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UNHUBBED

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About a week ago I saw an ad for The HUB, one of those blog sites where you throw up your stuff and if you get a zillion hits you earn half a penny, or somesuch arrangement, via Google and Amazon ads. I figured, what the hey, why not try it? So I filled out all the tiresome forms, wrote yet another online profile, and threw up one of my most popular blog posts, The Spirit Catches You.

The HUB rates your posts, and rates you, according to some mysterious system besides hits; it includes, among other criteria, one’s level of participation in the HUB community. Thus, I began at around 62, and soon skyrocketed past 80 for posting dozens of questions in the forums. As I watched everyone else’s numbers, and wondered how much money they were earning, I found myself constantly comparing myself. It gave me a super big knot in my stomach, anxiety born of competitiveness and the terror of not measuring up. This, after only two days and one little HUB.

The process of posting on the HUB is somewhat more involved than on WordPress: each block of text, visual image, or video goes into its own separate capsule, an extremely tedious process—but I figured, hey, it took me time to learn WP, eventually I’ll get this down too. But when ads began to insinuate themselves in between my capsules, I was less than thrilled. Still, I soldiered on.

A few days after joining the HUB I reviewed a couple of CDs on this blog. Since it had a lot of pictures, lyrics, and links, I decided it’d be a good post to use for honing my HUB skills. I figured it would be easy to copy text and put it into one capsule, then copy a photo, then more text, etcetera. Well, it turned out to be not quite so easy. I couldn’t get the lyrics to single-space, so I abandoned them altogether. Even without them, the process took a good three hours—for a post that had taken me less than an hour to write. I ran into many glitches, and couldn’t get it to look the way I wanted—but as I entered the fourth hour, I decided it would just have to do, even with an ad for a tattoo parlor smack in the middle of the first paragraph.

Half an hour after HUBbing, I received an email from the staff: my Joni Mitchell HUB was ix-nayed for being “overly promotional.” Overly promotional?! I admit it’s an uncritical rave, but hey, I adore Joni Mitchell!

After firing off an email (too soon) calling them insane, I read the rules, and discovered the problem was that I put in “too many links to the same site”—to Amazon, where I linked all the albums mentioned in the post. I was baffled: if we’re supposed to be making money from Amazon sales on the HUB, how could this be a no-no? Turns out it doesn’t matter where the links go—any HUB with a certain number of links to the same site is automatically bumped.

The irony is that an awful lot of HUBbers are using the site to shrewdly promote their own business ventures. A HUB purporting to be fitness advice links to a pamphlet on exercise sold by the Hubber. A HUB about ethnic cooking links the author’s self-published recipe book. You get the picture.

And what was I promoting? Joni Mitchell’s CDs! Bad HUBber! I’ve been censored for dirty talk, I’ve been censored for dirty pictures, but this is a first for me.

Needless to say, I am no longer a Hubber.

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