Congrats to Our First Class of Apprenticeship Grads!

Six months ago, around 30 Hubbers embarked on an epic online writing journey, forging a path on HubPages that would shape the experience of many Hubbers to come. This team of Hubbers, which goes by the name Scribe Tribe, started out as a secret beta team and helped us refine what became the HubPages Apprenticeship Program. As the first Apprenticeship team, the Scribe Tribe taught us as much as we taught them!

Today those who made it through the rigorous Apprenticeship Program  for six months in a row are graduating, and we would like to celebrate their significant achievement! Though it is already no small feat to publish a minimum of eight high quality Hubs every month (while also going through lessons and helping out fellow team members), yet many Scribe Tribe team members consistently exceeded the program’s requirements, going above and beyond with truly stellar Hubs and even themed challenges to rally the group and make the online writing process all the more creative and fun.

Allow me to present those who crossed the finish line:

Bravie to this year’s first graduating class! Collectively, all Hubbers who started in the Scribe Tribe team have created over 1,150 Hubs, and the graduates alone have published over 950. Considering that these Hubs are all longer than 500 words, contain only original and legally used images, and incorporate the best practices shared in our Learning Center (and more), they shall continue to do quite well over the coming months and years, helping these Hubbers gain more readership, coverage, and yes, ad earnings. 😉

Also congratulations to the two Hubbers in this team who won Hubbie Awards:

If you would like to apply to the Apprenticeship Program, read through the program’s qualifying requirements, then apply through the Apprenticeship tab in My Account. Participating in the Apprenticeship Program is a great way to develop a strong online brand and portfolio, and we recommend it to anyone who would like to kick their online content career up a notch.

Introducing Idle Hubs

For quite some time, Hubbers have requested that we boost HubPages’ reputation by improving the site’s overall quality. Hubbers have also been asking for advice on when to update and delete old Hubs.  Today we are beginning a series of updates that we hope will address both requests.

Sometimes a couple of under-performing Hubs can hurt the reputation of your entire online portfolio in the eyes of search engines. As part of our efforts to improve everyone’s reputation (and traffic), beginning Wednesday, we will put your least successful Hubs on Idle. An Idle Hub is available from your profile page and to your followers, but it isn’t indexed by search engines.

Beginning today, you will able to see Idle Hubs that we identified by visiting My Account > Hubs > Stats.  A Hub becomes Idle when it is out of date, needs some editing, or just hasn’t had much interest lately.  We encourage you to update it with fresh information, text, and media. If, after being updated, a Hub still fails to perform well, rest assured that you can leave it alone without it putting the rest of your Hubs at risk. For the next 48 hours, these statuses are informational only.  On Wednesday afternoon, they will be operational.

Showing which Hubs need work (or just aren’t working anymore) helps remind us all to regularly edit our portfolio of Hubs, as keeping content up to date and carefully culled is increasingly important. Under-performing Hubs that will be affected by this update are not seeing much success via search, Topic pages, or Hubs as it is, so you should see very little change in traffic in the short run and hopefully enjoy a boost in readership over the long run.

This update is just the first version of many to come. Figuring out how to best protect Hubbers’ reputations and  improve the overall quality of Hubs will aid their chances of success.  We are confident that this first step is a very positive one! We hope you take this as a convenient opportunity to do some spring cleaning amongst your Hubs – and that you enjoy more traffic as a result.

For more information, please see the learning center entry and to give feedback and report issues, please see our forum thread.

A huge thank you to the awesome community of Hubbers that offered their feedback and helped shape this feature along the way.

New Monetization Opportunity with Slideshows

[UPDATE (October 8th, 2012): AdSense ads shown in slideshows were part of a test program ran by Google AdSense, the first phase of which has been discontinued. This means that, for the time being, you will not see ads on slideshows, however as soon as the feature becomes available again, we will add it back.]

Hubbers, this week we started testing a new ad format from Google that helps monetize images.  These ads are displayed on about 20% of slide views.  The revenue is shared via the HubPages impressions sharing (swapping AdSense Ids), so you’ll see the revenue in your own personal AdSense Account.

