Everything You Wanted to Know About Controversial HubPages Issues but Were Afraid to Ask

When I was in Austin attending SXSW Interactive, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Marcy Goodfleisch for some coffee at Whole Foods flagship store, which I find to be one of the world’s closest equivalents to heaven.

Over some tasty tea and coffee Marcy asked a lot of really good questions on behalf of herself and Hubbers with whom she is acquainted. After we both acknowledged that it would be best if someone beyond just Marcy got our open, honest answers, we decided it would be best to compose a Q&A blog post featuring all the burning questions y’all have that we have yet to answer in a prominent manner.

We’re hoping this will be the first in a series and can help clear up your major questions and concerns. Enjoy!

Does Google penalize us for Hubs that aren’t Featured?

No. Hubs that are not Featured, though perhaps still known to Google, do not count against your online reputation with regard to Panda. It is as though they do not exist (though your friends and followers can still access them).

Many Hubs that are not Featured would be a liability to their owners should they continue to be Featured, simply because they may not be particularly high quality or because (even if they are of high quality) Google’s search algorithms, for some reason, decided they were not particularly important or useful and did not give them high rankings in search results (hence these Hubs saw very little traffic).

Do un-Featured Hubs lower our rankings within HubPages?

Featured status does not affect rankings, but both rankings and Featured status are a product of the quality of one’s Hubs.

‘Rankings’ on HubPages (whether or not your Hub is featured prominently on a Topic page or on others’ Hubs) are influenced by Hubber Score and HubScore.

Your Hubber Score is a product of:

  • The collective quality of your Hubs (as shown through HubScore, which factors in human and algorithmic ratings received through the Quality Assessment Process)
  • Your activity within the HubPages community (i.e. whether you regularly publish, provide high quality Questions and Answers, leave insightful comments on Hubs, and help other Hubbers in the Forums)

Should you have many Hubs that are not Featured because they get particularly low quality ratings, your Hubber Score and HubScores might be lower, and in this case, it does mean that your rankings will be a bit lackluster.

That said, if you write high quality Hubs that get high quality scores, and many of them happen to not be Featured, your rankings on HubPages should not be negatively affected.

What does it take to get Hubs automatically approved without going through QAP? Why are some Hubbers given this benefit?

All Hubs by all Hubbers go through the QAP. Sometimes the process is faster than other times. It depends on the time of day and our present load of Hubs to process.

How important is the HubScore (the number related to each Hub), and what, if anything, is it used for?

HubScore is a general reflection of a Hub’s success and quality (this includes human quality ratings as collected during the Quality Assessment Process). We do not recommend paying that much attention to it. Think of HubScore and Hubber Score as a rough reference point and a means of gauging the experience of other Hubbers.

How significant is Hubber Score? Can you share the factors that go into it?

Hubber Score is basically an average of your collective HubScore with a few additional behaviors (like your activity on the site) factored in.

Things factored into a Hub’s HubScore include:

  • Human ratings collected as part of the Quality Assessment Process
  • The amount of traffic your Hub receives, including traffic from HubPages as well as other outside sources
  • The length of your Hub
  • The uniqueness of the content within your Hub (copied content typically scores lower than more unique content)
  • The number of comments
  • Your overall Hubber Score

Things factored into Hubber Score include:

  • Your collective HubScores
  • Whether or not you have signed in recently
  • Whether or not you are active in the community (by regularly publishing Hubs, commenting on others’ Hubs, asking and answering good Questions, and posting to the Forums)

Does Google care about HubScores or Hubber Scores?

Google does not care about Hubber Scores or HubScores, but it does care about quality, and HubScores and Hubber Scores are a reflection of that.

What’s more, HubScores and Hubber Scores affect a Hub’s placement within our internal link structure in ways that Google is liable to notice, so while these scores are not something Google explicitly ‘reads’, they are tied to factors that matter to Google’s search algorithms.

What is the best recommendation for dealing with Hubs that have are no longer Featured?

It depends.

Seasonal Hubs that have not had traffic in the off season often just need to be updated (though if you have a particularly high Hubber Score, your seasonal Hubs may remain Featured for up to a year, meaning that even if they get very little traffic during the off season, they may still not lose their Featured status- more about that in another blog post).

Poor quality Hubs that otherwise offer great resources need to be fixed up (improve grammar, formatting, substance, organization, and media).

