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Bogus Crap Lenses on Squidoo I Found Thanks to a Yahoo Search
What on Earth is Going on?
Okay, I am creating this lens simply to vent my frustration at the discovery I made this morning when typing Squidoo into my Yahoo search toolbar.
Unbelievable, I have to say. At first glance, I see a ton of lenses which is great, considering that is no longer the case with Google. But what floored me was the number of bogus, spammy, absolute crap lenses that have somehow made their way to the top via Yahoo. How did that happen?
Bogus Lens Topic #1
Yahoo Loves Squidoo Gambling lenses
The award for the most popular bogus lens topic goes to.....(drumroll)...
Yes, it is true, Yahoo loves Squidoo gambling lenses. I found the same gambling lens in four different languages by different lensmasters. Yeah right, different user names maybe...but someone has a shameful number of similar lenses under different titles taking up valueable Squidoo real estate and cheapening the place for everyone.
Shame on you! (You know who you are)
Card game, 1895
Bogus Lens Topic #2: Porn Addiction
How many ways can one person make the same lens to sell the same ebook? From what I can tell, lets see...1.
Now I don't mean there is only one lens; quite the contrary. I got bored after reviewing the fourth lens, which was basically the same lens under a different title. And yes, its by the same person as evidenced by the Clickbank affiliate ID for the product they are attempting to sell. I mean, how lame can you be? Only one module, regurgitating the same info as is in the ebook no doubt. What a shame. With such a relevant issue nowadays, you could have done so much more with it and I guarantee you would have sold more units!
A French caricature on "the great epidemic of pornography"
Bogus Lens Topic #3
The third place award for bogus lens topic is a general spam category. These lenses belong to people who have something to sell and nothing to offer Squidoo. They build a lens with one module and only showcase what they have to sell. No background or related information about their product, no links for more information (except direct links to where you can buy the product). One person selling lighters included a Flickr module with three random photos. He didn't even take the time to find three photographs related to the product he is selling.
- The Squidoo Spam Problem - GigaOM
Jul 8, 2007 ... The Squidoo Spam Problem Last year when one man brand, Seth Godin, launched Squidoo, it was greeted with enthusiasm. Squidoo offered a way ...
- Squidoo : Report Spam
Have you sniffed out some Spam on a Squidoo lens? Yikes! But we're glad to say you're in the right place. Skip straight to the spam report form. ...
- More on Squidoo spam (and Hubpages doing a good job?)
Almost on cue to the Squidoo spamming response comes another piece of porn/ringtone-spam... this one leverages not just Squidoo but also Hubpages. Hub.
- People start noticing Squidoo spam
Jul 9, 2007 ... Om Malik seems to have cottoned on to the fact that Squidoo has a bit of a spam problem. The only surprising part of this is that it has ...
Bogus Lens Topic #4: Ringtones
Now don't get me wrong...ringtones are a good thing. I get a kick out of hearing some of them, and you can really get to know something about a person by their choice of ringtone. But I don't get a kick out of the hundreds of lenses on Squidoo that have nothing new or original to say other than "Click here to download blah blah blah's ringtone".
Now a couple of people have found interesting ways of promoting their ringtones or ringtone business. Take the lens How to Make Ringtones for Free, for example. This lens gives you step by step instructions for how to create your own ringtones using software from Cellware, a networking site in beta supposedly similar to MySpace. Obviously, there are points in it for the lensmaster when someone signs up from his page, but hey, that's perfectly legitimate and I have no beef with that. The instructions are detailed and illustrated, and the lensmaster took the time to add relevant content from Amazon and YouTube.
The lesson here? If you are going to promote a product that hundreds of other people are promoting, find a creative way of doing it so it stands out. I know, this means putting some time into it, but that's what it takes to make a quality lens, and more importantly for all you shameless self promoters (myself included), that's what it takes to make money from your lenses.
What would Alex think?
How to Make a Give and Take Lens
So you want to sell something at Squidoo. A great many lensmasters want to do just that and create lenses with that express purpose in mind. I, for one, am a shameless self-promoter, having written over 100 lenses related to my business and related interests. Several of my lenses have achieved LOTD status, and both are creative means of promoting my artwork. But people don't seem to mind it. Why? because I offer so much information about the topic of my product, that I would like to think that people leave my lenses knowing something they didn't know before, or at the very least they were entertained.
Look, my niche is Voodoo art. You can't get any nichier than that. As an artist I have to be creative to make a living. As a Voodoo artist, I have to get even more creative to make a living. Using my "How to Make a Voodoo Doll" lens, which has been consistently in the top 100 for How-To and Education lenses forever and a day now, I am going to show you how to make a good give and take lens.
My top ways of making a good give and take lens (in no particular order):
1. First, I am a visual person. I love pictures. So I take the time to include a lot of good photographs and artwork for my lenses. Much of it is my own. And the photos are related to my lens topic. So, to illustrate how to make a Voodoo doll, I have photos for each step. Addendum: At the time I made this lens, Squidoo didn't have the Text with Big Picture module. I love that module. One of my favorites. Thanks Squidoo for something else to inject the right side of my brain with!
2. Second, I provide lots of information. One of the top search terms related to Voodoo is how to make a Voodoo doll. On this lens, I give people complete instructions for how to make two types of Voodoo dolls. People who want to know are happy about that when they visit my lens. How do I know? They write me and tell me...almost every day.
3. I provide a video for how to make a Voodoo doll that is hosted on YouTube. So far, folks have three different mediums for learning how to make a Voodoo doll, still photos, step by step written instructions, and a video.
4. I include a module for readers who have used the tutorial and have taken the time to write me and send photos. This gets readers involved and it is a way to show my appreciation for their creativity and use of my tutorials.
5. I provide titles to good books about Voodoo. There is a lot of crap (it's my word for the day) out there, and stuff that is misleading or written by people just trying to make a buck. I have read all of the books I recommend. I love the Amazon module and use it in all of my lenses. Addendum, now that I have several of my own books published, I include them on my Amazon modules and even Spot light them. I told you I am a shameless self promoter.
6. I include a poll, and respond to the results by creating more content and more lenses related to how to make a Voodoo doll. It's a close run, but when I ask if readers would rather learn to make a different kind of Voodoo doll or how to use a Voodoo doll, a few more want to learn how to use a Voodoo doll. Which led to the birth of my How to Use a Voodoo doll lens, and my book Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual, among others.
8. I started a Voodoo Art lens group. We are small, but mighty!
9. I build relationships with other lensmasters. I link to them and they link to me, when the topic is appropriate.
How do I make money from the lens? Good question. In between modules I include a module for my Voodoo doll kits, and another for my How to Voodoo with Voodoo Dolls ebook, which recently turned into my Voodoo Dolls in magick and Ritual book now available at a bookstore near you. No, not really, only on Amazon, and a few other websites such as 13 Moons and Hex, Old Witchery. More importantly, I build relationships with my readers. I receive emails every day from Squidoo readers, and I try to answer as many as I can. I offer advice, consultation, and give away my knowledge freely. Who do these people come to when they need something? Yep, the Voodoomama.
How to Make a Voodoo Doll
This is one of the videos I created to promote my art. It is the one I use on my How to make a Voodoo Doll lens.
Great Squidoo Books on Amazon
Cinco de Squid
The Silver Rule
"Do not do to others as you would not have them do to you."