Happy Thanksgiving from HubPages!

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition to share the things for which we’re thankful.  Tomorrow, among family and friends, I’ll do so on a personal level, but sitting here in the office today, I’m struck by how much HubPages has to say thanks for, as a company.Thanksgiving_postcard_circa_1910

HubPages is so blessed to have an amazing user base, and we’re thankful for them for so many reasons.  As Community Manager, much of my work has to do with finding and removing the “bad stuff,” but in reality most of it is created by a very small percentage of our users.  It’s easy to get frustrated by a spammer creating multiple accounts, or a troublemaker in the forums, but looking at the big picture, I truly believe that most Hubbers are kind, genuine, helpful human beings, sincerely invested in the HubPages community.  If I didn’t think so, I’d be much less able to handle the more negative aspects of the job.

I’m grateful to all of you on a daily basis, for your encouragement (such as when we broke the Quantcast Top 100, your enthusiasm (as evidenced by your perseverence in voting daily for HubPages in the Open Web Awards… which you can still do!), your senses of humor (which run rampant in the Sandpit), your valuable feedback (yes, we do take it into account!), and your fascinating content (the driving force behind the site).

There’s another thing we’re especially grateful for today, particularly because we’re losing it.  In just a few minutes, those of us who haven’t already headed off for the holiday will be taking our beloved Communicator of Awesomeness, Ryan “Hup” Hupfer out for his last lunch as a HubPages employee.  Hup’s contributed so much to HubPages over the last year and a half, both visibly on the site, and here in the office.  He’s promised to check in on us every once in a while, but we’ll miss his hard work, his exuberance, his laughter, and, of course, his dog.  😉  We wish him good luck and success in all his endeavors.

So thank you Hup, thank you Hubbers, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

An Interview With Robert Kroese, Author Of Mercury Falls (and lover of linoleum flooring)

This blog post is a little different from most others that I have written, as it is an interview with a non-Hubber who some might deem to be a little bit ‘odd’, but luckily for Robert Kroese that’s exactly how he wants to be remembered.

You see, Robert (aka ‘Rob’ or even better aka ‘Diesel’), is someone who has inspired me with the way that he has single-handedly taken his initial love of awkwardly entertaining humor and has turned it into a dream fulfilled after self-publishing a novel that he’s been working on for over 3 years now, called Mercury Falls (that’s quickly rising up the Amazon sales charts). I thought that a quick interview with him would be a refreshing look into how someone can literally go from starting a blog a few years ago to self-publishing a high-quality (and hilarious) book that is starting to sell like crazy. I’m always a believer in how a little inspiration can easily be turned into motivation and if seeing how someone as nuts as Rob can make it on his own doesn’t give you a ‘hey, I could do that, too!’ feeling, I honestly don’t know what ever will.

So, sit back, relax and get ready to be inspired….at least a little bit.

1. Rob (I can call you Rob, right?), you’ve been blogging for a long time now, what initially got you interested in writing on the web?

I literally started my blog, Mattress Police, as a joke. It seemed to me that most blogs were accounts of the blogger’s humdrum life told in a way to make them seem fantastically exiting. Stuff like “Jimmy was picked for the soccer team even tho he showed up at practice wearing 2 left shoes isnt that SO FUNNY LOL!!!” Reading stuff like that makes my insides hurt. So I decided to do exactly the opposite: I would write completely bizarre and fabricated stories as if they were mundane and boring. My first blog post was called What I Learned This Morning From a Sea Turtle, and it started like this:

I was accosted this morning by a large sea turtle. I had arisen early to steal the neighbor’s newspaper (I cancelled my subscription when I learned the editor was a freethinker and a bigamist), and just as I stepped outside, I saw it. The turtle must have been a good 5 feet long and 3.5 feet wide(these are shell measurements), and I would estimate that it weighed at least 200 pounds. I certainly couldn’t lift him, and I’m hella strong. I attribute my exceptional strength to a daily regimen of vitamins and backgammon, although I’m also 1/32 Apache Indian, so that’s sort of an X factor.