Hubs that are of high quality that do not get any traffic may need a different title or spin so that they address an aspect of their particular subject that is not already flooded with competition. With proper competitive research and adjustment, these Hubs can definitely be redeemed.

Hubs made ‘just for fun’ that were never really meant to act as useful or particularly detailed and informative online resources might just be left alone. If you want them to enjoy more prominence, they might find a more appropriate home on a personal blog or a platform more oriented toward that type of content.

If keywords are no longer reliable, what do you recommend we do to make a Hub competitive in search engines?

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool no longer shows accurate figures, so what we recommend is using it only to get a rough idea of the terminology people use when conducting queries on specific subjects.

We created a Learning Center entry detailing the new title creation process we recommend, which involves:

  1. Creating short, descriptive titles that mirror a likely search term
  2. Running competitive research on that likely search term to make sure you can beat the competition (check to make sure there are not a bunch of product or place results and that the top results are not flooded with results from popular, trusted brands or already-very-good pages and articles)
  3. Making sure you are genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about the subject at hand. If you are just creating a Hub because you think it will drive traffic, but do not know much about the subject or have much interest in it, stop.

What has HubPages learned from the Panda and Penguin experiences?

Quality matters. Passion matters. Thin articles designed to drive traffic and clicks don’t cut it anymore.

To make it now, you have to be even more patient, passionate, and knowledgeable than before. Ultimately, this is a good thing. True experts and enthusiasts win!

What does HubPages have in mind for the future?

Our journey to provide the best platform for creating content online continues. Our plans and projects revolve around making it easier for Hubbers to earn more, get larger audiences, build a stronger online brand, and become even more savvy as online content creators.

What is being done to rid the site of very old, very bad content?

The first thing we did with the Quality Assessment Process was address new Hubs that are being published, to ensure that, going forward, we are on the right track. All we did with already-published Hubs was remove Hubs from Google’s index that got next to no traffic, as it was quite clear that Google did not see them as worthy of getting much traffic (hence it was a quick way for us to hide Hubs that might be acting as a liability to their authors).

We are presently working through our backlog of older content with the Quality Assessment Process. This takes time and money, so the going is slow. We are being careful to ensure that what we see as high quality reflects what Google apparently sees as high quality. We are also making an effort to target and remove from Google’s index our lowest quality, old content first.

Why would HubPages or Hubbers want high-quality Hubs that aren’t getting much traffic to not be Featured?

We actually do want very high quality Hubs to be featured more or less indefinitely, even if they have low traffic. In fact, Hubs that get top ratings are permanently Featured (it is just very rare for a Hub to get a perfect ten on our rating scale).

The problem is that it is difficult for us to be confident that a Hub is superb, because for cost reasons we stop collecting rating on Hubs as soon as we’ve decided that they are “good enough”. To mitigate this problem, we are looking into ways in which we can permanently feature more high quality Hubs.

Nevertheless, even though we clearly see those Hubs as being of high quality, Google’s search algorithms, for some reason or another, have decided they do not deserve much prominence in search results (therefore they get little search traffic). Perhaps it is because they cover a topic that has already been exhausted online (e.g. getting rid of belly fat, making apple pie, etc.), or perhaps there is something else about the Hub that Google determines to be of low quality that we currently do not factor into our Quality Assessment Process.

If a Hub is not particularly exceptional, and if it is not getting a lot of search traffic, we therefore figure it would be safer to not have it count towards a Hubber’s reputation as determined by Google’s search algorithms.

The current topics on HubPages seem a bit out-of-date; is there any plan to update them?

Christy Kirwan is updating and expanding the HubPages Topic Pages right now (and has been for several weeks). We welcome new suggestions!

Does it help drive traffic in any way to have Topics associated with Hubs? What use are they?

Organizing a Hub within a leaf-level Topic Page increases its odds of being Featured on that Topic Page’s front page, so we recommend publishing Hubs within very specific leaf-level pages and on new Topic Pages (many of which are featured in the Weekly Topic Inspiration Program).

How can I be a better Hubber? How can I help the site?

Keep publishing high-quality Hubs on subjects about which you are particularly passionate and knowledgeable.
Focus on quality, not quantity
Hop and rate Hubs through the Hub Hopper
Point people toward official HubPages resources (the FAQ and Learning Center) when they have questions

This Isn’t Over!

