HubPro is amazing isn't it.

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  1. thranax profile image75
    thranaxposted 6 years ago

    Well, I haven't had any problems with the edit bot correcting spelling and grammar, but the HubPro editors do nothing but remove amazon capsules. I haven't edited many of my Hubs since way before the Bot and HubPro was a thing - but since I had to update Hubs because of the removal of float right, more and more are being chopped in the amazon capsule.

    Traffic for my hubs is down overall, and I am only earning a fraction of what I once was. The fact that the editors repeatedly remove my links to amazon are killing any hopes I have of receiving anything for the articles. (I understand and it is my choice to not opt-in to the Hubpages Ad Earning Program. I prefer stand alone Google Adsense and Amazon (as long as you still give us that freedom.))

    How about training the editors to IMPLEMENT revenue generating or at least replace the "snip"ed one.

    The hub I am talking about at peak season time gets about 500 views a month from mostly pinterest. I understand the following points:

    1. Removal of the capsule in question could better optimize Google Adsense and HP Adsene programs to  yield better results.
    2. The topic of the amazon product might not be the exact product searchers are looking for - but it is relevant. (This example is using a capsule with a backpack on a hub about textbooks.) While they aren't looking for "backpacks" im more then 100% sure they need them in order to carry said textbooks. This capsule was also thought out and had personal experience attached to it - not just a random cash grab.
    3. Using Hubpages at all grants permission to "editors" to "edit" any page at any given time and if I don't approve of that I can go elsewhere.

    I don't want to go elsewhere since Hubpages has been my home for 9 years, I am just proposing how about using the "expert staff" to implement "expert" level amazon links for "expert" level earnings. This isn't a negative proposition, as Hubpages Amazon In-Text links share the 60 - 40 split anyway.

    1. theraggededge profile image97
      theraggededgeposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      This is the point. *You* think it's relevant, but it isn't. You might see a connection between textbooks and backpacks, but HubPages wants Amazon products to be directly related. So if you are writing about a particular book, then include a link or capsule to that book, not to an unrelated item like a backpack.

      Amazon links have to be tightly connected to the topic, and preferably essential to that topic.

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image87
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I'm following all of the rules, using ads properly and am having no problems.  In fact, I'm earning more and having more page views than ever before in my five years here.

      I have never seen a reason to smear ads all over a hub, anyhow.   Always thought that doing this looked spammy and cheap.

      This plan does work if you do what you're asked to do.  It's a lot of work, but it pays off.

  2. Marisa Wright profile image88
    Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago

    Thranax, this argument raged on the forums when they first changed the rules - I'm afraid you're flogging a dead horse.

    To summarise the new regime:

    If you include an Amazon product, it MUST be directly related to the MAIN topic of the Hub.  Then you MUST explain why you recommend that particular product, whether it's in the "description" section of the capsule, or in the paragraph containing the link.   

    Finally, you MUST make your recommendation sound personal.  Strictly speaking, you're supposed to only include products you've used personally (which is the most ridiculous rule I've ever heard, haven't they ever heard of research?). In practice, it's all in how you word it.

    For instance, I had an Amazon capsule snipped because I said, "This DVD is a good resource for exercise drills".   That's not good enough because (a) it's not clear whether I've used the product and (b) I'm saying it's good - there may be other DVD's on Amazon just as good, and I'm not telling readers why this one is the best.

    It was allowed to stay when I wrote, "This DVD is my favourite for drilling, because it has a wider choice of exercises and Michelle's cheerful narration keeps you motivated."

    I know, I know, it's annoying.  But you're not going to get it changed. I'm not sure if you're aware, but after the niche sites were launched, Google issued an update called Fred and some of the niche sites, which had been going spectacularly well, were hit. So the administration are now even more paranoid about applying rules like this.

    1. thranax profile image75
      thranaxposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      @theraggededge - I can see that, which seems over the top at best.

      @Marisa - I know there were old wars, but the only thing I am implying is that if a Hubber fails to word the relevant amazon product and the direct course is to "snip" it then why can't the staff themselves put in a replacement that fits the requirements? After all, it directly effects both the writer and the business.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image88
        Marisa Wrightposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        They can't, because of the requirement that the wording be personal.   The moderator is unlikely to know anything about the product, so how can they create the wording?  Only you can do that.

        There is nothing to stop you reinstating the product, with better wording.  Of course, if the product is judged to be "tangentially related" (like your example of the backpack to the books), then it still won't be accepted.

