I am furious. Items that have been making sales every 3 days for 6 years have now been snipped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What kind of lazy moron does this, does not look at article sales revenue before snipping the product - and this is why it has happened.
I had Amazon capsules. I hesitated for over a year now to change them into in text links, because I feared messing with it would alert an imbecile on the editing staff to come and cut out my entire Amazon revenue stream.
Guess what? The day that I changed them to in text links, they snipped them right out. I could have known sooner, but the lazy fool that takes care of Amazon and income reporting was running 4 days behind.
Put a leash on your staff. Hire people with common sense, and not so lazy that they cannot see that the items have been making revenue for both me and HP for years.
I can't add new articles the HP anymore. If I am reviewing products it has to be done elsewhere. Maven wants to get a guy on board that reviews and sells tennis shoes (making 100Ks too). That could never fly on HP.
We all have sinking revenues, and this is the solution? Kill half of the revenue stream?? Why do you even have an agreement with Amazon if you think they are anathema???
Check out the Internet - people are sitting in #1 SERPs with Amazon ads in their pages.
Amazon used to be 50% of my revenue. Now it will be 5%. Staff must want us to all leave. That would help the site a lot, if we just all moved articles to our blogs. At least then the editors would lose their jobs.
Right now I am having to seriously consider moving all of my article to my website. Earn all of the income, instead of sharing. Adding these articles to it might be the thing to push it into a good revenue stream position.
I cannot trust that HP has the writers best interests in mind. They have allowed low grade human bots to mindlessly strip our articles. Change content, because they are bored, and want to make a "difference." A difference on someone else's work. That happened too.
This is in addition to finding that they have gone through articles and removed all but one of the keywords (left in the title and one heading out of 1700 words - inconceivable!!!) article after article.
Just add it back in there. I've added them back many times. We've all suffered through some of this sort of thing. I've seen Paul himself state how they are probably a bit too aggressive about the amazon capsules.
We all have to take care of ourselves first, and you clearly stated why you need to have that amazon capsule in there.
You have the product linked to twice in the article—in an Amazon capsule AND as an in-text link. There is no need to have it twice, and the editor removed one of the links. I see you added the link back; for readers and google this is seen as a spammy practice. Please remove one or the other or your article will be unpublished.
On a side note, I understand being frustrated, but I think it's important to treat one another with respect and professionalism. Our team is made up of professional, hard-working editors that are here to help keep our sites up to standards. Our editors, that have all been here since before the Maven acquisition, have a difficult job. Of course we make mistakes (we are human), but we remedy them when we do. Everything works more smoothly when we treat one another in a respectful manner.
Please understand that I know how angry you are to lose your revenue source BUT you are fundamentally misinterpreting the HubPages platform. It is not a blogging site and it is not seller site. HP has made it abundantly clear that they want magazine style articles that are not heavy with product links. When you read magazone articles online, do you see multiple Amazon links? No, of course not. The articles are there to share knowledge, not sell things. That's what HP is looking for. Authors who share knowledge, not salespeople looking to make a fortune selling Amazon products.
This is why I have basically quit writing for Subpages. I came back yesterday and added in relevant products to my hubs that are mentioned and they snipped them. IDIOTS> I write elsewhere now.
Hubpages is truly a lenient site. I don't care how upset you are or how much you feel your value is to Hubpages in terms of revenue you generate, nobody has the right to rain this level of insult on another person and more importantly on the staff.
If you feel you don't like the rules anymore on a site, you simply leave. It's their platform and they will always do what is best for their interest. You can also create your own site and do what is best for your interest. Simple as that.
Obviously, you are livid, but I suggest you adopt a more measured approach. Calling folks "lazy morons" and "low grade human bots" is probably not going to yield positive responses. I have no understanding of the Amazon capsule program as I've never used it but there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for what has happened.
Shaking mad still. 2 articles were snipped on the same day. They need to contact us first - say - we are considering snipping your revenue stream, do you have any comment on that? Zero communication. That is lazy. Did not review the sales for that item, again lazy.
