Should We Boycott Squidoo?

Is It Time To Pack Up Our Affiliate Links and Move On?

This is something I rarely do, but after reflecting on it for a bit, I think it’s the right thing for me to do. There has been a lot of strong conversation about Squidoo inside the Wealthy Affiliate forum. Lots of frustration…lots of opinions. Today, I replied to one of these threads and typed way more than I intended to (hey, brevity is not my specialty…lol!).  I usually keep my “insider info” locked inside the Wealthy Affiliate community, but after reading what I posted, I think it is the right thing for me to share my thoughts on Squidoo with everyone and invite your feedback.

Is It Time To Boycott Squidoo?

Here is a copy of the post I just made inside Wealthy Affiliate. Needless to say, I want to share MY thoughts…not the thoughts of others so any indication of another WA member will be removed.

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Wow, {removed}… that just sucks! I’m so sorry for all that mess…musta been very frustrating.

This industry (as is common with just about any industry) requires us each to roll with the punches. Those that bounce back, last longest.

What’s most frustrating for most marketers now is that Squidoo has always been a welcoming and easy place to get started with affiliate marketing for free. As much as people don’t want to believe it now, it still is.

Bottom line is, it’s a site you/we do not own. When you’re using someone else’s site to make money online, you have to play by their rules….whatever the rules of the day are.

Do you HAVE to use free sites? NO, you do NOT. However, for many (myself included) these free sites were my way to get my foot in the door, get some money coming IN with very little going OUT, and help propel me towards making my own sites from both the experience and the income.

I want to point out something that was said in a reply email to {removed}:

Their reply….
Hi {removed}, thanks for making those changes. We’re still seeing you’ve linked to http://www.xxxxxxx.com/Wealthy-Affiliate-Review.html and Wealthy Affiliate information, which is on our list of spambait topics, and a topic we rarely see great lenses on.

Now, I don’t work for Squidoo and I don’t have insider info, but I think the part I highlighted in red speaks volumes.

Do you know how many pages in the Google index are on the Squidoo.com site and are directly about Wealthy Affiliate?

over fourteen THOUSAND!

So, for fun, let’s see how many pages Google has that are on EzineArticles directly about Wealthy Affiliate:

Over twenty-four THOUSAND!!!

So… wait….

Why is it ok to talk about Wealthy Affiliate on “big dog” EzineArticles, but Squidoo doesn’t want it?

Have they gotten too big for their britches?

Well, first off, as I said before, it’s their site, they can do what they want…but we already know that.

Let’s talk the business side of it.

Yes, Squidoo and EzineArticles are both a business – created to generate PROFIT. These sites, and all the others like it, were not created out of the kindness of the owners heart to allow marketers to make free pages to make the marketers money. They were designed and are run to make the owners money.

So let’s look at these two sites….

EzineArticle:

How does EA primarily make money? AdSense ads that are placed on the page where your article is. They don’t share that… they keep it 100% In short, THEY make money off of your content. In exchange for your content, they allow you a link from the site and maybe some click-thru traffic TO your site.

Squidoo:

Yes, Adsense ads income (that is split with the lens creators) and they also rely heavily on other advertisers who CHOOSE to place their advertising on the Squidoo site. If a potential advertiser doesn’t like what they see on the Squidoo site, they will not be willing to advertise on the site.

Ok, so this still doesn’t explain why Squidoo DOES NOT want any more content on WA or the other “no-no” topics, but EA is still fine with it.

Let’s look at some other differences:

Squidoo:

Allows affiliate links in content. Each new lens (new Squidoo web page) is published and live instantly. Marketers have the freedom to draw as much attention to THEIR offer and as much attention AWAY from Squidoo’s offers as they want.

EzineArticles:

NO affiliate links – period (other than top level redirects). Nothing is published instantly (except maybe premium/paid memberships? Not sure). All content is reviewed by a HUMAN reviewer before going live on site. You have no choice how the page is formatted and all formatting is designed to place ALL focus on EzineArticles offers.

Marketers LOVE Squidoo…and that’s awesome because they should. However, I don’t think many people realize the depth of the problem Squidoo is now facing because of their previous policies.

Their real problem is not the genuine lensmaster who tries to the best of their ability to make a decent lens that happens to be on a “no no” topic.

Their real problem really isn’t the lazy affiliate who just likes to copy/paste their content in a few lenses, either.

There are marketers out there, especially in the black hat segment, that think of all kinds of ways to massively spam the Squidoo site – to extents that you wouldn’t even believe.

