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Squidoo Policy Changes

by PotPieGirl on June 21, 2009 · 63 comments

Will Squidoo’s New Policies Effect YOUR Lenses?


Squidoo recently announced site-wide policy changes that will be put into effect in mid-July. These changes sure have cause a good bit of uproar and discussion among the internet marketing community so I figured it was important that I come out of my vacation for a bit to gather some facts, bust some rumors, and basically share my two cents. Let’s talk about the newly announced Squidoo policy changes, see whether they will effect YOUR lenses, and talk about things we can do to protect our content now.



Squidoo and You – What Will Happen To Your Lenses?


I’ve talked openly about my thoughts with other Wealthy Affiliate members, but haven’t spoken publicly here on my blog until now. First off, Wealthy Affiliate is private – my blog is not private. It is all too easy to stick my foot in my mouth without having all the facts and I was not about to risk doing that here on PotPieGirl.com. In Wealthy Affiliate, they will forgive me if I have to take something back as I am trying to interpret these policy changes.  I don’t know if the rest of the world would be as forgiving if I screw something up.

There is no real graceful way to remove your foot from your mouth online…lol!

The first thing I want to say about the impending policy changes on Squidoo is that I support them 100%. Now, please hear me clearly – I am not happy about others losing content they have worked hard on, but I AM in favor of Squidoo taking proactive steps to clean up the site.

I also do not envy the Squidoo staff even one little bit. No matter how much work you or I have to do in order to have our lenses comply with these new policies, it will be NOTHING compared to what the small Squidoo staff will have to deal with. I foresee a lot of chaos and overtime in the near future for them. They already are an over-worked staff and I can only imagine how working thru these policy changes will effect their work load until all the dust settles.

I can see policing these changes as a very big job. Squidoo HQ – Bless your hearts..and thank you for making the effort to make the Squidoo site better for all of us – even if it means MORE work for you.

Because, you see, that IS what is happening – Squidoo is being all shined up to be better than ever.



It’s Fine If You Don’t Agree With Me


I know there are many, many folks that do not agree with my view on all this – and that’s ok. I hope that those that do not agree will hear me out. I welcome all comments on this topic here as long as they are not hateful or personally attacking. I don’t play that way, and won’t allow it here on PotPieGirl.com (that’s MY policy)

The most important thing of all is that there is NO reason to panic over these policy changes. There is very little that is MAJOR and Squidoo has given us all plenty of time to correct our lenses that may be effected – or to even move our lens content somewhere else if it is on a topic that Squidoo no longer allows.

In case you have not read the official policy change lens from Megan Casey (Editor-in-Chief at Squidoo) please take a moment to do so now. That way, we are all on the same page about these changes.  The lens will open in a new tab/window so you can follow along here if you’d like.

Squidoo Policy Changes – Official Lens Announcement

It is bound to be chaotic as these changes take place.  It is bound to take even more time for a review of your content in case your lens gets locked.

Because of this, I’d like to also say this:

Help Squidoo Help YOU!

If we all take our frustrated energy and work together to clean up our own lenses to make the site better, I think we will all be better able to reap the rewards of our combined efforts.



Squidoo Is No Longer Allowing Affiliate Marketing?


This is rumor #1 that is driving me crazy. No where, in anything official I have read from Squidoo does it state that affiliate marketers or affiliate links will no longer be allowed.

Who the heck started that rumor, anyway?  Never mind, I don’t want to know….lol

While Squidoo is trying to make it harder for those that create those massive “Click Here!!!” lenses that are copy/paste jobs from sales pages a little harder to create, they are not trying to end the ability to market and make money from your lenses.



How to Help Squidoo Help You -

Don’t make these kinds of crappy, copy/paste sales page lenses (yes, it’s as easy as that).  If you want to be objective about your own content, take a long look at your lens.  If you take out all the links on your lens, does it really provide useful content for the reader?

Would YOU read it?



No More X-Rated Lenses


This one is true – and I’m all for it.  No, I don’t have any business issues with this market, I just don’t think it is in Squidoo’s best interest to allow these topics on the site.

In fact, if you are thinking about making a lens that has to do with poker, pills, or porn – you might want to think twice.  Your lens will get locked and you will have wasted your time.



How To Help Squidoo Help YOU –

If you are thinking about making a lens on a topic that is not allowed on Squidoo – don’t do it.  You will seriously be wasting your time.  If you already HAVE a lens on a topic that is now not allowed on Squidoo,save your lens content and put it somewhere else online then delete your lens.  Or, make a copy of your lens and then wait to see if your lens gets locked.  Either way, if you feel your content is good, save it so you can use it somewhere else.



What About Weight Loss Lenses?


This is a tough one to interpret right now.  While it seems that the over-all topic of weight loss is still ok, what is sold and linked to ON those lenses could be a huge problem.

Did you know that as of this writing, Google has 4,260 lenses in their index about Acai?  I mean, c’mon… how many pages of the same info does one site need on that topic?





Or, how about diet pills?





Sheesh…would YOU want all that on YOUR site? I know I sure wouldn’t.

It’s these kinds of topics and products that get flooded with marketers trying to take a short cut as if Squidoo was some sort of trick that I think Squidoo is trying to get rid of.

