Your Best Work Only Benefits HubPages

Greenwich Market 22
Credit: Visit Greenwich (greenwichwhs on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Can it Get Any

Worse for Hubbers?

When I perused a HubPages forum thread[1] started by Kylyssa, a former Squidoo author, I was floored by the blasé responses from Paul Edmondson and Marisa Wright.

Authors from Squidoo have discovered that their work on HubPages is being used and abused by scammers and spammers at an unstoppable rate. 

I'm not surprised. I have good reasons to believe that HubPages is catering to scrapers and identity thieves

Kylyssa explained (and she's not exaggerating):

"...there are literally thousands of questionable and potentially harmful websites associating themselves with my subdomain. For every piece of quality content I write and publish on that subdomain there are thousands of spammy, malware-infested websites with my subdomain as part of their URL or content."

Marisa Wright's Response

In a nutshell, she felt these sites have "nothing to gain from bringing HubPages down."

Oddly, Marisa Wright wasn't alarmed by this discovery and she tried to cast doubt on what numerous authors know to be true. She wrote in brackets, "if we accept the theory that links from poor quality sites can harm a domain."  

Her next sentence sure sounded like a sales pitch to me:

"There will always be spammers and scammers looking for a steady source of material for their schemes - and as other article sites have declined or died, HubPages is now easily the best such source."

Got that? HubPages is now easily the best such source. Go tell your scumbag scammer and scraper friends today!

After numerous posts from upset authors, Marisa Wright chimed in again. She agreed with their observations and blamed this recent influx on Squidoo:  

"Yes, HubPages attracts the scrapers in droves, and it is even worse since Squidoo disappeared. Let's face it, the scrapers are running out of article-writing sites to scrape from!"

Wonder What Google Thinks?

When I looked up Link Schemes[2] in Google's Webmaster Tools Help section, it stated:

  • It includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
  • Links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines.

Consider this point made by Shaun Anderson in his article Free Link Building Tips For 2015:

"Note that Google ignores most of your links, and will reward any site with domain authority, over time, based on the ‘quality’ of the links you have managed to have pointed at your site."[3]

Marie Haynes stated in her August 2014 Moz Blog article Negative SEO: Should You Be Worried? If Attacked, What Should You Do?:

"If you have a history of doing a lot of unnatural linking yourself then you could fall victim as well, as Google may not be able to tell the difference between your unnatural links and the attack links."[4]

Unnatural links? Is HubPages doing any of that?

Yes, actually.

I found out someone set up a Pinterest account using my former pen name sousababy. It states "Pins from sousababy (dot) hubpages (dot) com" and I didn't put it there. In fact, I reported it to Pinterest and submitted proof to have my work removed from that phony account.

Google also considers it a link scheme when a site owner "buys or sells links that pass PageRank which includes exchanging money for links or posts that contain links."

Gee, I wonder how much Paul Edmondson paid Pinterest for all those phony accounts?

It's also a violation of Google's webmaster guidelines to use an automated program or service to create links to your site.

Pins from sousababy hubpages com (not set up by me)Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

And remember, Google came up with a Link Disavow Tool[6] for site owners.

In a November 2013 Search Engine Watch article by Jennifer Slegg, Matt Cutts confirmed: 

"If you are at all worried about someone trying to do negative SEO or it looks like there's some weird bot that's building up a bunch of links to your site and you have no idea where it came from, that's the perfect time to use disavow as well. I wouldn't worry about going ahead and disavowing links even if you don't have a message [penalty] in your webmaster console."[5]

But wait, didn't Paul Edmondson also mention that HubPages had a couple of manual penalties?

Yes. In a forum thread titled Why Did Hundreds of Hubs Become Unfeatured for Quality Today?, Paul Edmondson stated, "Recently, Google put a manual action on a couple of subdomains for pure spam."[8]

The final word in Jennifer Slegg's article? Keep an eye on backlinks, especially new ones and disavow poor quality or suspicious backlinks before they can have any impact on your site.

So, one might expect that Paul Edmondson would be freaked out by the enormous number of malware-infested, spammy websites using HubPages and author subdomains in their URLs or content, right?

Nah, Paul Edmondson Isn't Worried

"I don't believe our site is getting hurt in the rankings"

Paul Edmondson Not Concerned About Negative SEO
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Wonder Why He Isn't Worried?

Hmm, could it be that the top content is keeping the HubPages domain afloat? Have you heard? There's a new and improved Editor's Choice/Hub of the Day program[7] on HubPages.

The benefits for writers are . . um, ah, nothing.

Editor's Choice Upgraded on HubPages (Cartoon)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

This Exchange Sums it Up

Christy Kirwan and janshares RE: EC/HOTD Forum Thread
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

And I Couldn't Leave Out These

Marina Lazarevic and WriteAngled RE: EC/HOTD Forum Thread
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Did Writer Fox 'Strike a Nerve' I Wonder?

Writer Fox and Marina Lazarevic RE: EC/HOTD Forum Thread
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Wondering What Your Options Are?

Sure, you can stay on HubPages and keep your subdomain which will be under constant attack from scammers, scrapers, and scumbags. You'll never receive Hub of the Day or win any Editor's Choice awards.

Or you can join the EC program[9] where you need to:

  • Go above and beyond the best articles on the web
  • Use some "grouping feature" on HubPages (instead of blocks of links to your own Hubs)
  • Regularly edit and improve EC hubs [to keep the HubPages domain ranked high]

Remember an opt-out option is available BUT for some reason it states: "You need to wait 60 days before you can do so again."

Oh but wait, I almost forgot, there is one thing you get to keep. The Learning Center states:

Hubbers [authors] with at least five Editor's Choice Hubs will receive an accolade on their profile!

In Summary

I think the truth is that Google has punished HubPages - and harshly. When I discovered that my Pinterest traffic was sinking and why, the following commentary between Kylyssa and Barbara Kay confirmed my suspicions.

Kylyssa and Barbara Kay Exchange
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel