The Future of Mother HubPages
For the main HubPages site to have a healthy future, she needs to clean up her act. Let us give the old Mum HP a make-over. Two things only need to be done:
1. vetting newcomers and
2. delete unfeatured hubs
A vetting system for newcomers
Having a vetting system for newcomers is not a new idea. It has popped up several times in the forums, but the issue has never specifically been addressed in its own thread.
A candidate would be given guidelines on how to submit say 300 words + picture and or video on any topic.
2. Delete unfeatured hubs, with a two to four months grace period.
Now good old mother HubPages has had her make-over and can look forward to a clean and bright future. Who knows, maybe the new sites will do so well, they may sponsor some more artistic content on the mother site?
Why would you delete unfeatured hubs when Google doesn't see them anyhow?
Exactly. Allowing unFeatured Hubs to exist is one way of ensuring that hobby writers hang around on HubPages - the kind of writers who don't care if they have thousands of readers, they just want to be able to publish stuff. And those people help keep the forums going and provide readers and commenters for other Hubbers, too.
You are a businesswoman, I am sure you understand priorities. If your business model was no longer working, and you identified new projects which could save it, what would you do? Would you throw all your resources into those new projects? Or would you assign scarce resources to tinkering with the old, broken business model, ensuring that the new projects would take even longer to get off the ground?
HubPages has said it is looking at solutions for the "mother ship", but right now they need to focus their attention on the new projects. You might suggest they could assign "a couple" of staff to cleaning up the main site, but given the size of HubPages' team, a couple of people is a lot. So let's be patient. I would rather HubPages got the new sites going first, since that's HP's best chance of still being in business at all by this time next year.
Also --there is a big difference between hubs unfeatured for quality and unfeatured for traffic.
In fact, I don't think hubs unfeatured for traffic (some of them seasonal) should be unfeatured at all as long as they meet quality standards.
Glad my mother did not unfeature then delete me in my formative teenage years.
That kind of experience just toughens you up, lol.
It is interesting, though that many hubbers see HP in family terms, with Paul Edmondson as Dad, Robin as Mum/Mom and all those other hubbers as pesky brothers and sisters.
Which is why the criticism is unbridled when things go badly here.
Why are you doing these bad things to me Dad! Whaaa!
You don't love me anymore! Whaa!
I'm going to run away from home!
You, my friend, just earned yourself another follower.
It's probably because HubPages doesn't communicate like the sort of businesses average users are familiar with. Their bosses don't communicate like that, nor do their clients, suppliers, or other business contacts. When a business doesn't communicate like a business, people aren't sure how to respond to it.
The criticism is unbridled because there's too little communication. If HubPages acted like they had a plan and communicated about that plan people wouldn't feel the need to speculate. As it is, their communications are sparse and vague and they seem to have admitted they have no plan for HubPages or for their niche sites. Any time a business decides to fly by the seat of its pants without a concrete plan, people will criticize it. If they actually do have plans for the niche sites, they really ought to at least say they do rather than acting like it's all desperate last minute scrabbling.
HubPages could choose to communicate and they'd get more of what they want (articles written for the niche sites) and less of what they don't want while they avoided wasting people's time. Having people continue writing things HubPages has no use for and no future use for serves no purpose.
Why not take a few deep breaths and work towards a realistic view of what this site is?
HP have a plan even if they have not published a road-map that details every possible step in the process. Why not wait and see if it actually works out? See it is an adventure.
They have lots of avenues to explore, with many possible changes in direction as new data and new ideas emerge. Not everybody is comfortable with the ever changing nature of the online world but it is what it is.
One thing I would say about HP, they are a pragmatic, adaptable and determined bunch. Most other sites of this kind are long gone.
I have a realistic view. HubPages is a content farm with the standard content farm lack of planning and disconnect with its users. It's not an online phenomenon that HubPages doesn't communicate effectively, it's a content farm problem. I'm well aware of the speed of change online. Other businesses I interact with handle it with courtesy and communication.
Just because a business operates online, it doesn't mean it is too special to act like a business. I don't get why some people give content farm owners a sort of special status that puts them above acting like everyone else in the business world.
If HubPages has more of a plan than, "we're doing these two niches next," they aren't doing a good job of conveying it. Looking like you're running around without any clear direction in mind isn't good business. Average people realize that successful businesses have plans and that even businesses with plans fail. They don't need to detail their plans, just act like they have some and release all the topics they know they plan to create sites for.
It serves no purpose to keep the next thirty or so niches secret. Doing so only discourages people from adding anything to HubPages if they don't already write on the handful of over-saturated topics that have been announced. I realize HP won't be able to do anything right away with the hubs that are written now for niche sites that don't yet exist, but it would give hubbers something useful to contribute to the site. It's like HubPages only sees what the staff needs to do without realizing people will need to keep writing new content as the niche sites move forward.
