As a longtime supporter of Squidoo, a free writing platform, I am not surprised at the recent decision (15th August 2014) to call it a day and sellout to HubPages. But, why and why now?
Good Platform – But Abused By Some
Seth Godin created Squidoo in 2005 as a community platform that gave users the opportunity to start an internet marketing business by creating ‘lenses’ or web pages to the rest of us – for free!
It was unusual then to get everything for free and to be able to earn money from it, but it’s just what many new to the online world wanted – to be held by the hand!
I joined Squidoo in early 2008 and found this to be a wonderful way to write about anything at all. Whether it was passions or product reviews, you could write them without spending a dime. And, if your content was interesting enough whereby you received good traffic your ranking would improve.
A ranking tier structure existed, and if your lenses qualified for either of the three available tiers, you got paid on a pro-rata basis each and every month.
It sounds complicated, but it worked by encouraging enthusiastic writers to document their stories, annotate them with images and set up affiliate links – mainly to Amazon, Zazzle and eBay. The system worked, and the monthly payments were very reasonable, until…
Contributors Greed and Poor Content
When times are good, it doesn’t take long for the bandwagon to get overloaded. The wheels soon started to fall off with Squidoo. Its early success and trustworthiness towards its contributors ultimately led to its downfall.
High quality and interesting lenses were now under fire from poorer ones that were full of an amalgam of affiliate links and little else.
Who wants to read a page full of advertising and promotion? Right, NO-ONE! But how did they get consistently good rankings? It was a mystery – to me at least!
These lenses were somehow rising to the top of the pile in the payment stakes and brought contributors great returns – for very little effort.
Those fewer genuine writers saw their returns diminish then completely fall away, and many of them voted with their feet and moved off to pastures new. That is when I rekindled my acquaintance with Wealthy Affiliate – and how glad I am now that I did!
Why Did Squidoo Not Police Their Content?
I often wondered how the dregs of Squidoo content became the cream of the crop. New lensmasters (Squidoo contributors) would arrive and within weeks of joining often have a plethora of lenses ranking highly. How did they do it? It was then that I knew something was very wrong indeed.
I continued to write there until the fall of 2013 and always regarded it as a great place for passion writers – get your thoughts off your chest and tell the world – all for FREE. It was a good community, but lacked the friendly commitment compared to that of Wealthy Affiliate. At times I felt it lacked direction, but maybe I expected too much!
But, why did it take Squidoo so long to punish the culprits of crap content?
I think they were putting quantity ahead of quality, and they had in excess of 1.5 million lenses at their demise.
See how late it was when they started to address poor content – May 2013. Why did it take eight years to think about quality control? Greed perhaps, or maybe just turning a blind eye! Although, saying that Squidoo was a tremendous supporter of many charities, they were very generous.
Last year (2013) Google dealt them a heavy blow over the overall quality of their content and penalized all of Squidoo’s content harshly – and that was the beginning of the end. Thousands of loyal contributors left, it was too late for Seth to save his beloved Squidoo!
HubPages Acquires Squidoo
It was on 15 August, 2014 when Seth Godin announced that Squidoo had been acquired by HubPages. He stated that the aim is to move some of Squidoo’s content to HubPages by 1 October, 2014. Seth announced on the Squidoo site that:
They’re [HubPages] the industry leader, continually pushing the envelope in terms of their content, its presentation and the traffic and traction they get online. The best way we know to serve our users is to give them an even better place for their content, and when I talked with Paul Edmondson at HubPages, it became clear to both of us that combining these platforms leads to a stronger, more efficient, more generous way to share great stuff online.
The above article is how members read of the impending deal – SQUIDOO and HUBPAGES
Moving content over to HubPages is supposedly going to be easy – let’s see how smoothly that goes!
More info here: http://hubpages.com/squidoo/faq
Is HubPages Going to Survive or Follow Squidoo into Oblivion?
This is a question I cannot answer. I opened a HubPages account years ago but have only ever posted a couple of articles.
I think perhaps it’s just a matter of time as we know now that the best content you write should be on YOUR OWN WEBSITE so that you are fully responsible for it at all times. It will cost a bit more but you are always in control of it!
What Should You Do Next?
If you are affected by this change, there are a few options open to you:
- If you have reasonable ranking lenses at Squidoo you could either:a). Go with the flow and transfer them over to HubPages – and see how they perform on that platform, orb). Copy them and use them on your own website (if the content is related or specific to your particular niche)
- If your lenses are low ranking or WIP’s (work in progress/unpublished) it may not be worthwhile moving them across to HP as they will just sit there just as they have done on Squidoo – not a good thing to have poor stuff hanging around.Either download them onto your computer for safe keeping for possible future editing or delete them once and for all. Think about starting afresh!
- you are always in control of your content
- you don’t have to answer to anyone anytime
- you can work as much or as little as you like – the more you do, the quicker you see returns!
- you have to pay a small amount for hosting
After enjoying the free platform of Squidoo, the first spec of reality is that not everything is free. However, hosting is the vital part of an online presence but it is very cheap with the likes of Bluehost or Namecheap.
You can get TWO WEBSITES at Wealthy Affiliate for FREE!
Have an Existing HubPages Account, What Do You Do?
I posed the question to the HubPages Team asking what to do if you already had an HP account and wanted to keep your Squidoo profile name, this was their reply:
Squidoo Lenses cannot be transferred to an existing HubPages account. You can only automatically import the content from Squidoo into a new account on HubPages.
Part of this is due to our providing an amnesty period for imported Squidoo content from HubPages site content rules.
If you would like to automatically import your content, please make sure to sign out of any HubPages accounts, clear your browser cache, and restart your computer. Then try the association process from the Squidoo dashboard and make sure to create a new account that does not match the username nor email address on your existing account.
Note that a unique email address is required for every account.
Here’s our FAQ on the transfer:
For measurement and data gathering purposes, all Squidoo users need to create a brand new HubPages account.
We strongly considered allowing accounts to be merged, but after looking at the whole technical picture we decided against it. If you only have a Lens or two it may not be such a big deal. However, for people with substantial traffic, we felt migrating them to their own brand new subdomain gave them the best opportunity to carry over their traffic with 301 redirects. This also helps avoid any confusion in regard to impacts on their existing HubPages traffic.
For more information, please see:
Matt @ Team HubPages
If you haven’t been caught up in this episode and were just looking for a way to write your own stuff and get it onto a website, then I urge you to set up your own. In fact, you can do that from right here if you wish.
If you want to learn more about the best training for affiliate marketers, here it is…
Please share your writing experiences, even if you’ve never heard of Squidoo or HubPages before.
Did you ever make money with Squidoo or HubPages? Tell us more, we always like to know what you feel about our topics.
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