People seemed to dig it, so I kept writing.

2. Have you always considered yourself a writer? Do you consider yourself a writer now? How has the definition of ‘being a writer’  changed in the past few years?

I guess I’ve considered myself a writer since second grade, when I wrote a novella about Captain Bill and his spaceship “Thee Eagle”. (At the time, I thought “thee” was a more formal way of saying “the”, and I couldn’t figure out why my teacher kept crossing out the second “e”. It’s “Thee Eagle”, dammit, not “The Eagle”!)

I never called myself a writer until pretty recently, though. I think that making the claim that you’re a writer in the absence of some serious credentials to back it up just makes you sound like a poser. It’s like a painter calling himself an “artist.” Look, you’re just a painter until WE decide you’re an artist, okay? Now that my novel is done and is getting good reviews and selling well, I feel fairly comfortable calling myself a writer — although I’m not going to quit my day job any time soon.

I suppose that in the past the distinction between amateurs and professionals was a little clearer, but it’s usually still pretty easy to pick out the posers, in my opinion.

3. Your humor-blogs directory has been one of your biggest labors of love to date. How many millions of dollars is it earning you each month and what do you spend all of that money on?

Are you the one spreading the rumor that I’m actually making money on that damn thing? Actually, I probably have my self to blame, since that April Fool’s Day when I claimed that Yahoo! was buying Humor-Blogs.com. I suckered a lot of people in with that one, probably because it seemed like the kind of bonehead acquisition that Yahoo! would do.

Humor-Blogs.com was helpful to the extent that it was a conduit of new readers to Mattress Police and other high quality blogs, and it was a good way to network with other bloggers. But if you count the time I’ve put into it, it’s been a financial disaster. It continues to be more trouble than it’s worth, and I may end up just shutting it down.

4. So about a year ago you decided that you were going to get serious with a story that you had been writing on and off for a few years now — can you tell us what the story was based on and why you finally decided to kick your writing into gear?

At around the same time that I started blogging (a little over three years ago), I was selected to be the treasurer for the deacons of my church. In case you don’t know, the deacons are in charge of the church’s finances, and they are generally the people who coordinate the church’s efforts to assist the poor and downtrodden in the community. I won’t claim to have been a particularly good deacon (and I was a terrible treasurer), but I did my best to fulfill the role that had been assigned to me.

These two new aspects of my life were somewhat at odds with each other. I can be a bit of a misanthrope, and I often exaggerated that quality in my Mattress Police posts for comic effect. At the same time, I was trying to fulfill my role as a deacon, helping the widows and the homeless. Out of this odd juxtaposition came the idea of Mercury, an angel who is a complete smartass. He wants to do the right thing, but he has a little trouble being an unquestioning minion of Heaven. And when Heaven assigns him to help bring about Armageddon, he decides he’d rather play ping-pong.

I worked on this story off and on for about two years, not really knowing where it was going. Working on a novel for two years is a little like having a sore that just won’t heal. It’s always on your mind, and you just keep thinking, “When is this thing going to go AWAY?” I guess pregnancy would be a better metaphor, but it would be the kind of pregnancy where you ask the doctor your due date and she says, “Oh, that’s up to you. It all depends on how hard you work on having the baby. If you don’t apply yourself, the baby might still be in you 20 years from now.”

So about a year ago I finally said ENOUGH and decided to keep writing until I had an ending. It took a couple of weeks, but I did it. Of course, it turned out that what I thought was the ending (the scene with Harry speaking to the crowd in Anaheim Stadium) wasn’t the ending at all, and it took another year for me to resolve the rest of the issues with the story. But there is definitely something to be said for forcing yourself to write, just to get some kind of structure on the page. That’s why I’m always supportive of people who do the NaNoWriMo thing — your novel will probably be sh*t, but if you can write something with a beginning, middle and an end, that’s half the battle.

5. Everyone wants to get published, but obviously we live in a world where that just isn’t possible. What were your hopes in first getting published and when/why did you decide to go the self-publishing route with Mercury Falls?

