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Squidoo Conference Call – Recap

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by PotPieGirl on March 19, 2013 · 137 comments

Hey everyone!  I just got off the conference call that Seth Godin, Bonnie, and Gil from Squidoo HQ held for Giant Squids so thought I’d recap some highlights here for everyone.  As most Squidoo lensmasters know, Squidoo has been going through some changes so HQ decided to give us some of their time to tell us a few details about what all is going on.

 

The conference call only lasted about 20 minutes.  Not very long, but long enough for HQ to get some points across.  I took notes as I listened so I could share some highlights with y’all.

Just to note:  these “highlights” are not exact quotes so please don’t quote anything as “Seth said” or anything like that.  These are the things *I* heard and my thoughts on each.

First off, Seth thanked everyone – not just his staff but the 97% of lensmasters that are doing a good job and have helped make Squidoo awesome.

Seth mentioned that there are now over 3 MILLION lensmasters!  Unreal.  Even though I’ve been with Squidoo since February 2007, it’s still hard to believe how much the site has grown.  I also want to mention that Squidoo has not only survived all these years, but they have thrived – and that is virtually unheard of these days.

Seth did mention that Squidoo is having “trust issues” with Google.  I don’t think that shocked anyone – heck, it’s the reason the conference call happened at all (well, indirectly).

In short, the signals that the Squidoo.com site has recently been sending to Google are putting the site in danger of losing that precious “trust” from Google.  Again, anyone that has bounced around on the site and seen some of the pages cranked out lately knew that this would/could happen – and those types of pages are what HQ is wanting to bring to a halt.

Seth did point out that other very popular sites online like Squidoo… sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etc, that Squidoo was the ONLY site that allowed it’s users to make money.

HQ folks all agreed that about 97% of their users are all doing a good job, but there is that 3% or so that is messing things up for the rest of us and for the site.  To battle this, Squidoo will be implementing a new filter to weed out the most serious problems Squidoo is facing right now – spun content and overly aggressive products links.

Yes, there are also those that are gaming the system, and as Seth said – they don’t have time to deal with the gamers.  If found, their account is locked with no discussion about it. (note: they did not define “gaming” from their perspective.  While I think many of us have seen it, it is still not clear what HQ defines it as.  However, Seth did mention that if your thinking when using Squidoo is ‘how can I game the system’, you’re going about it all wrong.)

Seth mentioned making lenses that could NOT be ‘built by a robot’.  To me, that makes sense and should make it easier for each of us to look at our lenses and figure out what needs to change.

He also mentioned that they will not give a “cookie cutter set of rules” because there aren’t any.  If they had a cookie cutter set of rules, they could just hire a dozen folks to make pages on their site and leave the lensmasters out of it.  That makes sense to me.  I know we all like clearly defined rules, but we’re not going to get it at Squidoo.

An example Seth used was this – he brought up the now infamous shower curtain lens.  He found it hard to believe that someone could be THAT passionate about shower curtains, however he gave an example of how that same shower curtain concept could be made into a great lens.

He said (to paraphrase) that say someone is wild over the movie “Psycho” and put a YouTube clip of the Psycho shower scene on their lens and then linked out to some shower curtains they liked.

Seth stressed personalizing our lenses – again, the whole “not built by a robot” concept.

Another important point that Seth made was looking at your lens and asking yourself why Google would send someone to your lens instead of sending them straight to Amazon.

I think that is a big point to pay attention to – it’s important to remember to add value to your lens that the reader would not get from Amazon (or without searching all over Amazon).  Seth also said that if you’re not ‘proud’ of your lens then you might need to be nervous about it.  That’s open to interpretation, in my opinion.  Basically, work you’re happy to put your name on as opposed to hiding it behind multiple anonymous accounts (just to note, nothing was said about it being BAD to have multiple accounts).

Next up was Gil (Chief Engineer with Squidoo).  Gil does all the on-site work, coding, developing of the lensrank algo etc.  Gil talked about the new filter that Squidoo will be implementing soon (as for WHEN, that was not mentioned unless I didn’t hear it).

Gil mentioned that new spammy problems on Squidoo are spun content and overly aggressive product links.  While the product links used to be fine, now they need to be more personal (as in, add your thoughts about products, etc).

From my understanding of what Gil said, the filter has NOT been run yet – but it’s coming.

If your lens gets hit by the filter, you will get notice and have 1 week to correct it (Giants will get 3 weeks).  The warning is something you will be able to correct on your own – in other words, it sounds as if you will not have to request a “greenlight” or anything to have the warning removed.  How exactly that will work, I don’t know.

The question of “ugly buttons” and “too many links” was brought up, but not answered exactly.  The answer was more of a “you know it when you see it” type thing.

The question of “what’s so special about being a Giant Squid” was also brought up.  This part kind of amused me and made me want to high-five Seth through the phone.

Giants should be the ones to lead by example.  Seth mentioned all the “snarky” comments people leave for him and put in the HQ forum.  In short, and to paraphrase, Seth said that if you don’t have something nice and/or positive to share, shut up.

As a community built site we are all in this together.  There is no “me” in Squidoo  – it’s about all of us collectively as a whole that determine the success of the site.  Giants should be the first to encourage that and to lead by example – and leaving ‘snarky’ comments does not accomplish that.

As my Grandmother always told me, ” if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” – to me, that really, REALLY applies now… ESPECIALLY now when so many are in such an uproar over what Squidoo is doing to THEIR web pages.  Thing is, they do not belong to any individual – they are all part of the Squidoo site.  In my opinion, if you don’t like what’s being done with your content, take your toys and move on.  No one is forcing me to put content on Squidoo – I do it because I love it.  If I ever start to UNlove it, I’ll start putting my content somewhere else.

And that, right there, brings me back to the ‘snarky comments’ discussion – I’ve read many online and in the HQ forum threaten that if Squidoo HQ doesn’t do this, that, or the other thing, that the lensmaster will take all their content from Squidoo and go somewhere else.

First off, totally any of our right to put our content anywhere we want to online, but my question is this – WHERE else can you take it that it does as well as Squidoo?  Even if you have your own site, what other supporting site works as well as Squidoo?  I LOVE using free sites as either stand-alones or to support my own sites and I’ve used plenty of them… none work as well as Squidoo and no other sites are as powerful as Squidoo.

While I totally understand the frustration and confusion many are feeling as Squidoo goes through these changes, I don’t feel it gives the right to be “snarky” to the people that ARE working to keep the site powerful.  Feedback is good – constructive criticism is good…but nastiness is not called for.

Maybe I have this opinion because I know what it’s like when people feel free to be snarky and downright rude to you so I can empathize with how defeating and demotivational it is.  Bad energy makes nothing better and sharing your thoughts with bad energy behind it causes your words to fall on deaf ears.

That bad energy has been rampant in the HQ forum lately and it’s gotten to where I don’t even want to go in there to keep up with what’s going on.  That and the “witch hunting”/finger pointing is so demoralizing.

I will say I was not pleased at all to see HQ point out one lens/lensmaster as the “what not to do” poster child.  In fact, I thought it was really wrong.  The whole ‘what not to do’ could have been accomplished by an HQ member making a quick example lens to get their point across.  But pointing out one member of the site as a ‘what not to do’ when, as Gil said, it USED to be fine, just might have been the catalyst for all the finger pointing and what I call “witch hunting” (meaning, to me, hunting down other lenses that a fellow lensmaster considers spam and using them as an example or turning them in, etc).

Yes, it is up to all of us to watch out for the site, but seriously, it appears people are spending more time on hunting down other lenses than working on their own.  While some real violations of Squidoo’s TOS will slip through, most will be caught by the impending filter.  Based on that, I really wish that the negative energy will be toned down.  I know that’s wishful thinking because when that filter hits, all you-know-what will probably break loose and make the current tone feel like a party.