Unfortunately, Squidoo has been wide open to this for some time. Think about it, an instant publishing option that allows affiliate links on a high authority domain? That is a goldmine for black-hatters. They call sites like Squidoo and HubPages parasite sites because they can leech on to them and suck the life out of them for their own benefit with no regard at all to the site owners or the long-term viability of the site.

Squidoo has a mess to clean up and it will be those that stick with it that are in for a crazy ride. In order for Squidoo to continue to thrive, they need profit…. they need advertisers.

Now, let me ask each of you something….

If you owned Squidoo.com, what would YOU do?

If you want the honest truth from me, I’d probably say I would institute a ‘no straight affiliate link’ policy but grandfather the ones in that are already on site and are on approved topics. I would allow top-level redirects and limit the out-bound links to the same domain (as Squidoo has already done).

Would any of you open up YOUR site to everyone in the world who wants to advertise there? Would you allow them to put any content they want AND affiliate links?

Really think about this.

You see, I have a few sites that I own…that I took lots of time to build up so they rank and get indexed well…and I opened them up to my OWM’rs. Yes, I have Adsense on them, but I can promise you that the $30 or so I earn a month is not worth what is being done to my sites. Two of the sites have already crashed once and I took the time to re-create them. I really DO want to give new marketers a chance to get going by opening up my resources to them, but believe it or not, there are folks that flat out take advantage of my good nature and abuse the sites with no regard to what happens to them.

If the sites crash again, or get all “spammed up” again, I am closing them off or making them ‘approval only’. Even my good nature has its limitations =)

Based on my experience with my own sites, I can’t BEGIN to imagine what Squidoo is going thru. Even tho EzineArticles may be a pain in the butt-ola, I can totally see why they do what they do. I can also understand why Squidoo is doing this… whether I personally like it or not.

This is business… it’s not personal.

Once upon a time I did a lot of writing for a site called Associated Content. AC would allow you to submit your unique 500+ word article to them and they would then (hopefully) make an offer to you to buy that article to put on their site.

These offers where anywhere from $3 – $10… not much, but I was new and I was doing everything and anything I could to get money coming IN.

Many times, a “no thank you” reply would come from AC with the reason being that they already had plenty of content on that topic.

It took me about 2 days to figure out “the secret” to getting AC to want and PAY FOR my content.

If I thought of a topic, I would search the associatedcontent.com site and see how much content they ALREADY had on that topic/keyword. If they already had a lot, I didn’t write on that keyword. If they had none, I wrote and submitted an article for it.

Worked pretty well.

Why? Because I was giving AC what they wanted… Exposure in a specific keyword query space that they DID not already have Google exposure for.

Now, applying that thought process to Squidoo… do you really think Squidoo.com wants another page that targets the phrase “wealthy affiliate” or “wealthy affiliate scam”? Really? And trust me, there are LOTS of phrases – especially product names or ‘product name scam’ – that are OVERLY covered on Squidoo.com.

They don’t necessarily want the ‘garden snail’ lenses as much as they want UNIQUE content on UNIQUE keywords and topics.

And why would YOU, the marketer, want to put yet another page on the Squidoo site that targets ‘product name’ or ‘product name scam’? With thousands of pages already in Google from Squidoo.com, why put yourself in such a saturated query space with no hope of being found?

I’m sorry this is long…. and I also apologize if this sounds like a rant (it’s totally not). My thinking is that if I am given an opportunity to broaden the thinking of even ONE new marketer, then it is worth my time to say something.

Also, there are hundreds and hundreds of other free sites that you can use. Thing is, no matter what free site you use, you will always be at the mercy of their rules and their finger on the delete button.

Even if you are not directly responsible for rule changes or loss of your content, I can PROMISE you that there are plenty of marketers that will cause you to lose your content based on their own actions on the site ruining it for others.

When you are new and have very little money to invest into all this, these free sites are a golden opportunity to get going and start cash flowing IN to you…. but you gotta be unique….and you must play by the rules – all there is to it.

ALWAYS plan to reinvest your earnings into having your OWN site so you can then move to having your free pages support YOUR site as opposed to making the free pages your ‘home base’.

Free sites, in my opinion and my experience, are the perfect way to fund your new online business and then to promote and expose your online business – but they are not designed to BE your long-term online business.

I know better than most that we all have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by new policies – they are not designed to keep the good guys out.

Ok, I hush now. My fingers are tired…lol

All the best,

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

========= End Post ===========

So, there you have it…my thoughts (current value = $2.95  lol!)

What I REALLY want to hear tho, is YOUR thoughts.

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