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Whither Squidoo?

Updated on October 22, 2014

State Of The Squid Nation

I'm starting this lens at a turbulent time in Squidoo terms. Things are happening to lenses and lensmasters that are causing alarm, consternation, amusement and even glee. I don't think any of us would deny that there are problems in various areas: I'm going to try to explore some of these issues.

Equally, I would urge all to remember that there is much that is good and right about Squidoo. We have a wonderful, rich platform and we have tools that easily enable us to get our message out, whether that message be a sales pitch or a sad song. We also have a wonderful, rich community of people - and I include in that community lensmakers and HQ staff. Some of what I want to say will be construed as criticism - it's supposed to be, but I hope and intend to make it constructive criticism. At least, I hope it prompts some informed debate.

Most of what I say below isn't new or original (whoops) but I hope that putting the various issues together on one page will lead to some more coherent debate. Also, the nature of what I'm attempting means that this could read as a stream of negativity: it is not intended to be. If Squidoo weren't a great site, I wouldn't be here and I certainly wouldn't be spending time writing a lens like this.

I'll include some opportunities for comment at various points. I will be moderating those comments so keep it clean...

Stop Press: While I'm typing this, HQ are introducing various good ideas! Well done, them.

Intro image: credit to the enormously talented tagsforkids

Squidoo has gone ...

How upset are you at the end of Squidoo?

See results
Whither Squidoo
Whither Squidoo

Squidoo: The Company

I've worked for two small companies that have both grown rapidly and I'm basing my opinion of Squidoo on my experience of how those companies changed. That does imply that I don't have much first hand knowledge of HQ - so be it - we do what we can.

The skills, needs and abilities to start and grow a company are quite particular. There's vision, courage, technical knowledge, chutzpah, ability to persuade, ability to overcome setbacks. Seeing your baby grow, being a part of something new and good, these are fine feelings and I'm glad I've experienced them.

Then the company gets bigger. Indeed, there comes a point where you realise that you are a Company, a Business. Innovations become less as legacy systems prevail. You have to talk with accountants and buy more office space. You're talking about anti-static carpet for the new staffroom, rather than being bright and blowing the socks off those who said you couldn't do it. New faces appear, and they're not the bright-eyed merry pranksters who conceived and gave birth to an idea, they're suits and lawyers and HR departments.

Image credit: tagsforkids

Squidoo: The Lensmasters

The lensmasters. Thousands of the buggers. By definition, most of us clever, opinionated, not afraid to try new things. There's a huge range of skills and experience amongst us, there's a willingness to think outside the blackbox, there's an unwillingness to do what we're told. We call it "pushing the boundaries" and we don't like it when someone tells us "no" or slaps our legs.

Then there's the undesirables. There's money to be made, so there are crooks and chancers sniffing around.

There's the needy and the desperate, those who need to compete to survive. There's the naïve and the less-skilled.

All have to be dealt with: the good need to be kept, the less good need to be encouraged and trained up, the bad need to have their dangly bits put in a vise ...

The Giant Programme

The Giant Programme: the reasonable view that people with a strong body of very good work should have some tangible reward and recognition.

I see several issues with the Giant programme:

The introduction of the 25 Lens Giant Why? I don't believe that many people with 25 lenses and pocket change are likely to have the skills to make very good lenses (I included myself in that when I only had about 30 lenses). Yes, there are exceptions but not many and most such people go on to make a lot more lenses anyway. (Though some Giants with many lenses churn out the most appalling garbage.)

Allied to the G25 notion, the standard of lenses required has dropped, Twenty-five okay lenses will get you the trophy now. Too often this means that people are given a false sense of their lensmaking prowess and plateau out. They may well go on to churn out more of the same but they're being confirmed in averageness rather than being encouraged to excel.

The Giants themselves Too often, I can tell how long someone has been on Squidoo by their attitudes to other people - patronising at best. Such Giants spoil things for the many fantastic people - the warm, clever, helpful people.

Some of the Giants are less than honest. Okay, some of the things that are now taboo were once acceptable but a few people are so used to doing what they like that they're almost sociopathic in their disregard for the rules. (Anything I say here is, of course, wasted on them, but reaching them isn't my intent.)

