You may be aware that the niche sites will be changing to a new style and layout. The first site to transition is Tatring.com. If you haven't already, take a look.
One big change is that there's no longer a link to our HubPages profile, and no photo. Just your name and the short (article-specific) bio. If a reader wants to know more about you, there's no way for them to do that.
All they can do is click on your name and see the other articles you've written on that niche site. No social links, no website link, no contact option.
I've raised this concern on the official announcement thread, and some Hubbers have said they don't care about that, and that all they care about is earning income from those articles. I think that will be true for some, but I suspect it might not be true for everyone. So I thought I'd ask. Would it concern you?
It does concern me. Having the immediacy of contact is crucial I think - many visitors are likely to forego clicking if there is no direct profile link. It would be good to know why the powers that be have decided to do this.
I spent a while thinking about this.
A fair number of people get hold of me through the 'contact' tab on hubpages. I have also had three different invitations as a result of some of my articles, plus been contacted about other gigs.
In addition, Medium doesn't give the ability to contact either. I've closed my facebook off to only friends of friends. Google Plus is gone. I closed down Linked in (my third time). That leaves Twitter. Hubpages was, I think, the one place where people would reguarly contact me.
So, yes, I think it's important to have an ability to contact. Newspapers generally have a Twitter address for the journalist. That is the professional route taken by publications these days.
I think it's smart. I don't want readers to find me on social media anyway and I think our profile pictures make the niche sites look totally sloppy and unprofessional since, rather than clear headshots, some of us are using stock photos or avatars we've created ourselves (I'm included in this, as I have other accounts here that are specific to certain topics I don't want associated with my other writing). This gives us the chance at more anonymity while creating valuable content. Personal links, photos and contact info are better suited to newspapers and blogs, not SEO driven content.
If readers want to know more about a writer on any other platform outside of HubPages they can google that writer's name. If that writer has any web presence at all their website (with full bio and contact page), FB account (with messaging) shows up on Google. So no, losing the existing profile page doesn't really concern me that much.
I agree with Sue. Google search is very (almost too) comprehensive.
As I understand it, the purpose of transferring sites to the Maven layout is to make the pages look more professional, more like a mainstream magazine or newspaper. I'm not sure it totally achieves this, but I think the new Tatring layout is an improvement on the old one.
Definitely, this is not meant to be about the layout. It's about this specific aspect of it.
In Australia, if a journalist gets a byline in a magazine or newspaper, then it includes their Twitter handle. It's only a small thing, but it's enough to allow the reader to connect reliably to the journalist if they so wish.
Providing no link at all means the reader has to work harder, which they may not wish to do. If you are the kind of writer who wants to collect followers, you don't want any obstacles placed in the way of that.
Besides, it's easy to say they can just Google it, but what if a writer's name is not that unusual? It becomes harder work to sift through the multiple instances of similar names.
That's interesting what you say about Twitter handles and bylines in Australia. That's not the custom in the UK.
I've just checked The Guardian, from the UK (but it has many Australian correspondents.) Taking a page at random:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr … ehind-bars
All the social media buttons are there at the end of the article, but they are share buttons only. They don't lead to the individual author's account, so in the UK you wouldn't be able to contact a writer that way.
(I'm assuming that you see the exact same page as I can, and that your server doesn't transfer you to the Australian edition of the paper. LOL)
That's interesting. I double-checked on the Guardian too, and they are there. Not every writer has one, but those with a regular column usually do. Greg Jericho is one of several columnists who has a Twitter handle.
I can imagine staff writers not having them, but that's the point. They work for the Guardian and the Guardian doesn't want them working for anyone else. But we are self-employed writers and for many, one reason we write articles is to build our portfolio and attract attention.
When I had my previous HubPages account, I picked up a few writing gigs from readers contacting me on HubPages. I'd think the new profiles on Maven would have even more potential to attract that kind of thing, because each site showcases expertise in one subject - but not if it's too hard to reach us.
I don't know that they look any more 'professional,' but they certainly look nicer! And they're so much easier to navigate.
