A Brief Open Letter to Manoj Bhargava, TAG CEO

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  1. Solaras profile image96
    Solarasposted 6 months ago

    Dear Mr. Bhargava:

    This is a letter to introduce you to the writers and content creators of Hubpages (HP) and its assorted niche (vertical) sites.  We are pleased to know that you will be managing The Arena Group for the time being, and are hopeful of a change in direction for Hubpages.

    These intelligent and creative people work for you, for free.  Many of them are experts in their various fields and are happy to create content for HP, on their time.  They only ask that should their content prove to be successful with the search engines, and useful to the readers, that they partake in a small measure of the success of that article, via a portion of ad revenue generated.

    This is a community with a vested interest in the overall success of HP. More so, in fact, than any employee collecting a salary, regardless of whether their product is of high quality or not. 

    The writers at HP want to work, they want to succeed and are hungry for partnership with management.  They are also easily motivated to produce informed content regarding your products, inventions and visions through contests, which were once a staple at HP.

    As you have noted in your The Street interview with J. D. Durkin, throughout history, many mistakes have been made and lessons have been learned.  Over the last 15 years, Hubpages staff and the writers learned many important lessons regarding quality content, spam and ad volume, which seems to have been forgotten under the last management group.

    In the interest of short term profits, the user experience has been diminished substantially by a plethora of ads, punctuating the text and making pages and images slow to load.  The once golden goose is being choked by an overabundance of ads, creating a spiral of users leaving pages early, thus suppressing the value of the article by search engine measurements.

    Users leave early because of too many ads, and therefore don’t even see the rest of the ads swamping the article. HP needs the pages to load quickly: ads, images and content. Reducing the number of ads is unlikely to lose net revenue. If users will stay on the page with fewer intrusive ads, and read the article to its conclusion, they may in fact see more total ads as a result.

    We invite you to see for yourself.  Please visit articles on Hubpages’ vertical niche sites and determine what your personal user experience is.  Is it tolerable to you, or does it make you want to go to another site for the information?

    You have at Hubpages a group of independent employees, paid only when they succeed, who are eager for direction from management, in order to improve their articles and the overall health of each of the vertical sites.

    We only ask that you use the ad ratio that is currently being employed at sites such as Sports Illustrated.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration

    1. chef-de-jour profile image96
      chef-de-jourposted 6 months agoin reply to this

      Thank you Barbara. I find myself nodding in agreement to most of what you've written!

      TAG has taken a massive hit with respect to its reputation and will need to recover asap. I'm not sure if this will affect the overall business plan short-term? Anything could happen in these volatile times.

      Let's hope this new CEO reads your open letter with an open mind, has a potted history of HP put before him on his desk, realises the mistakes made and rectifies all immediately.

      1. Cheryl E Preston profile image84
        Cheryl E Prestonposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        Thank you. I agree

        1. Solaras profile image96
          Solarasposted 6 months agoin reply to this

          Thanks for the support Cheryl.

      2. Solaras profile image96
        Solarasposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        Thanks Andrew.  I believe Paul is still there and hopefully he can explain the lessons learned to the new leaders.

    2. Miebakagh57 profile image66
      Miebakagh57posted 6 months agoin reply to this

      I agree completely with you, Barbara.

      1. Solaras profile image96
        Solarasposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        Thanks for reading it

        1. Miebakagh57 profile image66
          Miebakagh57posted 6 months agoin reply to this

          You're welcome. It's a serious topic for us writers.

    3. Jan Stepan profile image91
      Jan Stepanposted 6 months agoin reply to this

      Well written, Barbara smile

      1. Solaras profile image96
        Solarasposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        Thanks for reading Jan and the support.

  2. Glenn Stok profile image95
    Glenn Stokposted 6 months ago

    Barbara, your letter is well written and covers the essential issues. But it would be best to mail it directly to Manoj Bhargava since he won’t see it here. TAG’s mailing address is listed here: https://thearenagroup.net/contact-us/

    TAG’s board also fired other executives in addition to CEO Ross Levinsohn, such as corporate counsel Julie Fenster.

    Interestingly, they also fired Rob Barrett, the media president. So now, I might consider finishing my last draft. I stopped publishing on HubPages when I noticed TAG stock (AREN) dropped from $16 to $2 over the previous 12 months, coinciding with my HP revenue drop.

    1. eugbug profile image96
      eugbugposted 6 months agoin reply to this

      I don't understand their business model. They always seem to be buying companies. Is the idea that they just get lucky with some of them and sell them off at a profit?

      1. Glenn Stok profile image95
        Glenn Stokposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        I don’t understand their business model either, Eugene. Everything they are doing is so different from what they told me when they offered me a trip to Canada to be in the Maven conference. It seems they are just shooting in the dark with no attention to results. Every time I saw that with other content platforms, they ended up going out of business. Examples are Bubblews, Persona Paper, and InfoBarrel.

    2. Solaras profile image96
      Solarasposted 6 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the info and the address.  About the time we had a delayed payment, I noticed that their cash on hand for 3rd quarter was half of the previous year's same quarter, which is another cause for concern.  I haope he has a good plan for TAG and specifically HP.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image95
        Glenn Stokposted 6 months agoin reply to this

        It’s a cause for concern for me too. The major drop with their stock clearly shows they have not conducted business in a profitable manner. And they ignored all the signs that many of us have consistently been reporting. I have always found it very difficult to read anything on HubPages because of all the ads interfering with the flow, and the page resetting from the start due to the ads overwhelming the system. I’m sure if this happens to me, it’s happening to a lot of people reading our contact.

    3. Kenna McHugh profile image91
      Kenna McHughposted 6 months agoin reply to this

      I agree, Glen. Demand Media Studios (eHow) had me under contract, and their stock dropped and dropped, and then they were gone.


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