HubPages is getting new looks from me, while Squidoo's "monstrous" response to Google's latest algorithm update is (kind of) scaring me.
Image via Wikipedia
Because I made two hubs about two years ago, with plans to return to HubPages someday, I receive the weekly newsletter from the site. The March 9, 2011 enews outlined their changes in response to the Google algorithm update known as Panda, aimed to weed content farmers from top search results (so also informally dubbed the "farmer" update).
HubPages' plan of action is the most simple and straight forward strategy I've seen, so far:
So it's easy to understand quickly: No duplicate content is allowed anymore on HubPages. For every featured product there must be at least 50 words of content. Amazon, eBay, RSS and Link capsules cannot be the first full-width item. Warnings appear with already published hubs in violation of site policy and after a time allowed for corrections reminder emails will go out giving another grace period. New hubs that don't fit in simply won't publish -- with definite corrections to make so a hubber knows what to change right away.
Squidoo's response to Panda seems a confusion to me: Auto-filtering and auto-locking without human double-checking or indicating "how to fix" (I gather from Squidu. com forum posts); Guidelines (the filter operates by) I cannot find organized plainly anywhere on one page or tree of pages (spread over various, HQ-produced lenses or emailings and company blog or forum posts, some outdated, some not, some new, but now, along with the editors blogging that the new rules are really the old rules anyway, there's a new, open-ended FAQ -- still incomplete and hodge-podge, last I looked); Frank, unapologetic inconsistency (expressed glibly in statements along the lines of "We might do this or we might do that, because we can!"); And, apparently, relying on volunteer topic SquidAngels (instead of editors) to boost up or "ding" down content.
To compare, I just checked Suite101's plan and found it much better stated than Squidoo's, but still vague around many topics, with several internal changes outlined, including stricter recruitment going forward, nightly deletion of old and substandard articles and editorial review for every new article before it goes live, instead of only the first, though "trusted writers" may be exempted eventually. I stopped publishing there after only three articles, because I noticed, perusing the forum, the many topic editors inconsistently enforce separate sets of rules that sometimes contradict the site's general submission guidelines. Although I encountered no frustrations, I saw huge hassle potential in Suite's system, and found myself writing blandly to avoid flagging -- for ad-revenue-share pennies. In truth, I hardly ever enjoy reading Suite101 articles and usually avoid clicking on any that appear in search results.
Another comparison: Demand Media Studios (that Panda barely scratched), where I have only written a handful of Lists, Fact Sheets and How-tos to give the site a whirl, is very picky about hiring, spells out and catalogs all rules, regulations, guidelines and procedures clearly and tidily, and posts change notifications promptly and prominently. But whenever I visit the forum there (just to see what's what) I'm surprised to read how often their system fails to function as planned and generates extra hassles instead. Maybe it's not so often, though, considered percentage-wise, given the huge number of writers working there, many earning a full-time living through DMS.
Human wrought Squidoo lenses and HubPage hubs engage and entertain me most, and more often than not. But suddenly, Squidoo has changed for me, from fun to frightening -- monsters, trophies and all.
Yesterday, I updated over ten lenses -- my favorite among those is Crystals and Rocks.