Every month in Income Igniter we do a challenge. It is a great way for people to learn something new and for all our members to share information. I am always pleasantly surprised at just how much knowledge our members have and are happy to share in the forum.
In March we did a Squidoo challenge (Aprils one is Facebook)
Of course as soon as we decided on Squidoo they decided to throw a spanner in the works.
-Stopped all lens transfers
-Started changing what they wanted to see in a lens
-Started to scan and then lock lenses
They Killed My Plans
The idea I had for April was to build some lenses and sell them on, just to then be able to do a report on selling lenses. Squidoo killed this business , mainly because people were buying and selling such low quality lenses. But it didn’t just affect people who spun content and created awful pages of drivel (which earned them money) , it affected well respected people who had staff to build the pages for them.
For me it once again proved you should never rely on one income stream.
Tell Me What You Want
This causes so many arguments in the real world it is unreal. Well Squidoo did it as well! “Make them more personal”, How do i make a site about cameras that I have never seen more personal unless I make up stuff and how does that help the reader any more than the spun crap that people complain about. I still haven’t worked out what they really want and nor have a lot of other people.
Are You Scanning Me Or Not
They started to scan sites and give you warnings with 7 days to fix it. I got 3 warnings and I added some content to them all and they got approved again really fast. Cool
Then suddenly a few days later some more got flagged.. ok do I fix these or do I wait for more and then do them all
The not knowing if they had finished with the scanning was making people just stop doing anything. Some people told me they are still doing nothing a month later, including not building new lenses, because they do not know whether their account is all clear or if they have just not been scanned.
Squidoo Hate Thin Lenses – But That is How To Make Money
I hear “real” writers spouting off about how the thin sales lenses should all be removed and the lensmasters should be boiled in oil (ok maybe some didn’t quite say that). I can almost guarantee that the thin lenses make more money for Squidoo than 99% of the “real” “Well written” lenses that people produce.
“We write for the joy of it”. What a load of cow dung, servers cost money, support costs money, employees cost money. Squidoo has to make money and to do that they need to have pages that not only rank but rank for words where the ads pay. Our crappy sales lenses pay for your beautifully crafted stream of consciousness lenses or ones with 20 photos of your garden which rank highly in squidoo because your high level friends voted for it.
Tier Payments Encourage Spam
As someone who used to have an automated system for building 1000′s of blogger blogs in a day I can say that the tier payments are perfect for spammers! The payment for tier 3 is awful, something like 30c for each lens.
If I am creating them manually, one or two a day then it sucks to only get to tier 3. If I am using computers and creating 10/20/100 a day then 30c a month for each one for the next year is ok.
Doing Them Right Takes Time and Expertise
One of the Income Igniter members who joined in the March Challenge did it right - http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Paul_Hill_SEO - his lenses are in depth and are on subjects close to his heart. Golf, running and his kids pets. I imagine they took him some time to produce, they definitely were not a fast job.
They Lost Their Rankings
From what I can tell is all this was brought on because Google slapped them and they lost rankings. That means less traffic and that means less income for them. So after that happens they decide to try and make everyone create better lenses in the theory that it will help their ranking in Google. Which will bring more traffic and thus more money.
They may be right, but I think a big part of the problem is the million and one ads they have all over the page. Is a lens a better user experience than a normal webpage?
As an end user if you see one in the serps do you click on it looking for the info you need?
What is The ROI
I really do love web 2.0 sites, I add some content, they earn some money hopefully, I earn some money or get traffic from the link or get some link value passed alone. But if Squidoo have lost their rankings, are paying out nothing in their tiers and the links are all nofollow (which I actually am ok with as we need them in our link profile) well I think it may well not be worth the effort of doing a hugely indepth page..
Which of course brings us back to the thin pages that you slap up and hope..
Don’t build a business around someone elses platform
Wait for the Squidoo storm to calm down a bit
Decide what you want to achieve there and then try and decide if the work you have to put in will be worth it..
Onwards and Upwards
If you never try something new you won’t know whether it works, but when you find it works, dont assume it will work forever
Aprils Challenge in Income Igniter is all about Facebook. We talk about ads, researching markets and even show you how to make a Facebook timeline cover