An Interview with’s Esther Brown

As Week 3 of HubPages Marks the Spot nears its end, we thought it might be fun to catch up with Esther Brown, the Community Manager at, our contest sponsor.  Below you’ll find her thoughts on local content- as well as the HubPages contest. Enjoy!

HubPages: First, could you tell us a little about what is all about?

Esther Brown: is the leading provider of hyperlocal news and information. We provide local audiences with neighborhood news and information from bloggers, journalists and mainstream media on hundreds of trusted news sites. In doing so, we help these local content creators by driving traffic to their sites.

How have you seen the concept of “hyperlocal” (be it related to news, as it is with, or reviews, as with Yelp, or location-overviews, as with HubPages Marks the Spot) evolve over the past couple of years?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the idea of ubiquity. Especially for those interested in media, the term ‘hyperlocal,’ has come to be omnipresent. A few years ago, ‘hyperlocal,’ was on the radar of only a select few companies or individuals. Now, more and more people and businesses understand the concept and opportunity. In the next year or so, I suspect you’ll see another leap for ‘hyperlocal’ as it moves from an exciting vision to a set of profitable best practices.

What kind of location-based articles would you most like to read, personally?

I love food, culture and history, so personally I’d love to see information about food-centric events that are happening around me, or perhaps stories about the people that are making the foods that I love. I love design, too, so I’d also be interested in stories about the history of buildings and places that surround me.

If you were to write an entry for this contest, what would it be?

I’d love to do a profile piece involving a lot of the bloggers I’ve interviewed for our Bloggers We Love series. I’d call it something like ‘Bloggers We Love: Their Favorite Places,’ or “Bloggers We Love: Road Trip” and I’d visit the different cities these bloggers write about and have them take me on a tour of their favorite spots. Like an insider’s guide to the city: curated by local bloggers and aimed at both visitors and locals.

There are tons of great local bloggers out there, and I love to spotlight them and the places they love. All the credit would go to my fabulous tour guides, of course, like Tasha Ball of Tasha Does Tulsa, who knows everything there is to know about what’s good in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Thanks, Esther!

To learn more about, visit or chat with Esther on Twitter via @Outsidein and @BloggersWeLove. You can also read more about’s ‘Bloggers We Love,’ series on their company blog: To connect with Esther, follow her on Twitter via @estheribrown or @YallHungary.

Curbed SF’s Philip Ferrato Shares His Thoughts on HubPages Marks the Spot

Philip FerratoOne of our judges for the HubPages Marks the Spot contest is none other than Philip Ferrato, the Contributing Editor for Curbed SF.

Philip is a great blogger and a fun person to chat with, and luckily for us, he had a spare moment to share some of his thoughts on the contest! Check out our interview below:

HubPages: would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and Curbed SF?

Philip Ferrato: I’ve been around. I grew up in in the suburbs of New York and lived in New York City until I was forty, then moved to Portland OR.  About fourteen years ago I moved to San Francisco. The Curbed network of blogs began about eight years ago by Lockhart Steele, who started out by writing about his neighborhood in Manhattan (while working at Gawker) and has grown into a huge enterprise, mostly with the phenomenal success of Eater. Curbed SF began about five years ago- I’d been a long-time fan of the NY and LA blogs and suggested starting an SF version. When the pressures of my real job got too intense it was time to move on, but I’ve always been a fan, and now back as a contributor, while I figure out if I’ve actually retired.

What have you thought about the contest entries so far?

Good stuff. Distillation is critical- the temptation is include too much text. A good corollary is the old comment on a woman getting dressed- “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. I realize if you’re only wearing a t-shirt and hotpants you might get arrested. But it still applies to blogging.

Think ahead to new smartphones and the iPad. I love Google’s “My Maps” and and trotted out out my own “beta” map– still a work in progress. The digital world will only get more interactive.

What is your take on HubPages so far? Had you heard of us before?

Impressed. Um, no. *ducks*

What kind of locations (restaurants? shops? parks?) would you like to read more about?

Biodiesel locations. Carwashes. Clean bathrooms. The Laundromats of Barcelona.

If you were to write an entry for the HubPages Marks the Spot contest, on what would it be? (historical buildings? cafes? etc..)

All of the above!

.     .     .

Thanks Philip!

To see the results of Philip’s first (and if you’re reading this later, subsequent) judging, visit our contest page.

HubCamp SF – October 6th!

Great news! The first HubCamp ever, to be held in San Francisco, will be taking place on Wednesday, October 6th, from 6:00 to 8:30pm.

The meeting of hubbers will be held in the Golden Gate Ballroom of the Serrano Hotel, which is right off Union Square and walking distance from the San Francisco bus terminal, ferry terminal, and Powell bus stops.  There’s no registration fee, so all you have to do is get there.  What’s more, Paul Edmondson will be speaking!

At HubCamp, we’ll be showing you how to become an even better hubber- and how to improve your online writing in general.  More speicifically, we’ll be covering the following topics*:

  1. Basic keyword research & How to select topics & titles
    1. basic keyword research
    2. how to select topics
    3. topics and earning potential
    4. titling for search traffic
  2. Writing an effective Hub
    1. basic tips on writing  content for an online audience
    2. the profile of an ideal Hub
      1. text length
      2. rich media capsules
      3. layout variants
  3. Attracting traffic
    1. Basic linking & Driving traffic
    2. Promotion via social media
  4. Monetizing Hubs
    1. How the program works (example, how authors are paid by google)
    2. AdSense overview
    3. Amazon and eBay

*We’re still adding the final touches to our lessons, so if there’s something else we really must cover in this lesson, let us know!

If you’re interested in attending, please email Jason Menayan.  We hope you can make it!

A Visit from thisisoli

thisisoliThis afternoon, HubPages HQ was visited by none other than thisisoli, an Austin-based hubber who is visiting San Francisco at the end of a lovely California vacation with his wife.

thisisoli, a HubPages member of two years now, is the third hubber to visit us at 95 Minna Street.  He had a look at the office, and met the team, after which we adjourned for a great lunch at Osha.

We had a great time chatting, and learned a lot from thisisoli’s superior hubbing skills. He’s especially adept at working with Amazon and eBay capsules, and is looking forward to the holiday season, which can be quite lucrative!

thisisoli shared with us that he had originally joined HubPages looking to set down some backlinks for his wife’s website, My Vegan Planet.  After publishing some hubs, he left the site alone, but noticed after some months that a decent chuck of AdSense revenue was coming from HubPages and decided to give it a more thorough look.  Now, thisisoli has over 175 hubs and is very adept at measuring his success and finding exactly what it takes to write useful, lucrative hubs.

We were all tickled to meet a fellow hubber in person, and we look forward to meeting more of you in the future!

Thanks for stopping by, Oli!