It would be very helpful for newbies if HubPages added some context-sensitive (inline) help links near the "ads" level setting drop down box on the settings tab for new hub posts. (That's where you set the level to none, low, medium, high.) For example, adding a little "what's this" or "ad policy" or "what we considered commercial" or similar link here would be EXTREMELY helpful to clarify things for new hubbers.
Here's my 2 cents on why:
I'm a newbie to HubPages. I posted my first hub yesterday.
Today I got an email from the HubPages Team that said "We have reviewed your Hub, and have determined that it is ineligible to have an Ad Level other than High, since it may be considered commercial or links to another site." (I had it set to medium or low.)
That's no problem for me. HubPages seems like a cool place to be, and I plan to give it a try for a while and keep posting. I'm very happy (and eager) to play by the HubPages rules.
But I was VERY surprised to get this email. My post is not commercial and contains only one link -- which does actually go to an outbound site. I had no idea that this automatically classified my site as "commercial."
And I must admit that the "ads" setting is not very clear. Perhaps this simply means that I am not very smart :-) But when I was trying to figure out how to do my first post, I had no idea what this "ads" setting did, and certainly I had no idea that there were restrictions on how I was allowed to set it. It seemed logical (and still does) that if you give me a choice ranging from "none" to "high" that I would be allowed to set it to one of the choices in the range that you offer me.
The email from the HubPages Team (which was relatively nice and only mildly threatening), advised me that this policy of "one outbound link means you must set ads to high" is clearly defined in the user agreement. And I'm sure that it is. But how many people on Hub pages have read the entire user agreement? Sadly, I admit that I don't usually read the endless pages of legalese in a site's user agreement (although perhaps I should).
I will point out that ironically, I find that setting the ads to high on my hub and filling it with someone else's paid advertisements makes it indeed look very commercial. But again, if that's the policy, I'm happy to live with it. No worries.
Anyway, this post became much longer than I intended. I'm a happy to play be the rules and I have no hard feeling here. I fully understand that HubPages needs to be vigilant about spammers, and that makes everything better for all of us.
But I do think that a help link near the "ads" drop down box would help make it easier for people to know the rules. If there had been a link there, I would have clicked and read the rules, because at the time time I didn't even know what ad level meant. Other new Hubbers may similarly benefit from HubPages making this info easy to find.
Do you realize that when you accept a website's user agreement, part of that includes language that says you've legally agreed that you've read all the rules for that site and that you understand them?
** Agreed. I'm still not sure what it means **
Carl, I hear what you're saying. The thing is, though, that there are lots of things about HubPages that aren't quite as simple as clicking "Start a new Hub" and writing a bunch of text.
New Hubbers really do need to spend a bit of time reading the Starting Out Guide or the help screens, and if HP solved too many problems for them, they might not bother.
The number of people who don't bother to read the TOS and then want to have their hand held always amazes me.
And yes I read the entire TOS and everything else before I entered into the agreement and have done so with EVERY merchant that I have ever represented as an affiliate.
Curiously, as I have now read part of the TOS, it actually does NOT say that sites with outbound links must be set to ad level of high. There is a line to that effect in section 9. However, that section only applies to people who are trying to monetize their Hubs with their own adsense accounts or other third party monetization services. This does not apply to me, so according to the TOS I should be able to set my ad level to anything I want.
Again, I'm happy to play by the rules or even -- as in this case -- the perceived rules. I don't mind setting the ad level to high if that's what HubPages requires. I just think the rules should be clear. In this case, they are certainly unclear and in fact the perceived rules contradict the legal rules defined in the TOS.
Nonetheless, don't you (Nelle and relache) think that you are being a little harsh in your replies? I'm just trying to voice my opinion to help people out and make HubPages better. It's great that you are HubPage experts, but sometimes it can be helpful to get a fresh perspective from someone who is new and looking at things with fresh, virgin eyes. You don't need to attack me. We should be able to have a friendly discussion without getting angry or resorting to name calling or condescension.
I'm certainly not looking to have "my hand held." It seems pretty intuitive to me that if you give me a choice of a drop down list with 4 options, that I'm allowed to pick any of the four choices. If not, I'd expect a little guidance.
I also don't think that this is an extreme request. Right in the same area, is a link explaining the Google AdSense policy. Why not hyperlink the word "commercial" on the next line and explain what HubPages considers to be a commercial hub? Certainly, I would not expect that a post about my experience with an elliptical trainer and ONE link to an external site would count as commercial. It's no problem if that's the rule. It should just be clear.
It's also great that you read the entire TOS of every site that you join. But I doubt very much that that is common place. This TOS is over 4,000 words long. And in this case, it seems that even expert Hubbers such as you who have read the entire TOS are unclear about the policy regarding the ad level setting.
Anyway, I firmly believe that open, respectful and courteous discussion and debate is a great thing that makes the world better. I hope that any future conversations continue in that mindset.
You'll find that people can be quite short in the forums. Nelle is typically quite nice, whereas Relache can be quite to the point without any emotion. You're lucky you didn't just get a link to the TOS and/or FAQs.
In the 'help' section at the top of the page, you can find the below definition of what 'commercial' means.
Does that help?
Because you have one link to another site, the hub is considered commercial. I'm assuming the other site is a commercial site (more than like selling something, featuring an affiliate, or something like that- blogs can be considered commercial).
Thanks Whitney05! I appreciate the advice and the reference.
I was getting a bit worried that HubPages was not a friendly or inclusive community. But you've restored my optimistic view that it's a good place with thoughtful people.
Once you've passed the commercial snare, run the gauntlet of disgruntled old timers, frustrated over HubScore, you still have to survive the religious and political forums. And THEN Carl, you can be one of us.
In the meantime, welcome to the site.
And stop by this thread: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/4668 it'll bring you up to speed.
Holy cow! It's only been a few days, and already it seems this has been addressed.
I just went to write my second Hub, and now I see that the words "considered commercial" underneath the ad level has a link directly to text that explains what is considered commercial.
Am I crazy, or was that link missing just a few days ago.
If it is indeed new, then I am incredibly impressed with the HubPages team. Even though it's a simple change, it's still amazing to respond to a user and roll it out so quickly. That's totally AWESOME!!!
That link was always there. You must have missed it.
Just kidding. It looks to be a recent addition. You've done well!
Yes, we just added this feature after talking about your suggestion in our team meeting on Wednesday. Glad you noticed the change, and thanks for the feedback.
Very cool! It's very encouraging that the Hub crew really does listen to users. And it's super cool that they are able to respond and implement changes so quickly.
and bravo for you because you have presented yourself as someone willing to respect the guidelines and didn't come in bashing the rules! management listens when someone is speaking rationally.
(maybe the religious and political forum should take note!)
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