We hope to publish more posts like this in which we set the record straight about anything you might be wondering about as we further refine and develop the new-and-improved HubPages. Should you have any particular questions that ought to be answered in a blog post like this, please send me an email.

Big thanks to Marcy Goodfleisch for sharing these questions with me and inspiring this post!

Staff Hubbing Spaces!

We may be HubPages employees, but we have preferred Hubbing spaces as well! Here’s a peek at where some actively Hubbing HubPages staff members like to write their Hubs:

Jason’s Hubbing Space

Jason Menayan’s Hubbing space overlooks a beautiful hillside- isn’t that nice?

Mark’s Hubbing Space

Mark Painter occasionally engages with the HubPages community and writes Hubs from his desk, and in a particularly artistic manner, decided to give us a view of his Hubbing space from his laptop’s perspective.

George’s Hubbing Space

George Edmondson also does some occasional Hubbing from his desk at HubPages Headquarters, which he keeps relatively unadorned:

… Though note the easy access to coffee, one of the most precious commodities in our office! As you can see, this is the real seat of power.

Now that you’ve seen where we do our work, we’d like to see some more of your own Hubbing Spaces! Feel free to email them to simone.smith (at) HubPages.com or share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Robin Edmondson

In addition to being head of education at HubPages, Robin Edmondson is a very successful Hubber. Having been on HubPages.com for over six years (and seen a very impressive amount of readers and earnings over this period), you know this HubPages expert educator knows what she is talking about.

Of course, there is more to Robin than education and a very successful HubPages career (did you know, for example, that Robin is a beekeeper, or that she happens to be married to HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson?). Check out her answers to your interview questions below to become better acquainted with this fantastic member of the HubPages team.

Has HubPages ever held a Hubber conference/convention? -TravelAbout

When I first started officially working for HubPages two years ago, we had HubCamps. We went around the country teaching Hubbers how to write for an online audience. That program has now evolved into the Apprenticeship Program. While I’m incredibly proud of the Apprenticeship Program and its success, I do miss HubCamps because we were able to meet Hubbers face to face. For example, I met JSMathew, PeggyW, LuisEGonzalez, MightyMom, KCCBigCountry, Mutiny92, wavegirl22, TinaatHome, Thranax, ahostagesituation, AmyJane, BrieHoffman, Sophia Angelique, Carolyn2008, ChrisLincoln, DebbieCook, Dohn121, DocSnow, Dorsi, fastfreta, Kristine Manley, HowardS, and Ms Dee – plus many, many more!

For those of you that would like to meet other Hubbers, you can organize your own HubMeets, or HubPages Meetups. GlennStok has organized a few HubMeets in Long Island, NJ. Here’s his Hub on his experience with HubMeets.

If you want to start your own HubPages Meetup, stop by our Meetup Everywhere page.

Does Paul E have barbeques at his house? -wordscribe43

As of right now, Paul E has two barbeques at our house. One is a gas grill and the other is a Kamado oak grill (a ceramic-tiled grill that is egg shaped weighing around 900lbs). He tends to prefer to cook on the Kamado grill and barbecues around 4 nights a week – especially on the weekends. For New Year’s Eve, he rents a large commercial grade rotisserie to cook a whole pig. While this is a highlight for him, I still can’t get myself to try a bite. Seeing a whole pig on a spit is just too much for me!

What sports do each one of you like to watch and play?- prettydarkhorse

Our house has either Sportscenter or a game on every day. We are big Giants, 49ers, and Lakers fans (we’ve never been Golden State Warrior fans, but they are moving to SF soon, so maybe we’ll start going to some of their games and becoming fans). We love to play basketball, tennis, softball, and four square with our girls. We have a four square court painted in our cul de sac and a hoop at the end of the street, which is really convenient. Both Paul and I played a lot of sports growing up, so it’s one of our favorite things to do with our girls.

How do you squeeze your lovelife into such demanding and hectic HubPages?- prettydarkhorse

It helps that Paul and I get to work together! We share a desk (luckily it’s a big desk) and get to have lunch together on the days that I’m in the office.

