The staff invited me to attend Maven’s Conference in Canada to discuss plans for the merger in April, 2018. Here's the outcome of my visit.
In April 2018 Maven had a conference with over 200 Maven Coalition journalists and authors in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, to discuss their business plan. They asked HubPages to invite 50 of their authors to attend the three-day conference. This was a precious opportunity for me to learn what’s happening with upper management.
HubPages has always worked hard at doing whatever is necessary to help us succeed while other writing sites have come and gone. Maven is continuing that effort, in many unique ways, so that we will all survive.
Combining three companies (Maven, HubPages and Say Media) is a self-fulfilling prophecy with a combined 98 million monthly visitors.
James Heckman, Maven's CEO, said in his keynote address “Our goal is to create a revolution. That business plan is necessary in the wake of large media firms that are too powerful.”
He went on to explain, “This makes us bigger than the New York Times, bigger than Yahoo News, bigger than CNN.com, and heading towards Twitter size.” He explained that the plan to combine the best authors and journalists, who have survived the latest struggles of the Internet and have a passion for writing intense and superb content, creates the most powerful union that demands a premium opportunity for advertisers.
Maven’s Journalism Platform
At the conference I learned the specifics about the Maven platform and how it differs from HubPages. It’s mainly for journalists who dedicate their work to the business of writing for a particular audience.
This includes best-selling authors, top analysts, and those involved with important causes. Maven invites these writers—offering to have their content hosted on their site.
I spoke with several Mavens during my days at the conference and a couple of them told me that they pay Maven 50% of their earnings. I asked if they meant that Maven splits the earnings 50/50 similar to how HubPages splits ad impressions 60/40. I was surprised to learn that they need to get their own revenue source and they pay half of that to Maven for hosting their channel (Individual authors are hosted in their own channel, as it’s called).
Journalists who are considering joining the coalition, have a following of loyal readers. Their readers pay to register with them for access to additional content beyond a pay wall.
I’m not sure this is the norm for Maven or if it was only unique to the Mavens I spoke with. However, later at the conference, I learned that Maven is creating a tool to allow readers to subscribe for a fee to specific channels. I’ll discuss Maven's monetization tools in a moment.
How HubPages and Maven Are Different
The two platforms are quite unique in the way they handle content publishing. Maven is more related to building a coalition of journalists and bloggers, while HubPages is a community of writers for magazine-type articles.
The two can definitely exist as one while sharing the brains and business backbone of their respective founders.
Changes will be expected on both ends, but the tools and publishing methods HubPages has developed will remain. For example, individual network niche sites will remain under the domains as they have been created. For that matter, Maven is already linking to them from their new search engine (maven.io). In some cases the links go direct to subcategories in HubPages’ network niche sites.
The work that HubPages has done has already proven to help improve our ranking with search engines. I spoke with Paul Edmondson (Co-Founder and CEO of HubPages) on a number of occasions over these days together, and he agreed that HP understands that. There is no reason to unravel that progress.
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In any case, our method of income for writing articles on HubPages will not change. For that matter, it will only get better with new income streams being created—such as Header Bidding and Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation (EBDA), not to mention new technology from Say Media.
What Is Say Media?
Maven is expanding their efforts for our success with the acquisition of Say Media, a technology and advertising firm.
I personally had the opportunity to chat with an employee of Say Media on the shuttle back to the airport and we discussed their use of Header Bidding. This is a method of selling ad space on our articles to the highest bidder, thereby leading to increased revenue.
What Does Maven Ownership Mean?
On the last day of the conference Josh Jacobs, one of the Maven founders and a media and technology innovator, gave a speech that made everything clear. He was addressing the authors who are already Mavens or who are under consideration.
Josh explained that Maven invites writers to join the coalition who already have an existing audience. Writers continue to own their content and are free to use it as they see fit, but in return for bringing their audience to the coalition they will be rewarded with shares of Maven publicly traded stock (Ticker symbol MVEN).
Writers can concentrate on content creation and not worry about how to make everything work. Technology is changing rapidly and Maven engineers are working on methods to engage readers, keep them on the site longer, and keep them coming back often.
Maven's Monetization Tools
Maven is also working on integrating various monetization tools that writers can use on their channels. The advantage writers have is increased revenue through various types of monetization.