A couple of key points

  • You don’t have to do anything.  This monetization feature is on for 20% of slide show views.
  • Earnings are shared via impression sharing (60% to authors).
  • If you have slide shows, you’ll see the impact in your own AdSense account.
  • This is a beta product. HubPages is one of a few sites testing out the service.
  • We don’t have the ability to create AdSense channels for it yet in your personal account(coming, not sure when).

The ad works by placing an overlay over the bottom of the image.

Overlay ad

After a few seconds, the ad slides down just so the top of the ad is visible in the image.

This is what the ad looks like after it has slid down.  The ad can be closed by clicking the X at any time.

I’ve set up a forum for feedback on the new ad format.

We really enjoy being able to test early products so that Hubbers get increased opportunities to earn and want to thank the AdSense team for working with us.

Help HubPages Make it to SXSW!

If you’re a fan of music, film, technology, and the tech scene, you probably know about SXSW, an Austin-based set of conferences and festivals that take place every March. Last year, Paul Edmondson spoke at SXSW about bringing back the love when Google hates you (remember the Panda days? I try not to), and this year we’d like to speak again, though we can’t make it without your help and support.

This year, we’ve proposed two different talks- one led by Paul and the other by Yours, Truly (we had multiple cool ideas- why not give both a shot?).

Paul’s proposal: Why You Should Pay People to Learn

My proposal: Blogging is Dead: Long Live the Individual

Do those sound intriguing? We hope so! I’ve provided the detailed summaries below, but first, I’d like to show you how you can help us:

To support a HubPages presence at SXSW, you can help us out by:

  1. Going to our proposals (Why You Should Pay People to Learn and Blogging is Dead: Long Live the Individual) on SXSW’s Panel Picker interface
  2. Creating an account if you don’t have one already (it takes about 30 seconds, and I will adore you eternally)
  3. Voting
  4. Leaving a comment (comments = yay!!)
  5. Sharing our proposals with your friends and encouraging them to vote for us, too!

Here is the official summary of each proposed talk, should you be curious to learn more:

Why You Should Pay People to Learn

Online communities have become big business- so big that many social media and publishing platforms are making huge investments in teaching their users to become more active community participants. In some cases, companies are even directly paying community members to participate in educational programs.

This approach diverges from the traditional means by which education is delivered (an exchange in which learners pay and educators earn). Why switch things up? Websites should pay their community members to learn for the same reasons companies should invest in employee development.

HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson will share how online communities aren’t so different from the companies we work for every day, and will also detail the multifaceted benefits of shifting our educational payment paradigm, which include more vibrant, evangelistic communities, effective and empowered users, and a virtuous cycle that benefits all parties involved.

Blogging is Dead: Long Live the Individual

The world of blogging as we once knew it is dead and gone. Independent websites run by single, mostly amateur individuals have given way to large internet media houses featuring re-blogged and syndicated content.

Where have the individual personalities gone? What happened to unfiltered content presented by non-professionals? This characteristic form of online information has largely transformed into short posts (tweets, comments, questions, answers, forum posts, wiki updates, etc) shared on large, external websites and social media platforms, which are now the most powerful (and in many cases, only viable) platforms for user-generated content.

Does this mean that high quality user-generated content tied to an influential online persona is a thing of the past? Hardly! Join user-generated content expert Simone Smith as she discusses how the individual is coming back to the world of UCG- and sharing work that is richer and more comprehensive than ever before.

 

We hope you’ll help us out!

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Ariana Philips

There are all sorts of fascinating people on HubPages- from archaeologists to zoologists! Ariana Philips falls into the former position, though she brings much more to the table than a strong understanding of history and culture. Having discovered her delightful Foodlore series, Haunty (a HubGreeter) invited Ariana Philips to be a part of our Discovered by a Greeter series. With no further ado, we introduce Ariana Philips- a fantastic new Hubber to follow!

You are a recent college graduate holding a BA in History and Anthropology. Which field of anthropology do you belong to and what are your areas of interest?