Do employees’ kids come in for “bring your child to work day?” – wordscribe43

Since it’s summertime, we have had our two older girls in the office quite a few times. They bring their “work” and have sat in on a few meetings. They love coming in, and I think it’s great for them to see what we do and why it’s important. I believe our girls are the only ones in the office that are old enough to stay for an extended period of time. During the holiday party we get to see all of the younger kids though, and it’s a lot of fun.

Describe your ideal Hubber -Marcy Goodfleisch

The great thing about HubPages is there are many different types of Hubbers and our platform allows you to put a bit of yourself into each of your Hubs. I have been so incredibly lucky to get to know the Hubbers in the Apprenticeship Program really well. I’m in awe of their writing abilities and how they have adapted to become better online writers. They are so positive and helpful to one another and are so committed to their writing. Many of them have the qualities of my ideal Hubber.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Camille Harris

Camille Harris plays a pivotal role as part of HubPages’ support team (and has also published some fascinating Hubs).

Don’t you wish you knew her a bit better? Now is your chance! Check out Camille’s answers to your interview questions in this latest installment of our Meet the Staff blog series.

Paradigmsearch: Do you get cable?

Nope. I don’t have a TV.

ngureco: Do you ever feel bad when after a hard job you do not receive the recognition and praise that you deserve from Hubbers?

Good question! Initially I felt like there was an undercurrent of negativity directed toward the Moderation team, so it definitely wasn’t the greatest welcome to HubPages. There was no recognition or praise to speak of. As the months go by, I interact with more and more users and do feel appreciated. I have also gained a greater appreciation for how much work goes into writing Hubs and can understand why people get frustrated when their Hubs are moderated. So long story short, I no longer feel bad and instead try to put myself in the Hubber’s shoes.

ngureco: Do you feel challenged when you suspect a certain Hubber may be more conversant than you in some issues to do with HubPages?

This happens quite often, particularly in the Forums. I don’t feel challenged; I’m usually just impressed and inspired to learn more about HubPages.

AEvans: When does your work day begin and when does it end? Do you work 24/7 or ever go through HP withdrawal when you are away from the computer?

I usually begin my day at 5 or 6 AM and end around 5 PM. I don’t work straight through, and instead take a long break around 10 or 11 AM each day. I try to work a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays as well. And nope, no HP withdrawal when I’m not on, although I do often think of all the Hubs I could write that I never get around to.

wordscribe43 : To all: what’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?

Believe it or not, I’m not San Francisco’s biggest fan. I think it’s dirty and people can be a bit closed off here. However, I really appreciate the city’s diversity. One can see women walking in saris, panhandlers, business people, and tourists snapping photos all in the same block. I love the beautiful rainbow flag flying in the Castro and the many festivals we have throughout the year celebrating our diversity. I’ve not experienced this level of heterogeneity anywhere else I’ve traveled.

Marcy Goodfleisch : Another question – when Paul and any of the rest of you come to Austin for SXSW (or anything else), will you PLEASE let those of us who are Hubbing in Austin get together with you?

I was in Austin the last week of March and LOVED it. I actually considered moving there, but we just put down roots in Marin County. Austin is as wonderful as everyone says – you’re lucky to live there, Marcy!

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Fawntia Fowler

Fawntia Fowler has been an engineer with HubPages for over three years and has made features such as the Map Capsule, HubNuggets, Hub of the Day, the signed-in homepage, new Hub designs, and the Apprenticeship Program possible. Aren’t you curious to know more about the woman behind these fantastic aspects of our site and community? You should be- Fawntia is a really cool and interesting person (who also happens to have the world’s cutest dog). Check out her answers to various Hubbers’ questions below!

Can you tell us more about the Japanese themed public school you attended in Oregon? Do you feel it affected how you approach the learning process? -rebekahELLE

Sure. The school that I went to was started by a group of parents who were unhappy with the regular public schools in the district. The original plan was to have ALL of our classes taught in Japanese (except English class, I suppose!) but it soon became apparent that we didn’t have the resources to make that happen. So, instead, we had a single Japanese class every day and sometimes Japanese culture classes.

Another unusual thing about the school was that every class had blended ages. The school only had about 50-60 students ranging from 4th to 12th grade, so it was commonplace to have kids a few years younger or older in your classes. Sometimes, that meant that students were expected to work independently and only occasionally get help from teachers. That was especially true of our mathematics classes, which many kids hated, but it worked well for me. I suspect that being forced to work through problems on my own gave me the confidence to major in mathematics in college. I wish that I could say that I use the Japanese that I learned, but I don’t really! I’m still glad that I learned it, though. I’m also happy that I got to know several people from Japan. (Some exchange students and teachers lived with my family for a few years.)

