Yes, I understand, the algorithm could settle. I'm not holding my breath though. What can Hubpages do to appease Google?
I can see nothing less than:
- Taking out the bottom 40% of articles in terms of quality.
- Pre-approving each and every article like InfoBarrel.
- Removing ALL duplicate content.
- Scrapping the referral scheme, attracting their own writers only through advertising.
- Pre-approving writers (10 articles to be submitted, then perused, 7 need to be up to scratch to be allowed on the site).
This needs to be a closed door site, consolidate with the QUALITY content that the site already has. Build slowly but surely afterwards. No emphasis on quantity, every emphasis on quality.
This site needs to change its model. In addition, we need a news section. We can't argue the case for citizen journalism if we can't get anything in Google news.
If Hubpages aren't already broke, and they haven't thrown themselves off of the top of the convention centre around the corner from their HQ, then they are more than welcome to sponsor me for an H1 visa and employ me as a moderator - seeing as I have just applied for a job in a bar!
What needs to happen? You tell me....
I think you've covered it pretty well.
Definitely scrap dupes instantly. Mistakes will happen, so of course allow appeals.
I suggest they might consider user moderation, with some eligibility requirements and a voting system.
Example: 200 Hubbers have this status. If 5 of them say a hub of mine is junk, ignore that. If 50 say so, my hub should be unpublished.
Reward those people with increased earning percentage as long as they vote X number of hubs per day to give them incentive. No need to involve staff or you could do it like Spamassasin: you have a warn score (notify the hubber that the hub is at risk if 20 citizen moderators said so), a recoverable block (un-publish but notify staff if 50 said it was junk) and a flat block (200 hubber moderators say it is junk and must go).
I think the site would get cleaned up in less than a month.
Mistakes will happen, so of course allow appeals here also.
I think they should do these things anyway.
With this and the previous post, I think its all covered.
Since HP already has 'Hub hopping', let us all begin to scrutinize each hub well ourselves and flag them if necessary.
HP needs to employ more editors.I also write at Suite 101 and the standard accepted is very high. Most of the articles at HP wont see the light of day at Suite. HP needs to consider rules on where to source pictures from.
And yet I love HP, the forums and site are warm and welcoming. Even with low Hub traffic (only about 300 Total a day for me), I still get a few cents in Adsense every day. The capsules make writing a hub so much fun (although I only have a few up)
I will hate to give it up. So HP rise to the challenge, lets clean up and upgrade the quality.
We're brainstorming here, right? So, if some of my ideas are duds, it's just a part of the creative process for coming up with new solutions. Right?
I have mixed feelings about the requirement of pre-approval before publishing anything. One thing that I find attractive here is that it is a self-publishing site. But, yes, that does mean that we have a huge open door for abuse and misuse of the system, so it is right to tweak and revise and change the model as needed.
I would welcome a division of HubPages into different sections or levels (maybe even totally separate sites: HubPages A, B, C - or whatever). There could be different ways of breaking down the divisions - maybe beginner, intermediate, and advanced writers' sections; maybe divided by content type or style - creative writing and humor, sales Hubs, informational/how-to Hubs, news and/or opinion or comment; or maybe divided by approval status - highest quality, moderate revisions needed, total rewrites needed, garbage. If they are different sites, wouldn't Google view them and rank them differently?
Maybe the Hub-Hopping tool could just be revised to implement, i.e. incorporate, Pcunix's suggestions. Maybe HubNuggets could be revised to become the entrance requirement process. Maybe the HubMob could be a place where the content requires a higher level of approval, since participants are effectively publicizing or endorsing one another through the RSS feed.
I would like to see a different way of using the Rate Up/Down tool to allow higher-ranked Hubbers to give more points, so that someone could not use multiple accounts to rate up their own work and so the low-quality-cranking Hubbers would not have as effective a vote as the high-quality ones would. But by "higher-ranked" I don't automatically mean those with higher Author Scores or HubScores. (But this might also require yet another type of [unpublished] score, which could be another headache for the staff.)