Are there some good lenses on these topics? Well I’m sure there are, but unfortunately, the bad massively out-weighs the good – and the bad has ruined it for the good.



How To Help Squidoo Help YOU -

For now, my best advice is to just avoid the weight loss topic for a lens.  It is just not clear to me what might be ok in Squidoo’s eyes and I don’t want anyone to spend time making content that they might lose.



Only Nine Links On a Lens?


This one is partly true.  Yes, there will be a limit of nine links max on a lens as of mid-July- but that is links to the SAME DOMAIN…. NOT nine links total.

Personally, I think it should be a max of nine links to the same web page.  I can’t think of a single reason why ANY lens should have any more than nine links to the same exact web page on it.  However, I CAN see instances where more than nine links to a domain could be necessary.

My Squidoo Help Lens has a TON of links to the same domain – to PotPieGirl.com – BUT, they are all deep links to individual Squidoo help posts here on my blog.  It’s a big ol’ lens that has a ton of info on it…. and a ton of links to the same domain.

Now, because that PotPieGirl Squidoo account was awarded Giant Squid status in September of 2007, that out-bound link limit does not apply to that lens.  However, it WILL apply to my other Squidoo accounts.



How To Help Squidoo Help YOU -

Look, if you have more than nine links on one little lens and each link goes to the same exact web page, you are being overly-promotional and you know it.  I don’t care if you use domain forwarding, link masking, or any other form of link cloaking – if you click the text link and the same page loads in the readers browser more than nine times, you need to change it.

‘Nuff said



This Is Another “Squidoo Slap”!


No, it’s not.  Like many other long-time Squidoo lensmasters, we lived thru a true “slap” – and this is not it.  A “slap” is something that Google does TO Squidoo.  Google hasn’t done a thing.  Squidoo is making these policy changes on their own.

During the real “Squidoo Slap” in mid 2007, Google started hating on Squidoo since there were so many lenses that would frame in other web pages (for example, the listing in Google said the lens was about basket weaving, but when you opened the lens, the lensmaster had used an <iframe> to frame in a porn site.  This is trickery and Google wants no part of a site that does that to readers.

Squidoo did a lot to clean up after that slap and Squidoo became a really powerful site that is loved by Google as a result.  Squidoo wants to KEEP that Google love – hence the reason for these impending policy changes.



How To Help Squidoo Help YOU -

Gather your information about the Squidoo policy changes carefully.  In short, don’t believe everything you read – find out for yourself THEN make your own informed decision.  I feel strongly that those that play by the rules and stick with Squidoo thru these changes will be very pleased with the results.



My Questions About The Squidoo Policy Changes


As I’ve mulled over the official info from Squidoo and tried to interpret it the best I can, I found myself with some recurring questions.



1. WHO will be locking lenses that violate the new Squidoo policies?

I know this question might seem silly, but I am curious.  I know a lot of lenses will be locked once the lensmaster tries to re-publish, but what about the lenses that get locked via a visual review?

I’m not a conspiracy theory type of person, but let’s look at this way… If I am playing in a golf tournament, I shouldn’t be on the rules committee.  If I am in a beauty contest (cough cough), I shouldn’t be a judge, too.



2. WHO will be performing the hand-reviews?

With all the policy changes and talk of asking to have domains white-listed and alllllllll that stuff, there will be a ton more hand-review requests.  It is already stated to allow 30 days for a hand-review now.  In order for Squidoo to keep up, WHO will be doing these hand-reviews?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of anyone that volunteers their time to work on managing the Squidoo site.  These are an awesome group of folks that make Squidoo that much better than a lot of other sites.  But peer-review in the situation of hand-reviewing a lens, or locking a lens may not be the best idea (if that is what is going to happen).

Just like the bad marketers ruined some good topics on Squidoo for the rest of us, isn’t it possible that one “bad apple” in the volunteer hand-review team with self-serving motives could cause some bad damage?  For some folks, just having a lens locked and out of reach can be financially rough for the lensmaster.  I’d hate to risk that being done to a lensmaster on purpose.- or to even be perceived that way.

Sorry for saying it out loud, but I think it needs to be said in the spirit of transparency and good-faith.  A lot of people spend a lot of time working to put good content on the Squidoo site…



3.  If Squidoo aims to be less of a target by “not wanted” marketers, why does SquidAholic.com exist?

Sure, for the ethical lensmasters, SquidAholic is a nifty tool.  But, for the not-so-eithical marketer, it is a tool that shows which lenses are doing the best, the back links, the traffic each day, and a lot of other things that could be used for purposes that do NOT help the Squidoo site.

As much as I personally would hate to see the tool go, I know that just having Squidaholic out there for public view and analysis opens the Squidoo site up to more of the type of lenses they do not want.



4. Why isn’t there a dynamic list of new lenses on the Squidoo.com homepage?

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the Squidoo policy changes, but it is something I’ve always wanted to know.

Google finds new articles at EzineArticles.com so quickly, and I think it’s because of the homepage links to the newly published content.  Why doesn’t Squidoo do this, too?  Seems to me that this would be awesome for Google and other search engines to find new content on the site, wouldn’t it?

Anyway…. back on topic….



My Final Thoughts About The Policy Changes


Ok, they probably aren’t my FINAL thoughts since I have a funny feeling we will be talking about this more here at PotPieGirl.com.  But, let’s sum up this initial post for now.