Actually, we’re living in a world where anybody can get published, but hardly anybody can get noticed. In any case, I’m convinced that these days being “published” by a traditional publisher is a meaningless detour on the road to being a successful author. I tried going the traditional route with Mercury Falls, and while I got some positive feedback from literary agents, I just couldn’t get any bites. So I started to float the idea of self-publishing it.

The fascinating thing to me was that the people who screamed “NO! DON’T DO IT!” were themselves aspiring authors who had not yet been published. All of the published authors I knew said, “That’s a great idea. Go for it. Get your work in front of readers and show publishers that you can sell a few thousand books.” Published authors already know that being published ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges associated with self-publishing, but compared with the challenges facing any unknown author, the challenges of self-publishing are nothing.

It’s true that the odds of a self-published book being successful are extremely small. But to say that self-publishing generally results in failure is to confuse cause and effect. Books published by traditional publishers succeed because publishers have the luxury of cherry-picking the one book out of a thousand that they think will sell. Saying that publishers create bestsellers is like saying the NFL creates great football players. The NFL doesn’t CREATE great players; all they do is try to predict which players will be great. Similarly, if a publisher decides to publish your book, it’s because your book has a good chance at success. The difference between writing and playing football is that writing is a solitary endeavor — you don’t need the approval of a Big Publisher any more than a marathon runner needs the approval of the National Marathon Runners Association.

6. Can you give me a sense of what it’s like to self-publish a book like you did and how it all actually works logistically? What was the hardest part of the process?

Here are the biggest differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing:

1. If you self-publish, you don’t have an editor. That means you have to mercilessly edit and proofread your own book, and probably enlist other writers that you know to help you. Mercury Falls wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is without the help of five good friends who gave me constructive criticism and help me find errors. I personally read through the final draft in its entirety three times before going to print, and a few typos STILL made it into the final version.

2. Self-publishing is much faster. Once you have what you deem to be a final product, you can have it in the hands of readers within days, rather than months or years. This is a two-edged sword, of course, because most self-publishers tend to publish their books before they are ready.

3. You have much more control over the process. Again, a double-edged sword. For example, you can choose exactly what your cover will look like. On the other hand, you have to choose exactly what your cover will look like.

4. As a self-publisher, you will have to personally deal with distribution issues. For example, for Mercury Falls I went with CreateSpace, a print-on-demand company owned by Amazon. I like working with Lulu.com better (I used Lulu for my collection of blog posts, Antisocial Commentary), but Lulu couldn’t come close to matching CreateSpace’s prices. CreateSpace is ridiculously cheap; I can order a single copy of my book for just over $5 plus shipping. That’s cheaper than printing it at Kinko’s.

The problem with CreateSpace is that despite being owned by Amazon, books published by Amazon are (at least presently) not automatically available on Amazon’s foreign sites (Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, etc.); nor are they available for distribution to retailers or other sites, like BN.com. You have to purchase a distribution package with another company to get your book distributed through these channels, which is pretty lame, but that’s the price of living in an Amazon world.

I also found that as soon as I make my book available in one format, somebody asks me if it’s available in some other format. I announce that the paperback is available, and somebody asks about hardcover. I announce that the book is on Amazon and somebody asks about Kindle. I put it on Kindle and somebody says what about Stanza? Or the Sony reader? Or the Nook? I make it available in all those formats and somebody asks about an audio version (which I’m working on right now, using a free recording/editing app called Audacity). There are different challenges with each different format, but it’s worth it to get the book out there in a way that works for every kind of reader. (I haven’t done a hardcover version yet, but I might, if only to get into libraries.)

5. With self-publishing, you make a lot more money per copy sold. If you’re smart, you’ll plow that money into free copies to send to reviewers, which will gain you more sales. If you had a publisher, that money would go toward your publisher’s kids’ orthodontist bills, which won’t help your book sales nearly as much as you might expect. You also have complete control over the pricing, which means, for example, that you can price the Kindle version at $1.99, undercutting most traditional publishers and possibly getting your book into the top 300 books available for Kindle, at which point traditional publishers start to think that their kids are just going to have to deal with having crooked teeth.

