As we’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, we are continuing to identify ways to improve overall Hub quality and present the most useful, interesting and informative content to readers on the Web. Enhancing readers’ experience on the site will improve our visibility with searchers, and reward those Hubbers who spend the time and energy to publish truly remarkable Hubs. We are about to implement a few more changes to improve the overall experience of our site, aimed at removing content that offers dubious value to the HubPages community of writers and readers.
News Capsule will no longer be supported
In a few weeks we will be ending support for the News Capsule. We’ve found that in most cases, the News Capsule didn’t add much relevant information to a Hub’s topic, and often included links that were only distantly related to the topic.
If you have News Capsules in your Hubs, you don’t have to do anything – they will disappear on their own. However, if the News Capsule was somehow important to the layout of your Hub, you might want to take the opportunity to refresh your Hub a bit so it doesn’t feel as if something is missing.
Tightening up Hub quality – Affiliates
Next week, we will be introducing two changes as they relate to affiliate links. Affiliate links are promotional links that financially reward marketers for sending visitors to another site. If you have used affiliate links in your Hubs (except for Amazon or eBay Capsules), please read this carefully.
First, we are disallowing certain prohibited affiliate links, which we feel make for a poor experience for readers, and reflect badly on HubPages. These links point to sites that:
- sell eBooks
- promote dubious offers, such as watching TV online for free
- contain a lead capture form
- contain pop-ups, pop-unders, or other features that interfere with site navigation (for example, when clicking the back or close buttons)
- redirect users to unwanted websites
Second, in certain topic areas that have become saturated with low-quality Hubs published by affiliate marketers, we are disallowing any affiliate links and holding Hubs to a higher editorial standard. Links to trustworthy sites (like prominent news sites, Wikipedia, and the like) will still be allowed, but affiliate links of any sort will not be permitted. We’re including topics like acai berries, forex, and six-pack abs among those in this new classification. Note: you can still publish Hubs on these topics; you are just now not allowed to embed any affiliate links into them. This change will only affect about 1% of all published Hubs, so not many of you will impacted.
Next week, we will put in automatic alerts that will let you know as you’re authoring a Hub or when you go to publish it, if your Hub will not comply with these rules. We will also email Hubbers with affected Hubs that need to be fixed, with at least 2 weeks to bring those Hubs into compliance before we unpublish them.
We hope this all makes sense, and look forward to the quality bar being raised once again!
UPDATE: Regarding redirects (sites like tinyurl, bit.ly and others that redirect to other sites). Redirects themselves are innocuous, but we will be able to track the full path of redirected links, and if any of the redirects pass through or to a prohibited link, then that redirected link will also be prohibited. So, if a bit.ly link passes through a clickbank link (a prohibited affiliate link), for example, then that specific bit.ly link on that Hub will be not allowed.