        The staff believe, as gospel, that an "insufficiently related" product will spell disaster because Google will penalise the Hub for it.  In their eyes, any possibly gain in income from the capsule is massively offset by the loss of traffic.  Their thinking is, if the Hub doesn't get traffic then the capsule won't earn any income.

        1. thranax profile image75
          thranaxposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          They can put contextual amazon links in already written content without needing the author to write it. I am pretty sure thats the exact thing Konterra did which turned out to be a total flop. They also have the power to transform the text I put with the capsule in the first place do they not? I guess its a no win situation and ill just have to be more direct with my choices.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image88
            Marisa Wrightposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            They could, BUT only if your written content already contains a personal recommendation for that specific product (in which case, you would have put the link there yourself).  No personal recommendation, no product.  That's the rule.

      2. Will Apse profile image88
        Will Apseposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Scattering irrelevant Amazon ads around a page is very bad practice and staff have decided that anything that attracts a Google penalty is now forbidden, for the sake of us all.

        While that is a good thing, certain superstitions have crept into the actual practice which can have a chilling effect on perfectly legitimate pages.

        The non-superstitious approach:

        If Amazon links serve the reader they are legitimate.
        You know that they serve the reader if they are regularly used
        You can check the SERP's to see if other pages with Amazon links appear for the relevant search query. If they do, Google obviously approves of their inclusion.

        The superstitious approach:

        You state that you have used the product.

        Obviously this means nothing to Google directly, its AI is not that good. It might possibly mean something to Google indirectly, via a monitoring of user metrics, of course. If stating that you have used the product affects the reader strongly and keeps them on the page longer, it would help your page.

        Seems to me that authoritative writing is the key, whether you use 'I' or 'it'. And it is easy to check to see if the readers attention has been captured via dwell times.

        There is one big plus of the superstitious approach -- it forces hubbers to write something about the product and it pushes them in the direction of using relevant ads.

        There are other ways of staying relevant. Like actually writing stuff that meets a readers' needs.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image88
          Marisa Wrightposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          I agree 100%, but I am noticing a trend in HubPages' rules for Hubbers:  they are designed for the lowest common denominator. 

          In an ideal world, Hubbers would use the floating capsules to design a layout that maximised the attractiveness of Hubs on different devices.  In practice, too many people used them to make their Hubs hopelessly cluttered.  Result - they're gone.

          In an ideal world, we would all use the "non-superstitious" approach to choosing Amazon products (i.e. do thorough research to work out what's most useful and relevant to the reader).  That might even mean offering multiple products, (e.g. "this model is most suitable if you need.... whereas this other model will suit you better if you require.....").  In practice, too many Hubbers slap products on their Hubs at random, so HubPages imposed a restriction.  I wish HubPages had created a restriction that related to research not [/i]personal experience[/i], but I guess the "personal" rule is easier to understand and apply.

  3. Will Apse profile image88
    Will Apseposted 6 years ago

    I once had all the links snipped from a page sent to Levelskip. I sent a spread sheet to the editing team showing that, in a three year period, nearly a thousand products had been purchased through that page.

    Given a 10 to 1, click to purchase ratio that meant the ads had been used around 10,000 times. No doubt in my mind that they were relevant.

    Robin was kind enough to reply but told me that if I added back the links 'they' (an unspecified entity or group) would probably send the page back to the main site.

    Given the existence of a 'they' beyond the power of the editing team, I decided it was probably best to never write anything for that niche again. Also, I decided it was wise to avoid updating pages with Amazon ads, since I get a pretty good deal as things stand.

    It causes me pain to not update, but what can you do?

  4. Marisa Wright profile image88
    Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago

    I think "they" IS the editing team, actually.  Robin just meant that she personally wouldn't be the one to do it.  However I suspect they would not move it back. 

    I've reinstated Amazon capsules on several of my dance Hubs, because I don't care whether they get moved back to the main site or not (the so-called niche site for dance is 90% games and puzzles, so it's useless).  However the moderators just keep snipping the Amazon capsules out - and I keep putting them back in again.  I don't feel that strongly about it, it's more that I'm curious how long this will go on, before they decide to move the Hubs back!

  5. WryLilt profile image88
    WryLiltposted 6 years ago

    Over the last two months, my views and earnings have increased by maybe 50%. So I don't think that a downturn applies across the board.

