My Phone Call With Seth Godin -
Yesterday, I talked about nine of my Squidoo accounts that were suddenly deleted. We sure have had a lot of conversation about this, haven’t we? Today, I am proud to report that all is right in Squidoo-land. All my accounts have been restored. Everything was handled today on a nice phone call chat with Seth Godin, owner and creator of Squidoo.com.
First – and Most Importantly
Before I go into ANY of this, I want to say something. I am beyond flattered and amazed and humbled and ALL those words by the over-whelming response and support I have received during this situation.
Words just will not come to me that properly express how grateful I am for each and every one of you. When I am rendered speechless, well, let me tell you – you have done something amazing (just ask my husband…”speechless” is not usually a word used in regards to me…lol).
The group of you that read here at PotPieGirl.com are some of the finest people I have never met….however, I feel like I know each of you personally. Maybe that’s because there is so much of YOU that is ME, and so much of ME that is YOU. Whether we could pick each other out in a crowd or not doesn’t matter to me. We know each other – we are friends. I appreciate your friendship more than words can express.
Hush, Jen – Tell Us What Happened!
Ok, you don’t want to hear me get all mushy. I get that. So, let’s get to the big question…
What the heck happened that caused nine of my Squidoo accounts to get deleted?
This evening I got home from my errands and appointments (and Mom Taxi service) and sat down to my email. Let me tell you – it was one super-dooper, uber full inbox! As I am sorting thru things, I see an email sent to me from…
Ok, I’ll be honest, I opened that one as soon as I saw it (c’mon, you know YOU would, too! lol). Part of me thought, “This must be a joke” and the other part of me thought, “uhoh… I’m in trouble”… lol! The email simply asked me to call him.
So, I did.
My Conversation With Seth Godin
Wow, he is totally the cool guy I thought he’d be. Now, I’ve never been the “star-struck” or guru groupie type person, but Seth is someone that has always fascinated me. I love reading his work and I have always found that his words resonate with me. As someone who was once reprimanded by a former boss for my customer service skills being TOO good, it was refreshing for me to come across someone like Mr Godin. In short, I didn’t feel so alone anymore (and how someone can have customer service skills that are so good that it is viewed as a fault… Well, I still don’t understand that one).
So, I called Seth Godin and we had a great chat. Now, I’m not going to go all into our conversation, but there are two important questions that we all wanted answered. I will quote those answers here (Seth also sent me a follow up email so I would have official documentation to quote here for all of you).
Why Did My Accounts Get Deleted/Locked/Terminated?
Here is the official answer to that question:
“IP tracking engaged an algorithm within Squidoo’s systems which led to your lenses being locked. The data wasn’t lost, and we’ve gone ahead and started turning your lenses back on. Squidoo works hard to maintain our Terms of Service in order to make it a great experience for everyone.”
What that means:
Apparently, there was some weird activity on other lenses associated with my ip address. This activity triggered a filter that caused the said accounts to be locked/terminated/deleted. (Note: I use those three terms because each of them has been used to me through-out this situation so I don’t know what the correct terminology is here.)
I know first hand that this “weird activity” was not ME. First off, I pinky promise it wasn’t me, and secondly, if my ip address had really triggered this filter, ALL my accounts would have been affected. All my accounts were NOT affected, only the nine in question.
Long story short, it was a freak glitch in the system that I feel sure will be corrected if need be.
How Much Power Do Volunteers at Squidoo Have?
Yes, I asked this, too. I’ve heard a lot of rumblings about the ability for non-paid, volunteer staff members at Squidoo being able to do harm to another lensmasters account. I wanted to know, and to set the record straight, as far as how much power our volunteers have.
So, I asked.
This is the answer I received:
“Our volunteers do great work and are often called on to lock lenses that violate our terms of service, but only Squidoo staff can delete accounts.”
What that means:
Volunteers DO have the power to lock an individual lens if need be so that it can be reviewed by a paid staff member, BUT, they (the volunteers) do NOT have the authority or the power to block or ban an entire account. Only a paid staff member can do this.
Now I Can Exhale
Now we know, this was not an act of spite, this was not due to the structure of the lenses, nor did it have to do with multiple accounts or anything like that.
This was a freak accident.
All my accounts have been restored. All my content is in tact. Nothing malicious or hurtful was done or caused by all this.
Everything is ok.
No, it’s better than ok because now we KNOW what happened and the fear of mis-use of power by volunteers in this situation has been laid to rest.
Squidoo.com remains a wonderful platform to have your opinions and work seen AND found. I, PotPieGirl, will not hesitate for even one second to recommend anyone and everyone to join the Squidoo site.
Seize The Moment
While all this information is GREAT news, I realized that I (we) have more questions. I had two main questions in mind that I thought an official answer would be a big benefit to all of us and maybe set our minds at ease.
So, I took a chance and decided to email Megan Casey (Editor in Chief for Squidoo.com). I THOUGHT that her reply email would end up being a follow up post, but it turns out that she answered very quickly. ( Thank you!)