I’ll step down from my soapbox regarding all that because in the end, the site belongs to Squidoo – it does not belong to me.  *I* have the option of being there and HQ will be working on making the site better with or without me – with or without ANY of us.

 

In fact, and this is something to really think about before choosing to be “snarky” – Squidoo has plenty enough content to just turn off the ability for anyone to make new lenses.

I know it’s hard to feel any appreciation of that fact when you fear all your work going down the drain, but really think about it.

As I said earlier, I know this is a confusing and frustrating time.  Those that have been with Squidoo as long as I have (or longer) know that these types of “massive clean ups” happen to the site from time to time.  They ARE needed and ARE the reason the site is so great that we DO get upset when things change.  If the site was useless, would you really care about ANY changes they made?  Think about it.

While I am a huge proponent of Squidoo – especially when you’re new to online writing and money-making – I also do not advocate ONLY using Squidoo.  In other words, if all your income is dependent on Squidoo, you might want to consider expanding – even more so if your lenses make money.

I’m not saying or even implying that Squidoo is going anywhere, but to me, having all your income dependent on ONE site that you do not have any control over is like putting all your money under your mattress.  Sure, it’s easy…sure, it usually works just fine… but what IF the house burns down?  Money – poof.

There isn’t a way any ONE site can be protected from being a lost income stream – not even if it’s your own site.  Heard of Google Panda, or Penguin?  Yeah, those can destroy your own site just as easily – actually it’s easier because our own sites don’t have near the power or authority that Squidoo does.  And with your own site, YOU have to figure out how to recover and implement the recovery process hoping it works eventually.  At least with Squidoo, we have one heck of a team doing that and worrying about that FOR us.  All we have to do is what they ask to help them achieve it.

As someone who owns/ has owned many, many sites and worked on client sites, etc, I am personally very relieved to NOT have to worry about it.  I only have to worry about my own contributions to the site and that’s it.  Sure, I might lose some lenses during all this, but I also know I will have at least a week to make corrections so I DON’T lose them.  I really appreciate that.  I know how easy it is just to use the delete button as opposed to taking the time to allow someone to make edits let alone all the extra member support that will come with it.

In the end, it’s their site.  If they use the delete button on you or allow you to make corrections, it’s up to them.  I’m quite thankful for at least a week without an automatic delete.  I’d like to think the majority of us are as well.

If you are nervous about what will happen to a money-making lens… diversify and expand.  There is no rule that says you can only have ONE web page that ranks for your target phrases.  No, it can’t be the SAME content, but it’s easy enough to diversify without copy/pasting.

This is something I am getting together for my One Week Marketing members.  Oddly tho, Squidoo is not the only site making changes – many sites I use are making changes and those changes combined with Google’s changes this month have made me slow down a bit and see what happens when the dust settles.  The only thing consistent online is changes and Squidoo is FAR from the only site, or only algo, that will change on us constantly and consistently.

To my members, I am working on it and watching how it all works out.  Thankfully, all the other free sites I use are coming thru just fine and their changes seem to also be good ones.  So hang tight for me.  In the meantime, be sure to have a backup of any lens you care about just in case something happens to the lens and you’d like to take that content elsewhere.

Otherwise, that rounds up my recap of the conference call and my thoughts on all going on surrounding it.  I absolutely understand that many folks will say that all this is “not fair”, but in the end, it’s not about what’s “fair” to any of us individually, it’s about what’s best for the site – and that is not in our hands.

Comments are open right now – feedback and questions are welcome, but please, try and refrain from any “snarkiness” – it’s not productive at all.

edit to add:  Squidoo HQ just posted the recording of the conference call here.

 Second edit:  Giant Squids were invited to ask questions and they were not answered during the conference call, BUT they are now answered here: 10 Questions from our Giant Squids (please take a moment to read it…it offers more insight)

 



{ 136 comments }

Peonies Wedding March 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Great article Jennifer! Thanks so much for keeping everyone up to date.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Thanks! I do what I can and try to wait until there is real info to share. Speculation isn’t helpful, in my opinion.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Loretta March 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

My understanding of what Gil said (between all the beeping) was that they manually reviewed and locked some accounts that were tripping their initial filters heavily and that the whole process is going to continue and they’ll keep tweaking and improving it as they go along.

It was reassuring to hear him say that a human being looked at it in the cases where they locked entire accounts. It wasn’t clear if human beings were looking at individual lenses upon locking or not, or if there will be any sort of appeal/review process put into place.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I got the same as well (in between the beeping…lol!). Yes, it does help to know that real humans looked at the lenses in question. It’s also important to remember that what we literally SEE on the lens may not have been the issue (or only issue).

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Charlie the Passive Income Nut:) March 25, 2013 at 1:51 am

Jenn and Loretta:
If I could make just one IMPORTANT point…

This is the very reason why we must NEVER EVER depend on free sites for a chunk of our income. It’s a must to learn how to make money off-line, with your own product, with your own website, or whatever way you choose.

Do NOT depend on free sites that can cut your income overnight (with one policy change).

Charlie

Charlie the Passive Income Nut:) March 27, 2013 at 9:29 am

UPDATE: If you’ve update your Lens and republished it without any problems and STILL have that yellow exclamation mark, here’s how to get rid of it per Jenn’s email (thanks to Michelle):

1. Go to your dashboard
2. Click the yellow icon
3. Click “fix this lens”
4. Click to publish

A lens is not “fixed” until the yellow symbol is gone.

THANK YOU MICHELLE AND JENN FOR SHARING THAT!

Charlie

Terr March 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the call, Jen.

I feel that your perspective is a healthy one. The bottom line is that HQ has to think about their branding and the big picture. They have to make changes that will protect their hard-earned reputation. They have to make changes that will keep them on the good side of Google, so that we all can make money.

People are acting like Squidoo is out to get them and that’s not the case AT ALL! It is their site to do whatever they wish with it and yet, they are being gracious enough to allow us to fix any lenses that will only bring everyone else down. They don’t have to do that at all.

Your words match my feelings. As a matter of fact, this reminds me of something I’m experiencing with some long term tenants at my apartment property. They seem to be taking issue with some of the residents that they don’t like moving into “their apartment property”. My thoughts are hey, it’s not YOUR PROPERTY. You are a tenant just like the rest of us and if you don’t like certain people moving to the property, then it’s time for you to pack and purchase YOUR OWN PROPERTY!

You don’t like it, leave, ya’ know?

I’m new to all of this and I appreciate your example and your transparency. It guides me as I hear about people being fearful. I’m not fearful, because I’m the type of person who only posts content that I’m proud of. I care about what I attach my name to. And I’m glad you mentioned the forums, because I’m staying far away from that forum now. I’m putting on the blinders, producing work that I’m proud of. If I’m filtered out for some reason, I’ll graciously fix what needs to be fixed and move forward. No drama necessary.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

A big High-Five to you, Terr!!!! I am with you 110% – well said!!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Bob March 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Great article. We all need to pay close attention to how we do things if we want a long term business.
Short cuts will only come back to bite you it’s only a matter of when.
Thank you for sharing Jennifer. We all need this.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Agreed, Bob!!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Monna Ellithorpe March 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Jennifer,

Great information. I was on the call this morning and found it very helpful. I agree that Squidoo needs to look out for us as a “whole” and do what is best.

Personally, I am looking forward to the “filters” to show me where I have produced a good lens or a bad one and then I will be able to correct where it’s really needed.

Just wanted to point out that I learn from you every day. You took the ball and ran with this one on making a post about the call and I didn’t even think about it. I have to get my mindset going forward instead of just sitting still. Thanks for the wake up nudge.

Monna

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Oh Monna, now you got me thinking about making a Nudge Machine so everyone can get a nudge…lol!!!!!

While the conference call wasn’t full of any direct HUGE answers, and Seth did ask us to try and not ‘read between the lines’ of what he was saying, it did make a lot of sense to me and I appreciate them taking the time to do it.

