Along with the Google effect lately I've seen a lot of forum posts about spam, and every time I hub hop it is obvious that there is a lot submitted here of both spam and simply substandard hubs.
I would suggest that the following rules apply to the first 5 (or 10 or 20?) hubs by any new hubber:
1. Each hub to be at least 500 words. That is longer than the minimum required, but if you cannot or will not write 500 words for at least 5 hubs are you really of much value to HubPages? Exception of course for poetry and related hubs. Not for sales hubs - again, if you can't or won't write a 500 word sales hub it says something about you. Personally, I wouldn't except those hubs with nothing but photos, either, but that might be debatable.
2. No outgoing links. Amazon, eBay, map, video, photo capsules excepted, but no outgoing links in link capsules or textual links. I realize this will raise hackles, but there are ways around that do not involve linking, and they can be added after the 5 hubs have been published.
3. All five to be manually checked and approved before publishing. Spelling and punctuation to be perfect, or very nearly so. Perhaps an automatic spell check when "done editing"? Appropriate subjects only.
The objective here is to prevent spammers from coming in and making 1 or 2 hubs promoting another site. If they must write 2500 words without a link, they won't come. It will also help new hubbers understand the requirements expected, if not absolutely required, of them. It will stop short blogs from people think HP is a blog site - again, they must write 2500 words before publishing a blog style hub.
I would also apply these rules to any existing hubber with less than 5 hubs; any existing hubs must be evaluated before publishing new ones and any existing links must be removed or unpublished until evaluation.
I agree a minimum word count would be good but I think 500 words is too high - I know longer Hubs are said to do better, but for a complex subject it can be better to write several shorter Hubs and link them together. Let's say 350 or 400 words? That should be possible to set up as an automated filter, and it should apply to ALL Hubs, not just the first few.
I don't think this is necessary - spammers are already severely limited in the number of links they can have. And barring outgoing links would have a negative impact on our ability to reference other sites.
As Sunforged said, the problem with introducing a manual check is that it would need a lot more staff, and that costs money - which would impact our earnings.
I would not be adverse to a minimum of 350 (not-poetry) words for all hubs except that it still encourages short blog-type hubs of no particular value. Although I do not really find that many of those - it is mostly the spammers that put up a few words with a link or two and walk away.
If the spammers had to write 5 hubs without links it would stop them dead in their tracks, I think.
"As Sunforged said, the problem with introducing a manual check is that it would need a lot more staff, and that costs money - which would impact our earnings."
I don't mind about it. Better ranking is always first priority then comes others factors. No rankings means no money.
I really wouldn't expect the cost to go up after existing <5 hubs are checked. I envision software that would, upon pressing "publish", check spelling, word count and non-HP links before either returning it or submitting it to HP with appropriate messages to the hubber.
I would think that most of the junk would never make it past the software and that spammers and bloggers would quickly leave and not come back after finding what they have to do to publish at will. That should relieve much of the current checking being done manually by itself.
But these rules would not cater to the things that Google would appear to want to see. Short hubs are not the issue - I have poems on here in my other name of alternate poet - and our illustrious leader proudly quotes the number of poets on Hubpages as one of the highlights !
A short effective information rich hub is also better than a long-winded low quality droning on about . . . Quality is the ONLY issue.
Hard to believe that quality (non-poetry) hubs can be written in 100 words, yet 100 word or less hubs litters the landscape when hub hopping. All too many are one or two lines.
My point is to require proof that you can write a 500 word hub (still short to my mind) before being allowing pretty much a free rein. Plus, as I say, it will stop the bloggers as they won't want to write 5 500 word hubs before being allowed to go back to fairly short blogs.
I agree in principal - it is just the detail that I am not so sure about - imposing number counting rules is not about quality - although it would deter the few line spammers as you say.
I also have reservations about hub-hopping - the good intentions can soon degenerate into a witch hunt. I note that in the HubPages blurb somewhere it says that some (respected) hubbers act as moderators and if they flag a comment the ban that comes with it is AUTOMATIC - maybe this is behind the recent banning of a large cross section of the anti religious forum posters.
I would be more in favour of giving more weight to the vote UP and DOWN buttons so that they are able to push a hub down below the follow link size, and good but unpopular hubs (such as my poetry of course ) up over the follow threshhold.
Giving more weight to the up and down buttons could hurt people who might write on a topic that other people find offensive, or disagree with, say political or religious hubs - that could be a witch hunt. I am sure there are people out there who thumbs down a hub for purely personal reasons, and not due to actual quality.