I have had things moved off of niche sites, because I failed to update pricing on something, where the pricing had not changed; the article was only 6 months old. Apparently, it can never be moved back from main HP to a niche site after that. Seems like some form of punishment.
I do what management asks me to do (change from capsules to in text links). And then I get 5 days of no Amazon income, and risk being put back to the main page, if I correct the situation on my own. Plenty of good writers have left for this. It is mindless, thoughtless and lazy.
They should show some respect to the writers. To just randomly change content, as though it were their article??? I had stats on occurrences of cancers, and they just removed that capsule and put in stats on another topic of cancer stats???? Write your own article if you want to create content. I am not the first to complain about this. AgilityMach is moving all of her content if they won't stop "correcting it." Certainly things get messed with regularly for no good reason.
You really should look into it. While I've never averaged half my pay from here from amazon sales, I couldn't imagine doing without the amazon sales.
Rupert - to give you an idea, there was a time, one year ago, where Amazon ads equalled 4 C-notes each month. Now that is gone. Thanks to staff. So you should really try it, but they won't let you.
There was a time when the editors would contact you before making any major edits. They would tell you what they were thinking of doing, and ask you if you liked that idea. Those days are long gone.
They also used to email me personally and we'd have some back and forth about an article. Nowadays it ye olde form letter.
Oh well. I need to produce some more good articles. And they'll definitely have non negotiable amazon capsules. I like to have food to eat.
Take a look at this, random search. Number 1 in the SERPs and every item discussed has a link to Amazon. How is it possible?
Oh and no comments about how they "personally" used each of these products.
FYI - Quality YouTube pet videos get an unusual number of views vs. all other videos types ... from hundreds of thousands to millions. I think you would do well.
I have noticed that too, which makes me wonder why I am still here. When I publish a new article, it is usually copied on Youtube after a few days and read off by some computer voice. The last time I checked one of my articles had like 50 page views a day here on HP but the copy on Youtube was getting hundreds.
(Yes, I did contact Google to take it down. They did so promptly, but also gave the person who copied my article my email so he could contact me and whine.)
Really, the person emailed you???? OH MAN! I would have so much fun insulting that person.
He told me that I was causing his family to go hungry because Google was taking down his videos on Youtube. (Once I looked into it I found a lot of stolen videos that he had taken from Pethelpful.)
As you can imagine, I had a terrible time sleeping that night, worrying about his family!
Per our guidelines:
“Only add products that are explicitly mentioned in the article. Products included should be ones that you have used, personally, or that someone close to you has used. You may also safely include products that you have the professional qualifications to recommend (a registered nurse may recommend a multivitamin, for example, based on the authority of his/her extensive training and professional experience). You can’t simply list a product’s main features and specifications. A recommendation must contain more detail. Instead, tell us why you (or a friend) like the product, or in cases where you are an expert, tell us why it is the best, in your professional opinion. If you do choose to include products, we encourage you to use in-text links instead of Amazon Capsules to improve reader experience.”
Our guidelines have changed over the years to assure high-quality, search-friendly content. We are especially strict about this with YMYL content. Your editor was merely following protocol. If you add some personal experience alongside the product, feel free to reintroduce it.
If you have any questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
I wonder if you could explain why Amazon capsules that generate revenue are not "search friendly", especially if the capsule is relevent to the article topic.
For example, if I write an article about Aruba, which I have visited, I fail to understand why I can't link an Amazon capsule of an Aruba travel guide. It is both relevant and useful to the reader.
If you do not add a sentence or two describing your personal experience with the product, we ask that it is not included. This is just a precaution to prevent people from adding multiple products that can be seen as "spammy" by search and by readers. We want quality articles with products that the writers vouch for.
Thanks, Samantha. Would you describe the example I gave as spammy? I have personal experience with Aruba, so it seems that a single travel book about Aruba is appropriate.
I think my struggle is with how few Amazon capsules are allowed any more, even when they seem relevant and useful.
No, it is not inherently Spammy, but it does not include personal experience, and would therefore be snipped.