Another good thing about the school was that it introduced me to programming when I was pretty young (about 10 years old), and that certainly had an effect on my life. (Programming is my job at HubPages.)

What do you love about your job? What do you hate (or love a whole lot less)? -Marcy Goodfleisch

I love that I get to create things that other people care about. I love that HubPages is flexible about when and where work gets done, as long as it gets done. Sometimes I get sick of being in front of a computer screen all day, but there’s not much that can be done about that!

Are you strictly a 9-5 outfit? Or do you have workaholics that work into the night, holidays and weekends? – Arlene V. Poma

Most people show up at the office between 8 and 10 and leave between 5 and 7, but there’s no set schedule. Sometimes people work from home for all or part of the day, too, so it’s hard to say for sure! Our moderators probably have the craziest schedules.

Does HP have any Friday traditions? Things like casual day, big box of donuts next to the coffee machine, group lunch at TGIF, etc -paradigmsearch

We have a group lunch on Thursdays, actually. Lately, salads have been very popular, but last week we went out for Dim Sum together.

What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco? -wordscribe43

Either the restaurants, or the fact that you can get almost anywhere without a car.

What’s the best restaurant close to HP headquarters? -wordscribe43

The best restaurants I’ve been to in San Francisco are, sadly, not near our office. The area around where we work is known as SOMA (which stands for South of Market Street). A lot of people work in this neighborhood, but live elsewhere, which means that the restaurants here cater to the lunch crowd far more than the dinner crowd. (It’s amazing how deserted this area gets in the evenings!)

But as for lunch, I think that takeout from Mehfil Indian Restaurant is the best combination of quality and reasonable price. Their lunch menu changes every day, which is nice. I try to bring lunch from home most days, though.

Do you still watch cartoons? What cartoons do you like to watch? -prettydarkhorse

I don’t regularly watch cartoons, but one of my favorite shows is a cartoon. It’s a Nickelodeon show called Avatar: The Last Airbender. Don’t judge it by the movie version, which I heard was terrible! My dog is named after the character Appa in Avatar (who is a flying six-legged sky bison). I’m watching the follow-up show called The Legend of Korra now.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Edward Zhang

Edward Zhang is HubPages’ youngest engineer, and a dang good one at that! When he’s not busy kicking butt (as demonstrated in his HubPages profile image), Ed is busy working on cool HubPages features such as Videos, our iPhone app, slideshows on Hubs, the Great Commenter Accolades, HubTool tips, and many more elements hidden within the site’s underpinnings.

To learn more about this up-and-coming builder-of-things, check out his answers to some of your interview questions!

Do you ever feel bad when after a hard job you do not receive the recognition and praise that you deserve from Hubbers? -ngureco

It’s always nice to receive some recognition and praise for a feature that I’ve spent a lot of time on. Other times, we receive negative feedback on our work, which always stings a bit, but life goes on nonetheless! Many times, if our work is not big enough to be announced on the blog or in the forums, it goes largely unnoticed, but I don’t think there’s any real shame in that. As long as we are helping HubPages as a whole, then I am happy with it.

Why do some staff members write lots of Hubs whilst others don’t? Aren’t staff members not as interested in making more money from HubPages just like the Hubbers are? -ngureco

Keeping up with Hub writing can consume a lot of time and energy. Most of us engineers don’t ever bother with, and don’t have the time to write, Hubs. Not to mention, us engineers are probably more lacking in the English skills department. However, the marketing team tends to write more Hubs (as demonstrated by Paul Edmondson, Robin, and Simone), but that’s just because they slack off all day at work (I’m only joking, they actually do excellent work!).

Do you still watch cartoons? -prettydarkhorse

Yes! Watching anime and cartoons is what keeps me sane! I also love watching Big Bang Theory, a sitcom about a group of nerdy friends. Imagine Friends, but with a bunch of nerds instead. It’s actually really hilarious!