A good page has outgoing links. Any page that is a dead end for visitors is not a good experience. This is supposed to be the internet.
So link within HubPages. That's the point - that it's a dead end for spammers that make a hub solely for the purpose of promoting their other sites.
Wilderness, did you notice that HubPages requires Flagship Hubs to include 10 outgoing links OUTSIDE HubPages?
There's a good reason for that.
If there is going to be manual moderating, it should be only the first one or two Hubs, not more. I agree it wouldn't involve as much staff time as it sounds, because it would cut down the amount of time moderators devote to checking reports on existing Hubs - but I'm sure the HubPages team has done a cost/benefit analysis on it already.
Yes to the flagship hubs. But no new hubber is going to start off with a flagship hub. Plus, outside links could be added later if advantageous; the sole purpose is to require considerable work before allowing such links, thus stopping the spammers.
Yes, just the first couple of hubs might do the job as well, although I think 5 would be better. Most of the checking I'm proposing could be done by software before reaching the reviewer, leaving just a quick scan for spun articles, really bad grammar, TOS violations, and such.
HP may well have done a cost analysis already, but 10,000 heads are better than 25 at coming up with ideas and I do not know that HP has considered such an action.
I do know that other hubbers have provided thoughts on how to solve the problem of junk hubs; I have added one more. It is apparently not a good one as opposition is running at least 10 to 1 against it - the majority would seem to feel that the cost of writing 5 simple, decent hubs is too great a price for new hubbers to pay to help protect the high quality image of HP.
What needs to happen is some sort of an editorial team, similar to the way Wikipedia vets their own articles, run by fellow hubbers.
When you start, your hubber score is 10, and you can only publish 1 hub a day, and they are automatically subject to review by other hubbers who have a lot higher hubber score. You need at least one of them (or whatever number we choose) to rate that as a "pass" before you can publish the next "set".
When you start, your first X hubs (5? 10?) automatically goes into a "ratings circle" where they are critiqued by select hub members with high hubber scores, perhaps 5 randomly selected members among pool of volunteers (or chosen members). If at least 3 decided the hub is worth publishing, it is published. If not, it's sent back as "please revise", along with private comments.
Eventually the hubber's score gets high enough that they don't need this vetting process.
Private comments, from hubber to hubber, that does NOT appear in the public comments section, mainly as ideas to improve the hub.
Good idea in principal - BUT then you have to look at what makes a high hubscore.
Without in any way suggesting anything detrimetnal about hubbers with high hubscores - I have seen scores of 100 on purely promotional hubs - is that the way you want hubpages to go ?? FIRST it would be necessary to re-think how Hubscore is generated. A better idea that does not use this blatant advertising and linking self serving score system would be to have tiers of members, from newbie to authors to editors of sections to editors general.
Will you take the cut in earnings to pay for the huge increase in paid staffing that would require? I wouldnt, 60% is as low as I would accept.
there is a lot of assumption in these threads that any changes in serps are permanent and that they are targeting "quality'
the assumption being that if hubpages was "hurt" then therefore they must be of a lower quality than most who were not effected.
This is highly flawed reasoning, webmasters with 10 year old sites were decimated also, autoblogs have risen HIGHER in serps, sites that scrape and spin have risen HIGHER. The Dance has only just begun.
compared to the poorly designed, formatted and written blogs that fill the net,forgotten and outdated sites, autogenerated sites, ecommerce sites that are just feeds. Hubpages is truly stellar and far above the norm in accessibility, usability and quality of content.
Not that i dont think your outline is reasonable and effective - but it requires manhours and oversight, which would require more costs to Hp limiting their ability to share revenue potential and therefore making another site with a better revshare more desirable.
after this pr hit, the worst thing HP could do is cut potential rev to writers, so all the suggestions about how they should spend their money - is in essence suggestion son how to take money out of the writers pockets
Sunforged, I'm not convinced the manpower would go up that much, if any.
There were be an initial increase due to current hubbers with a few hubs, but after that only newbiews first 5 hubs to be reviewed, and with these rules in effect I would expect to have nearly all the spammers go away without writing anything at all. Software can count words, check spelling and look for links; all that is left is a quick perusal by a person.
Nor do I suggest this solely as a result of recent actions; they are merely the key to the timing. We all know there is much here that should not be, and that it takes effort and time to get rid of it. I believe this would help both in the long run by controlling who can (or will) become a hubber.
Are you kidding? The staff can hardly keep up with the hubs that have been flagged and take nearly a week or longer to remove substandard submissions. How can they possibly keep up every new submission without increasing the staff tenfold?