I'm really sorry to hear the the referral system is/may be a TOS violation. Rats! I've almost had one or two, and I've been hoping for something good from them in the future.
Yes certainly get rid of low quality hubs. And try and get hubs published on other websites too like on some of yahoo and googles other tabs.
Yes, I believe they should do something similar to infobarrel. This site is very easy to use, and has a great interface, but if some moderation is not done, then hubpages will potentially lose its reputation.
I see a lot of foreigner writers from indonesia that do not even capitalize anything. Then I see 100 word hubs.
I believe hubpages should become moderately strict, but not to the extreme of course.
Hopefully, everything will sort out in a positive way.,.
My stats don’t seem to have moved in the last couple hours. I guess HP is still digesting things…
Yeah or hiding the true scale of this catastrophe, because mine were only heading one way when they froze and my AdSense stats seem to suggest that I have had less than 4000 page views in the past 8 hours. Which may sound a lot to you, but I would normally have had 9000 by now easily.
I think just removing all duplicate content is not the exact way to go, after all my best performing articles have been duplicated by other sites, why should I be penalized? As the original author Gogle recognizes me as the sourse, it would not adversely affect Hubpages.
Unfortunately the job of digging out which dupes are original and which ones are duplicates of an original would be a huge task.
However, I would support moves to put a duplicate content filter in place for the creation of all Hubs.
On my personal article directory I am trying to attract quality writers only, I have done this in several ways, not least of which is removing the wordpress registration form. If someone is not going to even try and figure out how to register on the site, they obviously should not be accepted anyway.
A percentage reward for Hub Hopping is actually not a bad idea.
I think you may be overdramatising the severity of the situation though Ryan, wait a week and lets see how it pans out. There is nothing wrong with Hubpages taking a few small steps to increase overall site quality though!
No you see to misunderstand what I am saying.
I am NOT saying that we should remove articles which are STOLEN from Hubpages.
If you posted an article to Hubpages right now Oli, which was taken from another of your live sites, it will be flagged as duplicate content.
What it wouldn't be is removed from the site. There is tonnes of stuff on Hubpages which is published which has ALREADY been published elsewhere. There is no rule against doing so.
The filter is already in place Oli, you get a flag, rather than a copyright symbol. The system is already in place for them to go and remove every single piece of syndicated or stolen content which exists on Hubpages. No need to create it, it is already there.
If you didn't already know this, go and copy and paste an unoriginal piece of content to a hubpage and press publish now, and you will see what I mean
I guess I need to duplicate more content
The system is in place but I am not so sure of quality, I onnly see one side of it, but the copyright theft check seems to rarely work for me (I find my work stolen constantly, but hardly ever see the notification on my stats).
Pretty much all your suggestions are valid.
I think the key things are:
Removing all duplicate content
Approving the first few Hubs by someone (if they are rubbish, then they will not be published.)
Getting rid of the lowest quality Hubs e.g. one paragraph with a link to their own site.
As you said this will improve the site for all and reputation among users and Google.
Also, I think user moderation would be good as Pcunix said and there should be a small reward for doing so but I think a staff member should then look as well due to people unfairly getting rid of Hubs!
How this point will help any site to get over status of content farm ?
It won't, but it will maintain quality standards, which is the very foundation of the problem that Google has with content farms.
Quality is very subjective here in case of content farms. We need a non-writer(and non-buyer) to judge it. Product hubs don't pass quality standards of casual surfers for various reasons. For example, "top 10 chirstmas X YZ" or "buy 4chan anime gifts" type product hubs offer no value to readers but during (desperate)shopping spree we've found those pages converting on/off hubpages. By the way those 5 points in first post look similar to xomba's new policy. It's really hard to get sales pages to convert if those changes are implemented here on hubpages.