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

BN March 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Great article. I have never understood those who seek out lenses, hubs or whatever to report them. Who has that kind of time?

As for Squidoo, it is ranking soooo well right now with very little other work! I will do what they ask and be happy to do it. It has been good to me. :)

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I agree, BN – who has time for all that? And yes, I also am quite thankful for Squidoo – if I need to make changes, so be it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

June (KonaGirl March 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I couldn’t agree more! Some folks just don’t get it. Squidoo owns the site and software. They allow us to, not only use it for FREE, they also pay us and allow us to make even more as affiliates. You think I want to follow their rules for this privilege? Absolutely! I want to continue my good standing. With almost 250 lens under my belt, I will follow their rules. To me it’s a no brainer.

Graysen Blackwell March 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I am a new customer to One Week Marketing. Hosting has become cheaper and cheaper, plus there are now free autoresponders. Considering how much we pay for domain names this is a minor setback.

I was listening to a interview with Seth from quite a while ago. He pointed out in that interview that most people are honest forthright but it is always that fringe element that takes advantage of a good thing or pushes the envelope in some way that hurts us all. Look at shop lifting, because of that we all pay about 20% more than we should.

Google and Squidoo must protect their businesses and customers at all costs. Google does not do this to punish people. They make these changes to protect their core business, the people who use their search engine every day. They were not the first company in the search engine business, they just did it better than most of the other companies at the time. That is why they are the largest. Although like many others I am not always pleased with their changes even as a search engine user they are providing a great free service. I know about the advertising but for the web surfer it is free. This might hurt some in the short run but all honest marketers will be better off in the long run.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Graysen – great attitude and well-said! Google does what they need to in order to protect their business as does Squidoo and hopefully ALL businesses. As should we. If one feels that Squidoo does not work in their best interest anymore, there is absolutely no requirement to continue sharing content there.

Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Sana March 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for giving us “insight” on what’s going on behind the scene. I am in love with Squidoo and I try to do my best to make a good quality lens. But still if any of my lenses gets hit, I’ll take time to update it to the standard of Squidoo. This site has given me so much in a very short time period. I’ll keep looking for more updates from you and Squidoo.
Thanks,
Sana

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Happy to hear that, Sana!

(and as a sidenote, it sure it super nice to see all the positive feedback so far – very refreshing! Thanks, y’all! )

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

April March 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Great article. Thank you so much for making a post regarding the Squidoo changes. I have been wondering about it just like all the other lensmasters and have put off building any lenses for the last few days to see if any of mine get hit. I am really just concerned with one method that I use – thankfully I haven’t put a ton of lenses on Squidoo that are like that one, but even those I take a lot of time and effort to make them informative. I’m worried about too many affiliate links. I guess I will see.

Again thank you for posting your thoughts.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Yep, April – it’s all gonna be a ‘wait and see’ type thing as we see what HQ will do and then any changes they make to refine the process. It’s a good week to spring clean the house tho! lol!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Allan R. Wallace (BFuniv.com) March 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Thanks Jennifer,

I’ve removed original content in the past from Squidoo, just because it wasn’t performing well enough to justify a battle against a lie of copyright infringement. The page was clean and proper. I’m worried I may lose more content again. I write some lenses on similar subjects, but while I’m traveling around the world I’m not going to stop and spend a day rewriting original stuff because an algorithm dislikes it. If I lose it all, that’s maybe a couple of hundred dollars a month less to charity — but it’s not my decision.

I expect to stay around and have no problems, the folks at Squidoo do try hard to be fair. I respect them and their right to run their-site-their-way. My leaving won’t hurt them. My staying is more personal history than need. My books now share much of what I studied and learned on Squidoo while developing written communication skills. I have more to learn and new places to go, but Squidoo has been a great education.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I agree, Allan… and Lord knows, after all my years on Squidoo, there’s no telling what will survive and what won’t. Regardless, the education from those years is priceless to me. My roots are with Squidoo and unless they unroot me, I’m not going anywhere. If anything, I owe it to Squidoo to be patient and supportive – they’ve been so good to me over the years!

Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Jacob March 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Hello Jen, been a long-time reader and am still pretty new to OWM (16 lenses done so far!). I really appreciate you taking the time to let us all know what was said and what to expect.

Squidoo truly is an amazing site, makes building quality content SO much easier and faster. I will admit that I’ve had a couple lenses that have been locked (again, I’m new forgive me xD) and it was very hard to not take it personally which I guess is a good, and bad thing. I’m trying to just take a step back and be more appreciative and fix what needs to be fixed and move on with my day.

Thanks again :)!

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Love the attitude, Jacob! Yes, it’s tricky when you’re new and it IS hard to not take it personally but it sounds to me that your attitude puts your right inline to do very, very well!

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Gary March 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Jennifer, that was an excellent recap.
Simply put, if Squidoo DOES NOT make these changes then they won’t be what it is we want and need. Continuing down the current path equals self destruction. We have seen so many great tools and sites that DID NOT change the rules when people started taking advantage of them and the result is the same, they are gone. I for one am glad Squidoo is tightening the belt. I am diverse, so I can afford to lose them, but that doesn’t mean I want to. That is a great deal of work that would be down the drain.
Oh and I got it different, Jen:
My Grandmother always told me, ” If you don’t have anything nice to say, make sure the person you are talking about can’t hear you”

Gary

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Bingo, Gary – changes might be frustrating while they’re happening, but NO changes could be a death sentence.

and a BIG LOL at the “make sure the person you are talking about can’t hear you”!!! Too funny!!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Robert March 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm

The folks who are going to get so upset by this are the same ones who got all twisted up when Google changed the way they rank. These are the folks who don’t want to take the time to create useful, rich, authoritative content on the interweb … so if their stuff gets taken, good … it was probably junk anyway.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm

While “false positives” absolutely happen, for the most part this is true. We are supposed to be making the web better, right? Matter of a fact, I believe Seth said that on the call….

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

June (KonaGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Jennifer, thanks so much for this post. I was suppose to be on that call but some how did not receive the email with the phone number, so am very glad to have gotten your insight from it. Thanks so much.

My goal this year was to make the 250 lens mark, then start building my own Amazon websites. Now, I have to rethink as to whether or not I should continue with my initial plan or start working right away on my own sites. I haven’t built one in 2 years and hope I still remember how. LOL. One thing that I am sure of is I don’t use spun content.

What I have always questioned and have never received an answer on is this:
It has been my understanding that Amazon does not want their product discriptions altered, but at the same time, if we don’t write our own, isn’t that duplicate content a million times over by all the people selling their products as an affiliate? And then if we write the discription in our own words, will Squidoo consider it spun content?

I would be interested in your opinion on this.

Jacob March 19, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Sorry! Don’t mean to but in, but that is a great question June. I’ve been wondering that myself for quite a while now.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Good question, June. While I can’t answer for Squidoo, I can give you my thoughts on it.

I don’t think they really want a rewrite of the description as much as to add our own personal thoughts about the product. For example, instead of trying to figure out how to rewrite the specs, say something like – “I like this widget because of it’s small size which would make it easier for me to ______”. Not a great example – just a quick idea off the top of my head. Hope it makes sense.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Let me add to that… think less like a catalog and more like a personal blog. Heck, even more like an email you would send to a friend if they asked “What kind of widget should I get?”. Amazon has “catalog” covered, but the personal part is what will help Google decide it IS a good idea to send folks to our lenses before/as opposed to sending them straight to Amazon.

Terr March 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm

That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write my blurbs as if I’m describing the product to a friend. I wouldn’t repeat everything that the product description says. I’d either describe the product in my own words or I’d offer up my opinion of the description.

June (KonaGirl March 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Your opinion is valued! Most of the time I try to do that, but sometimes I just get brain dead after writing why I think a babies outfit is cute, adorable, etc. for so many different articles of clothing! LOL.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 12:05 am

I hear ya, June… the ol’ mind goes BLANK. I hate when that happens!