6. If you self-publish, shallow people will turn up their noses at you. This lasts until you sell your first thousand copies or the first time you appear on television, whichever comes first.

7. According to your multiple Facebook statuses, Mercury Falls is the greatest book ever created and it is now single-handedly taking over Amazon’s humor section (with both paperback and Kindle versions). What is it like to be on top of the metaphorical publishing world?

You mean the ones where I mention that Mercury Falls has gotten 39 five-star reviews on Amazon, and where I quote reviewers who compare Mercury Falls to books by Christopher Moore, Douglas Adams and Dave Barry?

Shameless self-promotion aside, it’s pretty freaking fantastic. This has been a dream of mine since second grade. I’m not charting on the New York Times bestseller list (yet), but just seeing my book listed on the Kindle bestsellers with Charles Dickens and Douglas Adams is unreal. By the way, if you’d like to be subjected to more of this, you can become a fan of Mercury Falls on Facebook.

8. Finally, what advice would you give to our Hubbers who are looking at potentially heading down the self-publishing road that you’ve somehow seemed to steer yourself straight down? What advice/guidance would you give them?

Don’t pander to your readers. Don’t write for agents, editors or publishers. Write the book that you want to read. Write the book that if you picked it up in a bookstore, you would think, “Holy crap, I never knew this book existed, but this is exactly the book I’ve been looking for!” That’s what I did with Mercury Falls. I wrote the book I wanted to read; the book that’s been missing from my bookshelf. Ironically, I think my refusal to write a book that intentionally appealed to a large demographic is what makes people like it so much. I threw in references to Wargames, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Thomas Pynchon, Rice Krispies… anything that I thought was funny. I knew that a lot of readers wouldn’t get many of the references, but when one of those references hits you just right, you think, “Wow, it’s like this guy KNOWS me.”

That’s what you need if your book is going to succeed, whether it’s traditionally published or self-published. You want complete strangers to read it and think, “You know who would LOVE this book…?” You don’t need everybody to love it, but somebody’s got to. If you love it yourself, then you just have to find some other people like you.

If you can write that book, you’re well on your way.

Do You Widget? Some Thoughts And Ramblings About The Hubpages Widgety Goodness

I was poking around a few of our Hubber’s blogs/websites that are decorated with our super-sweet HubPages widget and it got me wondering about how I would even go about grabbing my own widget and why I would want to show it somehere else other than HubPages. After thinking through this and figuring it all out for myself, I thought that I would share some of my personal thoughts on the somewhat unknown, yet really cool thing otherwise known as the HubPages widget.

Why Use The HubPages Widget?
The widget that we have created for all of you Hubbers to use all over the web is designed with one main focus thing in mind — helping Hubbers share their content with their friends, family and other social connections all across the web. Our hope is that this will help build up your audience of readers as well as your fans and we also figure that if someone is a friend of a great Hubber, then they could potentially be interested in becoming a really great Hubber, too.

How Many Hubbers Are Currently Using The HubPages Widget?
For me, it was pretty hard to even find where I could grab the code for my own HubPages widget, which made me curious to find out exactly how many Hubbers have found theirs and are currently using it on thier blog or website. Well, according to our reports there are currently almost 1200 Hubbers whose widgets are getting viewed nearly 500,000 times each week, which actually kind of surprised me (in a good way). I guess that some of the other Hubbers out there are just a lot smarter than I am? 🙂

How Do We Find Our Own HubPages Widget Code?
– To find your own widget code, you first need to go to your HubPages profile page (which you can get to by clicking the ‘My Profile’ link once you’re logged in), so mine would be found at this URL: http://hubpages.com/profile/Ryan+Hupfer.

– After you get to you your main profile page, then click on the ‘Add USERNAME’s widget to your website’ link, as shown below.

– On this screen you will be able to customize your widget so that it looks the way that you like and so that it fits nicely on your website or blog. The widget customization page is shown below.