The Maven platform offers a subscription service. Readers have a choice of engaging with content and ultimately deciding to pay to see the best content. Maven subscription provides an added revenue stream.
Josh Jacobs compared this to the way the New York Times sells subscriptions to readers. He says that readers are more and more ready to pay for content. I guess that all depends on the type of information.
Maven will soon be rolling out an advertising portal built right into the site with a custom media kit where the reader can buy a subscription with a credit card online.
Loyal readers who do not subscribe will still create revenue because of ad impressions.
Socializing with HubPages Authors and Staff
It was wonderful to have had the opportunity to finally meet other Hubbers and get to know them personally. We’ve shared socially over these few days in Whistler.
It wasn’t only all conference meetings. We ate together in restaurants took excursions away from the hotel, and one day we traveled into the mountains where the skiers were enjoying the snow.
I felt privileged to ride the Peak2Peak gondola on Whistler Mountain with Paul Edmondson. We had a chance to talk and share ideas. This was another opportunity to get to know the Co-Founder of HubPages and hopefully for him to get to know me a little.
The experience of getting to know other Hubbers has been most delightful. I’ve learned that no matter what their beliefs, attitudes, or backgrounds, they are all genuine people with kind manners and respected insight. One can see why they are successful with their writing.
Writers on HubPages will continue to have the tools to publish articles on our vertical network niche sites that are monetized by Google AdSense and the HubPages’ Ad Program, as well as Amazon sales.
Mavens who join the coalition to write on the Maven platform will have the built-in tools to allow readers to purchase subscriptions to read additional content.
The way I understood everything, we will remain as two separate platforms with the publishing tools that we are both familiar. That’s not to say that the technology of one will not be used by the other. I’m sure that may happen, and it already is in some cases.
All in all, I came home with a new appreciation for this entire business plan that we are all part of in one way or another.
Don’t underestimate the revolution. I expect us all (Hubbers and Mavens) to be around for a long time while the Internet, and media in general, changes over the years.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 18, 2019:
James A Watkins - Thanks James. Glad it was informative. Good to see around.
James A Watkins from Chicago on May 18, 2019:
Thank you Glenn for this quite informative article. I enjoyed learning about this.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on October 10, 2018:
Virginia Kearney - The A/B test on the Q&A is completed now. They now use an algorithm to decide where the answers are placed—Either on its own page or as part of the original article.
I noticed my views and income increase significantly since then too.
It was good meeting you at the conference too.
Virginia Kearney from United States on October 10, 2018:
Hi Glen! I enjoyed meeting you at the conference and I'm glad you've posted this article to let other's know what we learned. I am interested in what you said about the A and B Q&A situation. I will have to see what is happening on my own Hubs. I really enjoyed getting to know Paul and his wife Robin. I felt they really cared about HubPages and all of the writers. Paul told me he felt a responsibility for his writers and helping them keep their income. I know that since the Maven merger my own earnings and traffic are significantly up and I hope that is true across the site.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 30, 2018:
Jack, The new ad features have already been rolled out. Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation and Header Bidding, both of which require advertisers to bid on ad space, have been in place since the end of last year. In addition, Say Media is already placing ads on our hubs.
Thanks for your comments. I’m sure Maven will continue making changes as they learn what works. I like to say, “as they learn from HubPages.” For example, our method of using vertical niche sites is a proven success.
Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 30, 2018:
Thanks for this informative article. I would have loved to attend the conference and meet some of the key players and ask questions.
It seems to be the problem is with Maven and its site. HubPages is doing just fine with its platform despite some bugs...
I am not getting the same feeling regarding the Maven site.
They need to do a lot more to improve the website and the human factors and keeping it fresh...
The few interactions online I had on Maven is not as rewarding as being on hubpages forums...
Anyway, hope the new plan works out.
Would like to know what is their schedule roll out of the new features you mentioned. Thanks again.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 17, 2018:
Thanks for your delightful comment Jean. It’s wonderful to see you are putting the new features, such as the Q&A, to good use by understanding how to use them.
Thanks, also, for your comment about that guy. I feel bad for him, because he actually has important things to say in his articles and I wish he knew how to get his hubs into stellar condition so Google would index them. I can see that he is knowledgeable about his topic. His only problem is that he just doesn’t understand that poor spelling, poor grammar, bad punctuation, and poor SEO, are what’s holding him back. He prefers to blame HubPages and others. How sad.