Does Simone really wear big hair bows every day? -GinnyLee

Oh, that’s a good one question. In fact, YES, she does! Sometimes I have the urge to sneakily steal the bows from her head and hide it. It’s a shame that I don’t work on the same floor as her though…

When does your work day begin and when does it end? Do you work 24/7 or ever go through HP withdrawal when you are away from the computer? -AEvans

I usually arrive in the HP office around 9:30AM (I have a horrible habit of staying up late) and leaving at 6PM. There’s a bit of flex to that timeframe, but you get the general idea. It’s actually quite flexible here at HP, which is great. Say I needed to stay home to wait for a repairman… on those days I could work from home for the morning, and come into the office during the afternoon. Or even better, I could choose to work from home the whole day!

I personally don’t “work” past my work hours, but I do log into HubPages to browse around while I’m at home. I also use the HubPages iPhone app to poke around while I’m commuting to work, or when I’m bored.

While I don’t need to work 24/7, we actually do have someone that needs to monitor our servers near 24/7, in case any emergencies happen with our servers.

What sports do you like to watch and play? -prettydarkhose

I love to play badminton. Every weekend, I would go to a local indoor badminton gym to practice for a whole afternoon, from maybe 2PM to 9PM. I played on the school badminton team during high school, and have been interested in it ever since!

Fun fact about Edward: I went to high school with Simone Smith.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Micki Seibel

Though relatively new to HubPages, Head of Product Micki Seibel has been making big and splendid changes to our site. When chatting in the Forums, Micki is usually fielding questions about design changes and tests, but there is much more to this HubPages staff member (and impressive food Hubber) than new Hub designs! Check out Micki’s answers to Hubber questions to learn more about her background, motivation, and philosophy.

Do you ever feel bad when after a hard job you do not receive the recognition and praise that you deserve from Hubbers? -ngureco

No. In most cases, hearing no feedback is a sign of a job well done because the Hubbers that don’t like something will always say so!

On a more serious note, I do read comments and posts from Hubbers to look for indications that you are happy and to get feedback. For me, I know I’ve done a good job when the data says so…even if the Hubbers don’t. However, if you want to praise me for a job well done, I’ll gladly accept it. 😉

What motivates you to do the things you do for HubPages?

My professional mission in life is to use technology to improve the lives of millions of people. It’s why I came to Silicon Valley in 1996. It’s why I worked for Netscape on the web browser back in the day (bringing the Internet to the masses). It’s why I ran Product Management at eBay in its early days (democratizing the exchange of goods), and why I’ve done the start-up companies that I have. HubPages is a continuation of that mission: using the internet to enable writers to find an audience, and enabling readers to find and engage with what you write (democratizing the exchange of knowledge).

Ryan H. used to bring in his dog. Do you have any office dogs now? -wordscribe43

I can’t thank you enough for asking this question and giving me the chance to show you Kisha-pups. 🙂 Although Norah and Ari sometimes bring their dogs to work, our most regular office dog is Kisha. She’s my 11 year old Belgian Sheepdog/Chow mix. She and I walk to the office (30 minutes one way) 3 or 4 days a week to keep her fit. I adopted her from the Humane Society when she was 5 months old. In fact, here’s a picture of Kisha under my desk at HubPages HQ.

What are your goals for site in the future (one year, five years, etc.)? – Marcy Goodfleisch

Excellent question. The goal at HubPages is to provide a platform for you to write and find an audience. That’s always been our goal and it’s not going to change. What changes from 1 year to 5 years (or even from 5 years ago when we started) is *how* to fulfill that.

The key themes for the next year (and you probably already see these happening on the site):

  • Traffic growth. Search engine optimization is always an ongoing part of that, but also looking at other methods such as social media and mobile optimization.
  • Redesign of the site. This is to better communicate our brand (especially to readers) and to update our site design
  • Content Growth. How to keep you engaged in writing, working on features to make the site easier, and looking at ways to give you inspiration to write content where we are lacking in it.

Are you strictly a 9-5 outfit? Or do you have workaholics that work into the night, holidays and weekends? – Arlene V. Poma

Actually, we are neither. Let me explain.

We don’t have set hours that everyone works. Our company culture is very supportive of letting employees create their own work schedules, and we are allowed to work from home when we need. We’re definitely not a culture of late night workaholics. A lot of people have families, and everyone seems to have interesting extracurricular activities and interests.