Thanks, Samantha. I do have personal experience with Aruba. I think defining a "personal experience" as only the product is very restrictive.
Even with that restrictive definition, I assume I can write about Caribbean cruises and include an Amazon capsule linking to a book I wrote about Caribbean cruises.
Is that correct?
You need to have personal experience with the guide itself, Aruba isn't a product!
And you can't link to your own book, no. HubPages does not allow personal promotion. This includes links to your personal website, products, etc.
Here are further guidelines from the FAQ:
Every Amazon Capsule and Amazon link in an article should contain useful information beyond what can be found on Amazon, as well as your personal experience and opinion.
- Articles about products are acceptable as long as they satisfy the following:
- The product(s) are directly relevant to the article’s and not mentioned excessively.
- The article provides significant, useful information or an authentic opinion about the products beyond what could be found on Amazon's (or the seller's or manufacturer's) website.
- A product recommendation shows that it is genuine, trustworthy, and unbiased.
- The text of the article could stand on its own and satisfy the reader if the products were removed.
Right, Aruba is not a product. It's a subject. Whether it's an article or book doesn't matter.
As an authority on Aruba travel, the policy you describe still allows me to recommend a related book on Amazon if I am unbiased, the link is relevant, I add it only one time and the book adds more useful information.
Like many other writers on here, I remain baffled by secretive HP policies that discourage writers from writing more often.
Yes, but you also must have read it or be able to talk about it. You can check out our FAQ, it's all detailed there!
Thanks, I have read the faq. So if I buy and read the book, I can link to it, right?
Tip: if it's on Kindle, download a sample. Read the intro and quote from it within the article. Easy peasy
Maybe I haven’t explored Amazon enough and have missed some vital information, but all the information I’ve found there says that a Kindle sample is around ten percent of a book. I don’t see how we could try to sell a book when we haven’t read the other ninety percent of it.
Then perhaps you can explain this comment, from above:
https://hubpages.com/community/forum/34 … ost4104012
in which the Hubber states that no such personal use was included, yet the links/capsules remained.
This also begs the question, if you now prefer in-text links to Amazon capsules, then WHY IN BLAZES ARE THE CAPSULES STILL AVAILABLE TO SELECT???!!!
You are sending mixed messages!
It's not mixed at all. You do have to describe personal use of the product, and you can use an in-text link or a capsule. Hubs not doing this are old or slipped through the net.
I'm not talking about the 'must use personal experience' thing when I say they are sending mixed messages.
The mixed message comes in the form of HP now preferring in-text links, yet still providing the ability to choose Amazon capsules when creating the hub.
Then, if they snip the capsule because it wasn't a text link, (as some have stated happening), then it certainly is a mixed messge. If they only want in-text links, they need to remove the Amazon capsules utility.
It's probably still there because a lot of old, successful hubs still have them.
The Amazon capsule isn't obsolete. In most cases a link is better, but the capsule isn't a bad choice in certain situations. I use it when a visual representation of a unique product might be important to the reader such as an action figure or a pair of shoes or a banjo. The reader needs to see those things. They don't need to see visual representations of common things like books or oil cans or rolling pins.
Your reasons are why I moved away from HP to YouTube. People would rather see what you mean vs. read and see pictures. Very frustrating when HP removes links to Amazon products related to your article. It's as though they do not want your efforts to be financially rewarded. With YouTube, what took me over 8 years to accomplish with HP, with respect to 'number of views', I matched in 1.5 years. I tripled my monthly $$$'s with both ad revenue and Amazon commissions. It took me 10 months to be offered a YouTube partnership. With the partnership, my application to become a Amazon associated was approved immediately. HP is a pond; Youtube is an ocean. I haven't completely abandoned HP. I've augmented my articles with videos.
It's no free ride on YouTube. Lots of hard work taking detailed videos followed up with lots of editing. For your channel to get monetized, you need to get 1,000 subscribers within a 1 year time frame. Once that threshold has been meet and you're invited to become a partner, the subsequent subscriber count goes through the roof! Now averaging 1,000 new subscribers a month. Afterwards, application approval to become a Amazon associate is instantaneous.