The fact is that I had an optimistic view that HubPages was different from all the other content farms. Seeing them act like Squidoo is very disappointing. It's not unprofessional to point it out when you see a business headed for a cliff the people running it don't seem to see. There's nothing professional about silently watching people make the same mistakes you've seen other people make that helped to crash their businesses.
Squidoo's first running leap toward failure was their decision to limit communication with its users, to plug their ears to their suggestions. If they'd listened to any one of the dozens who said for the last few years of the failed business, "Hey, you know Google hates ads made to look like articles so why not stop encouraging them and stop running contests to create more?" things might have gone very differently.
P.S. I've been shot at, beaten into a coma, and stabbed before; I don't need toughening up.
Wow. I completely disagree. I think HP DOES communicate with us. I feel very much in the loop. I have had many of my articles pro edited or snip edited and transferred to the new PetHelpful. My views are up by 1/3 overall from new Google traffic, and probably 800 percent for some of those articles. How many of your hubs have been transferred to a niche site? I would hold your reaction until a month after they are (if they are). HubPages answered all of my concerns about the editing processes and the move. I think they are very, very much in touch.
For a long time I thought the same way that you apparently do: HubPages = supplier, writers = customers.
Then I realised that the writers aren't HP's customers - the advertisers are.
Right now I wish we could up vote comments on forums (rofl)
according to HP, those unfeatured for traffic are removed because Google is not indexing and/or ranking them anyhow, which means they see something wrong with the articles or do not like them for some reason. Therefore, keeping them featured does hurt the site, and the writer as well.
Not quite correct. A more accurate version is:
...according to HP, those unfeatured for traffic are removed because Google is not indexing and/or ranking them anyhow, which MIGHT mean they see something wrong with the articles or POSSIBLY do not like them for some reason.
Because the Hub has already passed QAP, it's actually just as likely that the article simply isn't well optimised for search engines, or that the subject is rarely searched. HubPages acknowledges that such articles do NOT hurt the site, but they are so anxious about pleasing Google that they've decided to err on the safe side.
At least that is how I interpreted the reply from Robin that you shared with us.
Here's are parts of the exact quote:
However, if no visitors are finding your article through search engines already, HubPages hides the Hub from search in order to protect Hubbers. Basically we assume Google knows their policies better than we ever could and if they're sending a Hub no traffic whatsoever, it may be because there's some issue with it that could be penalizing the entire HubPages account and site as a whole. We unfeature Hubs to protect your other Hubs and other Hubbers from this happening
If a Hub is getting no search traffic it's usually because of one of these reasons:
1. nobody is Googling the keywords and phrases you use in the Hub
2. there are a ton of better articles out there and readers never make it to yours
3. Google is penalizing the article somehow by sending it no traffic on purpose (this can happen for things like spammy elements or keyword stuffing though we don't know the full extent of what will make this happen with Google).
So, what I basically said is true.
How I stated my post was how I interpreted Christie's words, and I think I came pretty close to the mark.
Here's the quote with the relevant words highlighted
Basically we ASSUME Google knows their policies better than we ever could and if they're sending a Hub no traffic whatsoever, it MAY be because there's some issue with it that COULD be penalizing the entire HubPages account and site as a whole..
If a Hub is getting no search traffic it's usually because of ONE of these reasons:
1. nobody is Googling the keywords and phrases you use in the Hub
2. there are a ton of better articles out there and readers never make it to yours
3. Google is penalizing the article somehow by sending it no traffic on purpose
Only one of those three reasons would harm the site and actually, it's the least likely because the Hub has already passed QAP so it shouldn't be spammy.
I'm not sure because from what I've heard, plenty of hubs have passed QAP and still are spammy.
Since the team cannot read Google's mind, they can only make assumptions. So whether we think they are right or not, it's their call. We can't second guess them.
Just a quick side note for those who don't already know. Any edit will get the hub featured again (the low traffic ones that is).
Let us get back to the future of HP. On the first point mentioned, about vetting newcomers, I, and several others agree that a vetting system is the only way to keep out the trash.
As I understand, the new sites already have a vetting system in place. That vetting system is the fact that they have to submit their hubs to the main HP site, pass QAP before their hubs are "featured", with a chance of getting selected for inclusion in one of the new sites.
Now to the second question:
Do unfeatured hubs affect the main HP site's reputation?
This issue is then sub-devided into:
a) unfeatured for quality and
b) unfeatured for lack of traffic
As far as b) is concerned, we received this answer via paradigm's email from Robin:
Protect hubbers from what?
Robin's answer implies that unfeatured hubs do affect the site's reputation.
Therefore the repeated statement:
"Why delete unfeatured hubs if they cannot be found by Google anyway?"
contradicts HP's reasoning for unfeaturing hubs "to protect Hubbers".
My mind still boggles.