I’m an archaeologist, though a lot of my interests are in bio archaeology, which looks more specifically at what we can learn about past peoples through studying their bones. My mother was born in Sicily, so I’m drawn to the cultures of the Romans and to some extent the Greeks as well, in fact classics was my minor. I love learning about these great civilizations and even took three years of Latin courses, though I’ve forgotten a lot since then.

What brought you to HubPages and how do you like it here?

I first heard of HubPages from an ad on Monster.com. I thought that it looked intriguing and since I had some spare time on my hands, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did too, since HubPages has an awesome community. I love being able to see what other people are writing about and having a place to share all the random facts that I come across. As of yet I haven’t been able to find a technical job in anthropology or history, but writing these articles has given me a chance to keep good writing and research habits, plus it’s fun to learn new things.

You bring us super interesting and unique food tales to munch on. In this splendid Foodlore series, you share less-known facts, useful tips, and delicious recipes! Whence your interest in the subject?

As an archaeologist and a historian I love to learn about people from different parts of the world throughout time. Since I was a classics minor we were required to take a few folklore classes, and I loved hearing the different myths that people used to explain the world around them. I am part Italian so naturally I have an affinity with the kitchen, and love all kinds of different foods. These were all the ingredients, if you’ll excuse the pun, for the inspiration for the Foodlore series, but I didn’t put mix them together until I was reviewing the story of Adam and Eve one day.

Most of us are familiar with the story of the forbidden fruit. I started wondering why almost every reference to the forbidden fruit I’ve heard, besides the actual account in the Bible, assumed the fruit was an apple. This curiosity led me to do some research on apples and my findings made me think that it would be fun to combine a lot of my different interests to delve into the history of other foods as well and thus Foodlore was born.

Do you have any peculiar habits as a writer?

I wouldn’t say that I have any peculiar habits when it comes to my writing method. Writing has changed the way that I look at things, though. Now when I read a book of fairy tales I take notes about different aspects of the story. I’m continually learning and developing as a writer, which is great.

A few weeks ago, you surprised us with a blissfully light-hearted poem that talks about no less than the significance of our human journey, our being stones waiting to be carved. Do you write poem regularly and what inspires them?

The poem that I shared is about our journey through life and how we are shaped by the hand of the Lord as we go along the way. I don’t write poetry too often but sometimes feelings and thoughts that I have are more easily expressed through poetry or song. Most of the poetry I have written has a religious theme and come from experiences that I have had as I’ve felt the love of my Savior. I actually wrote a lot of my poetry while I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

It seems to me that you have a great appreciation of figurative and expressive language. What are your future plans for writing in general and on HubPages?

I’ve dreamed of writing professionally since I was about 12. I want to use my knowledge of mythology, history, anthropology and general folklore to create stories that not only entertain, but also encourage readers to go and check out more about the rich cultural past that is found in so many of the great civilizations through out the world.

As for writing on HubPages, I plan on continuing the Foodlore series, but there are many other subjects that I plan on exploring in future Hubs.

You had a great, confident start on HubPages. Based on your own experience, what advice would you give new Hubbers joining today?

Set a schedule and stick to it! I personally tend to be more of a procrastinator, so setting a schedule has helped me out a lot. When I started writing for HubPages I sat down and decided how many articles I wanted to write a week, and what days I would publish them. So far this has worked really well for me and I feel like it makes it easier for my readers since they know when they can expect my next article. I also would suggest that they take the time to really become part of the HubPages community. I’ve found a lot of support from other Hubbers and they’ve given me some really good feed back on how I could improve my articles. More than that I would say that it’s important to have fun with what you write. If you don’t enjoy writing it, more likely than not people are not going to enjoy reading it.
I feel that each Hubber brings something unique to HubPages and that any subject can be interesting when the person writing about it truly has a passion for it.

How to Get the New Profile Design

Are you a fan of our new Profile design? While it was previously only displayed on staff Profiles, you can now feature it on your own subdomain, too!

Here’s how:

  1. Visit any Profile displaying the new design (staff members such as Robin are good people to turn to).
  2. Click on the “Upgrade My Profile” link, which will take you to the edit page for new Profiles.
  3. Update your Profile information by choosing or uploading a background image, adding Hubs you would like to feature, and inserting URLs for social media profiles you would like to share. You may also want to edit your bio, as hyperlinks will no longer work and long bios will be visually truncated.
  4. After clicking “save”, you will be asked to confirm your decision to transition to the new design.
  5. Once you have confirmed your intention, the new Profile design will be live on your subdomain!