That said, there are many great people as Giants, including at G25. That really does need to be borne in mind.

Your Thoughts On The Giant Programme

What should happen to the Giants system?

See results

The Angel Programme

Late news: the Angel programme has just been terminated (21/05/13). Hmm. I'll leave this module otherwise unchanged - I believe it's pertinent in more than one way.

Angels and Devils, the following day. "What?" you say.

Angel status was once a highly prized thing. The ability to Bless a lens and so encourage and reward a peer was a great thing. Angels had neighbourhoods - categories where they patrolled and helped lensmakers. They could quietly and privately encourage - perhaps make a few suggestions to someone, see those suggestions considered and used, They could also ding lenses - give a slight knock to a bad lens's rank.

Now, dings have gone and so have neighbourhoods. The strong guidelines for Blessing have been weakened. Indeed, there are Angels who don't know that there used to be guidelines and standards.

Part of the problem is the fact that the coveted wings are now dished out like plastic toys in a cereal box. You don't have to even apply now - it's just another trophy that pops up. Along with G25 status, you get Angel wings. Thus, there are Angels who don't know what Angels are!

There's something worse: read on.

Stop Press: Angels abolished.

Your Thoughts On The Angel Programme

What should happen to Angels?

See results

Lensrank And Payouts

The higher the rank, the bigger the payout. Fine, I agree. But (there has to be a "but"), there are issues here as well:

Note: people making good income through sales won't be as concerned about lensrank.

Number of lenses getting lensrank payout: Although the number of lenses on Squidoo has increased hugely, the number getting payouts hasn't.

Factors determining lensrank: I have to guess at some of the factors and I don't know the algorithm. What I can say with certainty is that there are lenses in Tier 1 getting little traffic and being unlikely to sell much. It is unclear what such lenses bring to the party that makes them worth a T1 payment every month.

Tier payment levels/breadth: 2,000 lenses get T1 payouts. 6,500 get T2. A bunch more get buttons from T3. Hundreds of thousands get nothing.

Let's consider what we could change. How about four tiers? Extend them beyond the 85,000 rank, How about lessening the top payment and broadening the lower levels? The pot is big enough to allow a lot more flexibility.

Would that cause T1 lens owners to leave? I don't believe so. Many big sellers aren't even in T1 and the content on several T1 lenses wouldn't get anywhere near that income on other platforms.

Let's reconsider the factors and the algorithm. Is traffic significant enough? Are social media aspects now hugely overvalued? Are sales undervalued? Could we perhaps reward sales through Squidoo's affiliations higher?

Your Thoughts On The Tier System

To change or not to change. Not the way rank is calculated, just the tier system and payouts.

Should the tier system change significantly?

Lensrank Factors

The things that I believe affect lensrank include traffic, clickouts, sales via HQ's modules, Likes, Blessings, time on page, social media approval.

Some things have a limited effect, some are compounded; hence the huge boost when a lens is launched and gets a lot of internal praise (and hence the hangover when it subsequently tanks). Some aspects have little effect - I believe sales come into this category.

Then there's the idea that updating confers a rank boost. Some take this to the extreme and update hundreds of lenses a day - and these have to be scripted. They're certainly not meaningful.

Some factors are clearly good - nobody could argue that traffic is not a good thing, especially anyone who negotiates with advertisers. However, there are low traffic/low sales lenses in T1 and there are high traffic/high sales lenses below T1. That surely is not what the site needs.

How does this happen? Possibly a flawed rank calculation algorithm. Possibly a lack of understanding of what HQ deems a worthwhile lens (nah). Possibly a lack of change in the algorithm to respond to changed needs of site and lensmakers.

Your Thoughts On Lensrank Factors

What should we do about lensrank?

See results

The Cheating

It pains me to have to write this but there is a hell of a lot of cheating going on. I'm also worried that anything I say might trigger a light in a crook's brain - just have to risk it. I'm also limiting what I say lest some crooks realise why they're detected so easily.