I thought it was interesting that you brought up InfoBarrel. They along with Xomba and a few others recently annouced some policy changes that they strongly hinted were implemented to appease Google. These included such changes as adjustments to length requirements, acceptable methods of linking, and elimination of the referral program citing that it was now a violation of Google's terms of service. It makes me wonder if Google didn't fire out some kind of warning shot over the bow prior to rolling out this update. Interestingly enough, the rankings of my articles over an InfoBarrel have not suffered while nearly almost all of my Hubpages articles tanked. It appears that this update is very much domain specific vs. some groundbreaking new way of judging quality content on the individual page level.
I agree with you that Hubpages should immediately move to eliminate all poor quality content from the site. A system that automatically moves articles scoring lower than 49 back to draft status would be a good start.
Getting rid of the referral program would probably also be a smart move if it is in fact a TOS violation now.
It all just kind of makes me wonder if Hubpages didn't get some kind of advance warning of the change and ignore it. My traffic at the sites that recently made some major policy changes hasn't been impacted at all even though they run similar models and I can tell you that the writing from the top 20% or so of users on Hubpages is far better than almost anything I've seen on those sites.
Here is a positive thought.
From what I’ve been reading, google really, really, really hates the article theft sites. For those of us who have been victims, this might actually shake out to become a good thing.
So far, this is just a thought, not a prediction.
I just checked on one of my stolen articles.
My HP article is now listed above the theft-website’s article. Yes!
I am also surprised that you are allowed to publish a hub with hardly any words on it. Surely there should be a 250 word minimum before you can publish?
Looks like Xomba has written a staff blog about the Google changes. They are making changes necessary to adapt.
Acting out of fear and on a basis of myths never brings expected results.
Of course. And a number of us have been saying that everyone should calm down and wait at least a week.
But that doesn't mean that smart people don't make contingency plans. I've been through far too much crap in my life not to think about disaster planning regularly.
You are exactly right Misha, I reckon people should wait and see before jumping to conclusions and infecting each other with too much doom and gloom.
Quote from the Xomba blog:
"Make no mistake, the age of writing online for the sole purpose of making money is coming to an end. Xomba is ahead of the curve, and all of you will benefit from the upcoming changes. It will keep us in the game as “content farms” fall by the wayside. They are shaking in their boots. We are not."
Scarry stuff indeed! We live in interesting times both politically (Middle East) and in the world of web content.
What a load of crap, Xomba is nothing other than a content farm unless they do away with their revenue model, which will result in it coming nothing other than an article directory.
They are right in one thing though, the end of the road. I had better begin downloading my hubs onto word documents and uploading them onto my own sites.
Adding quality standards doesn't change the status of content farm. In fact it helps build content farm that google wants to eliminate from the web. Xomba owns content farm with quality writers and that still means they're in 'content farm' category. Xomba was never ahead of curve as you can see from the features they're implementing now on their site. lol. Followers/accolades and what not. I mean seriously, drupal based site claims that they're ahead of curve ? BS. I'll agree end of the road for 'farms' when google kicks autoblogs. If anyone maintains list of autoblogs on top google results then they'll notice that content farms are affected with this change but plagiarized autoblogs are not at all. Dumb google.
So relax! it will pick up soonest. It's just under 48hrs of the implementation by Google. Things will recalibrate, this is not strange but things will take the normal cause.
The changes you suggested are really good Ryan. I hope they're seriously considered. Though HP is a content farm like the rest, we seem to have the added advantage of having a great community here. Not only that but the HP staff seems very innovative when it comes to doing things that boost rankings in Google. I bet they'll make some good changes and we'll end up sitting in a much better place than a lot of the other content farms out there. I would think that our traffic levels will come back to at least 75% of what they were once some changes are made and things settle out with Google. That's my prediction. I guess we'll wait and see.
I know this is not going to get a good reception and will solidify my reputation as beeyatch, but I think that prospective hubbers from Asia, India, Africa, et.al. should definitely have a waiting period where all of their hubs are prescreened by a human being. I mean, come on -- even AdSense realizes that there are a lot of spammers coming from there. And from my hubhopping experiences, I can tell you that a lot of them are spamming us here as well. I honestly think that one move would cut out a lot of the cr*p immediately. (And I don't think it should affect present hubbers, btw.) I know this strategy isn't fair by any means, but I'm less concerned about being fair at this point than I am about having HP better its reputation.