By letting the community handle it on a voting basis.
People who think they were unfairly unpublished can request review by staff. Spammers won't bother, which means staff would probably have LESS work than they have now.
Do the voting through the existing flagging system - if more than X people flag it, take it down, notify the Hubber that they can request a review from staff and give them a link to do so.
Simple, isn't it?
That's ridiculous and open to manipulation. A popular hubber can get his or her pals to do some voting and ruin another hubbers reputation.
For instance, you are constantly griping about Misha and if your plan were in place Misha could convince his nearly 3000 fans to down vote and flag all of your hubs and where would that leave you? Complaining about how terrible a place Hubpages is and threaten to leave if "something" is not done to please you.
So no, it's not that simple, is it?
Yes, it is simple. If someone did did that, I'd ask for staff to review and they'd reinstate it and likely punish those who tried that crap - or at least warn them that future foolishness would cause repercussions..
You just didn't bother to read what I wrote, did you?
I wouldn't have responded if I hadn't read it and I pointed out why I don't like the idea of the "community" handling anything that the staff should be handling. The staff looked at that possibility over a year ago and allowed content to be instanly removed when some "highly trusted" hubbers flag it.
I think they have been doing a fantastic job thus far and I see no reason to pass the burden of site moderation on to the community since they are getting paid quite a bit for our contributions as it is.
I also think that jumping all over a new hubber and publicly outing them in the forums is childish and does not serve the community. It would be better to personally contact that new hubber and point them in the right direction or offer to mentor them. But for some, it must give them some sense of superiority, undeserving of course.
No, you did NOT read what I wrote because you missed the part about requesting a review from staff, which would eliminate any childish games and would very likely REDUCE the amount of staff work needed.
This plan would eliminate the real junk extremely quickly and almost none of it would ever come back because the spammers would know that staff would just give them the same result.
Of course, as I have said elsewhere, this assumes a need to do this. The need may not exist.
I agree that it is too early.
However, if the site eventually has to be cleaned up, I am quite sure that it could be done by hub hopping volunteers - if some set percentage or number says it is crap, unpublish it. The author can request staff to review, but spammers wouldn't bother,would they?
I don't think that's a bad idea anyway. It could cut down on the weekend spam growth and make Mondays a happier day for staff
Good comment PCunix. There are a lot of bad hubs, but there are a hell of a lot of writers here. We can clean this up ourselves, with hubpages staff able to find them. No flag, no see.
PC, I think you are right - we can clean it up with work. Whether that work is necessary, I don't know. It is certainly too early to tell if Google hates us now, but I've seen so many posts about junk (and seen so much junk myself) that it might be wise to do it anyway. Only HP knows that - I have no idea how much income they garner from trashy hubs. I'm sure it is something, but really have no idea whether it is significant or not.
I'm trying to find a way to do it without involving massive effort by either HP or hubbers, and preferably a way that will, in time, actually ease the effort necessary.
Not sure I agree with this point, as a majority of the hubs on here are copied straight from those forgotten and outdated, autogenerated and ecommerce sites.
I don't think Google hates us, they are just trying to bring relevant content to the top and eliminate the 'chaff' from showing up in searches.
I have recently considered the hundreds of hubs here about how to make money with google. Who do those hubs appeal to? Why are there so many? I think they sometimes give false hope, and we have zillions of hubs being published by people hoping to get rich. Besides the fact that everyone now is writing a hub about how to make money with google, and some are giving inaccurate information. (who really knows, anyway ) These hubs giving false info need to be flagged also.
I don't think they hate us either (we make money for them, after all).
Why so many "making money" hubs? Probably because of high CPC values. Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable flagging for false information on them; they may disagree with with I think, but they may also be right. I'm certainly no expert there. About the only ones I'll flag for content are the "get rich overnight" things.
well, yes, I'm sure that is why, my point exactly. We're encouraged to write rich content about subjects we know well or have researched well enough to write an informative article. I recently read a hub about how to make money with google in which the writer 'appears' to be an authority on the topic. In the comments, the writer then admits to being new and doesn't understand blah, blah.. how can a writer be trusted giving out advice they themselves don't understand? I think it's insulting to the reader who has come to this article looking for specific information to then find out the author clearly admits to being new to the field and doesn't understand, and yet claimed otherwise in the hub.
Yep - you see it all the time, although to be fair it might just be because we're more in tune with the making money subject. It would be better if they would give links to support their statements, but few do. Deceitful in my opinion, and as you pointed out, all too often just plain wrong anyway.
I can't believe I just found someone's resume posted. He had posted his photos, plus his work experience, interests, schooling and everything!