– Once you’re happy with the way that your widget looks, copy the HTML code in the text box that’s beneath where it says ‘Paste the HTML below into your website or blog:‘ and then paste it anywhere on your blog or website where widgets are allowed.

I hope that this blog post helps all of you see why the HubPages widget is something that you should all think about adding to your other websites, blogs, etc. and if you do choose to add it, I also hope that this will help you figure out how to actually add it. Any questions, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help you out!

RedElf And Zsuzsy Bee Join The HubNuggets Team!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several months and only decide to poke your head out when publishing a Hub, you’ve probably noticed the amazing work of the HubNuggets Team, which has been led by the one and only Canadian sensation herself, Shirley Anderson. Each and ever week they scour through literally thousands of potential HubNuggets to find the 10 HubHugget Wannabes that get posted for the weekly vote. Of course, they all have a lot of fun cooking up the hot, fresh and tasty HubNuggets each week, but they also put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that the best possible Hubbers and HubNugget Hubs get showcased each week.

Well, due to some new time constraints and responsibilities that a couple members of our HubNugget Team have recently run into (one involved a lot of partying, so please don’t feel too bad for them), we all have decided that it would be great to bring on a couple more superstar Hubbers to help us keep this HubNugget train a rollin’. When I asked for potential suggestions of who we should add to the team, it didn’t take long for two specific Hubber’s names to be mentioned and I’m now happy to officially announce that those two Hubbers, RedElf and Zsuzsy Bee** have accepted our invite and are now getting up to speed on all things HubNuggets!

If you’d like to see the current roster of HubNuggeteers, be sure to check out the freshly updated HubNuggets How-To, Q & A.

**Although I feel that the new HubNugget Team selections are nothing short of spectacular and fantastic, I can’t help but think that it’s a part of a Canadian takeover scheme that’s slyly being crafted by Shirley. Or, maybe I’m just being too paranoid? You make the call.

Getting Interviewed By Deb Ng From Freelance Writing Jobs

Believe it or not, while I was out in Las Vegas for BlogWorld 2009 I actually did a little bit of work (here and there) for HubPages, which means that I talked to A LOT of really awesome people during the 3 days that I was there. One of those awesome people was Deb Ng, who runs the most popular Freelance Writing Jobs site on the web, FreeLanceWritingGigs.com. We hit it off instantly once we started chatting and before you know it we were talking all about HubPages and how most of her readers had a terrible impression of what we are all about (which isn’t awesome at all).

Well, after we got in touch with each other several times once we both got back from Las Vegas we decided that we would interview each other for our blogs so that we could spread the word about what HubPages and Freelance Writing Jobs are really doing for writers.

We exchanged questions with one another a few days back and I just received an email today from Deb to let me know that my interview was officially posted up over here on her blog (I’ll be posting her interview with me soon, too). When you get a chance, go and check it out and if you happen to have any thoughts, questions or anything else about HubPages that you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment over there and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

A HubMob That’s All About Men And A YEEE-HAW HubNugget Roundup

Each week we have two very awesome things called the HubMob and HubNuggets that go on here at HubPages and they’re both really fun ways to promote awesome Hubs, meet other Hubbers and to get a little more involved in the HubPages community. Whether you’re joining in the latest HubMob or voting for this week’s hot and tasty batch of HubNuggets, getting involved in these types of HubPages traditions will only make your experience just that much more fun.

If you’re looking to check out what I’m talking about, here is how you can find this week’s super-sweet installments:

This week’s HubMob: It’s All About Men!

This week’s HubNuggets: Roundup at the HubNuggets Coral

Keep on having fun, Hubbers!

