I’ve been working on a post comparing Squidoo and hubpages for months now. It kept getting postponed, because Squidoo kept changing on me.
In fact, most of my notes on the differences are now moot, because Squidoo has simply bridged the gap. They’ve finally set up granular categories – sure, there’s still lots of fine tuning needed there (I spotted a dozen duplicate categories the other day), but the main issues have been solved.
From the perspective of online marketing Squidoo and Hubpages are sisters. Squidoo started the genre of making it easy to make affiliate income off articles, and then hubpages came in and did the same. By rewarding publishers who wrote well, and not averaging out adsense earnings, they lured many prominent squids to their platform.
Fast forward a few years and till a week ago Hubpages had almost twice the traffic Squidoo had, according to quantcast. Hubpages was a clear winner. The latest Google update has, again according to quantcast, leveled the playing field. Hubpages still has a bit more traffic than squidoo, but it’s nowhere near as impressive. Hubpages lost about 30% of it’s traffic, according to this data. According to other sources they lost more like 87%. My personal hubs lost about 25%, which I guess makes me a relative winner.
So how did we get there?
My personal take is that it’s all about how you manage people.
Because Squidoo pays out according to lensrank, they have an inbuilt quality control system. The top earners don’t merely have traffic, they have community approval. They don’t merely make pages that draw traffic and get clickouts, they update their content as well. That’s right: Squidoo rewards good content, updated content and giving back to the community.
Hubpages doesn’t stand between the publisher and their income. They merely make it easy to create content. My hubpages adsense income comes in my own adsense account. The result is that for the average hubber, hubpages doesn’t have much to do with their earnings other than providing the platform.
Both platforms fight spam and low quality content. However, Squidoo rewards good content. They always have. In fact, they only started fighting low quality content when Google forced them to. That’s the idealists in them, I’m sure. [Seriously – giving people freedom, that sort of thing]
I started at Squidoo almost 4 years ago and it became very clear to me that the thing to do was to become a Giant Squid. I don’t remember what the lure was back then – perhaps it was only the honour. However, the lure now is very clear: giant squids get to link out as much as they want to. However, they first have to create 50 quality lenses.
On Squidu, the squidoo forums, one publisher said (can’t find the quote) that hubbers intentionally don’t finish their articles, SO THAT PEOPLE WILL CLICK ON THEIR ADS. I mean seriously. That’s apparently what you get when you give the money to people directly. After all, adsense is a pay per click advertisement system. A top traffic hub will earn way more in adsense than a top traffic lens. Why? Because the top lenses get their income averaged out over the top 2000. On hubpages you simply get half the adsense income. That’s a reward for top traffic, not a reward for top quality though. (*)
Don’t get me wrong: there are quality hubs on hubpages. However, when I gave some quality advice to one of them, they DID NOT UPDATE their hub to include it. A squid always would. Why? Because every excuse to update is a good one. After all, updating your Squidoo lens means getting a higher lensrank and potentially a higher income on that lens for that month.
From a human perspective it makes sense that you need both: incentives to do better, and punishment for doing badly. Hubpages only has the one, Squidoo has both.
(*) Squidoo on the other hand makes it easier to use external affiliate programs, because it allows all kinds of HTML. You don’t have to share ANY of that income with Squidoo, whereas on hubpages, because they don’t allow rel-nofollow, you’re stuck with eBay, adsense and Amazon, or breaking the Google guidelines. Did I mention they’ve programmed it in such a way that you can’t use your eBay or Amazon links without sharing that income with Hubpages?
My point? Hubpages and Squidoo are both places you can make good online money. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. However, Google just went and got rid of the main draw for Hubpages: they used to rank more easily than lenses.