Jean Bakula from New Jersey on July 16, 2018:
Thanks for another informative article Glenn. I find that with the new Q&A and changes from Maven, I am making more money, and I can count on it every month.
Sorry about the guy who trashed you. I go through long periods when I don't write new material. I am just at a point where I am down to the last 15 of my hubs and am deciding if I want to fix them up for niche sites. I get sick of some of the older ones.
But I have a folder of new ideas here ready to go, and am heartened by things again. Just waiting for a creative spurt!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 16, 2018:
Pollyanna Jones - It’s a pleasure to have read your comment on this article. Glad you found it helpful. I enjoy helping others with tips and guidance for writing on HubPages. You can find those articles in my profile listing too.
Pollyanna Jones from United Kingdom on July 16, 2018:
Thank you for the write up and explaining your findings. I have found this very helpful!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 29, 2018:
Brandon, for some reason your comment went into the spam folder. I just found it here, but I remember seeing the same in one of the forums, where I had replied to you.
I believe my Google Analytics Guide that you are referring to was about how to sign up for it. I recall removing that a long time ago since it was out of date based on all the latest changes, and not worth updating since the learning center has sufficient guides on the topic.
All my hubs for Hubbers can be found by clicking the HubPages logo on my home page at GlennStok.com
Your Hubpages SEO guide has a ton of useful information and I recommend it for all Hubbers to read.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 19, 2018:
Audrey Hunt - Too bad you didn’t try. I didn’t have a passport either, so I paid extra to put a rush on it and I received it in time for the trip.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on June 19, 2018:
I was invited to this conference, but unfortunately, the invitation did not allow me enough time to take care of a passport. I would have loved the opportunity to meet fellow hubbers, like yourself and Paul. Hopefully, there will be other conferences in the future.
Brandon Lobo on June 15, 2018:
Hey Glenn, I can't seem to contact you as you do not have the contact the author option. I hope you get this comment, I am writing that Hubpages SEO guide I promised the people a few months ago and I would like to link to your Google Analytics guide. Could you send me the link via the contact the author button on my profile or hubs. Thanks.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 05, 2018:
Thanks for chiming in Dan. I see all the problems he creates for himself and I would have liked to help him, as you had, but he is in denial and he refuses to understand that the issues he writes about have nothing to do with his failure to know the requirements for publishing as a writer.
I realize I can't help him. He just trashes me too and never reads my other articles where I have all the answers to his questions.
Dan Reed on June 05, 2018:
Glenn - Brad is just an angry man. He did the same thing to me and when I offered advice, was trashed for it. I don't usually chime in on these things but I'd find something better to do with your time than work with him. He tirelessly trashes HP for his lack of success and those who have success are crappy writers who are somehow affiliated with HP and must be the only explanation for why they have a decent Hubber score. Sorry to comment here but wanted to throw in my experience with him. (I'm not offended by your rejecting this comment...was just easy to reach you this way.)
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 04, 2018:
Thanks John. I see the same affect on my income, which is why I'm so motivated to keep updating hubs and writing new ones. The updates work just as well and is time well spent.
I believe a lot of the increase we are seeing is a result of the new ad auctions that Maven introduced, such as Header Bidding and EBDA that Paul announced.
Of course the creation of the niche sites has also been a game changer. Most of my income is from the niche sites.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 04, 2018:
I don't know why the people who are negative about the changes HubPages have made still stick around and continue to write here. Maybe they are actually making money despite their whining.
I have been here eight years and my income per month has quadrupled in the last after gradually increasing for the last three months. So, in my eyes, whatever HubPages is doing as per the niche sites and MAVEN merger is working. Good job with sharing this information.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 03, 2018:
Well Jackie, I guess it really all depends on the type of content.
Journalism, which Maven seems to focus on, tends to attract an audience that’s willing to pay for content.
However, we will never lose the method of monetization that HubPages offers with paid advertising, in my opinion. HubPages is constantly working on improving that, with things such as ad auctions — Header Bidding and Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation — Both of which HubPages introduced last year.
Jackie Grant from UK on June 03, 2018:
Thanks Glenn, all interesting stuff. I'm particularly surprised to hear that more and more people are willing to pay for content but I think maybe that is the way things are going when printed content continues to decline and publishers are only able to survive with paywalls. Also glad to hear though that HubPages will hopefully remain the same!