Keep in mind that the shift from the old Profile design to the new one is permanent; you will not be able to go back once you have confirmed the transfer. That said, this design will roll out on all profiles eventually, so you might as well be an early adopter and show your fellow Hubbers how creative you can be with featured Hubs and custom background selections!

Hub Hopper, Will Help Find Hubs to Feature

We are making changes to the Hub Hopper and it’s placement on the site to help us quickly identify Hubs to feature across HubPages Topic Pages, Related Hubs and the Best, Hot and Latest Hub feeds.  This will create a better browsing experience for readers and offer more rewards to Hubbers that create great Hubs.

We’ve heard the feedback that people would Hop more if they knew what it did.  Hub Hopping helps us identify good Hubs as well as offers a way to  flag Hubs outside of the HubPages rules.  However, all Hubs were previously eligible to flow through to topic pages and other parts of the site.  Hubbers primarily think of Hub Hopping as finding rules violations.  This new Hopper is primarily designed to help us find Hubs to feature.

We would like the community’s help to Hop through all the Hubs so that we can feature high quality Hubs everyday on HubPages.  Ideally, all new Hubs get Hopped everyday so we have enough feedback to accurately feature great Hubs.

Key Details:

  • Hubbers are going to select the Hubs that are eligible to be featured by Hub Hopping
  • The initial beta is to collect data to see how well the system works and how many Hub Hops we need to get accurate data
  • All new and updated Hubs will be added to the queue to be Hopped

During the beta period, we are only collecting data (not using it to feature Hubs yet). In the upcoming weeks the Hopping selections will be featured across the site.

We’ve set up a forum to discuss the new Hopper here.

Here’s to great Hubs,

Paul

 

 

HubPages Turns Six: We’ve Come a Long Way

This Sunday was HubPages’ sixth birthday. You might think that six years is not a very long time, but HubPages has made immense leaps and bounds over that short period.

Don’t believe me? Why not take a look at HubPages’ web design over the years, courtesy of the Wayback Machine?

Here’s a shot of us in 2005, before the site even launched:

 

Yikes!

And here we are in 2006, during our beta phase. Notice some familiar names?

 

In 2007, we got a new logo and a slightly more streamlined look. Better, but…. not great.

 

In 2009, we upped the gray portion… a lot!

 

Things got MUCH better in 2010.

 

But you’ve got to admit, our site looks even better now!

It is impressive how far we have come- and we’re only just getting warmed up! With our new Hub and Profile designs, HubPages is looking better and better, and the site will look even spiffier after we re-design our Topic Pages.

Though a great marker of progress on HubPages, appearance is but a peripheral element of our site- the key to HubPages is and always has been the fantastic Hubs you publish- and your work has been vastly improving as well! The mind-blowing evolution of Hubs, of course, is a different and much bigger story- one that we shall share another time.

Let us simply say this: Happy birthday to HubPages, and here’s to many more years of continued positive progress.

2012 Hubbie Award Winners

It’s time to present the 2012 Hubbie award winners!

How do the Hubbies work? Early in July, we invited the community to vote for their favorite Hubs and Hubbers of the year. Each Hubber is eligible to win one Hubber-based award and one Hub-based award. Two weeks after opening the polls, we closed them and tallied the votes.

Now, to celebrate our sixth birthday, we happily present you with the winners!

2012 Hubbie Award Winners


The Top Hubber & Hub

Forum Royalty

HubPages Superlatives

Top Hubs

Congratulations to this year’s Hubbie champions!

 

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews NC4Life078

As the HubPages team of HubGreeters continues to reach out to our newest community members, members often discover particularly promising newbies. One such newbie is NC4Life078, spotted recently by Haunty. Because NC4Life078 only has a handful of Hubs so far and is relatively new to our site, Haunty did us the favor of interviewing this multifarious Hubber. Read on to meet a man who has used HubPages to improve his writing- and his life!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your studies and hobbies?