We are all accountable for our own content.  You know a crappy lens when you see one.  Now, I don’t mean a lens that has content you don’t like or isn’t written the best, but instead, one of those lenses that screams “CLICK HERE!” at you and offers no real value to the reader on it’s own.

Don’t be that kind of marketer.

It’s a funny thing about online content that is helpful.  If you really relax and learn how to give to the reader, and learn how to get that content found, things work out A-OK.

– If you take out all the links on your lens, do YOU think that your lens still helps someone?  I’m not asking if you think it’s pretty…do you feel your content helps others?  Are you sharing with your readers….or just trying to take?

– Do YOU feel your lens content makes the Squidoo site better?  Or, are you just throwing some content on the site in hopes that it will do well because it is on a high-authority site?

– Are you checking in Google BEFORE you make a lens?  Seriously, when you think of a topic, are you going to Google any searching the already indexed lenses that are already on that topic or keyword?

Simply go to Google and type in:

site:squidoo.com your keyword/your product/your topic/etc

If there are already hundreds or thousands of lenses on that keyword or topic, don’t do it.  Trust me, you will feel like you are repeatedly beating your head against a brick wall trying to get that one lens to rank and do well for you.  Don’t make all this harder than it has to be  =)

First off, you shouldn’t be working so unbelievably hard to get your content to rank on a site that you do not own.  Secondly, it is better for you and for Squidoo if you find the openings in the long-tail keywords where there is NOT already a ton of lenses (as long as it is an ok topic on Squidoo).

Work really hard on YOUR sites where YOU make the rules.  Relying on sites you do not own comes with risks.  These site owners have no obligation to give you a head start on policy changes the way Squidoo so graciously did.

If you do NOT already have your own sites, it’s ok!  Trust me, it is MORE than ok to start out on Squidoo – it’s how *I* got started!  Free-to-use sites like Squidoo offer an amazing opportunity for ANYONE to make some money online.  When you’re new, getting some money to finally start coming IN is a huge battle – and sites like Squidoo allow you to do it for FREE.

If it wasn’t for Squidoo and my One Week Marketing Action Plan, I’m not sure I would’ve made it to where I am today…and I really like where I am today.  Oh, and just for the record, One Week Marketing does not only apply to Squidoo – it can be used on any free site where affiliate marketing is allowed (it’s just that Squidoo happens to be the most welcoming and effective site that I have found).

All this said, it all comes down to the same “rules” as when we were kids.  If you don’t like the rules in one sandbox, get your toys and move on to another sandbox – or….. make your OWN sandbox  =)

I’m going to stop rambling on this topic and allow y’all to share your own thoughts and concerns.  I really appreciate the feedback and insight here and in our thread on the Wealthy Affiliate forum…. thank you!!







{ 60 comments }

Monique June 21, 2009 at 6:14 am

Thank you so much for all of the great information!

I’m just starting the One Week Marketing Plan (bought it last week) and then, Squidoo decided to change things up. Being a noob over there, I got a little concerned OWM wouldn’t be able to work for me anymore. By the looks of your post, there’s really no need for me to worry.

Thanks again for easing the fears of so many. I’m actually starting to think that I got in on the plan at the perfect time now! I can everything set up perfectly from the get go.

Chris Jensen June 21, 2009 at 6:21 am

Thank you so much for the detailed information! Once again, like in many of your Squidoo lenses, you have made sure to deliver all of the goods! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to more informative posts!

Thank you!

Marv June 21, 2009 at 6:27 am

Jennifer, I was upset when I 1st read about the changes but they all seem to make sense and we will adapt as usual. A cleaner site should be better for everyone and may even attract more readers. I specifically read in their explanation that affiliate marketing is absolutely allowed as that was one of the original ideas. I am glad I was up late tonight.
Marv

jack June 21, 2009 at 6:32 am

This is absolute bs. I pick weight loss because it’s something I can write comfortably. I know a lot about it. IM is starting to sound like a joke. I’d rather spend hours working at something I KNOW will put food on the table. One little policy change and all my quality weight loss lenses are at risk. Making a constan income out of this is just impossible

Trixie65 June 21, 2009 at 6:34 am

As always, very good sound advice Jen. Thank you for taking a break in you vacation to let us all know about these changes. Much appreciated

Remember, “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow”

Trixie

Graham June 21, 2009 at 6:57 am

Hi Jennifer,
I have just started my first squidoo and find it refreshing that I can get information on important issues. Knowing the rules and being given good feedback on that subject is great. I like to think content and hard word will succeed in the end.
Best wishes,
Graham

Martin - Security. June 21, 2009 at 7:00 am

Okay, thank you very much for all the information and reassurances on the policy changes.

There is something I’m still not quite clear on though.

I understand it’s to be no more than 9 links to the same domain but does that apply even if the links are to different pages on that domain?

Sorry to be thick.

Maureen June 21, 2009 at 7:18 am

Hi PPG aka Jennifer,

After I received your email yesterday I got another a few minutes later making out the end O f Squidoo world had come, guess it’s sky was falling in.