Reciprocal Likes and its big brother, reciprocal Blessings. You Like mine, I'll Like yours. This can be formal or informal. And as I type, HQ announces New Liking Policy. I don't think I can claim any credit :) Edit and now we have a new Blessing policy - excellent news.

Liking Vultures A few older lensmasters seem to prey on newcomers, take them under their wing and ensure a stream of new blood to deliver Likes and grateful comments. Tacky in the extreme. These vultures tend to be Angels and throw Blessings around.

Social Media Mavens Similar to the previous, Facebook Likes, Pins etc. They'll boost any old crap as long as it results in reciprocal boosts to them. There''s a variation on this: chains of people pinning and repinning each other's lenses.

Fools I wanted to type a stronger word - the people who Like or even Bless garbage or lenses with stolen material. No thought that encouraging weakening of the gene pool means sick babies in the future.

Idea Thieves Find a good topic, research keywords, publish lens - five minutes later there's a lens with URL /widgets2 and it's déja vu.

Image thieves and the hotlinkers. Squidoo is rife with stolen images. Even worse, there are plenty of people who know it and bung on dummy attributions. Very tacky. More importantly, one day Disney or Getty's lawyers are going to come crawling around, writs in hand.

Auto Updaters The people who manage to update hundreds (literally) of lenses in a few minutes. Every day of the year. Getting a lensrank boost for buying a crappy little script from a certain dodgy forum.

There are other ways to cheat but I don't want to go into any more: the above are the main Squidoo-specific issues. And it does seem that several people are immune from sanction - that dull, thudding noise you hear is heads contacting a brick wall. I can think of personal reasons why this is so but not business or moral reasons.

The above does not mean that normal social intercourse and networking are bad or should be penalised. The people who should be worried are those who have been Liking 100 lenses a day, every day, for months and years.. Those who do that and more are the ones who are spoiling Squidoo for everyone.

Stop Press March 6th 2013: After a nasty glitch, lenses have been reranked. It seems some major cheaters have actually benefited. Very poor.

General Quality Of Content

A topic that's very much in the news, as HQ has just swooped on several major players. Thin content (streams of product links with no real attempt to add value with considered commentary). Spun lenses, fake reviews, plagiarised text.

Now, there are new filters being introduced and the squeals of the damned should have been heard by all. More power to HQ's elbow on this.

The one thing I don't agree with: the immediate ban on transferring lenses. I can see the reasoning in that the worst of the crooks are doing this, often to evade detection and punishment, but I'd have liked to see a system for licensing content/lens sellers in place immediately.

That said, the more lenses I see locked, the better,

One other aspect: you. How many times have you liked and commented on a friend's lens when you know that it's not very good? How many times have you visited and approved just because someone has visited you? When does supporting a friend become wrong?

Product Review Lenses


A term I coined a while ago - far better than "sales lenses" as pretty much every lens is selling something. Pronounce it "pearls" and it sounds good.

These form a huge part of Squidoo's inventory and people who produce good PRLs should be as proud of them as someone who writes a personal memoir or whatever. There's room on Squidoo for all types of lens: it's quality that matters.

To repeat, HQ are acting on the bad product lenses, at least the thin content ones. It's a good start.

Why am I so concerned? Well, apart from the likelihood that Google has threatened to put the boot in (Google Shops), Squidoo is getting a reputation in many quarters for crap content. When someone has nearly 200 lenses, all promising unique shower curtains and pretending to have handpicked items, no wonder we get sneered at. That person has been kicked out - good.


A difficult one: I believe HQ made a great error in closing SquidU and putting in an inferior platform with inadequate moderation. There's been a move to unofficial forums and the exodus to Facebook has accelerated.

Your Thoughts On Forums

What should be done about forums?

See results

Platform Changes

A bugbear: changes that are badly timed and inadequately tested. Changes made without warning.

Some while ago, HQ used experienced lensmasters as beta testers. That was dropped for some reason. Now we have a small HQ team making significant changes to a complex system. I've been there and done that as a software engineer and I know the value of dedicated testers. It's painful to test your own stuff - it's boring and you're knackered anyway after a pressured development.

