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The Strange Demise of Squidoo (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love HubPages)
My Experience with Squidoo and HubPages
Let me start out by saying that I've been a member of both Squidoo and HubPages for roughly the same period of time - a few years now, I think. I know that most people tend to like either one or the other but I'm the odd duck who initially liked them both about the same. To be perfectly honest, I found very little difference between creating hubs and lenses, so I always viewed the sites as roughly two sides of the same coin.(The owners of both platforms clearly had solid visions initially: to construct a site with lots of great content on a variety of subjects.)
That said, one of the first things I noticed was that, almost immediately, I was earning more with HP, as noted in Earnings Comparison: HubPages vs. Squidoo. Part of that, however, was clearly based on the way Squidoo payments were made. Lenses were grouped into tiers, and only those in the top tiers were actually paid anything. In fact, the higher-ranked lenses got the lion's share of earnings, while the lower ranked received very little. (To be fair, those not in the earning tiers could, however, generate income via affiliate sales.) This might have been acceptable under ordinary circumstances, but Squidoo had other issues.
Squidoo vs. HubPages Poll
Which do/did you like better, Squidoo or HubPages?
Squidoo Ranking Manipulation, Et Al
There were actually lots of great writers on Squidoo producing lots of good content. The bad news is that the opposite was also true: there was also lots of poor content (and calling it "content" is being generous). Even worse, it wasn't particularly hard to game the system, to manipulate the rankings in such a way that a lens like, say, My Favorites Shades of Blue Crayon, would get into the first tier of Squidoo payments.
Moreover, low-quality content ran amuck on the site. There were an endless number of articles that were little more than a heading and one or two sentences, with the rest of it being stuffed like a Christmas goose with nothing but product and affiliate links.
In short, between the poor content and the ranking manipulation, it didn't make for a great overall experience.
Squidoo vs. Hubpages Poll #2
Which site did/do you make the most money on?
The Great Lens Lock
At some point last year, things just seemed to go completely haywire at Squidoo. I - along with many, many others on the site - received a notice that several of my lenses violated Squidoo's terms of service. I never received a definitive answer on which TOS was violated, how to fix it, or how to submit any changes for review. Moreover, I couldn't reach anyone at Squidoo in order to ask any questions. Squidoo, in essence, just unpublished the lenses in question without notice and locked them so that they couldn't be published again. Being unable to reach anyone to figure out how to address the issue, it seemed to me that all you could do was migrate your content somewhere else - before Squidoo deleted it, which would be the ultimate result. (I've heard tell, however, that there was someone you could contact about unlocking lenses, but I never found out who it was because Squidoo never responded to my emails.)
Of course, these actions on the part of Squidoo were actually a reaction to Google (or rather, changes in Google's algorithms). In short, Google was putting the squeeze on Squidoo because of it's low-quality content. Squidoo, it seems, sort of went overboard in responding - in some cases locking up entire accounts.
Squidoo We Hardly Knew Ye
After everything I experienced, I knew that - because of their bedside manner - Squidoo wouldn't last. You simply can't treat the talent like that (and yes, we writers are the talent) and expect to survive. Thus, despite the title of this Hub, Squidoo's demise is not strange, and it certainly didn't come as a surprise - at least not to me. People vote with their feet, and I felt that many writers (but certainly not all), would move on to greener pastures, and it's my understanding that many of them did. I certainly made plans to move some of my content.
But even if I hadn't, there was no way I was putting anything else on Squidoo. It didn't make sense to put time and effort into research, writing, editing, etc. if the site was going to randomly lock lenses, and then give you no means to unlock them. Assuming enough people felt the way I did, I assumed that - following the loss of content by those leaving the site - Squidoo would be forced into a death spiral at some point in time, although I had thought it would have come with more warning.
Now, sadly, the site has gone the way of the dodo (although it certainly didn't have to be that way) and will serve as a cautionary tale for others. (And books relating to the site, like that above and the many how-to-make-money-with-Squdoo tomes on Amazon, will quite likely become collector's items.) R.I.P. Squidoo.