Luckily for me I had seen yours and then knew it was only some sales ploy to get to buy some whizz bang thing that would save me from the horrors of Squidoo otherwise I would have been quite worried by it all. They are now deleted from my list.

My only question at this stage is will there ever be a list of what’s good and what’s not so we can quickly look up and decide whether to go ahead or not?

Thanks for the great stuff it’s really good to have a female view that isn’t all guru hype and schmaltz.

Regards, Maureen

Moninn June 21, 2009 at 7:57 am

I don’t mind the change. Even though Ima noob. I just wrote an article about weight loss and I think it is pretty original, no cut and paste. Not saying that to brag.

I think if you write original content, people will gravitate to it.

Thanks Jennifer for the heads-up, I’ll make sure to delete all my porn modules from squidoo.

kidding.

WWK June 21, 2009 at 8:35 am

Dear PPG,
As usual, you come through with your common sense and fair minded approach. I joined OWM not too long ago and have never regretted.
On the topic at hand, i.e the new policy guidelines by Squidoo, allow me to say my 2 cents’ worth. I totally agree with Squidoo’s effort to clean up the site especially in matters related to gambling, porn, spams etc.
Having said that, I feel it is unfair to penalize the good guys because of some bad guys. Take for instance, weight loss or pharmacy industry; they are good industries because people are genuine helped. Can anyone dispute that? But then come along the greedy b***stards (pardon my language), resulting in these industries being blacklisted by Squidoo. Don’t you think the answer comes from banning the spammers rather than the industries? It is almost similar to banning automobiles because car accidents kill many people, not very intelligent, is it? Instead, the answer lies in educating people to drive carefully and banning bad (and drunk) drivers from driving if possible forever !

Jo June 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

I find your posts on the policy changes very educational and i agree with the principle in general of re looking at any business on a regular basis to see how it can be improved. I am new on Squidoo and just learning how to get around. I agree with you on what you write about here. I also know that Squidoo is a business as well as having a social aspect. I cannot see therefore why as a business, they would make changes thatwould put potential cl;ients off being there. Keep up the good work. Jo

Nosa June 21, 2009 at 8:55 am

It’s time Squidoo managemet bring back sanity to Squidoo network. I welcome the changes and 100% in support. Squidoo has become the dumpping ground for all sorts of information that is adversely impart the quality of the network. This won’t be allowed to continue and we should all support the change policy

A. F. Bell | Natural Bodybuilding June 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

PotPieGirl,
Thanks for this insightful post. Like you, I fully support the changes Squidoo are implementing now.

I just thought It was a bit naive to not have enforced these from the very beginning. All these mess they’re trying to clean up now couldn’t have happened in the first place if they exercised some foresight…

I’m an affiliate marketer and I bought OWM a month back. I have dilligently created lenses, all high quality, well-researched, well-designed and made with PURE LOVE! I totally gave my 100% to each lens.

Sadly, the first niche I got into fell under the Weight Loss category since majority of my lenses were about losing fat & building muscles without drugs or bogus supplements. By the looks of things I’ll just have to delete most of them, if not all.

My questions right now are:
How can I find out for sure which of my lenses I should delete?
Is ‘bodybuilding’ a topic that they regard as a SquiDon’t Topic?

Anyway thanks again for your updates.

Maz June 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hi Jennifer
Thanks for a great post and for calming down all the panic. I think it is a good idea for squidoo to have a clean up on bad lenses and spam etc.
My very first lens was about weight loss. I worked really hard on it and was very proud of it, so I really hope it doesn’t get locked. I do not think they will just get rid of all the weight loss lenses though.
But as you say, at the end of the day it is their site and we have to abide by their rules if we want our lenses published there.

SW @ Quality Squidoo Lens Service June 21, 2009 at 10:41 am

If you are a genuine squidoo lensmaker than there is nothing to worry about. Because we know after such policy you will go to your squidoo account and will do the alteration as required by the Squidoo.

But if lenses created to shout sale sale and sale … than this is the time to clean them up.

So 20th July is the last date and I think you have enough time to start making changes.

We know this is good for genuine squidoo lensmaker.

Smart Dad June 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

Great info Potpie I’ll send my buddies to have a look

Tony

Earl June 21, 2009 at 11:51 am

Your very informative,as I’m new to squidoo and haven’t yet wrote a lens good to know of these changes. Obviously you have done a bit of homework on these changes. Thanks for sharing with us.

Apple Pie Boy June 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Why would anyone want to build someone else’s site? Last time I checked my name wasn’t Seth Godin (or whatisname). Therefore I do not own Squidoo. Therefore, why would I build this person’s site???

I understand that the point of this post is “No panic…buy my product, OWM, it’s not outdated”, and I understand that. The priciples in OWM can and should be applied to your own site.

Perhaps Jennifer is trying to ‘be friends’ with Squidoo with this kind of pro-Squidoo posts, but in reallity, they WILL delete some of your weight loss and finance lenses next month.

Lianna June 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Jennifer, thanks for this post and for opening the discussion on WA forum.

I do understand and welcome most of the changes even the weight loss ones. My problem was that I had some lenses on weight loss – but I already moved them to my blog.

In a sense I am grateful that Squidoo introduced these changes now when I am just starting – it made me realize that THIS is not my site and RULES can be changed at anytime. For as much as I enjoyed the Squidoo, now I’ll try to “diversify” my promotional efforts so I won’t have all the eggs in one basket.