This is getting serious...this is get..in..seri..ous!!... are you thinking about you or us? please...don't say what you about to say...!! look back before you close that door...before you judge, we should all think twice!!! just to make us meditate...morning beautiful people!
I think Google has also implemented their search algorithm to adversely work against related article spinner generated content that are been grossly abused by many internet marketers and a few regular users in pursuit of trying to earn more with adsense on severally spun on same topics. This is common with content farm as so many sites were grossly affected on the same.
My suggestion would be to apply a probationary period to new Hubbers where their hubs will only be visible to the hub community.
While they are in the probation stage they may only post one hub until it is reviewed and approved by a certain number of other hubbers. The reviewing Hubbers could be those of a set minimum Hubberscore. To go a step further those reviewing could pick genres they are knowladgable in to pull new hubs from in so even more quality is assured.
During the time the new Hubber is waiting to be approved they could be encouraged to comment on other hubs and post in the forums so they can begin meeting the community. They could also spend this time learning how to make quality hubs and writing them up so they are ready to go when they get free reign.
This process might be too much for many and will probably scare off a large amount of new contributors. Although on the plus side, this could create a stronger community and better quality all around. Maybe there is a good medium somewhere in between.
I think this idea-or a similar one- has been suggested on every site I have written on. It makes perfect sense but is seldom implemented. Frankly, I had rather give my free time perusing the work of a potential newbie than cleaning up the trash by Hub Hopping already published articles.
I would, too, Randy. My biggest concern here would be that it could happen that a hub could sit for days and days before being found by enough "reviewers" to be approved. That could really discourage people.
Might be ways around that, though - list them in order of publication, maybe.
Just wondering how big the flag in tray is going to be Monday morning for HP staff. Pretty big I reckon.
Have people seen the Ezinearticle response? http://blog.ezinearticles.com/2011/02/s … more-11693
I know one person (not me!) who has 23,000 articles there, written over ten years, who wrote for the SEO benefits and have probably lost there entire income because of the nofollow decision...
Well, that is why a lot of people used the article directories. They haven't been a great place for their original purpose for years.
In the early days of the internet, they used to be great sites. People would put up really valuable articles on them, and then they were used by other humans to add content to their own ezines... it was win-win. Great articles meant people would click the links and go to your site... directly.
Then google arose, and for the last eight or nine years, the quantity of spammers rose until it beat off real authors, and its only real purpose has been as a place to get backlinks.
It's made for a crappy site... I remember when ezy was a GOOD site full of good content.
I've written stuff for ezy that I am not proud of... although not much... if this means Ezy will return to its original purpose, then that is great.
I admit, I liked the old days before google better, when 95% of the internet was valuable sites.
If - and it is a big if - Google can ever rid the SERPs of spam and darker SEO manipulation, the WORLD will be a better place, period.
All the time Google encourages the practice by rewarding themselves with free money by putting adsense ads on shite content - the problem will persist.Google creates the problem in the first place.
And the WORLD couldn't care less if the search engines are not perfect. They have been returning garbage since they started. What you mean is - YOU would be happier.
All of us who use the internet for research would be happier.
Possibly - but what would actually happen is - Big Business would manipulate the results instead of the spammers and all you would see is what Rupert Murdoch wanted you to see.
First ten results for anything about a product would be Amazon - as we are seeing happen.
First ten results for anything else would depend who owns the rights to it and the only people capable of using the Internet properly would be tech geeks like you.
I remember when the Internet was new - good grief - it was complex. It could take all day to download a few badly scanned porno pics (the first thing on the Internet if I recall).
The "good old days" is what you want.
I'm not quite so pessimistic.
For example, I mentioned microformats and hreview in another thread. Google has barely begun to tap the potential available there (and few websites bother to help them by using this markup).
But, for example, if Google started giving better SERP to reviews that do use hreview markup, you'd quickly see everyone jump on board and it WOULD help.
I know, I know: not going to happen. Maybe so, but I think something like that has to happen.
How would it help? 2,000 reviews of product XYZ - which ten would get shown on the first page of results? The ones with the most incoming links or on the strongest sites. Back to square one.
It would help when I am looking for just reviews or if I want just people who sell it or just tech specs.
Right now, it's hard - sometimes imposible - to find what you really want. Microformat tagging could help.
Yes, but that's a different issue. How Google determines SERP is one thing, knowing what information a page intends to impart is another.
No doubt spammers will invade microformats too.. but it is perhaps easier to root them out that way.
ooh. That beings to mind something I once heard about the sex industry (is that the PC term these days?).