John Goddard March 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Excellent update about the latest happenings at Squidoo.

There is another blog site out there …..{rest of comment snipped by Jennifer. Please don’t promote Empower Network here. Thank you!}

John Goddard March 20, 2013 at 1:59 am

I understand. I’m really more interested in your thoughts about EN. What’s good or not about it? They’re 18 month old and have over 100,000 members. Something is going on here. I’d love to read your thoughts. Feel free to respond to my email above if you wish. Thanks, JG

Genesis March 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I’ve been using Squidoo for 6 years now and recall the original Google slap that happened there. It was pretty devastating, but the site did make a comeback and has been a great asset since then. I do trust them to do what is best not only for the site, but for the lensmasters as a whole. Time and time again, Seth and his team have proven that they listen to what we say. I’m still a little nervous, because ‘bots can get it wrong, but in the end, I think things will work out.

I highly recommend putting your eggs in multiple baskets, too, though. It was on my list of things to do but I never got around to it and so my earnings are mostly coming from Squidoo, which is a tad nervewracking at this point, but it just means it’s good motivation to spread things out a bit.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I remember all that as well, Genesis – was quite a time and yes, Squidoo came back stronger than ever.

I hope you do get out there and start expanding your money-makers – it’s a good thing to do regardless of what Squidoo does or doesn’t do. If one page does well, why have only ONE on ONE site, ya know?

And yes, sometimes…. aw heck, MANY times, it takes us being forced out of our warm ‘n fuzzy comfort zone to make the changes needed. If anything, maybe we should thank Squidoo for giving us a nudge in that direction ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Terr March 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I have a question. If any of the lenses get locked, we are told that we’ll have the opportunity to fix the lens. Are the lens masters notified, regarding what specifically needs to be fixed.

If so, then why are people scared?

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I think it’s the difference between being locked and being flagged. My interpretation is that the new filter will flag lenses…lensmasters will be told and have time to fix it. Whether they say EXACTLY what needs to be fixed, I have no clue.

Bonnie March 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

My experience is that lensmasters are not given a clue as to why a lens is flagged or locked. Both have happened to me. Sometimes I could figure out why (e.g. one of my lenses contains names of many drugs because it pulls together information from many medical studies, so the filter thought it was spam). Sometimes I couldn’t. Occasionally I get knocked at one place or another because I’ve published some articles that became popular sources for article-spinning ‘bots so that might explain some episodes, but I’m not sure. It would be easier to remediate a lens if more of a clue came through about why it has been flagged or (worse) locked.

single cup coffeemakers March 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Thank you for sharing your notes on the squidoo conference call. Can you tell me when they will unleash this new filter that will begin locking people’s lenses? In your article you mentioned this new filter will lock lenses that have too many affiliate links in them. Does this include the amazon links in the squidoo amazon modules?

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm

They didn’t say exactly when the filter will be unleashed and they also didn’t say exactly anything specific that would cause a lens to get flagged by the filter either. As for “too many affiliate links” – that was not defined so as of right now, it’s just speculation.

Until someone actually gets a “your lens was flagged by the new filter” notification, no one knows how this will work (other than HQ folks).

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

JohnTheJock March 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Hi Jen, thanks for a great post.

I stopped using Squidoo a couple of years ago, after a long running love/hate affair. I got started with them through your original One Week Marketing course and things went great for a while. It seemed to me that all of a sudden they started closing down lens pages on a whim.

Now, I have to admit I know a LOT more now than I did then, so I can understand where they were coming from.

Your post clarifies a few things, and I may well try Squidoo again. We all have to “clean up” our sites now and again (to get some love from Penguins and Pandas) and I have to admit that I for one, embrace ALL the changes that are taking place. Affiliate marketing (white hat) will survive and flourish, and hopefully the spammers will fade quietly and quickly into NeverNever land.

Cheers Jen.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I totally understand, John, regarding the past Squidoo clean up. From the outside looking in it sounded as if it was done on a whim. But as you pointed out, with time and experience online we learn that these things need to be done now and then and in the long run, things turn out better. Glad to hear you’ll give Squidoo a try again – you just might be pleasantly surprised =)

Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Marv March 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I saw that article that Squidoo wrote and showed the Lens they did not like. I can understand why they did not like it but I was amazed they actually used a lens by name. I think they lost their way for a short time. Hopefully it will all be for the best by the end of this revision. Thanks for the updates.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Agreed, Marv – hopefully the end result will be worth the “yuck” of the moment.

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Dave March 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Can you tell us what some of the other sites you use so we may diversify?
Thanks
OWM paid member

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

All that info will be coming to members soon. Not something I care to share here publicly. =)

lynda March 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Thanks for summarizing the conference call and for giving your opinion. I had been wondering what your thoughts were on the current Squidoo situation.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

You’re most welcome, Lynda! Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Enda McLarnon March 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for providing the information. You join something, anything that has rules and you make a choice. I once belonged to a fishing club who brought in silly rules so I left. I joined another club and have been there 20 years and have been on the small committee for 10 years. We now make the rules for the greater good. You are 100% right Jennifer. Obey the rules or pack up and go quietly.

I have tried to build lenses on keywords only to find they are already used. When I look at those lenses some of them are brilliant and some are just darned awful packed with products and terrible html usage. They clearly use spun content and add zero value. Bring on the filter is what I say.

I have also seen a bunch of courses where people are teaching how to make these bad lenses in an hour or two. Any decent lens will take a few hours hard work and I blame two things for the low standards: People being advised by “gurus” to use Squidoo as a back link only and people selling newbies awful courses to rattle up as many thin lenses as they can.

I am only at Squidoo a few months but I am doing well there and I just believe if you make the right efforts you will be rewarded.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Absolutely, Enda! In the long run, this will be best for all of us (well, those that choose to stay).

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

DeAnna Troupe March 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

The biggest problem I am having with Squidoo is the need to update evergreen lenses. I’m not really sure what else to put on them. I do appreciate what you have written. Keep up the good work.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hiya DeAnna =)

Why do you feel the need to update if you can’t think of anything to add to them? Not picking – just asking. I know many people think updating is like THE most important thing about a lens, but I don’t agree. If a lens NEEDS updating or if there is something relevant to add and/or update, then sure, by all means do it. But no need to update just for the sake of updating.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Hamish March 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for the update. I heard the recording of the call – and I think that there are a lot of positives to take from it.

In the end, we will all benefit from any improvements made at Squidoo. As far as “gaming” the system goes, putting the same time and effort into producing quality lenses will, in the long term, be a more productive use of everyone’s time I think.

I know you won’t share here, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing your hints and tips for making the best use of other free web properties over at OWM. I have complete confidence in Squidoo – but have never been one to put all my eggs in one basket.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I think we all will benefit as well, Hamish and I’m so thankful to contribute on a site where they actually CARE about the outcome, ya know?

I’m working hard on the new training (as I have been) – if only the other sites and Google would chill out for 5 seconds I could close it out…lol!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Alan March 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

HI PPG,

What are your thoughts about the hiatus on transferring lenses?

No doubt is has put a hold on one of your OWM “spin offs”…..

I know for a fact that it has put a huge hole in the income of so many lensmasters out there.

I was about to start offering a lens building service to my customers……..but obviously…. its a dead end for now.

My apologies if you have already covered this…. but I didn’t see it.

Thanks so much for all that you do for us!

Alan

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

You’re right, Alan, I didn’t talk about the hiatus on lens transferring. Yes, it hurts some folks and yes, it put a dagger in something I was doing, but I really don’t mind. I know Squidoo needs to a) clamp down on things going on and b) keep lenses all in one place while they sort this mess out. Sure, I’d love for them to bring that option back – it has a lot of good uses – but either way is fine by me.

