One of the fun parts of my job is talking to people about HubPages who have never heard of it. This is not so surprising considering that if you read most articles on social media, crowdsourcing, blogging, or social networking, HubPages is rarely mentioned. If you check the Quantcast 100, most of the websites there are well-known names: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. This makes sense. These are giant sites and most of their visitors are either members or customers actively using the site’s services. The most popular sites are for the most part: large and well-established.
For most of these sites, their users and their visitors are pretty much the same people. For HubPages, this is not the case. Most of our visitors will never sign into HubPages and they probably won’t register. According to Quantcast, HubPages gets visited each month by approximately 20 million unique visitors. Of this 20 million, roughly 160,000 logged in and did something on HubPages. Just to be clear, that means that our members represents only 0.8% of our visitors.
While 160,000 is a number to be very proud of, it is not a giant number. These 160,000 people were responsible for roughly 55,000 hubs published and roughly 80,000 forum posts on approximately 3500 topics. That’s a healthy amount of activity. And yet, these numbers are quite small in relation to giant web sites out there.
Facebook, which is quite open about its numbers, has 400 million active users, 60 million status updates each day, and 5 billion pieces of content shared each week. I mention a giant like Facebook to point out how small HubPages is in comparison. And yet, if we judge by U.S. traffic, Facebook is has only 12 times the reach of HubPages (as measured in terms of US unique visitors: 124 million for Facebook compared to 11 million for HubPages) even though their output is more than 1,000-fold greater than the output at HubPages.
Being able to get even this close to Facebook is a big deal. HubPages is currently ranked #89 in the U.S.
Still, my point is that in terms of the top-100 web sites, the size of the HubPages is still relatively small. Those 55,000 hubs were published by 15,385 different people and the 80,000 forum postings came from 2,398 different people. If we define an active user as someone who writes at least one hub a month or makes at least one post in the forum, then in the last 30 days, the number of active users was 16,242. These 16,000+ were responsible for all the hubs created and all the posts in the forums.
Supporting these 16,000 follks are 14 HubPages staff. When I started at HubPages almost 2 years ago, there were only 4 people listed on the HubPages About page. I was #4 (after Paul Deeds, Maddie Ruud, and Fawntia Fowler). I mention this only to show that HubPages is still a small web site.
I am not sure at what point a web site becomes a medium-sized site. We have over 700,000 hubs at present. At the rate we are growing, we will have over a million in less than a year. It may be when we hire employee #50 or employee #100. But when it happens, I have no doubt, that I will be a bit nostalgic for the present time when our active community is small and our reach is rapidly growing.