It works well for us because…and I really do mean this honestly when I say it…we have a great team that is very good at what they do, passionate about it, and that makes them effective. I’ve worked at several high profile Internet companies over the years, and I definitely think that the team here at HubPages is one of the best with which I’ve ever worked. Everything gets done that needs to get done…and quickly. At the same time, I can still cook dinner, play tennis, and travel: my passions.

Do you read Hubs for enjoyment? – rebekahELLE

Every day. I don’t always get to comment on what I read, but I at least leave a Hub Feedback on good ones. I follow the Food & Cooking, Tennis, Travel & Places, and Dogs Topics, specifically.

Where are HubPages’ growth opportunities? -GinnyLee

These are very related to the question earlier about our 1 year and 5 year goals. There are three inter-related opportunities:

  • Traffic Growth. This is continued work on search engine optimization as well as better integration with social media.
  • Brand and engaging readers. Updating our brand and site design to better engage readers. If they start to remember who we are, they will pick us in search and that help traffic growth. This is why you are seeing the design of the site change: the header, the new slideshow player, the new Hub design testing. Coming later this year are the User Profile and Topics pages.
  • Content Growth. Engaging writers such as yourselves to create more, great content–especially in areas where we are lacking in it. This helps more readers find us, choose HubPages in search, share the content with their networks, and remember to come back to HubPages–all of which supports traffic growth.
  • And traffic growth = audience for your content.

What sports does each one of you like to watch and play? -prettydarkhorse

Tennis. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but tennis is my primary passion. I’ve been playing since I was 12, played a bit in college, and now play competitive USTA league tennis. I’ve written a couple of Tennis Hubs. I’ve even attended each of the 4 Grand Slams of Tennis (some of them, like the Australian Open, more than once).

Did I mention tennis?

Does HP have any Friday traditions? Things like casual day, big box of donuts next to the coffee machine, group lunch at TGIF, etc. -paradigmsearch

We have several traditions. They aren’t specific to Fridays, though. We always have team lunch on Thursdays. That’s been great because it’s the one day that everyone who works for HubPages is sure to be in the office! We have fresh coffee from Peet’s made every morning. Sometimes we do Wednesday dinners.

Casual day? Ha! That’s every day.

I notice employees on the forums late at night sometimes. Are you “on the clock” for these late hours, or what? -wordscribe43

I’ll let others answer for themselves. For me, I’m on the forums late at night working sometimes for several different reasons:

  • Sometimes it’s because I’m working on something that needs fast turnaround and there’s a lot of feedback coming from Hubbers (for example, the Hub redesigns in Fashion and Technology).
  • Sometimes it’s because I left work early to play tennis. Ok, truth be told, it’s often it’s because I split up my work day and head out early to play tennis then work again after dinner.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Ari Lamstein

If you regularly use the Q&A feature on our site, you’re very familiar with Ari Lamstein’s work. He has been improving and refining that feature for quite some time now, and has made some magnificent changes!

As the latest installment in our Meet the Staff series, we’ve given Ari some of the questions you’ve asked of HubPages staff in the forums along with some fun Q&A-specific questions you might enjoy.

If, after reading this interview, any lingering questions remain… well, that’s what our Answers feature is for!

Are you reading all the Questions and Answers in the Q and A section? -prettydarkhorse

There was a period when I actually did read all of the Questions and Answers published each day. But now there are just too many for me to keep up!

Do you read Hubs for enjoyment? – rebekahELLE

Yes I do. Most days I’ll spend some time in the feed looking at new Hubs that are created. It’s amazing to see how much high quality content is generated on HubPages every day.

Does HP have any Friday traditions? Things like casual day, big box of donuts next to the coffee machine, group lunch at TGIF, etc. – paradigmsearch

We have a team lunch every Thursday.

What motivates you to do the things you do for HubPages? -ripplemaker

I think that we provide a valuable service, and it’s one that I enjoy using myself. I like writing, and think that it’s valuable to provide people with a platform to moneitze their own writing online.

Describe your ideal Hubber? -Marcy Goodfleisch

One who writes about classical music, of course 🙂

What feature on Q&A are you most proud of working on?

I think that transferring ownership of Q&A to Question askers has been an important and fundamental shift to the feature. The basic work there was shifting the Questions to each user’s subdomain and providing basic statistical information to users. More interesting was giving users moderation control: the ability to delete Answers that they feel are not helpful, as well giving users the ability to comment on Answers. I’ve been very encouaged to see how this has improved Q&A, and look forward to see how it evolves over time.