I know many of you are waiting and refreshing my blog to read this post, but it’s going to take a few minutes longer so I can add this information from Megan.
The following will be a copy paste of the email I just received from Megan that give her thoughts on the two other questions that were on my mind. In bold are the questions I asked…the rest is her thoughts.
This was such a fun and thoughtful and well-reasoned email to read!
here are some thoughts back (quotable if you like) that might help.
1. Are affiliate marketers that create high-quality lenses welcome on Squidoo?
Of course they are. Absolutely. Lenses with unique (that means, created by you and you alone), personal, useful content are a good thing on the web. Here’s where the rub comes in: some affiliate marketing setups promote programs or ebooks or topics that we have to draw the line on. Hoodia Gordoni sales and Viagra reviews and Penis Enlargement and Yuwie affiliates and the like. Even if the quality of the lens itself is good, 9 times out of 10 the topic gets surrounded by so much bad, spammer activity that we have to flag it or lock it, for the good of the whole community.
[Important to remember that while spam the verb is never allowed, otherwise our SquidDon't topic guidelines are just that... guidelines... and if you're non-anonymous, authentic and creating good content, you're welcome to request a hand review. We like to give people who deserve it the benefit of the doubt. But at first blush, we'll probably overcorrect and lock spambait lenses.]
Ebook sales lenses, in particular, have unfortunately earned a bad reputation in the Squidoo community for being cloned, cut-and-pasted content. I can’t even begin to tell you how many Wow Gold Review lenses we’ve found that have word for word identical content!
There’s plenty of room for goodness in all this, though. I appreciate that affiliate pages are high-yield, and would just recommend teaching people how to post honest, personal, gracious reviews.
2. Is it ok to have multiple accounts on Squidoo as long as they are created and used within the TOS of Squidoo?
Again, yes! I totally understand why some people want to have multiple accounts. It’s the same reason I have multiple Facebook accounts… one to joke around with friends, one for Squidoo.
Multiple accounts are fine by me and fine by our TOS.
The caution I would give, however, is that growing one’s reputation is worthwhile, and that anonymity hurts. I posted some thoughts about this on the SquidBlog today (completely unrelated to your case, by the way!). If someone has multiple accounts, but has only earned a good reputation in one of them, then it’s not really viable to expect special treatment in the other anonymous accounts. And, if we find that people have multiple accounts only to boost the ratings and comments on their other lenses, or to engage in bad behaviour in regards to other lenses, that is ratings manipuation (or worse) and is against the spirit of Squidoo and our TOS.
Hope this helps!
I’m not going to explain or interpret that… Megan did a nice job of that on her own.
What We’ve Learned
When you’re playing in a sandbox that belongs to someone else, you either play by their rules, go find a new sandbox, OR, go make your OWN sandbox. Do you agree? Thing is, it is pretty much that way when you are working online using free methods and sites that don’t belong to you.
Everyday, I hear complaints and rumblings about EzineArticles and YouTube and HubPages and tons of other “free to use” sites. Whether we like it or not, whether it’s fair or not, we either play by the rules of the owner…. or we don’t play there anymore. Sometimes, we are forced to leave the site, other times we choose to not use the site.
Regardless, we, the consumers, have the right and the power to choose which sites and which communities we participate in online. It stinks, but none of these sites OWE us an explanation for why they do or say what they do. In fact, just today with my situation, I was not OWED an explanation. I wasn’t deserving of a thing – regardless of “who I am” or “what I do” or any of that.
The sheer fact that the Squidoo staff DID reach out to me to help resolve this situation and to pass info to me so I could, in turn, pass it to YOU, speaks VOLUMES to me. Remember, I’m the one who has customer service skills that are “too good”….lol! I have the utmost respect for Seth reaching out and working with me to resolve this issue. And yes, I feel a little special tonight =)
However, I also feel a little guilty because I know that Squidoo handling ALL situations this same way is literally impossible.
In the big picture, I am small-potatoes online and I know that *I* can barely handle the email and correspondence that I receive – and my ratio of readers to me is NOTHING compared to what Seth and the Squidoo staff have going on.
Based on that, I want to apologize for being the “special one” in this situation. I hope you each feel that I represented YOU well in my moment with the powers that be at Squidoo.
Now, I am going to shut up (FINALLY) and get this post out there for y’all. Maybe I’ll prevent a few broken fingers from pushing that refresh button one too many times….lol
Yes, I will do a follow post to this if need be. Feel free to leave comments and questions here and I’ll do my best to answer (While I can’t answer FOR the Squidoo staff I will do my best to answer or guide you TO answers).
Again, THANK YOU to ALLLLLLLLL of you!!
For more info on Squidoo:
Everyone’s an Expert Ebook by Seth Godin (I highly recommend that any Squidoo user read this free ebook. I think many of you will find it enlightening. The link opens the pdf in a new browser window).