Hi everyone, my name’s Nic. I am currently 23 years old, turning 24 this year. I had just finished my first year of school at Shawnee State University. It is located in southern Ohio, but, any more south it would be Kentucky. I am still undecided on a major; I thought it would be easier to choose after graduating from high school, but, unfortunately it isn’t. There are so many great things to learn about in the world, how do you choose just one? Currently, I’m thinking of pursuing a dual major in sociology and business with a concentration in marketing. As for my hobbies, I tend to dabble in this and that. I’m always looking to try something new and challenging, mentally and physically. Yet, you will most likely see me riding my motorcycle, snowboarding, or you won’t see me at all as I will be playing a video game.

What brought you to HubPages and what has been your experience so far?

What brought me to HubPages was the opportunity to earn some passive income. I enjoy writing in my spare time and learning new things. That is the great thing about HubPages and writing in general; you are able to write about anything. HubPages is a great place to receive feedback on your material, this in turn betters you as a writer and an individual.

You have very impressive Hubs about honing one’s survival skills. Have you ever been in a tough situation?

I learned many survival skills while I was in the United States Marine Corps. Although I am no longer in, the skills I have acquired are very beneficial to me as well as the community. Being in a tough situation is strictly a matter of opinion, what is “tough” to me may not be “tough” to some. I dislike “tooting my own horn” so to speak, so this question is impossible for me to answer directly.

Riding your motorcycle is one of your passions. Can you tell us a little about that?

I learned how to ride a motorcycle in Oceanside, California while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for a short time. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. Yet, I was unable to purchase my own until several years later. Since then, I have put on fifteen thousand miles, most generated within the first year. I am a bit of an adrenaline junky, so I enjoyed riding southern California’s (SoCal’s) most challenging roads.

You’ve had an interesting forum thread about challenging ourselves to go beyond our limitations in writing. Can you share some ideas here? Have you undertaken any personal challenges yet?

Despite my thread, I am for and against challenges. The reason being is that sometimes the challenge can take the joy out of writing. For example, I had undergone the 30 in 30 in which I made it to about Hub number twelve. Why you may ask? Because at that point I felt as if writing was a chore. My advice is that you write for the love of writing when you want to. Eventually, you will accomplish your goals. But, some challenges can enhance your writing, like writing at least “Blank” amount of words. I have also undergone writing in an area I’m not familiar with (writing a story/novel). Yet, I am unsure I will publish it on HubPages despite my thirst for feedback.

You’ve also shared some of your pretty amazing poetry. What inspires your poems?

I used to write poetry when I was younger to express my emotions, yet I no longer do. I never really intended to write it when I had. It usually came to me as I was talking to friends on AOL Instant Messenger back in the day. From that point it turned into my scapegoat, much like one’s diary I suppose. Writing is a great way to express yourself, I truly enjoyed creating a colorful image through the use of words.

What’s in store for those who choose to follow you around on HubPages? What is your favorite topic to Hub on?

I don’t want to promise my readers anything more than quality Hubs. I tend to write upon a wide array of topics which reflect my personality. I enjoy being able to write about the things I experience, this is why I admire books by Neil Strauss. You may or may not like his material, but, it is admirable how he indulges in what he is writing about. A wise man once told me “take what you like about a person and utilize it to better yourself” with that you will become who you want to be. I try to reflect on this approach when writing. If you follow me on HubPages I guarantee you will learn something new and be entertained in the process.

You’ve already written two Hubbing guides to help new Hubbers to a quick and effective start. If you could give one piece of advice to every newbie on HubPages, what would that be? Beside reading your Hubs, of course.

My advice to the new Hubbers is to not force yourself to write. You don’t have to write a Hub every day, write when you want to. I would also say to keep your mind open to topics you might not have considered before. My wife had told me to write about making a Bug Out Bag, which I discarded because of its popularity and high competition. About a month later I gave into the idea, ironically that Hub won a Hub Nugget and a Hub of the Day. If I hadn’t listened to her, it never would have happened.

In other words, if you’re passionate about a topic, write about it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.