Bubblews: Thanks, But No Thanks
Bubblews is a fairly new "content mill" type of web site. Writers publish their articles, and the site places ads on each one. Writers get paid for every single page view their article brings in, as well as every "like" and comment it gets.
I first found out about Bubblews here on Hubpages. I started noticing it in a few hubs that covered content mills and other similar "get paid for your writing" web sites. As a writer who values her time and takes pride in her work, I tended to turn up my nose and overlook it like it was just another ABC gum stuck to the pavement.
It finally caught my interest though, when I started seeing that people were writing entire Hubs just about Bubblews. It was getting rave reviews from writers who said it was a really nice side project to make some really easy and quick cash. The general consensus was that it was a lot of fun, too.
I finally got curious and decided to check the site out. I watched their (rather inspirational) promotional video, carefully combed through the terms and conditions, and skimmed some of the content posted by members. Finding no good reasons not to, I signed up and began testing the waters.
After four months of using the site, I can clearly see that it's not worth my time. I don't see it as a viable option for a freelance writer, and here's why.
Traffic Sources Are Limited
Bubblews is still a very new site. They've yet to build a solid reputation in the world of the internet, so they haven't established very good rankings on any of the major search engines yet. This means that when someone searches on Google or Bing (or whatever other search engine tickles their fancy), it's not very likely that the list of results includes an article published on Bubblews.
Since new readers aren't finding the site through search engine results, most of the traffic accumulated comes from within the site itself. It's kind of like all of the members are running around in circles, all of them clicking "like" and commenting on each others posts. But not many new people are entering that pool.
After a while, this becomes a problem for those writers because they start to see their page views (and their income) hit a plateau. Once they reach their full potential regarding popularity on the site, there's not much room for growth after that.
Quality Control is Lacking
One thing that I think Bubblews has working against it is their policy for quality of the articles that are published on the site. While there are some really great writers who publish there, the site is riddled with jibberish.
For example, you may be surfing the homepage trying to find something new to read or someone new to follow. You will likely run into something like this:
today was no good. the car is junk and we jus tryed with it but no lick. i wish i can see sam today their is nothing to do in the house wihout her. i mite see if ray can fix the car.
While it's unfortunate that there is some unknown problem with this writers car, and this post might prompt a few "good luck" responses from sympathetic readers, it's written badly and it makes little sense. This is not the kind of stuff most people want to read.
But more importantly, this is not the kind of stuff writers want their work mixed up with! When there are people posting horribly written stuff right next to yours, it brings down the credibility of your articles. The kind of reader you are targeting doesn't want to sort through eight of these posts before they get to something worth reading. They're going to go somewhere else.
Unfortunately, Bubblews doesn't have any kind of system in place that regulates the quality of what is published on the site. Anyone can pretty much publish anything as long as it is above 400 characters and doesn't contain stolen photos.
This is great for writers who want the freedom to write about whatever they want! But it's also a big problem because it attracts a lot of people who want to get away with writing at a fourth grade level.
What Should Succeed, Doesn't
I am shocked at the kind of articles that succeed on Bubblews. I started out writing the kind of articles that I've always known to do well. I'm used to writing stuff that takes careful thought and planning. Most of my articles need an outline, and research done on the topic before they are written and published. They've always done well, whether it be here on Hubpages or in a magazine, or even on my personal blog. So naturally, that's what I did when I tried out Bubblews.
Much to my surprise and dismay, they flopped. They received a few pageviews, but I found that most people didn't stay long enough to actually finish the article and leave a comment (which is what gets you the money). I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, so I did some research and started studying the writers who were actually popular on Bubblews.
Most of them seemed to be using the site as a sort of blogging platform, or an online journal of sorts. Instead of writing informing and accurate articles, they were sharing funny stories about what their dog did this morning and the fight they had with their spouse the other night.
This works for them because they are writing for the people who follow them. They are writing for the friends that they've made on the site who have taken an interest in their lives and enjoy keeping up with their updates. The problem with this, though, is that this stuff is not going to attract very many new readers. No one online is searching for your post titled: "I Got a New Puppy!!!!" and new readers aren't likely to take an interest in it if they do find it because they don't know you.
Have you tried Bubblews, too? I would love to know what you thought about it! Are you still using the site? Have you read much of what writers publish there? Let me know what you think!
I Don't Think It's Viable
I do admit that Bubblews can be kind of fun if I just want to make a few dollars off of a rant about my loud neighbors. But I have been writing for a while and I place a high value on my time. I feel that my efforts are much better spent elsewhere (like here on Hubpages). It's not worth it to me to spend the time and energy to write quality articles and have to fight through the sea of people who write badly there. Furthermore, I don't have the time to write a new article every two hours, and earn mere dollars from each of them. I would much rather stay where my articles will continue to bring in readers long after the two hour period that they will be featured on the home feed and in my followers' notification lists.
© 2014 Kristen Haynie