And there are plenty of other free websites to choose from – there are many mentioned in the OWM course and I can also find more on Google.

Thanks again for devoting your vacation time to clarifying the Squidoo policy for us!

I learned more in these couple of weeks from your free reports, posts and OWM program than I did during the entire year from paid, expensive programs.

I believe that as you give to people you will receive even more – I wish you all the best!

Dan June 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Jennifer,

Thank you for another great post that explains exactly what is and what is not included in the policy changes. I think the rumor that affiliate marketing would no longer be allowed was a misinterpretation of the rule that says that promoting “affiliate programs” is not allowed. In other words, it is perfectly OK to promote products using affiliate links, but it is not OK to try to get other people to sign up to an affiliate program.

I agree that the changes will make Squidoo a better site.

Steven June 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Thank you for sifting through and giving a descriptive explanation of policy changes. Like you I’m more concerned with who will be doing the manual reviews.

Will they use their own crew or bring in some outside help? Will you have to wait 30days for the review? As you stated they are already understaffed.

They are biting off a big chunk at this time. I understand they have to do it. With Seth being a marketer himself I can’t believe he didn’t see this coming.

A lot of these web 2.0 sites will be following suit.(poker reference-I hope it gets through)lol

The comment above makes a point! You should be building your own sites. Not someone else’s.

There will be some people leaving squidoo until the chaos is over. Some will come back and some will not. A fact of doing business.

Franck Silvestre June 21, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I didn’t know about these upcoming changes, thank you, I’ll let my subscribers ad va’s know about these new rules.

Thanks

Franck
The Body Guard Marketer

Theresa Mayhew June 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I can always count on you to keep a level head about things.

Yep, there will be some scrambling going on to edit and fix a few lenses around SquidooLand, but in the end, it will be a much better place to be.

I’m in total agreement with this change and only see a positive outcome. It’s definitely going to keep people from being lazy and just submitting substandard material.

I salute Seth and the Squidoo staff for taking the initiative to establish stricter policies.

Thanks again for keeping us up to date with changes, in spite of being on vacation.

Warmly,
Theresa

Fun With Trains June 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for your thoughts on this topic. While I generally agree that making Squidoo better is a great goal, I do have a couple of concerns.

1. “Junk” lenses — o.k., I get that some topics may over time prove to be overly targeted by spammy marketing — though I’m guessing they are popular because there are lots of searches and/or buyers. However, going down this road you could end up arguing that any Clickbank product promotions are spammy — surely having 5 lenses around the same topic all pointing to a Clickbank ebook could come under fire. Also, the “and on and on” part of the announcement worries me — just how long is this list, and when will we know it? Will we just find out after we have created a group of lenses?

2. Retroactive policy — Fine, I understand there may be a lot of spammy Acai review lenses, but there were too many 6 months or a year ago also. Yet, the announcement says “We will also be retroactively locking existing lenses that exist on these [junk] topics.” So, this is an undefined list, and they will lock lenses retroactively? That seems a bit heavy-handed — Squidoo can only name 9 topics and leave us at our peril to guess the others? Sorry, but why not make this on a going forward basis? Why not announce “Squidoo has too many Acai berry lenses, so from now on this is an off-limits topic”?

I have really enjoyed Squidoo and will continue to use it, however this does really underscore the fact that people should not have all of their eggs in one basket.

CatWalker June 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

PPG

I think you were on vacation this week. What big news to return too. Here is my question. In my lensmaster bio I have 2 links to my sales page. One is a text link and the other is a graphic link. I wonder if that counts as 2 links within every lens? If so that leaves 7 others.

If you have 4 text modules with 1 link in each, then one in the intro module that’s a total of 5 in the lens and 2 in the bio. That leaves 2 more to stick in other modules. I think that’s plenty, but if the bio doesn’t count then that leave 2 more.

If the bio links do count then don’t forget to include them when you are reviewing you lens so you won’t get dinged in July.

Best, CW

Willie Frost June 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks so much for clarifying the Squidoo issue.
Even tho’ I had read the new policies, your input helped.

I do not belong to
squidoo and all this has helped me understand it better and whether I should use it or not. I know we often abuse freebies and this seems to be the case here for some.
I appreciate your detailed input soooooo much.

Keep up the great work,
Willie

Allyn June 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Looks like I am in the clear here. I build lots of lenses but don’t try to sell crap from them. I like building lenses because they get awarded good PR with just a few inbound links. This is because the domain is trusted.
Then I can use a high PR lense to link to my money site. I kinda thought that is what everybody did. ;)

fisician June 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm

of course the abuse of the weight loss programs is something any organisation will sincerely reconsider, and note not just weight loss but all health issues because people tends to become desperate when their lives is on the line and will seek out the best of the solutions that they can come across, anyway well done, you actually opened up my eyes to the potential in creating lenses, for all that you have done so far thanks, I will want to give this tip top those in health program, this just call for more creativity and generation of new keywords that will become popular as well as weight loss

Kathy June 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Thanks Jennifer for giving up part of your vacation to help us understand these changes. That is the kind of dedication that has lead to your success!