Good question!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Terra March 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I was expecting something like this to happen because there were so many new products being released on “how to make fast easy money with Squidoo”. Lenses were ranking so well in Google that people flooded there for links back to their sites and evidently put up crappy content to get the link. Well a lot of it was to make Amazon sales too, I realize that.

I would like your opinion on using the “app” that was released that helped speed the process of adding Amazon products to our lenses. I know you promoted that app, so are you still going to use it? I am wondering if the term “cookie cutter” lens has anything to do with that. I would love to hear from you on this, because I personally love using the app and I think it makes a lens look great, but if it is going to red flag me then I guess I’ll have to leave it alone. Your thoughts?

April March 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I was also wondering this Terra and am glad you asked. :0)

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Hiya Terra and April – I love that tool and I can’t see Squidoo having issue with it. Yes, it was marketed as a “Squidoo tool” to help save time with our HTML coding, but it can be used on any type of web page (and I use it all over the place!) So, yes I absolutely DO plan to keep using it – but I also plan to make things look more “mine” than just like everyone elses if that makes sense.

Thanks y’all!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

DeAnna Troupe March 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Don’t you have to update the lenses to get them out of that Work In Progress state?

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Ah, yes – that does help DeAnna – I see what you’re getting at out now. Updating does help get that red check to go away. But as opposed to simply updating for the sake of it, try and look towards adding something or tweaking something that will help KEEP it out of the red zone. Some times it’s tough to find that “magic tweak”, but when you do find it, things sure are much easier.

Sorry for misunderstanding!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

DeAnna Troupe March 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm

No worries. I admit that I wasn’t that clear in my first comment. I love how quickly you reply to comments!

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

I do my best – and been typing a mile a minute today ;)

Thanks for explaining… sometimes my brain gets totally fried! lol!

Buffygirl March 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Thanks for taking the time to give us this recap and your thoughts. I love the way you take the time to pour your heart and mind out to us, even though you’re a very busy lady with so much multi-tasking to do!

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Aw thanks, BuffyGirl! (cute name!). I’m not one to talk or post just for the sake of it – I like to wait until I really have something to say based on more than just speculation. That’s probably why my posts tend to be so long – I wait until a lot has built up…lol!

I sure appreciate you stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Buffygirl March 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Just realized i was supposed to put a url for my website on this form, so correcting that. Anyway, yes, although I’m not that active at the moment with affiliate marketing (working on another project at the moment), I’m so glad I’m still on your mailing list. I appreciate the updates.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I’ll fix the first one for ya ;)

Roger March 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I really do wish, though, that they could give more specifics on a lens that triggers the “spam” filter.

I worked about a day and a half on a comparison lens, created nifty tables, the whole deal. Yes, there were CJ affiliate links to each of the 5 or 6 vendors I was comparing. Does that make it spammy?

Good comparisons are hard to come by and provide some of the best value to consumers.

Yes, I “appealed”, waited a week and heard nothing. Which is supposed to mean that some person agrees it’s spammy. Boy I sure wish I could get an open hearing with a jury of 12 and have that person humiliate themselves trying to “prosecute” their case.

Frustrating.

Yes, it’s their website, but their website is just as empty domain with US and our work. And while lots of people will work for them for free, sometimes you get what you pay for. When I work all day on a lens and they won’t publish it that is one thing; but when I see a lens get “rewarded” that is little more than a fancy conglomeration of Amazon links then I can’t help but get the distinct impression that it might have something to do with:

- my not giving Squidoo a chance to make money via Amazon links.

So while what they say is valid, and nobody likes whiners, some of us users have valid concerns, and yes, even complaints.

For those Squidoo’ers who are willing to keep the dialogue civil I don’t think it would kill Squidoo to offer some more specific feedback about why our lens won’t publish.

There; that’s my 82 cents worth.

Roger.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Roger, I totally hear where you’re coming from. About a month ago or so, I created a new lens on my “2″ account (ie, NON Giant account). I really put a lot of personal stuff into it (which I’ll admit, I don’t really do. I’m not one to share a ton publicly – especially on a site I don’t own. I save that stuff for this blog and ideally, for inside my members area just for them). Anyway, the lens was about when we moved our 2 cats to this new house a bit over 2 years ago. They’re older cats – finicky and set in their ways… and some of their “ways” were nasty habits I did NOT want to move with us. So I made a lens about the things I did that helped break them of those habits to we all got to live happily ever after in the new house.

As soon as I finished the lens and hit publish – BAM, I tripped the filter. I did all I know to try and work it out on my own and just plain couldn’t. So then I did what we’re supposed to do next – request a greenlight. Weeks go by and nothing so I submitted another one. Again, no response.

I *could* move that lens to my Giant account and see what happens, but I don’t want to work through this by using perks that all my members don’t have so I will most likely just move that content to another site.

Frustrating? Oh yeah, absolutely – and baffling too. But I know I have options and if that content is not “Squidoo-worthy” there are plenty of places I can put it instead.

I really doubt Squidoo will offer much more insight into any new lensrank tweaks or what specifically sets off the filter. Giving absolutes like that really opens the site up to more gaming and that is so not what we need there.

On the other hand, it sure would be nice for someone to say, “Hey Jennifer – the lens is fine, but could you please x,y, and z”. It would be very helpful. I remember a few years ago when I had a situation like this and Megan Casey actually came by here and told me that it was simply a certain string of characters in one of my product links that was tripping the filter – that string of characters was common for pharma spam. I never thought to check that and really appreciated her sharing that. Knowing that not only helped MY lens but also enabled me to help others learn how to pick apart their lens to find the issue on their own – which hopefully saved Squidoo’s staff some time.

And that is MY 82 cents worth…lol!

Thanks for stopping by, Roger!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Roger March 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Sorry, you struck a nerve (which means it’s a good post, right?)

I should have started out by thanking you for posting this recap before going on my mini-rant. Thanks!

Roger.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm

No problem …. and thank you! I replied with a “mini-rant” of my own.

I think it’s a GOOD thing that these things going strike some nerves – that means we care. Squidoo wants passionate lensmasters, right? Looks like they got ‘em :)

KC March 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I agree, it’s their site and they do what’s best for Squidoo. I am glad that they are giving Giant Squids 3 weeks to edit lenses – it should be plenty of time for most of us.

Roger March 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

But what good is 3 weeks to edit the lens if you don’t understand what’s wrong with it?

Roger

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I’m really, REALLY hoping that if/when any of us get a “ooops, you tripped the filter” warning that there will be some sort of insight and/or instructions sent with the notification. That means that once this starts happening, we will have more insight and really have a feel for how this will all work. Right now, it’s just the great unknown.

john smith March 29, 2013 at 6:58 am

the filters keep changing, and we will follow them blindly to chasing the right people. When will we get a stable SEO policy from Google / Bing Yahoo.

Larry March 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Really appreciate you taking the time to write this article and sharing. I’m in total agreement, it’s their site, they can do anything they please and if people don’t like it, there are many other sites out there. On the long run it will be better for everyone.

I may have some lenses that might not meet their new bar, but then it’s my responsibility to fix it or move on.

Thanks again!

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Agreed, Larry!

Sue Fegan March 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I have a specific question about the over linking. They have a “link module” where you can put a list of links in. One of my niches is tickets, and so I use that to list all the links say to a Kenny Chesney concert. The rest of my squid is all relevant information, I try make it 300 words per module and include background information on the opening acts, etc. Sometime I put a You Tube in there if there is a new single, sometimes I include the Amazon module because I think they like that. I can never get the eBay one to work right. :) I only put one outgoing link per module and they do not all go to the same place. For instance I might sent some to another free site, with more information about what is on that module. Of course there are a couple to my main landing page,

Anyway, if you use their own “link module” will that come across as too many links?

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Hiya Sue =) I’m sorry, but I have no clue. I don’t *think* the outbound links rules will change, but right now I can’t say anything for sure.

Sorry!

Barry March 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

First thanks for sharing your thoughts on the conference call.