If we don't put any ongoing quality controls in place, cr*p is just going to keep coming in as quickly as we can weed it out.
I think that would be responding to prejudiced stereotypes, and wrong ones at that, too.
If HP makes a rule that makes a distinction between Indians, ("and Asians, Africans et al") and the rest of the world, I will be the first to leave this site.
Since I am an Indian, I will speak for Indians - there are other Asians and Africans here too - that write extremely well. I think you have grossly misjudged the quality of English writing (on the Internet) in India. I will leave it you to research it further, but I will tell you this - the best writers are not on HP - they don't have to be.
I know that there is a lot of cr#p here (on HP) - but I am not sure that the overwhelming amount of cr#p owes it origin to "Indian/Asian/African" writers. There are a lot of "Native English speakers" too - that have produced copious amounts of the cr#p that you allude to.
Hello!! lets not deviate from the point. Spamming is not an Asian/African phenomenon. I am African myself. HP needs to increase editors instead of focusing on smart code writers.
I'll also move my content to hosted sites if HP adds criteria similar to moderation on infobarrel.
Let me be honest here about gray area of marketing. Product/sales hubs don't offer any value to users no matter who attempts to write it. Those articles lean towards commercial intention and offer no value to casual surfers. Just because it works for us during season we assume they're not crap. At one side everybody is making fuss about writing community and quality writing on this site and on the other side nobody is paying attention to product hubs which are bringing revenue on table. Just because if native-english writer is posting commercial hub it instantly becomes quality content and if non-native one posts similar content then that becomes crap(only because of typo/grammar). Quality writing has nothing to do with product hubs that are aimed at desperate buyers. Just because journalists write on any particular site doesn't help remove the status of content farm. That way even gigaom, techcrunch and similar other news networks can be seen as content farm. It's all about manipulation of information to get readers attention at the end. That's what SE gaming is all about.
Informational articles don't bring revenue unless they're tweaked in a way readers click on ads or even lands on that particular page. If tweaks are made to get visitors then this gaming makes any content network a 'farm' no matter who posts content on site and the quality of writing on that site. Those who are talking about quality of writing are just playing the game of ego/authority and denying the possibility of gaming SE. If they're gaming with quality content then what difference is going to make to their 'content farm' status ?
I do not agree with your view about Asian African and other foreign writers -
although if you take that issue out of what you wrote I can agree with the basic idea.
Screening would indeed thin out spammers and porly written articles from some second language writers, and emotioanl hogwash and raving political loonies and themore ridiculous fundamental religious writers, and lonely peole with more issues than writing talent, and 3 line review and ten articles for sale writers etc etc etc.
And bad poets should be excluded too - but that is a personal preference with no commercial basis
I shouldn't admit this (and maybe it's only because it's a very gray, rainy, day where I am), but I've glued to whatever is happening on the monitor, here, the same way as most of were glued to our TV's and radios on 911. (I know it's a horrible comparison - sorry.) I've been watching what's showing up on the forums, on articles outside this site, on other sites, etc. etc. since about 9 this morning. My sister (not at all involved in online writing) sent me an e.mail. My brother said he heard about it on a stock program.
At this point, I gotta say, "Q'ue sera sera" (and go get some coffee, of course ).
Irohner, I tend to agree.
(By the way, has anyone seen the Monster.com ads for freelance writers? At least those ads are aimed at people who see themselves as "freelance writers". )
As a person who often looks stuff up on Google, I am glad to see that they are attempting to "reduce the rankings for low quality sites." When I want info, I don't want to have to surf through a lot of rubbish.
I agree with ryan. HP needs to cut the chaff and dump the lower quality hubs into draft mode. Maintaining quality is in the best interest of all of us here.