Lensmasters as testers bring a different mindset: we know what we want to do and we know how we want to do it - quickly, simply, without extra steps being added to the process. And we'll spot the little mistakes as well.

As to timing and notice of changes - that really is an area where I think HQ could improve significantly, and it's a low cost gain.

Stop Press March 12th 2013 new Discovery Bar introduced to universal howls of anguish, mine among them. Exactly the sort of development that shows why we, the content providers. should be involved to some degree.

Update: After many changes and a huge amount of uncertainty and, yes, fear, have the changes stopped? No, they're still coming thick and fast. What is acceptable one day may be rejected the next, often for no discernible reason.

HQ Endorsement

There have been issues with several lenses prominently endorsed by HQ. We've seen lenses featured on the homepage, even LOTDs, with major issues. Such endorsements are a kick in the teeth for many of us - if I spend hours sourcing images and contacting owners for permission to use, seeing a LOTD with a stolen intro image is very annoying.

I believe this, as with other issues, is down to a need for more staff and a revised management structure. I think there are some enormously talented people at HQ who are doing things they don't really want to be doing or that are a waste of their talents - bring in some grunts, give them a line manager with a defined remit.

One Month On

So, we've had a month of flagging and a bunch of cheats kicked out. I don't think that all the cheats have gone, by a long chalk, and neither do they, judging by some of the crowing seen on various platforms. HQ's trying to encourage new lenses through scattering Purple Stars with bonus lensrank boost - which to my mind debases the system and slaps previous winners in the face. We're also seeing enough quests to daunt a drunken Gimli.

I see lots of discussion on how to get past the filters. Some are obviously managing it, judging by the persisting lenses that embarrass the site and frustrate all good lensmasters. Some acknowledge that they grew lax and careless and are improving lenses in ways that will contribute hugely to Squidoo. Some appear not to have noticed - mediocre but adequate continues to be churned out daily. And my pet hate: stolen images with naff or fake attributions continue to be used widely,

Gloomy? Pessimistic? Harsh? Well, I'm summarising what I see and read, I'm adding a patina of what I feel. Too soon to say? Filters not yet tuned enough?

Your Rating Of The Site Today - From one (hopeless, pass the whisky) to ten (brilliant, pass the cupcakes).

Rate the site after a month of change

See results

Have I missed any major issues?

By the way, please don't just tell me I'm being negative - the point of this lens is to identify issues and look for solutions to make a great platform better. And I wouldn't have spent all this time on this lens if I didn't think it could be of positive benefit.

What do you think?

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    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Visiting here from HP now. Just checking in to see if you had updated with the new "Squidoo is Gone" information, and I see you have. It's sad that it's gone when we DID have a good place for a time. But here we are on a new adventure on HubPages, and I'm hoping some old wounds can be healed and a new future begun. Wishing you the best.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I liked the loud and large visual aspect of Squidoo, and the support from other writers. Less welcome to me was the Squidoo kiss-arse tendency on the part of many lens writers, simply because the system was geared to reward those that did, and, thus, it was an effective way of Squidoo warding off internal criticism. Any announcement by any Squidoo organiser on anything was greeted by hoots of orgasmic joy by the faithful. It is a more neutral set up here, which I like, plus the welcome fact that here at Hub Pages I don't have to apply an Amazon module to the article to get published - because I don't like supporting corporation tax evaders and workforce slave drivers, no matter how 'efficient' they are.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      4 years ago

      I really loved Squidoo but after having my lenses here on Hubpages for less than a week, I don't think they loved me back. I know the views calculations are different, I don't understand but that's what I've read, but so far the number I'm seeing is well over triple what it was and I've even made a sale here (on ebay anyway - I don't have adsense yet) whereas that was a rare occurrence on Squidoo. I will be very happy if this continues. Hopefully it's not just because we're new.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Really thoughtful writing and news to me since I didn't know much about Squidoo. Thanks for writing~

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      I guess it really doesn't matter anymore, but it was a good experience for me. I learned so much and Paul you were among one of the first to help me in the forum. So thankful. Wishing you all the best.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Negative? You? Never! The hamster would be proud :)

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Liverpool, England


      I needn't have been so diplomatic as things turned out.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      looking back at all this I shall now call you "oiseau de mauvais augure"