I believe that the ship needs cleaning and repairing to prevent it from sinking. Unfeatured for quality hubs (at the least) have no place on a clean ship.
I am pleased to see someone spell voilà correctly on a content farm forum. A test on that alone could keep out the riff raff.
In regards to all this (and I'm just having a interesting read, since I don't write anything here these days, preferring to go to other, more profitable websites) HP still haven't grasped what they needed to grasp. That half the writers are sh*t and continue to publish on the mothership.
Regarding communication, they aint that brilliant at that either, but have always been courteous and polite when they do communicate.
I sense a sinking ship with desperate, last minute moves for survival. I also sense that niche sites might be quite successful, in their own right.
Just sick of all the confusion.
I don't think AdWords is going anywhere - I believe it makes up too much of Google's business for them to just let it die. Hence I think there is still time to correct the Titanic - but I'm not the boss and I don't hear what the boss hears about it.
This thread has been posted to "New Features Suggestions" so hopefully staff will respond to the 2 suggestions made:
1. Vetting newcomers to HP
2. Delete unfeatured for quality hubs
Hello? Anyone there? It's Monday...
Suzanne, can you share with me the names of those other sites you are writing on? I think many here would like to know. Also, do you have to pay to use them, or are they free like HP?
I just got an Email to say that I had been here 7 years.
This is one of the things HP had to say:
Fun fact: Copper and wool are traditional anniversary gifts exchanged by couples who have reached their seventh year.
So obviously, I am wedded to this beast.
I will send them a piece of copper pipe I found in the shrubbery the other day.
I am expecting a hand-knitted bobble hat in return and will howl pitifully if I don't get one...
I should imagine the future of 'Mother Hubpages' is entirely dependent on the niche sites becoming successful.
Seen people bemoan the fact that their content may be left with the dross on the main domain, but don't seem to appreciate that the existence of any content at all on this domain is probably dependent on the niche sites pulling in some serious dollars.
The fact that Hubpages has relocated from one of the most expensive commercial areas in downtown San Francisco to a co-working space 20 miles north suggests they aren't currently in a great financial position.
So I'd counter that the requisite for hubpages to have a healthy future, or 'number 1' on your list, is for the niche sites to work.
When you consider the earnings potential of the founders and a couple of the employees (ones a Stanford grad I believe?), they are surely currently not far away from (or even beneath) the threshold at which they'd be better off polishing their resume and taking a salary and stock options at whatever Silicon Valley startup is getting all the hype right now.
What I don't understand however is why Hubpages hasn't published a full list of the niches that their new sites would cover, surely they should be encouraging content creation in those areas in advance and indirectly discouraging content creation in all other areas?
If I were a hubber I'd be unwilling to produce content without knowing whether it will have a new home, whereby they perhaps should be identifying areas where they need content? E.g. "hey, the gardening topic is looking a bit sparse, so your content stands a great chance of getting on the gardening site that we'll be launching in the future".
Really!?! According to whois, HubPages is still hanging out at 95 Minna St.
Attn: DMCA Complaints
2120 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
The Waybackmachine shows that the address was Minna Street up until very recently.
It changed in early February, to be precise.
Along with whois, the DMCA fax number is still San Francisco. However, you do got me wondering... But my speculation is some HP employees live in Berkeley and HP decided to do a secondary office there with Minna Street still being HQ. Interesting, maybe HP could chime in on this?
Except for one thing: Our hubs are still earning money on the mother site and will continue to earn just as they have in the past until the biggest number of niche sites are up and running.
Furthermore, continuing to write gives people more of an opportunity to have their work transferred to the niches later.
I don't see the problem here. I still get a check every month and will only get worried when they stop coming.
They have mentioned a couple by name and 'Home and Garden' is one. This was in the context of telling people that pretty much every category would be covered. If hubbers do not read this stuff...
Anyway, how is Wizzley doing these days?
No idea, I don't have any content on Wizzley or any other revenue sharing platform.
I very much hope that "Home and Garden" won't be one. If tattooing merits a site of its own, surely "Home" and "Garden" can be separated.
This is the kind of issue that might be prompting staff to keep lists of potential sites to themselves. The right size and right subject-breadth for the niches is probably critical to success.
They will pick up more data as they go along and it should become easier to decide.
Well said and I agree with all of it but the part about HP divulging what the niche sites are going to be. Not that I disagree with you on that, I certainly understand your point and it makes sense, but I don't know everything about why they might not want to do it. There might be something they've reasoned out.
I emailed Marina Lazarevic - Product and Quality Manager
with the following "New Features Suggestions" to clean up the main site:
1. A vetting system for newcomers
2. Deletion of all unfeatured (for quality) hubs.
3. In addition, many people feel that a list of niche topics would encourage them to continue writing for HubPages.
The main question:
4. Do unfeatured hubs affect the main HP site's reputation? is still unanswered.
And got this reply:
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