I also support Squidoo’s policy changes. No one should be upset for Squidoo wanting to strive for higher standards. The higher their standards are just means that we can’t be lazy with our lenses. We need to show the same sense of respect in producing higher quality lenses that people want to read.

Enjoy Life!
Kathy

Jodie June 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Hi Jennifer,

I said it in WA and I’ll say it here. I totally agree with your thoughts. How many times have you said that you should not have all your eggs in one basket? If someone is this upset about a Squidoo change, then they have not heeded that advice.

Cheers!

Jenn Mattern June 21, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I haven’t been on Squidoo in quite a while, but I’m wondering how the 9 links to a single domain rule would apply to lenses featuring an RSS feed. Those who have lenses set up for their companies (which I remember Squidoo encouraging at least back in the day) could very easily have more than 9 relevant and valuable links there (from a reader’s perspective and not solely a link-building one). Adding the company’s RSS feed via their widget could put you close to that alone if they’re counting each link in the feed as another link to the site as opposed to those added manually.

PotPieGirl June 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for your feedback, everyone! This is awesome!

To Jenn and others that asked about the “9 Links” thing….

This is 9 links to the SAME domain (regardless of what page on that domain you are linking to).

As for RSS feeds – they don’t count. Keep using RSS feeds as usual- they will have no bearing on the outbound link policy changes.

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Martin - Security. June 21, 2009 at 7:14 pm

“This is 9 links to the SAME domain (regardless of what page on that domain you are linking to).”

Okay that makes it clear, thanks for that.

“As for RSS feeds – they don’t count. Keep using RSS feeds as usual- they will have no bearing on the outbound link policy changes.”

That’s good to know.

Kathy T June 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for this great info! I am only on my 2nd campaign with OWM, and so reviewing my initial lenses to ensure I don’t exceed 9 links to one domain won’t be too difficult. I truly appreciate all that you do to help us stay informed – especially new folks like me who are still on the learning curve!

Thanks again!
Cheers,
Kath

fueldiva June 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm

As a member of WA I am trying to learn the affiliate marketing skill. I have been researching the ‘pet’ niche and looking promote it using OWM.

Well, I just did the google search and Squidoo has thousands of lenses on dog health, pet training etc.

I have no objection to the changes on squidoo. My sites are not in violation of the new policy structure. My comment is that ‘how do I find a niche without thousands of lenses already there?? It looks pretty tough from here.

bretts June 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Thanks for the damage control. I agree with the changes. I have run across some lenses that could gag a maggot. I deleted my first lens- even though google rated it #2 out of 11 million it was a weight-loss product that nobody wants. I spent time getting that high ranking. It’s okay-I learned SEO against tough competition!

Like you said, they own the site-they make the rules!
Love ‘em or leave ‘em.

BFuniv June 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm

“First off, you shouldn’t be working so unbelievably hard to get your content to rank on a site that you do not own.” Yeppers, get your own blogs and sites.

Take that questionable content you have on Squidoo and create blog posts and articles by editing it. Buy a site name and use that new URL to carry on your message. Make some acceptable lenses. In short – find the opportunities.

Susan June 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Squidoo won’t allow lenses such as “Lose belly fat, Forex programs, WoW gold guides, Get my Ex Back, Etc” Basically squidoo will be more strict on what they will allow and make it harder for One week marketers.

Now how do you expect everyone to make unique squidoo accounts based on ovarian cysts, weightloss, yeast infections, etc? Its just not gonna happen. We need an alternative.

PotPieGirl June 22, 2009 at 2:17 am

Hi Susan =)

These changes within Squidoo aren’t about making it harder for One Week Marketers at all. They ARE about making it harder for the spammers, tho =)

I do not expect everyone to make lenses on weight loss. In fact, that is one market (as well as the make money online market) that I recommend those that are new to stay away from.

EVERYTHING is a potential market…not just weight loss or health-related eBooks =)

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Bruce June 22, 2009 at 3:24 am

Jennifer is very articulate and makes a good case for Squidoo’s new policies……BUT I’m not buying it.

This action by Squidoo is characteristic of all these popular web 2.0 hubs. First, they do almost anything to attract users and build the brand.

Then, when they own some valuable ‘real estate’, so to speak, they raise the rent and start excluding others. I predict this will just be the start of further and further restrictions on what a lense can be about….More and more topics will be banned.
Tons of clickbank products will no longer ‘qualify’.

I’m particularly convinced of this because of the Weight Loss ban. Thats a HUGE, broad market and to ban it means they could care less about the marketers who provide them with so much content.

And marketing is what Squidoo is all about. As the opportunities diminish, so will the content, and Squidoo will become less popular….eventually just another internet footnote.

Squidoo has forgotten, without marketers, their reason to exist ceases.

Sunshine June 22, 2009 at 5:32 am

Their decision is not surprising at all. As the youngster say, ” It is what it is”.