What feature on Notifications are you most proud of working on?

I think that the “auto” aspect of notifications was interesting from a mathematical and data analysis perspective. It also added a lot of value to our users, because it increased the quality of email that we send them.

What feature that you worked on surprised you the most?

I did not expect online notifications to be as much of a hit as they are. We get many more clicks on online notifications than email notifications; I expected it to be the other way around.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Matt Meyer

One reason why HubPages is a splendid site is that Hubs are carefully monitored and cared for by a skilled team of moderators. One of these all-important protectors is Matt Meyer, who is the next subject in our Meet the Staff interview series!

We’ve given Matt some of the questions you offered to HubPages staff members in the forums. We hope you enjoy Matt’s answers and come away appreciating the cool people who are responsible for the high quality content we have all come to expect on HubPages.

What do you love about your job? What do you hate (or love a whole lot less)? – Marcy Goodfleisch

I dig the variety of experience and areas of expertise that each Hubber brings to their writing. I see something that I didn’t know much about almost every day. I really do not like spun content!

If you could give Hubbers one piece of advice, what would it be? -wordscribe43

Write about what you know and enjoy, not what you think will get more traffic.

Do you still watch cartoons? What cartoons do you like to watch? -prettydarkhorse

I am a fan of animation and created some short animated films years ago. I used to watch the Sunday Fox shows, but have tired of them a bit. I currently watch The Life and Times of Tim and Bob’s Burgers. I need to watch Akira again!

What is your comfort food? -ripplemaker

I love tater tots and MorningStar Farms’ BBQ Riblets (they are kind of like a vegan version of the McRib) even though Riblets contain wood pulp! I am also a sucker for most anything with peanut butter. Fried peanut butter and jelly anyone?

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Jason Menayan

Our Director of Marketing Jason Menayan, also known on HubPages under his personal username livelonger, has been with HubPages for years and is is the go-to guy for sound strategy, healthy perspective, and killer Hubbing tips!

If you’re curious to know more about this impressive Hubber and HubPages staff member, check out Jason’s answers to the questions below. They’re all asked by Hubbers, so you know they’re good ones.

Why do some staff members write lots of Hubs whilst others don’t? Aren’t staff members not as interested in making more money from HubPages just like the Hubbers are? -ngureco

I can’t answer for others, but I’ve published over 200 Hubs and have 161 published now (I unpublished a lot of unsalvageably old Hubs). I just love writing, and sharing information and interests with other people. I also like bragging to my friends how much money I make; their jaws usually drop.

When does your work day begin and when does it end? Do you work 24/7 or ever go through HP withdrawal when you are away from the computer? -AEvans

I’ve never been good at drawing a clean line between work and home, so I tend to read HubPages-related stuff when I’m at home when it strikes my fancy. I usually do so not in an official capacity, but as a Hubber (livelonger). I can’t help it – much like others, I’m addicted! (I even wrote a Hub while I was on vacation in Mexico last year…)

What are your secret thoughts about Google? -paradigmsearch

Secret thoughts? I’m not sure I have any about them!

Do you ever sleep and when you sleep are you still dreaming of H-u-b-P-a-g-e-s? -prettydarkhorse

Yes, sometimes. I usually wake up screaming and drenched with sweat. (Kidding!)

What are the biggest risks that you have identified for continued success at online publishing? -GinnyLee

There always have been risks and always will be risks with publishing online, and pretty much any other venture that you could possibly be involved in. I really love HubPages, so I take the challenges in stride.

Are you concerned with some of the high-profile Hubbers leaving the site? Do you think it is part of the natural churn on writing? -GinnyLee

You’d be surprised, maybe even stunned, if you knew how many of those writers come back, most often surreptitiously under a new account. I struggle to think of a single exception. Churn is natural, as is, I guess, a quiet return. 🙂

What motivates you to do the things you do for HubPages? -ripplemaker

I’ve been here for over 5 1/2 years and have loved that the site, community, features, and challenges have continued to evolve. I love reading great stuff, I love writing, I love working with some amazing colleagues on new features and programs, and I’ve enjoyed interacting with some truly fantastic Hubbers here over the years. It never gets boring!