Monday, November 16, 2015

The Shoe Finally Drops on Bubblews

All the hoopla about paid social networking paid off in a major way for thousands of users over the previous few years. The arrival of Bubblews was trumpeted by several big named news sources as the future of social networking. Check out the video:


Unfortunately, users of the money making platform were greeted with an unceremonious message on the homepage of the site. Yes, it is true, Bullews has closed its doors and ceased operations. No real word on what any user owed money is to do, but a statement could be forthcoming. Bubblews has been in trouble for a while now.

I’m all about paid social networking. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus generate a fair amount of web traffic from user created content. All those pictures, videos, posts, and more are all fodder for folks searching for information. Those sites then show advertising along with the content. According to TechCrunch, Facebook reported revenue for the secondquarter of 2015 at more than $4 billion. That’s a lot of advertisements.

Once the particulars about social networking are factored into the equation, the effectiveness of the advertising is even more staggering. Think about it, Facebook knows your likes, your shares, your friends, and some pretty spectacular personal information. It’s all right there for the taking and for the making of effective advertising. Why shouldn’t the content creators, which would be all of us, get a small cut of the action?

Bubblews was one of those upstart companies that sought to spread the wealth. All it took was a 300-word post accompanied by a picture, either from the user or the fabulous Pixabay, and the user was off and running. Not exactly social networking, eh? Well, the three hundred word mark was likely a way to skirt the webpage algorithms of search engines to make each post more friendly to your friendly neighborhood spiders. Of course, likes, comments, shares and more equaled a penny or so in revenue for the writer. Users could post up to ten “articles” a day. The math should have worked into a traffic generating machine covering keywords that are virtually unimaginable.

However, the good story ends there. Google stopped listing Bubblews URLs in the search function, Facebook decided to drop the shares to the bottom of the feed if they showed up at all, and the traffic fell. Without traffic from external searches, the revenue from the all powerful advertising dollar fell off considerably. Not enough revenue should have triggered an adjustment from the people behind the scenes, and it did, just not fast enough.

The setup of Bubblews was just like traditional social networks. Friends could like, share comment, and more. Along those notes, if your network was large enough you could trigger the $50 payout threshold, for US members anyway, every few days.

Back to the punishment from Google and Facebook, which is where the issue starts and ends. Bubblews was pretty much a content farm, though it would probably still argue against that fact. Put up enough web pages and traffic is bound to find its way too you. The quality of the articles was somewhat less than stellar as well, and I’m included in that as well. The comments were also more trades of keep it up, thanks for sharing, and other tidbits, which got adjusted later, but again not quick enough.

In the end, Bubblews started paying out way more money that it started making, at least that’s the way in seemed. Without an organic search audience, the thousands, if not millions of pages posted, were pretty much flat on their faces generating traffic from users of the site that rarely generated any positive impact.

Basic business principles dictate that you can not pay more money than you take it. Well, you can, but not for long. Bubblews was experiencing trouble for a while in the form of non-payments to users, trouble behind the scenes, and more. Users flocked away from the site, and it began to fade into obscurity.

While I think the logic behind paid social networking is completely sound, finding a cost effective way of doing it is going to be tough. The minds behind the social networks do not want to share, nor do they have to, because they are holding all the cards.


So was Bubblews a scam? Of course not, because thousands of people got paid. But in the end, the business model couldn’t compete with bad content and a lack of exposure on the major search engines or social networks. After all, why would the competition help out a fledgling site aiming to take over? It didn’t make any sense then, but it makes perfect sense now. Bubblews is gone, and that is really all that matters.

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