Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HubPages in Its Death Throes?

Three days ago, HubPages experienced its lowest amount of unique traffic in almost two years. 

At first glance, it seemed to coincide with the impact of Google's mobile-friendly algorithm. But Paul Edmondson stated: "It looks like Panda to me." He mentioned talking to other large sites and sending messages to Google. 

Edmondson added, "The general feedback is this update is still rolling out."

Yet, yesterday (May 5th, 2015), Barry Schwartz confirmed it was not Panda. He speculated it could be some other type of update and reminded us of when Hummingbird launched prior Google's official announcement.

What struck me as odd is the uptick in traffic when HubPages decided to implement two major changes to Hubs [articles]:

With Hub Design, the word is that the social media share buttons are absent on mobile devices and PCs unless you zoom out (to 1100 pixels). Naturally, there was a huge uproar in the HubPages forum from Hubbers [authors]. 

Marina Lazarevic, Product and Quality Manager for HubPages, countered: "The vast majority of our desktop readers have screen sizes 1100 px or wider. Mobile and tablet browser[s] have built-in sharing buttons so we chose to exclude buttons from these devices."


Can you make it any easier for scrapers? 

Not only does HubPages fail to post the publish date on articles, but they also do not implement any means of disabling copy and paste.

Incredible isn't it.

The excuse given in the HubPages FAQ states"While it is possible to eliminate a users ability to copy text via JavaScript, this most impacts readers and has the effect of breaking the reader experience." Then more blah, blah. And finally, "A more technically proficient person could simply disable JavaScript or view the page source."

I'm not buying it.

As for the decision to disable rich snippets, I cannot be sure, but I firmly believe that all of this points to HubPages catering to scrapers and identity thieves. Especially in light of the sudden surge in traffic that HubPages is experiencing now - at the detriment of its authors.

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