I heard once that if you want to know where technology is going next, follow porn. I don't, myself, but it seems like an interesting idea. Wonder how those sites are reacting to the changes? Or if they even have to react? They probably have already dealt with it and moved on to their new strategy.
I've always found eZineArticles to be stuffed with low-quality content. I seriously doubt they have enough manpower to QC each article except in a cursory manner (maybe a minute each).
I see a lot of eZineArticle promoting a scam I tried to bust. The EZA articles about this particular scam are full of logical fallacies, and grandiose statements that are not backed by any corroborating evidence. Most are old and worthless (the scam has since been outlawed in a dozen countries as of 2011) And one can find spam like this all over the net.
Unless EZA have experts in specific areas that they publish stuff about they are doomed.
Perhaps that's where Hubpages should be heading... Instead of a general directory of EVERYTHING, perhaps they should do specific topic hubs, with an editor that is experience in that topic and some community help.
Indeed, that's how About.com works, except they have ONE person per topic. Hubpages can take that model and expand upon it.
Got to agree with Mark, PC - I find that the internet is rapidly starting to resemble the offline world, where soulless malls suck the life out of communities and conglomerates drive small retailers out of business.
I sense the same happening here - the big players are all doing their best to kill the small guys, and I have my suspicions about the intent of Google (although I am happy to take their money ).
Not just in retail, but in access to information itself
Oh come on Sufi, how dare you to doubt BigG intentions!?
Surely it is the most moral entity ever created or born on Earth
I guess that now means that I am hereby cast out from Google's benevolence, doomed to wander the jagged ruins of Geocities and the barren wastes of MySpace for all eternity
Not all is doom and gloom Sufi, there is life outside Google
Well with eHow articles getting a serps boost you have to wonder if Demand gave google a backhander.
I understand and yes, that is the trend.
There may be no hope at all. If so, there it is: nothing we can do about it.
But I am not entirely pessimistic.
I am pessimistic, but I worked in retail for many years and saw how these entities work. Lots of secret deals going on behind closed doors and a large element of mutual backscratching.
I do sincerely hope that I am wrong, though
And if I recall right - the mega supermarkets started this way by undercutting the greengrocers until they all went out of business, then the baker, then the clothing stores, then . .
. . . then puttin gtheir prices up the maximum that people can afford.
I agree with Sufi and Mark.
Google is not a god and the Internet is not Eden. It's a virtual reflection of our real lives. Spammers and scammers are out there both offline and online. What products become a hit has less to do with quality than it does the size of the company's marketing budget. (Anyone ever hear of Bear Naked cereals and granola? Probably not. Best damn cereal/granola in the world, still handmade, but they have a tiny marketing budget.)
Remember when companies named their businesses starting with AA, AAA or even AAAA so they would be on the first page of the Yellow Pages? Or when every other call coming in on your phone was someone trying to sell something?
There's not a shred of ethics in the world of consumer goods and services and there never will be as long as money is at the heart of it. And I just don't get where people expect the Internet to become a pristine pool of happiness instead of a mere reflection of reality.
I have no problem with writing at least 500 word hubs. I usually strive to at least that. As far as outside links. I will definitely remove my eHow links, being they are on the hit list.
Just hopping a few hubs while I wait on a phone call, and I found this jewel.
Spun so badly it is funny. "Remember to birdsong your doctor before medicamenting with Cialis."
Haha! That's truely a gem you have there puter. By the way, I thought about a more effective way to help kick spammers out. I went to the hubbers tab, I chose the latest, ten out of nine were duplicate, crowded with links or one sentence. I flagged them, bookmarked their hubs and went back an hour later to see if they were there. All were gone. That's 7 or 8 spammers out of hubpages withing the first hour of their spamming campaign. This should teach them a lesson.
"Do not consume or fund the medicament aft the breath appointment."
That's a classic!! the whole hub. I am considering copying it and printing it before it disappears forever!
Strangely that hub is still up, yet it breaks TOS in several ways.
I've saved it anyway - good for when I want a giggle!
I was just reading http://www.warriorforum.com/main-intern … ctive.html
People complaining that HP is too fussy about quality
Hard to imagine what they think "too fussy" means, isn't it?
you have to wonder what those people actually write! lol
I like that soldier guy.
I noticed today there are new hubs on the HP home page. They look like some very good hubs. Does Ryankett know one of his is there?
I have always wondered why we have to be logged out to see the HP home page.
When logged in it goes to Author's home page. There should be a link where members can see the HP home Page while logged in.
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