...but does removing the ability to contact the author bother you?
Edit: sorry, I see you answered that in a later post.
Your concern is the same as mine: professional freelance journalists get a Twitter handle with their name in their byline, because it's important for potential clients to be able to contact them. We should be given the same courtesy by Maven as newspapers give those journalists.
In actual fact, I gave up on Twitter long ago - but if it was needed to provide that contact, I would reactivate it just for that purpose and I wouldn't find that inconvenient.
While most sites are moving to add more of a personal touch with an author image with a link to their bio, things seem to be moving in the opposite direction in that context with Maven.
I personally like the way it is, but I do see why it is important to have a profile page link so that those of us who use HP as a portfolio or to seek out other work as many have posted about in the past can benefit.
Let's take Joanna, an HP editor as an example. Take a look at her profile page https://tatring.com/@editoranna this is something I would get to from any of her articles. Note that there is no way to comment on articles at this moment. I wish to contact her for her expertise and let's just say she was open to such business propositions. How do I contact her? On Hubpages https://hubpages.com/@editoranna I see a clear contact button, there's more about her, etc. Let's ignore the other stuff, but I can contact her, if she chooses to have that button available.
With the new changes, there's no comments, no contact possibility, and no other information or social media buttons to contact an author. Yes, Google helps, but what about the many people who use pen names, have common names or just have their name different on social media than here. If the HP profile page stays, then that page may show up, but we know how well HP tends to rank for anything these days.
Do I need all of this? At the moment I do not, but I can see how some writers need it and how it helps with building up the so-called EAT score with Google, something that will become evident in the coming years. Sadly, the people who use HP for work, do not tend to hand around the forums a lot. They probably did not even notice this change.
Fair point Brandon, but you're assuming that Maven is keen to keep HP writers on board. I don't think it'd be that bothered if we all left in a huff.
Maven seems more focused on the individual websites that are its "partners" where site owners have to regularly post (possibly daily?) fresh material to fulfill their side of the bargain.
I probably will not care about social media links on my profile. I've tried using social media to grow a following over the years and I always get frustrated.
However, I think it is a mistake not to include them, because some writers have big followings and use social medial very well. Why not give us this simple tool?
Here is one thing I do care about: I just realized the profiles on TatRing are noindex. Why in the world would that be?
As a writer, I would like it if people could see everything I've contributed to when they search for my name. This seems like such an easy thing and I can't think of any reason why Maven would be against it.
I guess it's because they want to promote Maven as a brand, and don't want the individual cogs that compose it to overshadow this.
That's fine if they're willing to hire journalists and pay them a salary - then they can take all the credit! I don't think a link or two on our profile would overshadow Maven.
To answer your original question, I do not mind not being able to be contacted. I have had very little in the way of benefical contacts in the 7 or so years that I have been here. For others it is definitely benefical. It seems almost necessary now though. Especially if we are losing the comment section permanently.
However, I do care that it appears that Maven is the author of the articles. The author name is tiny compared to the title and the bio's are not always bio's, and most are easily missed. Some articles do not even have bio's so that only adds to the inconsistency and unknown of who or what wrote the articles. This may not matter to readers, but as a writer it matters to me.
I only have a few articles that do very well, but I deserve the credit for those articles. If they want to pay me for them, then they can do what they want with them. If not, than it is not right for them to make it seem like they wrote it when they did not. Like you said, I am not a paid journalist.
We deserve the credit for our work, and how it looks currently on Tatring, it is not obvious that we are freelance and our own entity. Maven does not own my work (yet), and I do not like that it appears that they do.
It suits me fine. I write on a variety of topics and the bio page has always been problematic for me as I have to take a one-size-fits-all approach, which is unsatisfactory.
I'd rather cater any relevant bio info to the article.
It would be fine without any link. But the bio and photo is vital. Otherwise, the site becomes easier to be invade by all sort of fruadsters.
If we have any qualifications/experience to give authority to what we have written, where will that info be displayed? (I'm thinking of the "author bio").