Solaras. The kind of stuff I write about, history, true crime, quirky human behaviour, language etc. doesn't lend itself to linking to Amazon capsules. There's no way an article about "The Care and Feeding of Rutabagas" for which I was awarded a HubPages T-shirt (tee hee) doesn't match up with an ad about reciprocating saws. But, if you are getting clobbered to the tune of hundreds of dollars you have a right to be a bit miffed. You should certainly try to get an explanation from the people that run the place.
Here's are some interesting statistics. After 8 years on HP, I have 78 followers, 2.4 million views with 85 articles. In YouTube, after 1.5 years, I have 8,548 subscribers, 2.1 million views with 175 videos and making 3X more $$$ than HP! None of my videos have gone viral. It's all solid,steady, consistent growth.
It's interesting that you have more than 2X the number of videos as you do articles, so I'm not entirely surprised you are making 3X the money.
So video has a somewhat higher payback, but do you put the same amount of work into your videos as you do your articles? I have found that videos are more labor intensive.
A lot more work going into videos vs writing articles with pictures. FYI - You have a lot of successful professional Youtube authors making hundreds of thousands to millions of $$$'s a year. Took them years to get there but ask yourself, 'is there anyone in HP making at least $100K?'.
Your first sentence tells me that working for YouTube isn't necessarily a better return on investment for the work involved than HP. I have found the same thing with my own efforts.
I'm not exactly thrilled with a $3 CPM on YouTube, even though many people have told me they are getting far less.
After spending many years researching YouTube and other revenue opportunities, I agree that some YT publishers are making big bucks. But I also think that a lot more people are publishing on YT than on HP.
That said, everyone's situation is different. Some people find a niche with HP and others with YT.
I must admit I am loath to update articles with Amazon links in them. Robin clearly understands when it is appropriate to use Amazon links and when it is not and the guidelines are clear enough. Unfortunately, we can still get strange outcomes in the real world.
In this particular case, using 2 links to the same product is indefensible. And so is calling someone (anyone) a moron.
I certainly wouldn't link to an Aruba guidebook on a page offering info about Aruba, either. I would offer them on a page titled "Best Guidebooks for Your Visit to Aruba". The difference being that the visitor to the latter article obviously wants to buy a guidebook, the visitor to the former probably does not.
Thanks for your understanding, Will! We try to remain consistent when making product decisions to make the whole process as painless as possible. (But obviously, that is not always the case.)
Also, your Aruba example is spot-on.
"Your Aruba example is spot-on."
That completely contradicts your previous statements. I have no "personal experience" with a group of guidebooks. I have personal experience with Aruba, which is why I write an article about it.
Nor does it have any basis in logic or reality. Someone who goes to my Aruba article may want more information about Aruba that a book can offer. How in the world is that not useful and relevant to readers?
The idea that an Aruba article can't link to a book with more information about Aruba is absurd.
The illogical and inconsistent guidelines continue.
He isn't talking about your personal experience. He is spot-on because that is the kind of product that would enhance an article about guidebooks. He is pointing out the fact that the reader of said article would be actively searching for a book, whereas in your case they may not be.
You can argue the guidelines all you want. Just be sure to include your personal experience with a product if you want to add one.
No, Samantha, I must point out that you are the one talking about personal experience as a requirement for Amazon capsules:
"You need to have personal experience with the guide itself."
The subject at hand is an Aruba travel article and not an article about guides. Please address my point about why I can't link an Aruba travel book to an Aruba travel article.
The fact that readers "may not" click on it is the same as saying they "may not" click on the ads.
I'm not arguing the guidelines. I'm arguing random interpretations of the guidelines (and style guideline). They keep triggering angry posts from many writers over many years.
IF you read the book, you can include it.
1+ for Will.
1+ for HP too for still being polite
And to Solaras: namecalling will never solve problems, it creates problems.
You and Will are correct. I apologize to Robin, Tessa and the staff for my name calling and outburst.
