, Better for hubbers, Better for the reputation of the authors and HP in having a site with integrity, Better for HP in generating more shared income from a quality site that respects its readers and authors and has a transparent policy. Lets get back to writing high quality content!
'Sponsored Links' + 60:40 share definitely!
Since most of the links are NOT related.
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