I used to feel like a meany for flagging low quality hubs. But we are a team here and we've got to act like a team in order for the site to be competitive.
Here's another idea: Maybe we Hubbers should be required to hop a certain number of Hubs before being allowed to post each Hub. That is, in the same way that a Captcha is required before a Hubber's first 5 or 10 (I forget) are published, the required HubHopping (I would recommend 10) would serve as an okay to allow a Hub to be published. That would slow down the ones that crank out the shoddy content, and at the same time it would involve more Hubbers in the hopping process and (we hope) flag the substandard Hubs a lot more quickly.
The good ship HP have done well thus far. There's a lot of smart brains involved in the company, and I'm confident that they'll figure it all out after the initial fall out has settled.
When I hop, I come across a lot of 50-49 hubberpoint people with a single hub solely for the purpose of putting two links to an external site. I think you all know what I mean. They don't break any hubpages rules as far as I know but they also add nothing to hubpages and use hubpages like one of the bookmarking sites out there. I think they should go away. Let everyone flag those hubs from now on, if you are not already doing so.
The control of content on the site seems to be the point of conflict. This site and/or its administrators apparently need to make a decision about what type of content will dominate the site.
Will the site be filled with informative articles that are linked to and lead to products that solve consumer issues (as is Google’s new plan) or will it be a site full of Spam posts, full of links and no viable consumer information?
Lately it appears the latter is true, just hub hop for a morning or two and that is quite evident. Many of the opinions put forth concerning quality content also seem to support this view.
As was commented in the “Staff needs to address” forum someone at HB needs to decide whether to pare back the junk and elect quality or quantity. Google for a very long time has given higher ratings and returns to advertising over information. This new format appears to endeavor to deliver both. If hubs don’t have quality and a deliverable advertisement related to the topic, your toast
Advertising is their business, Google, though it is thought to be, is not an automated Liberian, and thereby because there is now too much junk, the user complaints. Be assured what ever changes are made, Google is not the place for research or information, they are in business to get products and services in front of consumers, and if you are here on HB and apply any of the marketing devices, that’s what your doing to.
The answer here is for HB to eliminate the non-informative link-o-ramas and do a little policing. Those that post quality content here will rise through the ranks first by eradicating our own site swill and then rise above other competing sites with lesser content, by providing information filled advertising to an increasingly internet savvy consumer.
Wow so much for being pro-active. These things should of been implemented years ago. Google gave hubpages a lot of love and hubpages did not return it. Seems like hubpages took the attitude of we will just publish everything and let google sort it out. Well google does not work that way and subsequently just hammered the whole site. As for me I am gonna live and learn and not trusting any of these "content farm" sites to control my destiny.
I Google for information on lots of things that may eventually lead me to a product, not just to make purchases. People may click on an ad on, say an informative gardening hub but I don't want to be a site that is totally commercial.
I remember back in the day when Alta Vista was king and I enjoyed reading articles until it turned into one big fat commercial. Where are they now?
One very attractive aspect of HP is a comfortable relationship between content (when a Hub's content is original and substantive) and advertising. Hubs are easy to read and easy to separate from the other elements of a page. HP does not look like other sites, which I won't mention by name, that allow advertising to dominate the page and thus the experience of reading. It will be a great loss to the Internet if HP content gets pushed so far down in Google search results that it becomes essentially unfindable, because the meaningful and helpful information searchers are looking for can often be found here in a format that respects the writing rather than simply using it as an excuse to generate revenue.
With that much said, I agree that HP needs to make changes in order to weed out junk before it gets published. I am joining the Hopping bandwagon for the purpose of some serious flagging. It's one small thing I can do to show my support for this site which I think is one of the best self-publishing venues around.
Community policing by Hubbers will also go a long way to help out. Sincerely Flag poor or crapy(less informative and less quality) content anywhere seen.(from hop hub, hubtivity and hub feed) reports.