Anger is a pretty useful emotion. It gets things done. It draws attention to things that need attention. It delivers the energy to say stuff that you can't quite otherwise say.
On the debit side, you need to put up with people telling you that you are a terrible person and quoting incomprehensible poetry at you.
So, keeping up my end of the social contract, here is a little William Blake:
My mother groaned, my father wept.
Into the dangerous world I leapt.
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Nurture that inner fiend, lol...
But only let it out among friends.
That's like saying that we shouldn't have any Amazon capsules or even any advertising simply because people are going to an article just to read the article.
People seek out articles that supply the info they need. If they want to buy something, a link to a place where they can do just that is useful info.
If they do not want to buy something, pretty much every ad is an irritation.
Google is aware of that and limits the ads to those which it considers least spammy.
There is obviously a double standard at work, since Google makes its money from ads, but we just have to live with that.
I totally agree. I do not have an article called "Best shampoo to treat your dogs yeast infection". My article is about treating a dogs yeast infection. When the readers see it, however, they buy the shampoo that will help even if their main reason to read is NOT because they want to buy something.
I agree with you Promisem; Adsense readily populates articles with completely irrelevant ads, based on people's' previous search and chat history.
While I may be researching which Caribbean Island, that I might like to visit; I would not be offended by seeing a link to a guidebook that could give me ideas about what I might do there, should I choose that island as my vacation spot. I might bookmark the article to come back to it later, if I decide to book that vacation. I would not consider it spammy; I would consider it useful.
You go to a site to make a decision about travel. Rather than giving solid hints and help, the site tries to sell you a book to make the decision with. That's not why you are there; you can do that by going straight to Amazon and choose among offerings without having to wade through the bias of someone trying to make a dime.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a review of that book and it's usefulness to one who read it, a link is more than reasonable; the article helped you make a decision on whether to purchase that specific book and offers an easy way to do so.
It is this kind of thing, I believe, that HP is trying to eliminate. If your hub is intended to help a reader, then help that reader rather than send him somewhere else for the help.
That means we also are tricking readers into clicking on ads because they aren't coming to HP to click on ads.
The point is not to trick a reader into buying a book about travel.
The point is to give useful and relevant information to the reader. A 50,000-word book has a lot more information than a 700-word article.
If the article is enough, so be it. If not, a relevant book offers much more.
Well, perhaps it's just a difference in style, but I write a hub in an attempt to answer a question the reader has. If I can't do it in 4,000 words (and there have been topics that I can't) then I'll write additional hubs on the topic. I've even written a hub as a "table of contents" for other hubs on the topic, using hubs as the "chapters" in a book. If necessary I'll write those 50,000 words to answer the question. But what I [i]won't]/i] do is write the minimum to hook a reader and then offer to sell him the rest of the answer. Outside of a few sales hubs intended to drive Amazon sales, I try to provide an answer, and if I've done it well then income will follow.
That doesn't mean no Amazon ads though - if I feel they are useful to the reader I'll use them. A special, unusual tool to accomplish a job, perhaps.
Thanks, Solaras. If the book is relevant to the article and offers more information, then it is useful.
And kudos for apologizing.
I can understand your upset. Samantha's patience is commendable.
Product inclusion is tricky, so it makes sense that there is a back and forth discussion. Beyond the guidelines that Samantha has given, I think it's incredibly important to understand reader intent. Will mentioned this in an earlier post. Why is your reader on your page; what is their motivation? Are they there to purchase something or be informed? Readers and Google are not going to demote your article if there are suitcase products on a page reviewing the best travel suitcases for a long weekend. However, if you are writing an article about Aruba sightseeing spots and add a suitcase link in the article, this is confusing for everyone.
The guidelines that Samantha spoke about prevent authors from taking commercial and non-commercial topics and adding products for the sole benefit of the writer, not the reader—we were told specifically by Google that this practice was hurting our site.
I always suggest googling the main keyword of your article. If products are shown in the SERP, Google and readers will expect products. If no products are shown, it could hurt your article in the eyes of readers and Google. Of course, once in a while there are exceptions to this rule, but you still run the risk of your page being flagged as over-promotional or spammy and not getting the traffic it deserves.