  6. theraggededge profile image97
    theraggededgeposted 6 years ago

    I've found that there are ways to add Amazon links quite painlessly, but the product needs to have some content. Example, let's say I use a tarot card to illustrate an article. In the text I'd say "In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck this card is shown as a purple duck standing on a tree stump..." And just add an Amazon text link to the name of the deck. Don't need anything else.

    Another cute trick is to download a sample of a Kindle book, which is usually enough to be able to read the book's intro. There is usually something in it that can be referenced in a hub, so I'd write, "John Smith, in his book, 'All About Nuts', says so and so..." Link added to the book title.

    You could do the same with a DVD or music. Just quote a little bit of it and add the link.

    Edit: I know we're not supposed to mention earnings, but I opted out of the ad program and switched to Adsense. This month I've made over double payout level on HP based on Amazon alone. There, that's vague enough, isn't it?

    1. Marisa Wright profile image88
      Marisa Wrightposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Interesting - so what you're saying is that the "personal experience"  rule simply doesn't apply if you use a link instead of a capsule?

      1. theraggededge profile image97
        theraggededgeposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Yes and no smile Tarot deck - then it will almost always be one that I own. Books, not so much, as long as it it completely relevant to the title/topic you can get away with just 'owning' the free sample. And, of course by quoting a sentence or two, or even paraphrasing it, it indicates you have personal experience of it.

        With a DVD, you could say something like, "As Mary-Ellen Smith demonstrates so well in her DVD, Dancing on Rainbows, I highly recommend that you...." And that's all you need. Even if you don't own the DVD, you could probably find a trailer or clip somewhere that would help.

        I'm definitely coming to the conclusion that links work just as well, if not better than capsules.

    2. Will Apse profile image88
      Will Apseposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think putting ideas into impressionable heads is a good idea. Worse still is putting ideas into heads that already have deep impressions.

      Anyway, I can't put it off any longer. I am going to have to update stuff.

      My readers need me. Really, they do.

      36 million minutes: the time spent reading my pages here. Suck on that all you Poet Laureates.

  7. Robin profile image88
    Robinposted 6 years ago

    Thanks Marisa and Will for all of your help explaining our position on Amazon.  You are correct, these changes were made to keep us in the good graces of Google but also to make sure that we are building trust among our readers so they want to come back to our sites.  When I go to an article that has a bunch of advertisements, I lose trust in that content—especially if I'm reading about a non-commercial topic that has Amazon or other products.  While someone might get a one-off purchase of a product on a non-commercial topic, its sale doesn't offset the potential harm that it could have on your page, reader trust, and Google's trust of the site. 

    Marisa, it would be awesome if all Hubbers used products and floated capsules properly, but unfortunately, you're right that they don't.  A clean page that is somewhat consistent with the rest of the site builds reader confidence. 

    You brought up the back and forth of snipping products.  This is something I would like to stop.  It would be great if you could trust that we are trying to do the right thing for your page and our site, and we could trust you that you are doing the same.  One thing that we have recently implemented is a way for editors to communicate with you when a snip is made and a way for you to communicate with the editor if an edit request is made.  We now have the ability to move articles back to HubPages, but this is not something we want to do unless the author prefers it.  I would much prefer a positive interaction with authors not a punitive measure. 

    For the past few years we have been so focused on getting out of Panda and surviving that we haven't done the best job of tapping in to our talented community.  Our hope in the future, now that we have stabilized, is to engage more with our community. I have a few ideas around how we could engage the community more, but I would love more ideas if anyone wants to send me an email.  For our community and sites to continue to grow, we need to engage more writers and build up our writing base.

  8. Will Apse profile image88
    Will Apseposted 6 years ago

    I sort of started an email, but to be honest, I think better in forums. So forgive me if I offer a few thoughts here instead.

    For me, what really matters is having faith in editors to make good decisions. That means believing they have the time to give individual pages proper consideration before snipping, unfeaturing or whatever. The facility to 'communicate with the editor if an edit request is made' is obviously very, very helpful and also very reassuring.

    I like the idea of trusting writers with products, but I'm not convinced every writer deserves to be trusted. It would be a disaster to have Amazon ads creeping back onto pure 'how to' articles or any non-product orientated pages.

    Maybe, when pages are sent to a niche, they could be labeled in some way. If a page is suitable for Amazon ads, let a writer know that, and tell them how many they can use.  After that, leave further decisions to them. That would help me.

    Perhaps other people could say what would help them.


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