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I might not be upset for myself that Squidoo has gone, but that does not stop me feeling upset for the people who invested a huge amount of time and faith in the site, especially over the past couple of years, only to see it go down the drain with so little warning.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      4 years ago from California

      Wow, reading this today, September 4th gives a whole new dimension to your page. Of course the polls are no longer valid as Squidoo is gone. "If only they had listened!" instead of alienating the ones that were ready, willing, and able to help them. But oh well, now I am reading this on Hub Pages, our new home.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      4 years ago

      Very thought provoking! As a newbie, it's really helpful to know what has come before and why things are the way they are.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is really very thoughtful and well done. Actually it's better and more helpful than the Forum. Thanks for taking the time to do this and it does appear it took a great deal of time on your part.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for sharing. Interesting discussions... ;-)

    • kmhrsn profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm way too new to have much valuable input, but I will say a few things. I think the content on my few lenses is relatively good, though I haven't made a dime of income. Clearly I don't understand that part of the program. But it is original and clearly written. My images are either my own or Creative Commons, properly cited. I have noticed a lot of what you say that makes me shake my head and wonder. Poorly written lenses (IMO) with purple stars, high ranking lenses that seem like crap to me. I'm just trying to walk on faith that if I do my part, there will be a reward, even if it's just knowing I did my part.

    • CampingmanNW profile image


      5 years ago

      PaulOnBooks. Thanks for a nice read. While it does not appear that you respond to the comments anyway, I shall say this: I thought your lens was written with the right thoughts in mind. However, between the head squids, Google and whomever else is affecting all of the changes, not to mention all of the hand wringing and sobbing from all with locked lenses, there is enough negativity out there to sink a ship.There is a simple solution. For those with locked or blocked lenses, copy and save them somewhere else. Then go in and delete them from squidoo. Go back and secure the URL (it's been deleted, so it is now available once again) End the hand wringing and teeth gnashing already as it is just wasting your time. Time you could use to create new lenses. So stop wasting time on all of the rest. If you are truly here at squidoo for the freedom? Embrace it and keep writing, blogging or selling or whatever. That's what brought you here originally. Once enough time has gone by, go back to that locked lens you saved and look at it with fresh eyes. You may amaze yourself at what you find. Edit and republish. Squidoo is a great FREE platform to blog, write, create or sell from and I think everyone needs to remember that. IT'S FREE, therefore there are rules. If we owned it, we could make the rules, but for now, we ALL follow their rules. So, That being said, let's get back to what we all do best. Create new lenses, have fun and interact accordingly. Squidoo really is a great platform for all. Good luck and cheers.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Lots of good points here. I'm a bit torn about the changes. Our articles have actually benefited in the rankings -- all have moved up solidly as other lenses have been stricken, so that's good. Still, there is an air of uncertainty that bothers me since it's not exactly clear-cut when an article might run afoul of the filters.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Excellent discussion of what is going on with Squidoo from someone who has been there. I have spent way too much time here, visiting other lenses mostly. I have learned so much since I started here, and enjoy the community so much. I have tried to help others as I can. As far as the changes, I feel that Squidoo is unpredictable and not making much sense. I am frustrated with Squidoo right now - I have received some slaps - some from lenses I improved, others from lenses that were really good ( I thought) and did not deserve to be slapped. I have been able to republish all of them but one, and it is one of my best lenses. At this point, I do not know whether or not I would recommend Squidoo to a newbie. :(

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      great synopsis. I would add that they do far too many changes at once so they have no real way to evaluate what changes are positive, just a guessing game. And their lack of notice over major changes is really disrespectful of their content providers, imho.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Love your lens, hate the cheaters - but you did a great job describing the problems. Thanks.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I joined on February 30th and have been trying to learn how things work during the middle of the grand upheaval. It's lenses like this that help me understand how things used to be and how they should be. I don't think this lens is negative at all, I find information like this to be very helpful indeed:)

    • AlishaV profile image

      Alisha Vargas 

      5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      This is a great synopsis and I don't believe negative at all, simply realistic. I've been pretty depressed over the changes Squidoo has been making and have pretty much stopped making lenses or promoting them. To me Squidoo HQ is going after the wrong issues and ignoring the ones that really matter, and good lensmasters are being hurt.