In a word, then, it's about relevance. Is the Amazon product relevant to the article and the readers of that article.
To your point, readers are less likely to click on an Amazon capsule about suitcases on an article about Aruba vacations because it is less relevant than a capsule about Aruba vacation guides.
Thanks for the clarification. The Internet is evolving, and Google is a big part of it. We have to adhere to Google and then the readers.
Promisem, that is true, but you still need to ask if they are going to buy a book or just read about the guide online. Book sales are notoriously low and don't pay out great, so it may not be in your best interest to include a book. A good test is to ask yourself if adding the book had no monetary value to you, would you still include it. If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track. Thanks for the conversation!
Yes, but they don't only buy books. The aim is get them to click through... so hopefully they do more shopping within the 24 hour cookie period.
The click through is an added bonus, but not a good reason to add a product. It's so important that we don't try to game the system and that we only add products that our readers will want to see. We run the risk of losing their trust and confidence (as well as Google's) if we add unnecessary products.
Conceptually, I would agree with your position, but from my past experience with HP, when publishing a new article, you're first run editing team strips out 'all' links to Amazon regardless if the product has a direct correlation with the article subject matter; which makes me wonder, do they even read the article for comprehension to begin with?
I agree, I meant that a click through via a book link is just as valuable sometimes as anything else, even though commission rates are very low. And I don't feel guilty adding a relevant book link because... well books are always good things to own.
They do read it and they apply the rules as they are now--meaning you have to report a personal experience of using the product.
Hope things will eventually work out for you, Solaras. You're one of the steady, consistent veteran hubbers. Your frustration is understandable. This was an exhausting thread. This is why I don't use any Amazon capsules, in-text links, etc. I stopped a few years ago. I never put in the work to make the extra money, don't have the bandwidth or the time. I get irritated with some of the editing on my articles, too. But I just say, oh well, "is it still getting views and earnings," I just let it go. Too much.
Just yesterday I had a similar experience - I personally went to Egypt and used a few items that were a huge benefit - my Amazon capsules were all snipped from my article - it's obvious that the new management has something against the users making money on real product recommends
The "moderator" removed them even though I have personally used them, they were 100% relevant, a reader would indeed by happy to see them if they were planning to go to a country they've never been to before....
Big reason why I rarely post on HP anymore - the earnings are pitiful anymore
I have a question for staff, and Mr. Schwartz' post makes a good intro.
If I write an article, "Before You Travel to Egypt, Read This." And in it I tell people things they must do (vaccinations etc) and items they should bring with them (water filtration systems etc) Will those items be allowed to stay in the article, if the author mentions personal use?
You can list which vaccinations were recommended to you and those which you received with a note that the individual should, of course, work with their health-care provider, as it's a YMYL topic.
And a water filtration system is fine, given that you demonstrate personal use and it's not impractical or extremely expensive.
Thank you - I should hope it would be extremely expensive. lol Is there a limit on the price of items we can link to at Amazon?
Charles, you have a point, but I believe if you go through the thread, you will see an apology.
When I first started with HubPages, there were writers who would literally just write a couple of sentences then have a long list of Amazon capsules, nothing else. And they were often able to get a high position in the Google rankings and make money! Not for long though. Google hit HP hard and has been clamping down ever since and it just gets tighter and tighter - so much so that I rarely even attempt to write a hub with Amazon ads in mind any more (plus Amazon has got meaner with its percentages for affiliates). I appreciate that HubPages has to react to the ongoing situation, even if the link and capsule clipping can get annoying at times, otherwise it will be punished again by Google. My only quibble would be that I don't always understand why certain affiliate links are clipped and others aren't. Sometimes I think there is some kind of logic going on that I don't understand. Other times, I wonder if there are inconsistencies between the interpretations of different editors.
Indeed. I still sometimes use capsules, but you have to do so in a way that integrates well with the review of the product.
by Brandon Lobo 8 years ago
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by Catherine Giordano 3 years ago
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