I don't like the use of screen names. I think it's important for writers to take ownership of what they produce rather than hide behind a cute pseudonym. All major media outlets put bylines on their writers' work (the BBC and The Economist are exceptions). An article written by "fried bananas" does not inspire confidence in me that it's a serious work.
Also, the article-specific bio is a problem, particularly for me. I write on a wide variety of topics; it might be Henry VIII's appetite one day and the Philosophy of Fairness the next. The only bio that makes sense is to note that I've spent five decades in the writing trade and so have learned how to do research.
I agree about the bio being like the first paragraph in bold font. Each article should have a separate introduction area if that is how it has to be.
I don't like them either. I wish we could abandon them, or at least have the option and just retain them for URL purposes.
I agree. I took a look at tatring. The screen names are not professional.
My HP content written under screen names (or, what I think of as brands) has over 18 million views. I don't think readers care as long as you prove you know what you're talking about.
Did Maven close their Twitter account? I can't seem to find it any more. Do they ever reply to queries on social media? Have they a presence on Facebook?
I don't care. But if I was writing more seriously and across more sites I might.
I presume if all else fails, we can just add a bio as a text module and a large aspect ratio photo of our profile image (a wide short strip) with white space to the right to left justify it on the page.
What gives you the idea that it won't be snipped without second thought?
That would be against the current rules because it would be self-promotion - we can't self-promote in the text of our Hubs.
Many years ago, the profile at the top of Hubs was far more prominent. Our photo was about twice the size, part of our author bio, and a sidebar box listing some of our other Hubs. When that was removed, some Hubbers tried to get around it by adding a photo, bio and "related Hubs" at the end of their Hubs.
The "related Hubs" box was allowed to stay for a while (until the rules changed) but the photo and bio always got snipped.
.....or maybe it's just a style thing and adding additional bio info isn't an issue.
Or maybe, it goes in line with current policy and you are not allowed to self promote or have anything that is not directly related to the article. If we want a bio we need to make them put it up there. They won't allow us to add stuff, even if they do now they will take it away in a few months and then we would have neither. It's Maven and not just HP anymore.
....and we have to realise that we can't "make" them do anything.
I have asked the question again on the other thread. Samantha has answered all the other questions so let's hope she answers this one.
If she stays silent, then that's a message in itself. HubPages has a record of not answering questions if they think Hubbers won't like the answer.
Marisa, there are a couple of factors at play here - unique to America.
84% of Americans want to be writers. Only 5% of people read. Most of these 'writers' are quite happy just to get their writing in print. Their reward is the by-line.
American employers have been getting away with this for a very long time. They simply don't pay people, and the unpaid 'internship' is considered quite acceptable. As several 'employers' informed me in America, "We will give you a byline, and you can build up your portfolio." Writers are often asked to write gratis because they are getting 'exposure."
So it's quite possible that Maven is not interested in the economic health of their writers. There has to be a reason why they're not giving writers the ability to be contacted by others.
This is concerning, Marisa. I saw the announcement but haven't taken the time to look at the implications. That may mean overall less traffic depending on the number and type of niche a writer has on HubPages/Maven. Sounds like we will be known for that particular niche only. So if we don't have other articles in that niche, oh well. Looks like Maven is building their brand to have authors who are "experts" in a particular niche. This doesn't bode well for authors like me who write on several topics. I guess if I want to stay alive, I will have to choose one of my topics and write more articles to build authorship and expertise. Ugh. More work, more time.
It's not going to affect your traffic, because your articles are still on niche sites, just as they are now - and the reality is that it's the reputation of the site that matters, not your reputation.
My concern is that there's not much point in building authorship and expertise if a reader can look at your impressive list of articles, but can't contact you to ask for expert help or ask you to write for their publication.
I'm also betting that Maven will be paying authors less and less - not because the traffic is going, but because they will lower what authors are paid. It's the particular group of people who are running the company that concern me. They have done this with other sites they have owned. The actual authors become insignficant.
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