From my own perspective I will continue to build Squidoo lenses because I really love the platform. I enjoy making lenses. I love the modules.

For some ideas the Squidoo lens is the ideal medium. Sorry that some abuse it but that happens.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Hiya Barry =) Making lenses because you enjoy it is a GREAT reason to do it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Nancy March 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hi Jennifer,

I am new to OWM, although not to Squidoo (I currently have 19 featured lenses, one that one a purple star). I have just joined OWM started making my five “starter” lenses as per your instructions and I am enjoying learning some new information as per making lenses this way and figuring it all out.
I hope my current published lenses are not in danger and have no way of knowing I guess.

I think people are afraid of change in general for the most part, that’s not to say everyone, but most. I look at change is a constant part of life, nothing ever stays the same, and change usually means progress for the most part.

My question(s) to you are… Do you think it is in my best interest to continue with my five starter lenses at this point, or do you think I should wait until “the dust settles” so to speak before moving forward with them?

The other question is, and I apologize if it was answered above, is there any timeframe as to when lenses are going to be”hit” or “locked” or both? And how will we know?

Thank you for being a light in the darkness of all of this, and for all you do to help us!

Nancy :)

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Hey Nancy!

Thank you so much! Let me see what I can do with your questions…

My question(s) to you are… Do you think it is in my best interest to continue with my five starter lenses at this point, or do you think I should wait until “the dust settles” so to speak before moving forward with them?

If your starter lenses are being made more from a personal viewpoint as opposed to a “catalog” viewpoint, I *think* they will be fine. Naturally I can’t promise that, but based on what we’re doing with them, they should be fine (ie, they are not “product-fest” or “link fests” and we do add our own personal thoughts.

The other question is, and I apologize if it was answered above, is there any timeframe as to when lenses are going to be”hit” or “locked” or both? And how will we know?

Nope, no time frame was mentioned (unless I missed it – the call was kind of hard to hear because there was all these ‘beep’ sounds as people entered and left the conference call).

I have a sneaky feeling that when the storm hits, we will totally hear the thunder…lol!

Congrats on that purple star!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Jodi March 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Hi Jennifer
I was wondering what you had to say about the changes at Squidoo (I read through your post before I even signed in to Squidoo!). Personally I am excited about the lens filter because I really want to see how my lenses rate and work on the ones that may need work. I love Squidoo although I don’t always agree with what they do (the black bar and the ads) but there is really nowhere else quite like it.
MMO + Squidoo = Money!
Jodi

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Hey Jodi!

I’m almost excited about it as well. There have been so many changes with Google the past 2 years that I’d like to see what really is wanted. I truly believe that Squidoo knows more about “what Google wants” than most of us and these changes could help guide us with our own sites.

But at the end of the day, it’s back to that “add value” thing. Granted, that’s subjective (what’s valuable to me might not be valuable to you).

Thanks for checking with me first…. awesome compliment!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Margaret Schindel March 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Jennifer,

I just finished telling my husband about the call and what I took away from it and how distressed I was about all the negative/snarky reactions to these changes. Then I read your post and it was as though you had been listening in on what I had just told my husband. It’s so refreshing to hear a sensible, authentic and mature point of view about both the changes and the call! Publishing on Squidoo is a privilege, not a right. We get enormous benefits from publishing lenses vs. posting on our own sites, and we have responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with them THAT WE AGREED TO by agreeing to the Terms of Service and renewing that commitment with the new “Magic TOS”. Everything Squidoo does is designed to protect the reputation and authority of the Squidoo brand and domain, which is what allows us all to reap the benefits of publishing on Squidoo. If all of us don’t do what’s necessary to help Squidoo protect its reputation and the authority and trust with Google that allows each of us to enjoy such enormous traffic and exposure to our content (which also means potential sales opportunities), then everyone loses. They are only asking us to live up to our commitments and Squidoo’s admirable brand values. I, for one, am happy to do that, no matter how much extra work is involved. Why would any lensmaster try to bite the hand that feeds them? Anyway, I digress…I just wanted to thank you for writing such an honest, thoughtful and insightful POV on today’s call and the issues that prompted it.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Margaret – thank you! And what a great comment that was… thank you for sharing your thoughts!

(and yes, I was listening in on you and your hubby’s conversation… I was that pesky fly on the wall…hahahahhhahaha!)

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Mike G. March 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I’ve been waiting for this post for a few days. I received an email from Squidoo a few days ago informing me that one of my lenses had been locked. To be honest, I had put it up to basically dip my toe in the water for a particular clickbank product. I’ll admit it was a bit spammy and I didn’t put as much effort in it as my other lenses. I had actually considered deleting it even before I got the notice. It was the only lens I’ve made that hadn’t made any money yet.

After a couple hours of contemplation, rather than fix it I decided to download all my copy and delete it. I already have a blogger subdomain for my keyword phrase and should be able to get some first page rankings splitting up the content into posts. Since 80%+ of my traffic to this former lens was from a youtube video, I just changed the url in my video description to a landing page with a branded ebook and discount offer for the product.

The bottom line is the reason I started using squidoo is because my first lens got to #1 on google for a while and is still floating in the middle of page 1 now, and earns me about $18/mo. I’ve made a few more and 75% of them are on page 1 for one or more keyword phrases, and all making me monthly income of $10 -$15 a month as an average. My intention is to keep making more.

If Squidoo doesn’t do the things it needs to do to stay in Google’s good graces, then it doesn’t matter how many good lenses I build if they won’t rank on page 1. I had one lens drop from spot #2 to #4 on Google and my traffic dropped in half from 400 visitors a month to 200. If we can’t get ranked on page 1 it severly affects the bottom line. What Squidoo is doing is only going to benefit those of us that put up creative, original content.

My advice is to look at your lenses, personalize them as much as you can, like Jen says. Even if you don’t own the product you have thoughts and opinions about it I’m sure. Include personal stories in your lenses related to the topic. Also, re-evaluate the number of affiliate links to the same product. Less is more I believe. I’m considering changing all my affiliate links (non-amazon) to direct to a landing page like a blog post about the product that pre-sells and funnels clicks to the affiliate site I’m promoting.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth. Don’t think about it too much. Don’t get emotional or angry. If your lens gets locked, first download all your copy (there is a link on the right side for that). Then decide it you can or want to do the things needed to fix it. Otherwise delete it and repurpose your content somewhere else, like blogger.

PotPieGirl March 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

A BIG HIGH FIVE to you, Mike! EXACTLY, BINGO and Right On! Just because some of your content doesn’t work on Squidoo (or can’t be there) does NOT mean you can’t use that content elsewhere!

This internet thing is WAY bigger than just Squidoo – and as you said, if Squidoo doesn’t do what it needs to, no one will care WHAT changes they make. Squidoo has always been very proactive with their changes. The last big “sweep” came and everyone was like what the HECK is going on? Now I know that if Squidoo makes a change, it’s a sign for changes internet-wide (or at least Google-wide).

Thanks so much for sharing, Mike!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Elisa March 20, 2013 at 12:07 am

All of the issues lensmasters have with Squidoo is part of what makes me hesitant to create new lenses or even put in more work on the lenses that I already have. I have a hard time keeping my lenses out of the dreaded “red zone”. I put up great, original content with plenty of different modules and few sales links, but all that work often ends in nothing as the lenses revert to red in a short period of time. It is frustrating when I see poorly created lenses ranking highly (not that I am jealous). I don’t think they need to soften their approach to ranking lenses but I agree that a cookie cutter set of rules would make things easier on all vested parties.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 12:12 am

Hiya Elisa =)

Aw honey, I hear ya – it can be SO frustrating and it’s absolutely your right to choose to submit your content elsewhere (tho I’d sure hate to see you go). It took many of us a LONG time to find that balance and keep out of “the red” so please hang in there.