HaroldF June 22, 2009 at 9:31 am

Sure it’s easy to say :”Just don’t make any lenses about the “No Go” topics on Squidoo” … the problem is: “My niche or topic, might become a “No Go” topic at squidoo in a year’s time” …what then …
I’m also new to OWM, and I am still going to use it with my IM, but I think I will not lean on Squidoo so much anymore (if at all!) … I’ll rather have my own domains, with my own hosting, and with my own rules …

Janet June 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

I agree also that the changes are good and necessary. However as with all things, its not what you do its the way that you do it

I was recently very put out by the fact that I had worked very hard on a squidoo lens on forex trading ( having read several other forex lenses) only to find that forex is no longer allowed. I would have been grateful for the heads up when I chose my very obvious url and keywords rather than leaving it until I had spent several hours putting my lens together

mtnmom5 June 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Thanks so much Jennifer – I *ahem* had several lenses locked already that were on game downloads but they needed to come off anyways so it was okay. =)

I was kinda concerned about some of the issues but you answered my questions so beautifully and I can now relax again.

Thanks!

SusanLeeGlam June 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Thank you for your details and interest once again in helping us..your OWM club, tehe.

This will only help us learn to dig deeper into longtail keyword, and write good content, which is the real deal anyway…..

And, good IMters don’t keep all their eggs in one basket anyway, right? So, scramble your eggs people and all will be well.

katinka - spiritual June 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Just to answer some of your questions:

Who will be locking lenses? All of squidoo: everybody can report a lens that’s violating the guidelines. That’s already true and will stay true. That doesn’t mean any lens that gets reported is locked: it takes several people reporting a lens for it to get locked.
However: most of the locking will be done digitally – as it is now. Squidoo staff will be reviewing the lenses that get flagged digitally – that is: those that filed a reinclusion report of some kind. (going to be a massive job – better to be proactive and work with the new rules than against them).

Kenyatta Rodriguez June 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Well thank God that I have followed your instructions to the t on Squidoo and I don’t need to worry about any of the new changes. =)

I am sick of Acai ads so thank you Squidoo! And I’m am very happy they are getting rid of X rated lenses as I really don’t my content associated with a site that supports that kind of material.

So, you go Squidoo!

dale June 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm

this is off the subject, but today I made my FIRST SALE USING OWM!

this may sound familiar, but OWM was my last ditch effort in IM before I gave up in frustration. I’m so glad I didn’t quit! I applied some OWM techniques to existing campaigns and less than a week later – an actual sale!

now I feel like all I have to do is scale up and repeat repeat repeat to reach my daily $$ goal! such an awesome feeling!

let this be inspiration and proof to others who are looking for it! get OWM, read it, use it!

thanks a million, pot pie girl!

Leslie P June 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I just published my first couple of lenses and was working on one yesterday. When I checked my links to my url I get a error page. There are only 3 links on the whole lens and only two of them go to my url which is forwarded and masked. I republished and was successful so I’m not locked and I shouldn’t be with only the 2 links (the third link goes to a youtube video)
Am I doing something wrong??
Thanks

Leslie P June 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

P.S. – I just checked my first lens on Squidoo and the links are all working = maybe Squidoo was “out to lunch” yesterday or too much traffic with all this stuff going on.
I am a new OWM markerter and Jennifer, I appreciate your clear writing about the changes. I am also in agreement with a lot of what has been changed. However, I do worry about what future niches might be blocked! Credit Repair is where I am working but my content is my own – I am a mortgage underwriter so I can speak to this with authority (no copy/paste)

Chuck Rosseel June 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Initially I was baffled and confused about Jennifer’s apologies and acquiescence to Squidoo’s Big Brother censorship policies. However I realize that Squidoo is a big part of her internet marketing efforts so it’s understandable that she would paint the rosiest picture of what is essentially another example of a social site stomping on free speech, including commercial free speech. Although I understand Jennifer’s spin on the Squidoo lock, I do not agree with her at all. Bruce’s above comment is more on the mark. It’s important to point out Squidoo’s hypocrisy. Through their partnership with ebay and Amazondotcom, Squidoo allows any lensmaster to display items that clearly violate Squidoo’s ever changing TOS. For example, Amazon has an almost unlimited number of x-rated books and movies and through ebay, Squidoo allows lensmasters to display “memorabilia” from such stellar characters as Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. However, the censors at Squidoo will not allow a weight loss lens. They even locked my humor lens that didn’t even have one off color, racy joke. To unlock my censored lenses, Squidoo wants me to jump through so many hoops and then write them letters explaining why each lens should not be locked. Squidoo has branded lensmasters guilty until they prove their innocence. They have made a huge mistake by banning free speech. I predict that Squidoo will eventually come down off their high horse when they finally realize writers, bloggers and marketers do not need Squidoo at all, Squidoo needs us. It will be too late though because I, like tens of thousands more, will have moved on to other arenas where free speech is welcomed, respected and available to all.

Dawn / Vera Bradley June 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the heads up! I think these changes are long overdue, and actually, I’m surprised that they are not more restrictive. I know – a bunch of rotten tomatoes are coming my way from those who disagree! However, ever since Squidoo received the infamous Google slap a few years back, Squidoo has not been the same – unfortunately, those who build quality lenses also get slapped around when an entire domain takes a hit.

For the past year, I have been using Hubpages. If someone wants to talk about rules, read theirs. Hubpages is a quality site though, and it’s super simple to get a good, quick ranking in the search engines. Rules are not always good, but Squidoo only stands to benefit from taking these steps – and as far as their rules are concerned, they are still fairly liberal in what they will allow their users to post.

PotPieGirl June 23, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Hi Chuck =)

You said…..