…and now, for your viewing pleasure, a random video of a cat jumping into boxes:

The Payout Chronicles: How lakeerieartists Went From Getting Backlinks To Getting Her First HubPages $100 Payout

One of the trends that I really like and that I am thankfully seeing more and more is that writers are now more than ever noticing that HubPages is much more than just a place to create a couple of backlinks. Fairly high-profile writers and online money-makers, such as Court over at the Keyword Academy, have found that HubPages is a totally legit, revenue-generating publishing community that gives writers of all types an opportunity to earn, interact and share interests. This, of course, is fantastic news and as HubPages continues to show up on writer’s radars there will be more and more Hubbers who will realize the potential that we offer them to be successful.

Speaking of Hubbers who have recently discovered the true value of HubPages, I am happy to introduce all of you to lakeerieartists who, according to this forum post, has just hit her first official $100 payout from Google. Her story is very interesting as she’s a writer who was once only interested in using us for creating backlinks to her other articles and blogs online, but who now has become a very successful and active part of our community. She let me shoot her some quick questions about her experiences with HubPages so far, what made her stick around and what she thinks about making her first payout and here’s what she had to say:

1. Oh my goodness, according to this forum thread that you started you have officially hit your first $100 payout from Google after being a member of the HubPages community for over a year! How did you feel when you first realized that this month was the month?

Well, to be fair, I have been a member for over a year ,but didn’t really become active at writing hubs until June of this year.  So in reality, I would count my active hubbing as starting in June, making it five months from beginning to first payout.  That is a reality for anyone.  I did not do anything special.  But, yes, I am truly excited because I have had an Adsense account for about three years and it is exciting to see it turn into a real income source.

2. After snooping around at your stats a bit (I hope you don’t mind) I noticed that you published your first Hub in August of 2008 and then you didn’t really get back into the swing of things until just a few months ago. Why have you all of a sudden been publishing so much on HubPages here lately?

When I originally opened an account on Hubpages it was to create a backlink to Squidoo which I had become active on in June of 2008.  I really didn’t understand either site very well, and created one hub. More recently, although I am a Giant Squid on Squidoo, I wanted to add more revenue streams and had heard
good things about Hubpages.  I decided to try it out seriously.  I already had an Amazon account and Adsense account, so I figured why not build up those accounts?  And so I started to learn the differences between Squidoo and Hubpages and how I could take advantage of Hubpages to supplement what I was already doing.

What I learned was that I really like the total control I have over my articles on Hubpages, and that Hubpages lends itself to a completely different kind of focused webpage than Squidoo.  I also learned a lot about how Adsense works.

3. I know that you were a stand-out participant of the October HubChallenge — how did joining the HubChallenge affect your overall HubPages experience and success?

The Hubchallenge really got me going.  It was at that time that I committed myself to creating some serious earning potential with Hubpages.  And I found I really loved writing the hubs.

4. You write about all different types of topics, at least I didn’t notice any type of pattern in your Hubs. If you don’t mind sharing, can you please give us a quick overview of how you are coming up with all of these seemingly random topics?

I am writing about topics that interest me, some of which you will find echoed in my blogs and on Squidoo, and I am looking for Adsense topics that pay well, and that are either seasonal within the next few months or something that people will look for all year.  As I learn more about how Adsense works, then I am adapting my topics to make better use of that knowledge.  My biggest overall topics are art, green living, and shopping.

5. After all of this time on HubPages and considering that you have just now made your first $100 payout, what has kept you hanging around this (sometimes crazy) place? I guess a better way of asking is, what do you feel are some of the main reasons that you have decided to spend your time on HubPages?

I like the hubpages community.  I see the excellent potential for passive income, and I like the ability to have control over the hubs and the earning potential of the hubs.

6.  I always like giving credit where credit is due. Who would you give credit to if I asked you who has been helpful, motivating, inspirational, friendly or just plain nuts/entertaining during your journey to your first payout? Go a head and give some shout-outs to the Hubbers who have helped you get to this point.

I would say that I have learned a lot from Relache and Darkside, and gotten a lot of encouragement from Nelle Hoxie and Sunforged.

7. Ok, well that’s all that I have (and it’s 6:45 on a Friday so I need to get home to my wife for date night) — if there’s anything else that you feel like you should add to this interview, feel free to say it now.