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

john smith March 29, 2013 at 7:01 am

i agree with Elisa, the Lens can just vanish overnight. Although we do a lot of hard work in making them but they endup in the so called “red zone”.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 12:09 am

Hi all =)

I’m going to update the post to reflect this as well, but I want everyone to know that Squidoo HQ has just posted a new post to follow up on the conference call.

Giant Squids were invited to ask questions and they were not answered during the conference call, BUT they are now answered here: 10 Questions from our Giant Squids (please take a moment to read it…it offers more insight)

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Rick Byrd March 20, 2013 at 12:17 am

Jennifer:

As always thank you so much for keeping us all up-to-date with all things Squidoo.

For me this could be a blessing in disguise for me. I have been building lenses but I have not started branching out and building Wordpress sites for some of my lenses that are doing pretty good.

I totally get why Squidoo wants to make these changes and we will have to wait and see what kind of effect these changes will have and then change accordingly. I’m not going to worry about it too much because there is no sense stressing over something that I have no control over what changes are made.

I am glad that I have you on my side while we go through these changes.

Thanks!

Rick

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 12:24 am

Thanks, Rick! I’m so happy to have all my OWM buddies with me as well! We sure have formed an awesome and supportive community – it makes me very, very proud!

You’re right tho – there isn’t much we can do at this point, but this gentle nudge (or not-so-gentle) might be what many of us need to make sure we protect what works for us. Finding things that work is hard – when you find it, protect it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

(PS – Hubby cooked me dinner and just announced it’s time to eat…. so I’m gonna take a break, but I’ll be back to answer any other comments shortly.)

Don March 20, 2013 at 12:35 am

“You’ll know it when you see it” worries me. You mentioned several times that they said that there won’t be a firm set of rules regarding what is acceptable, and what isn’t. It’s hard to get with the plan, when there isn’t a plan. I joined Squidoo to make money, about the same time you did, but now it seems that they are slowly getting rid of that option. I can only only use an affiliate link to sell a product if I have a happy personal experience story to go with it? I guess I was kind of hoping that they would eventually grow out of this “all you need is love” mindset. There are thousands of lenses on Squidoo that are obviously set up to promote a product, and make money, and many are darn good lenses. I don’t see the problem with this.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

Hiya Don =)

I’m going to say something and I PROMISE it is not aimed at you at all, ok? You mentioned the “you’ll know it when you see it” thing and that made me chuckle as I thought of something else NOT related to YOU at all. So please forgive me for the next few paragraphs here in my reply to your comment.

All over the internet … (ok, in the HQ forum, who am I kidding…lol!)… Anyway, I have seen plenty of lensmasters picking out another lensmaster’s account and/or lenses and calling it SPAM. Kinda funny, isn’t it, that one can “know it when they see it” on someone else’s lens, but that same thing doesn’t apply when looking at their own lenses?

How can one “know it when they see it” on a lens that’s NOT theirs, but can’t “see it” on a lens that IS theirs? And on the flip-side, how can “you know when you see it” not be an acceptable answer when all these people claim they DO see it?

Sorry, but I absolutely had to get that out of my system before I imploded…lol! That whole finger-pointing thing really wears on me (Again, not talking about you at all…just something on my mind and you are the lucky one that got me to say it…lol).

So now, I’ll hush about all that and get to what you asked.

You’re right – “you know it when you see it” is NOT a clear cut answer. But here’s the thing about working online – especially in the past couple of years.

If a site says, “Ok kids, each page must be at least 500 words but no more than 1000 words. It may have exactly 2 links in it and must have x,y,and z to be acceptable” – that means that all their pages will look exactly the same. No human voice or human curation – just the same ol’ same ol from page to page. This is the type of thing that makes Google’s Panda go whacko and it simply would not work. Squidoo does have a module requirement, outbound link rules, etc etc and I don’t believe those have changed.

Also, setting such cookie cutter exact requirements opens the site up to scripts and bots and all that other nasty stuff that also destroys a site.

In my opinion, it’s hard to truly and specifically define ‘quality content’….but, and forgive me for saying it, you do know when you find it. I wrote about that whole concept in a recent post here called “Quality Content – What IS It?“.

In the end, I think Squidoo wants us to make pages that offer a good reason to stop by our lens as opposed to going straight to Amazon. Does that mean you have to have a warm ‘n fuzzy personal story of your personal use of the product? To me, no – not necessarily. I can window shop with the best of them and (to me) I can make a lens about my personal thoughts on some products *I* would like to have (or buy as a gift, or receive as a gift, or use in my dream home, or get when I become a millionaire, etc). If all we’re doing is rewriting what is already found on the Amazon product page, I do think that will be a problem. Said lens would NOT offer additional value or provide a reason for a searcher to see before Amazon just to end up on Amazon anyway.

(Gosh, I hope none of this sounds harsh… I’m typing a mile a minute….lol!)

Squidoo is one of the few sites that does NOT have cookie cutter requirements…and that is a beautiful thing for all of us that contribute to the site. And, as Seth said on the conference call, if all they wanted were cookie cutter lenses, then why have lensmasters? They could just hire a dozen folks or so to make that content for them (and to add, THEY (Squidoo) would own said content. As it stands, that content is ours).

I agree, it is hard to “get with the plan” when it feels as if the plan is not defined, but I have to say, I do get why it’s NOT defined…and I’m also starting to get what they really want the site to fill up with.

Sorry for any appearance of a rant =)

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Daria March 20, 2013 at 12:41 am

I’ve been a bit upset with some of the Squidoo changes, especially those that messed up my text backgrounds on which I spent so much time to make some of my pages picture-perfect.

However, I couldn’t agree more that the quality of the content should always come first. Good/original information/text from my personal perspective is the only thing I ever want to share. Plain sales pages are not my cup of tea, no matter how much money they could bring in.

And, thank you for this report!! :)

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 1:28 am

Agreed – and thank you, Daria!

Roger March 20, 2013 at 12:51 am

Just as another aside, to show that it CAN be done:

A couple of week ago I wrote an article for EzineArticles that got rejected, with a note to email them so they could tell me specifically what was wrong.

I fixed what was mentioned, re-submitted and it got rejected again! With another note to email them.

I emailed them again and they apologized that it didn’t all get covered the first time and mentioned a trademark brand of the product that I had used needed to be formatted differently.

So I changed that item, re-submitted and got the article approved.

I don’t know who’s the bigger fish (no pun intended), Squidoo or Ezine, but I would suggest that if Ezine can give that kind of feedback one-on-on, perhaps Squidoo could do that for lensmasters who have exhibited via their other lenses that they are not just another spammer.

2 more cents, no charge ;)

Roger.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 1:31 am

Oh absolutely, Roger… HQ could totally hire more employees to do just that. But let me ask this – when is the last time EzineArticles paid you a dime to have content there? If I’m not mistaken, only EzineArticles makes money off of content we put there (Unless we are lucky enough to get someone to click one of the 2 bio links we are allowed – which are not allowed to be affiliate links).

I’ll send an invoice to ya for my additional 2 cents…hahahahahaha!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

Roger March 20, 2013 at 1:50 am

Point taken, Jennifer!

Though, as you know, I track my sales and can say with confidence that Ezine has been VERY good to me over the years!

And to your credit, I will add that the lenses I created prior to recently going through the “new and improved” OWM never earned me a penny. But the lenses I have created in the last few weeks while going through the OWM training have already resulted in 5 Amazon sales (using my own links).

If there is anyone here who has not gone through your training they should make that a priority.

thanks,
Roger.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 2:11 am

You have an EXCELLENT tool for tracking Ezine Article sales so I have no doubt you know exactly where you stand with them =)

And to your credit, I will add that the lenses I created prior to recently going through the “new and improved” OWM never earned me a penny. But the lenses I have created in the last few weeks while going through the OWM training have already resulted in 5 Amazon sales (using my own links).

If there is anyone here who has not gone through your training they should make that a priority.