Wow. I am a new hubber, though not a new writer, and what a time to join the ranks of HubPages. I have spent over a week reviewing this platform in order to ensure that my content met its published standards before posting my first hub.
Perhaps interestingly, I'm one of those people who responded to a Monster.com advertisement, having never heard of HubPages before. As a newly solo mother re-entering the workforce, this seemed like a forum that would be a legitimate means of supplimenting my income, while giving me another means to practice my craft.
I actually think the Monster.com might add to the quality of the community here, as you are able to add people who have dreamed of writing as a vocation, but were completely unaware of this platform. These people will read your terms and conditions and actually comply with them, enthusiastic and hopeful about getting started, thinking that the HubPage terms and conditions are just the way business is done.
From what it sounds like, simple enforcement of the policies that are already in place with HubPages may alleviate much of the problem this community presently faces.
I'm enthusiastic about getting started, in spite of this Google issue. And I'm grateful to have landed here at HubPages as I start to rebuild a life for my daughters and myself. Thanks, everybody, for your candor and your encouragement!
Just to clarify something, so you know... the forum itself doesn't provide income. If that is what you meant by the word forum.
That adds to what I said.
And recommend1 said that earlier far more diplomatically than I did
Not to pick issues with lrohner either - I wanted to point out the holes in what she suggested - putting a scanner on "Indian/African/Asian et al" wannabe hubbers.
How do you determine that a writer falls in the said category? Do you ask for his/her country of origin? Country of residence? If the two are different - what do you do?
If an Indian, who is a Ph.D in English Literature wants to start hubbing - what is she supposed to do - pass a grammar and spelling test? Or remain in a sandbox for some time?
If correct English is an issue, then only writers from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK would pass muster.
I think this is the point - second language speakers are often far better at grammar, better spelling and write more intelligently htan many native speakers - there are issues everywhere. If a set of screening rules are provided then it will screen out as many semi-literate homeys as not so good second language speakers.
The issue is really simple - a set of minimum requiremnts for writing, quantity and quality of information would suffice for everone.
Well, they should
Apparently, cr#p written in correct English - perfect grammar, perfect spelling and oh, edited too - is much better than cr#p written in poor English written by non-native speakers from "India/Africa/Asia". At least it is readable.
Time to learn Chinese, I am all for a shift in focus,
Time to adapt to our Asian readers. Ni hao! Let's go buy things in KL la!
I think the English as a second language issue is complicated. I have read some horrible hubs with weird English. Then again, I remember being new here, trying to understand so much, and was able to get information that I could best understand from someone whose English was obviously second language. Her writing style just worked for me.
For now all I'm doing is working on some of my own sites and projects and waiting for everything to shake out. I hope HP gets bumped back up somewhat, because quality wise in general they're still way ahead of what I generally consider "content farms," but we won't know for another week or so. Google likes to drop the bomb and then fix later...and based on some of the absolutely crappy sites being pushed to the top of the search engines right now over much better hubs and sites, there's no way this is final as is unless Google is trying to lose their market share.
I'm doing the same thing as you Jerry. I actually have a few hubs planned and was going to start posting next week. However, in light of all that's going on, I'll keep those hubs to myself. I'm currently working on pushing my niche site (it's only a few weeks old) and hoping for the best.
If Hubpages as well as other sites I'm a part of are unable to recover, at least I have some fresh content for my personal sites.
Can't they install some kind of filter that automatically denies publication to a hub with under, say 200 words? If you limit the oodles of hubs with only 50 words of content, that may go a long way to improving the site.
Yes they can. Easily. The software here is brilliant. So why didn't they? Why don't they automatically check for duplicate content when someone publishes it? Why do they allow people to join up and immediate create tens or even hundreds of spammed articles?
Er. I don't know the answer. And I'm grateful they allowed my garbage through. Doesn't matter now anyway. No one will find it again.
Dolores, you'd have to have a filter, then, for the poetry section.
I have hubs that I have totally forgotten that get no traffic and really aren't that good. Think I'll delete for the cause!
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