“Initially I was baffled and confused about Jennifer’s apologies and acquiescence to Squidoo’s Big Brother censorship policies. However I realize that Squidoo is a big part of her internet marketing efforts so it’s understandable that she would paint the rosiest picture of what is essentially another example of a social site stomping on free speech, including commercial free speech.”

I’m a bit baffled myself…lol!

Why is it that the owners of Squidoo.com HAVE to allow anyone to say/write anything they want?

I think a site owner (or owners) have the right to decide what content is found on their site.

For example, PotPieGirl.com is MY site. I allow comments (by choice), but I do not allow any and all comments. I believe it is totally my right to choose what others post on my site.

I also have other sites that are open for people to join and post their content. I believe I have every right to delete posts there that I do not want.

Why is Squidoo not allowed that same right to choose what is found on their site?

Thanks to ALL for the feedback!!!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Jodie June 24, 2009 at 12:22 am

Hey Chuck,

Every person trying to make money with affiliate marketing needs to be prepared for things to change drastically. It may be Google making changes (oh ya, they just did), perhaps Yahoo is changing the way which they find sites (which they have recently done as well by making meta tags more redundant) or maybe it’s Squidoo deciding that their links are no longer “do follow” links (I sure hope not!).

The bottom line is that the industry is ALWAYS changing and you must diversify in everything you do. Different niches, different sites like Squidoo (there are other sites than Squidoo which you should be using regularly) different domains, different products… You must be prepared for the inevitable.

Yes, it stinks. I’m not taking away from how this has hurt some really great marketers… I’m just saying that there is no point to dwell or get upset with Squidoo. All you are doing is burning energy that could be put to better use.

My thoughts,
Jodie

Chuck Rosseel June 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Jennifer, Freedom of speech is one of the most precious freedoms one can enjoy. Men and women have fought and died for this right. With this freedom comes responsibility. You touched on this when you stated the owner of a site has a right to decide what will be published and what will be rejected. I agree with you…to a point. Theater owners do not want patrons shouting “fire!” in a crowded arena just as you, Squidoo and I do not want hate speech, racism, spam or inappropriate content or conduct appearing on our websites. Squidoo and all site owners have a responsibility to act fairly and diligently when weighing the pros and cons of publishing a variety of speech including commercial speech. So while you are correct that Squidoo has done nothing illegal, I am also correct to point out and criticize the irrefutable fact that Squidoo is practicing censorship. Their recent draconian policy to ban certain speech goes far beyond editing “Fire!” in a crowded theater or limiting spam on their site. Here are a few examples of free speech topics that Squidoo bans: health products, weight loss, dieting, credit card debt, card games, mortgages, currency trading, ringtones, and even lyrics. Jennifer, you are a marketer who offers valuable content to your readers and subscribers. Folks interested in succeeding online should follow your advice (I do) because you know what you’re talking about. However, I would be remiss if I ignored Squidoo’s mistake. I am a staunch proponent of free speech who will always criticize those companies that play fast and loose with this precious freedom.

PotPieGirl June 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Chuck -

First off, thank you for taking the time to come back and comment again =)

I agree with you completely about free speech – it IS precious. That’s what I love about the internet… Anyone can come online, start a site, and say anything they want.

I think I get what you are trying to get my little pea-brain to absorb tho…

Squidoo says, “Hey come here and make a web page on ANYTHING…. except…..this, this, and that”

In short, make a web page on anything THEY approve of.

I think we also agree that they are completely within their rights to do that. Plus, when we sign up with Squidoo, we agree to abide by their TOS – regardless of what they are at any given moment.

I do wish that there was some middle ground on these topics that Squidoo now does not want on their site. There ARE people who are looking for quality information on those topics, but sadly, the spammers and abusers ruined it for everyone else.

Thing is, from a business/site-owner perspective, I totally get what Squidoo is doing… and WHY they are doing it.

Sadly, too MUCH freedom of speech on Squidoo could very well cause the site to end up in the gutter.

Again, thank you for coming back… and thank you to ALL for your feedback and insight!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Sharon June 26, 2009 at 7:34 am

Teaching sells…and sells big. Some affiliates are so focused on making money that they do not care about the quality of the information.

It’s a shame that topics like ‘how to make money’ or ‘weight loss’ is inundated with ‘less than honest ‘ information’ – people really need help in those areas.

The changes at Squidoo will not affect the affiliates who are providing quality information as a selling tactic.

Google’s strength is not in ‘selling/advertising’ but in ‘providing relevant information’ when someone enters a ‘search inquiry’.

Thanks for OWM Jennifer. You are wonderful!

~ Sharon

Lidia Abadia June 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I have learned so much from you on Squidoo and HTML. I truly appreciate you spending the time to teach. In fact I have grown fond of Squidoo because of the things I learned from you. I guess you can say that when you know something you are more likely to like it:) Keep the content coming!

Lidia

Ray Lance June 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Sadly my ability to follow what you’re saying is affected by mis-spellings, especially when they result in different words. Affect and effect are two such different words. An effect is the result of something that is affected.

Anne June 26, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I’m with Monique here. Looks like this is a good time to get going with Squidoo.

Thanks Jennifer for your analysis and helpful suggestions. Keep swimming, squids!

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