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:
Thank you for sharing this, Glenn. It all points to exciting times ahead for us all.
Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on April 23, 2018:
Thanks Glenn - This whole Maven thing has been interesting but, at the same time, confusing. I finally decided to just sit back and wait for something simple that a dullard like myself could understand. And, you did it.
Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on April 21, 2018:
Glenn, thank you for going to the conference and sharing this information. Things are changing and being armed with information is the best way we can move forward. Thank you, again!
Kenna McHugh from Northern California on April 20, 2018:
Glenn, Thank you for the clarification. I am hopeful the business plan will be successful. It is exciting times for HP writers, and I look forward to the changes.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 20, 2018:
Kenna McHugh - On the first day of the conference James Heckman, the CEO of Maven, said their goal is to create a revolution. That goal is make us (Maven and HubPages) the top source for information and journalism.
I said “Don’t underestimate the revolution” because I feel that their goal is feasible with the technology they are creating: Improved reader engagement, integrated subscription management, and built-in search capability.
In addition, enhanced advertising features that Say Media is developing will add to our revenue. Many of us are already seeing the results of Header Bidding in our ad revenue.
Kenna McHugh from Northern California on April 20, 2018:
I appreciate your debrief. It is very helpful and sounds like you had a nice time. I have a question: What do you mean by "Don’t underestimate the revolution."?
Leonie M from Belgium. on April 20, 2018:
Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 20, 2018:
Thanks for sharing what you learned by attending that Maven conference. It sounds very encouraging for those of us who write articles on HubPages.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 19, 2018:
Very good question Brian. I can give you my opinion based on what I learned at the Maven Coalition Conference last week.
They compared revenue from subscriptions to the likes of the New York Times. People are very willing to pay for a subscription to read the paper. It’s also true that people pay for various magazine subscriptions. So we know there is an audience willing to pay for content and it’s not unrealistic to expect success by selling news and journalism on a subscription bases.
However, this only works well if the publisher (journalist or other writer) has a reasonable following. This is why Maven invites authors who can bring an audience, as I mentioned in this article.
I think both methods will continue to be successful for their own type of content. HubPages will continue to provide ad revenue for writing magazine type articles that can stand alone and are found by organic search, while Maven requires ongoing content creation by the Coalition of Mavens to deliver what their existing audience desires.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on April 19, 2018:
Recently I read about Twitter co-founder Evan Williams's writing platform Medium. Medium abandoned getting revenue from ads in favor of getting revenue from subscriptions. HubPages gets revenue from ads. Maven, going by this hub, gets revenue from both subscriptions and ads. Steemit makes its own money, a "cryptocurrency". Which, in coming years, do you think will be the most successful and most used way for online writing platforms to make money?
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 18, 2018:
It was't easy Linda. A lot had been discussed at the various meetings and conferences. I had to make notes quickly before I forgot what was said. Thanks for your feedback on my article.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2018:
Thank you very much for creating this article, Glenn. You've shared some information that I didn't discover at the conference. I want to learn as much as I can, so I appreciate the facts that you've shared.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 17, 2018:
It was great meeting you too Angela. And thanks for your nice comment. I wrote some of it in the hotel while everything was still fresh in my mind. You should feel honored since you are one of only 50 who were invited to the conference.
Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on April 17, 2018:
It was nice to meet you! You did a great job covering the coalition and explaining the things we learned! I feel I am probably one of the least qualified to attend, but felt so honored to join you all. I am hoping this will really kick off my career as a writer, so I can only grow stronger and maybe more focused.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 17, 2018:
Hi Dan, I enjoyed our discussions too. I’m glad to have met you and gotten to know you. Guess your all set now and back online with the new computer.
Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on April 17, 2018:
You beat me to it, Glenn - not surprising as I hung around there for another few days and then had to get a new computer and set it up when I got home.
I think you did a very good job of summarizing the information we got - better than I could have. A key word seems to be "coalition" - Maven is a coalition of many companies and writers and will stay that way. In this regard HubPages fits in very well and will most likely benefit from what Maven, or the other companies that join, can offer. Just as they will benefit from what HP brings to the table.