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed.  Over the last several months, I have come to really appreciate and enjoy the Hubpages experience.  I would say to anyone who is new, that it takes time to understand how Hubpages works, and if you continue to make Hubs while asking questions, you will succeed.  There are a lot of experienced Hubbers who can help you.  For anyone who is coming to Hubpages from another article platform, learn how Hubpages works, and adapt your style to the Hubpages platform.  It takes a little time, but it is well worth it.

Want to keep up with what lakeerieartists is up to? Click here to become her fan now!

33 Ebay Hubs in 30 Days – $95.02 in Earnings – Some Lessons Learned

This guest post was written by Nelle Hoxie who has become one of the most prolific eBay Hubbers that HubPages has ever seen. This is a post that I asked her to write based upon what she’s learned after publishing 33 eBay-focused Hubs over the a span of 30 days and generating $95.02 in earnings as a result. Nelle is the real deal and if you would like to catch up with her you can currently find her neck-deep in the November Hub Challenge.

——-

This was my first serious month of promoting Ebay – prior to this I just stuck an Ebay capsule on the end of my 200 Amazon hubs. The result was that I made about $10 each month. Actively promoting Ebay this month, I made $95.02 on 33 Ebay hubs.

Ebay also made substantial changes to its program this month, it is now a pay-per-click program instead of paying a commission (which is known as Quality Click Pricing). The first thing you have to learn is that what you’re paid per click will be determined by the value of the traffic that you send to Ebay. Of course the traffic has to convert and lead to a sale, but that sale will have more value in Ebay’s eyes, if it is from someone who has never shopped on Ebay before. And while the Ebay has a 7-day cookie, a sale that results in the beginning of the cookie will be valued more than a sale that occurs at the end of the 7-day period. That’s why several of us requested that Hubpages include a way for us to focus on Buy It Now products which the visitor would buy immediately. Auctions can take several days to complete so those may be valued less under the new system – although Ebay has stated that they take that into consideration when valuing the click.

To compensate for this I looked for Ebay sellers that focus on Buy It Now items. Hubpages’ Ebay capsule does allow you to limit items to particular sellers. So whenever possible I focused on Buy It Now Items, by looking for sellers who had them in the niche I was looking for.

You also have to be aware of what an Ebay Campaign is – because each campaign gets its own click value each day. If you create too small a campaign you get pooled in with other small campaigns and you lose the control over your click value. A campaign is a way for you to track the efficiency of your marketing, similar to channels in AdSense, but make the campaign too small and you might be in trouble. I highly suggest that if you’re going to start promoting Ebay, (or if you want to get accepted into the program) that you very carefully read their blog, general instructions, TOS, and anything else they write. Because the changes were so recent, it is still quite confusing in places.

To protect your Ebay account, it is important that you start to make sales and become a productive affiliate.  Ebay gave an important hint to what they considered a good affiliate when they wrote the following statement on how to optimize for their Quality Pricing Click.

From our experience, the publishers that are set to gain the highest increases in commission are niche content, shopping comparison or review site publishers who direct link to the related product and category pages or publishers who surface some of eBay’s great deals or products available in a user’s area.

They are really looking for sites that have lots of organic shopper traffic, who haven’t been to Ebay before,  and who sell targeted products.

That was my basic strategy to create hubs that would be positioned for an immediate traffic burst and to target lots of products. Of the 33 hubs, about 7 were responsible for 80% of the sales and sales weren’t based on age of Hub. Those hubs were no better or worse than the others – and all were in the same targeted niche. That’s why I truly believe in writing a lot of hubs – regardless of the program. Most of my hubs were indexed by Google and Yahoo within 24 hours and started making sales within a few days.

I never optimize for Google Adsense so I don’t worry about the value of a Google click when I choose my niche or products. I look for lots and lots of existing traffic, and I scour the shopping malls and shopping channels looking for hot new items and trends. I also subscribe to 3 different keyword tools.

So enough of this chatter, thanks for having me Ryan, back to my HubChallenge Hubs – and the Greenbay / Vikings game.