First off, CONGRATS on your sales from following the One Week Marketing training! That sure was quick!!! You don’t mess around, do ya? :)

And secondly – THANK YOU! That feedback means a ton coming from you!

Sherry M March 20, 2013 at 1:59 am

Thanks, as always, for sharing Knowledge and Understanding. It is really valued!

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 2:12 am

Thanks, Sherry! And thank YOU for stopping by!

Alex Blades March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

I don’t have a problem with the change, they provide a great platform for us to earn money with, so there is nothing wrong with them asking for unique content.

Thanks for the update Pot pie Girl ;)

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 2:55 am

Hey Alex! Thanks for stopping by! I also feel the same way… I either play by their rules or find another sandbox to play in. The thing that is frustrating is what “used to be ok” is now not ok and it’s all a bit confusing and frustrating. But that’s the nature of this thing we call the internet, isn’t it?

Kevin March 20, 2013 at 3:25 am

Thank you so much Jennifer, it is so nice of you to keep us up to date on these recent changes.
I agree with you completely and appreciate your leadership.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 3:48 am

Thanks, Kevin! Thank YOU for stopping by!

Wendy Owen March 20, 2013 at 4:17 am

Hi Jennifer, thank you for the great post. I never forgave Squiddo for making the cosmetic changes before Christmas that caused all the pictures on my lens to become messed up. Their timing was atrocious and in my opinion they show little regard for anyone.

I understand it is their site and as such, only use them now for backlinking purposes. They are still valuable for that. But that’s as far as it goes for me.

Have a great day :-)
Wendy

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 5:41 am

Totally understood, Wendy! I wish you tons of great luck with whatever you do…and hey, thanks for still stopping by here!

Jennifer
~PotPieGirl

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 5:43 am

Just a heads up for all my One Week Marketing members

New training has been added to the OWM Training Center!

You can read details about the newly added training here.

Diane Campbell March 20, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hey Jennifer, you sent me off on a wonderful trail of articles, lenses etc., with your recap. Then those lenses, like squidoo.com/seomentor sent me off on a wondrous branch of the trail…..life is such a cool place!

Mahalo nui loa. (Hawaiian thanks, big and long).
Diane

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Great, Diane – thanks for stopping by!

Tina March 20, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for the recap as I was unable to listen to the conference call. I’ve noticed the bad energy lately in the forum and I’m kind of glad that they’re going to make some changes. Change is not necessarily a bad thing although none of us like it!

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I agree – change can be good..or bad. In this case, change should be a good thing!

Eddie March 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

For me it is pretty simple.
I am a guest at Squidoo and they allow me to use their (online) authority to try and make some money.
As a guest you have to play the game by the host his rules.
Where else can you start a business for free.
I am glad they take out all the junk and am happy to hear that 97% of us is doing the right thing.
To keep Google happy and send traffic to our lenses they have to keep Squidoo clean from junk.
Way to go Squidoo team.
Eddie

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Great attitude, Eddie – thanks for sharing!

Paula March 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Hey Jennifer, when Squidoo says they are having a trust issue with Google, does that mean that their Google traffic is down?

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Hey Paula =) It could mean that or it could mean that they’ve received a heads up from Google or via their AdSense Rep… no exact telling and the public traffic stats aren’t really showing the whole picture.

Jon@affiliatesouth March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Having never built a squidoo lens I can’t comment on their handling of lensmasters but I’m not totally convinced the lenses are the best ‘third party’ sites to use for SEO/Traffic purposes. Perhaps it depends on your niche(s) but most ‘long-tail’ keywords I search are more likely to have a ‘blogspot’ or hubpage on page#1 if any third party site at all and I seldom see a squidoo lens in my searches.

PotPieGirl March 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Hiya Jon =) I guess it depends on what you’re searching for…. I happen to see plenty of lenses ranking

Darlene March 21, 2013 at 1:54 am

Hi Jennifer I bought your course twice and have yet to start. It is such a coincidence I started this week. My confidence is shaken a little bit. I would like to know if there is anywhere on Squidoo where I can find the best rank lenses. I want to see some examples not to copy but to see how they set up.

Judy Cornelius March 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Just to be snarky…kidding. I could not agree with you more. When you are using a platform that someone else owns it is their platform, their rules. Like everything in life none of us like to be told what we can’t do but like all businesses there are defined sets of parameters that Squidoo is compelled to issue. They are really saying if they don’t put the filters in and Google gives them a whack in the head everyone loses including those complaining on the forum. We have seen what Google does when the trust is broken and Seth Godin has a duty to protect his business first. Squidoo is a great platform but like anything you borrow it needs to be treated with respect and not ruined for the owners. Sort of like borrowing somebody’s golf clubs, trashing them in a fit of rage and then complaining because they won’t lend you their other set. If people heed your warnings they should be just fine. Thanks for the heads up Jennifer.

Adult Avenue DVDs March 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I know people also use squidoo for backlinks. Does anyone think Google would count a well written article about adult content which included viewership statistics and how the industry affects relationships?

Charlie the Passive Income Nut:) March 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Hi Jenn:

Thank you so much for attending the meeting and sharing the talking points.

I found one yellow “heads-up” warning but the darn thing won’t go away even after adding more content. Do you know how often Lens get scanned? … and if they’ll update the “what to do” suggestions? From what they suggested, 50 things could be wrong with my lens!!!! (not “yelling” at you, just venting my mini frustration at getting rid of that yellow warning circle)

Anyway, thanks again for all your tips and updates. See you in WA:)

Martin Slack March 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Whilst I fully understand and endorse the intent behind this filter, it seems to be less than perfect.
I have had only 1 lens affected. It is my top performing lens, page 1 of Google, most traffic, most sales, great click-through rate. In short, external visitors love it. I have been putting some effort into promoting it because it responds so well.
My lens that is best loved by internal Squidoo visitors gets no external traffic, makes no sales, and is ranked nowhere by Google.
If I “fix” my top performing lens by adding more text to it (that is clearly the issue), I run a real risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
A bit frustrating!

Fay March 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

Well Really? I don’t know if this will help anyone but I have gone through some of my lenses and the results are odd to say the least. I have one with nearly 2,000 words flagged, as it is about paint is it classed as too commercial. I have one that I completely gutted a bit at a time and added 150 words to (total over 600 in all), added a poll, re did photos, removed all affiliate links etc that one is about drawing flowers and it will not publish.

I have another which is a coloring page, which apparently is a squid don’t that I have lots of affiliate (about 9 form one area) links to, virtually no words, I wrote a few sentences and did what PPG said and it published! Go figure. Now if they have finished the non giant sweep I have a lot of lenses that are really commercial and touch wood they have not been flagged. Interesting to see what happens to my giants lenses.

Surely there is someone out there that can combat Google who it seems is aiming to destroy all affiliates?

Fay March 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

Hopefully if you can’t figure out what is wrong this might also help. I have found that the following things happen. It may be different for your but this may guide you.

If you haven’t got an Amazon module in the top 5 and they ask you for it (all OWMs should have it anyway) that might be enough.

Duplicate content might be innocent. I had a list of nine items so for instance if you wrote a list of nine dog breeds that might be the cause.

Another one was simple the credit to a photographer.

Some as PPG says is just pure length, while another one I have plenty of length as cannot tell so have gone in for green lighting (only do as a last resort) as I fear it may be the subject being seemly commercial on this but that is just an assumption.

Martin Slack March 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

Hi Jennifer,

What is your take on this follow-up?

http://hq.squidoo.com/squid-news/changing-link-status-on-squidoo/

Was it mentioned in the call?

Arul shaji March 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

Thanks a lot for sharing this great article with us.Squidoo is a great platform but like anything you borrow it needs to be treated with respect and not ruined for the owners. My lens that is best loved by internal Squidoo visitors gets no external traffic, makes no sales, and is ranked nowhere by Google.

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