I was great meeting you and at least some of the other hubbers that attended. I appreciated our discussions.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 17, 2018:
This is a very interesting article with great feedback about what you have learnt.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 16, 2018:
You were the ideal HP ambassador to the Maven Conference, in my opinion. Thank you for sharing this report. I feel more comfortable about the merger than I would have been if I did not read your article.
Suzie from Carson City on April 16, 2018:
BTW Glenn, I am so focused on your profile picture, I've seen for the past 6 yrs......I did not recognize you at all with a HAT on!! I guess I'm easily fooled! Doesn't take much to throw me off! LOL
Mary Wickison from Brazil on April 16, 2018:
Thank you Glenn,
After being part of Squidoo, Bubblews, and Niume I was seriously worried when news of the sale came out.
I'm pleased to hear that the companies are all benefiting from the venture. I didn't realize there would be a paywall on some articles. I can see that for those people it can be a bonus.
Thanks again for the update on the conference.
Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on April 16, 2018:
Glenn, thank you for writing this! I couldn’t make it because of school obligations and the matter of small children but I have been SO CURIOUS. You answered a lot of questions and I’ll be clicking back for reference many times, I’m sure!
H Lax on April 16, 2018:
Thanks Glenn, I was curious to get an opinion from a fellow Hubpages writer of where this merger will take us. I was already optimistic but your insight adds another layer to it. I'm amazed that 25 people didn't show up as I know many who would have loved to go in their place. I'm already seeing the increased traffic and earnings so I'm pretty enthusiastic to see it continue to grow.
Brandon Lobo on April 16, 2018:
Hey Glenn, I did not say that they have made any rash decisions in the past. I was just trying to understand what you meant by the statement: "There is no reason to unravel that progress." I understand it as Paul suggesting that they will do their best not to be on bad terms with Google search again. But I don't want to assume something, it would be easier if I knew what you meant. I'm really glad you were one of the people who went to this conference.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 16, 2018:
Brandon, In reference to your question, I never saw them make any rash decisions. Everything is always well thought out and tested.
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 16, 2018:
Thanks for the update Glenn, appreciate you sharing your experience at the Maven Coalition.
Brandon Lobo on April 16, 2018:
Hey Glenn, thanks for taking the time to write this and also for answering the question I was most worried about: The QnA feature. I am glad that the team is running A/B tests to see what actually works best and is not just assuming that new pages would mean better rankings (considering some answers are answered in no more than 10 sentences).
I do have a question though: About your conversation with Paul, you add: "There is no reason to unravel that progress." Does this mean that they do not want to undo the progress they made with Google by making some rash decisions or does this mean that you would not elaborate on the progress made by the niche sites? Thanks again for this. Things do really look good.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 16, 2018:
Seems like you learned a lot. Thanks for sharing your insights. I’d be interested in knowing how Maven people are selected and what their income experience is relative to Hubbers. I guess time will tell.
Suzie from Carson City on April 16, 2018:
Hi Glenn.. This is all so interesting. Having not spent much time on our site as of late, I hadn't read anything about this conference you and other selected fellow-writers attended in Canada. Since my Hubpages enthusiasm has waned so drastically over the past several months, as well as recovering from a health issue, I have paid little attention.
Your article is most appreciated, while I feel I may need to know much more in order to fully understand what this is all about. (in communication with others, I know I'm not alone in my need to understand better)
You certainly were an excellent representative to be chosen. I do hope some of the others who attended will present the information they garnered, as well. The more we're informed, the better.
Just wanted to say,"Thank you, Glenn." You may be bombarded with questions from this point. Fortunately, you're always willing to help. Paula
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on April 15, 2018:
I really appreciate you giving us an insight into the Maven Conference. It is also reassuring to think that HubPages is likely to be around for a long time. So glad too that you had an opportunity to meet fellow writers and speak with Paul.
Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on April 15, 2018:
No, merely another long flight delay because of the weather in Toronto. I'll tell you about it sometime. :)
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 15, 2018:
Randy, Hope they didn’t lose your luggage on the flight home too!
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on April 15, 2018:
That sounds really good, Glenn. Of all people, I'm really glad you got to go and interact with the principals. I suppose I am among many others who do not understand all of the technical details, but I think we can trust that you do know quite a bit. Your comments are very reassuring, as many of us just want to know that we can do what we are doing now-- and keep improving. Thanks so much for your comments and revalations.