      I think Squidoo asked for the poor quality lenses whether they are aware of it or not. Many lenses are a reaction to the constant pressure by quests to produce more and more lenses (and sales lenses at that!) and a result of a skewed algorithm that seems to me to favor sales more than any other aspect since some of my top lenses have nothing else going for them. If Squidoo is going to reward a certain behavior they are going to get more of it. I used to carefully craft lenses, ensuring they were on subjects near and dear to my heart, and spending days creating each one. Then I realized those don't make money, and while I love writing for Squidoo, I do it to pay my bills and to have money to care for my animals. So I slacked on my standards, and was rewarded again and again by higher sales and better lensrank. I'd much rather be making great content, but as long as those don't earn and junk does, I have to do what pays. The new changes aren't even affecting those of my lenses I consider poor quality. The ones I've had pinged were ones that had keywords that didn't have many synonyms, thus were according to Squidoo, poor quality or spun or whatever, and a few that were missing many pictures because Squidoo can't seem to manage to show Flickr images any longer.

      Spammers are attracted to Squidoo because the site encourages their types of lenses and rewards them for them. They are going to continue to come here and try to get around the rules as long as Squidoo encourages them.

    • geosum profile image


      5 years ago

      I've recently started in with Squidoo in a serious way. I'm glad to hear about some of the workings of the system. I've done a lot of programming and testing. It's an art.

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @tea lady 2: There is a key in the description but polls are buggy today, alas.

    • tea lady 2 profile image


      5 years ago from Midwest, USA

      I'm not clear about what you are asking with the last poll "Your Rating Of The Site Today " By site do you mean Squiddo? And is 10 = satisfaction or 1 = good. Please add more description.

      Thanks for your excellent discussion! (TeaLady aka patinkc)

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @NuMil3Design: I do have a weakness for bad puns and obscure literary references :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I like your thought provoking approach and agree with your assessments of Squidoo. I think we both agree that the idea is to make Squidoo better, not destroy it.

      I'm not wild about the lens title "Whither Squidoo?"; however, I don't have any suggestions for a title to offer.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Not negative. I especially like that you led with the discussion of a growing business. Your insight and empathy is clear eveidence that you've experienced that phenomenum first hand. It will always cause pain to more than a few of those involved.

      I found this lens to be very enlightening. There have been more changes than I could keep track of and this page organized them well. The intent of this information is clearly to keep the quality of Squidoo high.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      5 years ago

      Definitely not negative to me. I found your observations really helpful for Squidoo and any site in general.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @julieannbrady: I'd like to see clickouts count for a lot less both because people can use them to manipulate lensrank but also because it is necessary to check links every month or so to make sure none are broken.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      5 years ago from London

      You haven't been negative, you've provided a well examined and balanced analysis of Squidoo's current problems. It's a pity that everyone, be they lensmaker or administrator, can't put their automatic reactions on hold and do the same. We might then get a genuine, long term, forward thinking strategy.

      From a personal viewpoint, it seems to me that because the the site was allowed to slip so far into disrepute, an understaffed HQ is now having to crisis manage in a hit and miss fashion. I've yet to see a long term strategy that turns Squidoo away from rewarding the mediocre. Contributors, new and old are still being given the wrong signals, as purple stars rain down for the asking, cheats still prosper visibly, and newbies (as I see fom this thread) are still being groomed by 'like' predators.

      The sparkle has gone from my relationship with Squidoo at the moment, and I'm weary of waiting to see some real muscle put into lifting the bar on quality. I'm still learning how to write for the internet, and I'm by no means perfect, so I am still grateful for the opportunity Squidoo gives me to get my stuff published. However I do want to know that this is a place that gives me genuine feedback as to whether something of mine is good, bad or getting there. The one thing I don't want is to be led up the garden path with a silly points system, meaningless awards, and misleading examples from favoured contributors...that's no help whatsoever.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      PaulOnBooks I think you did a very good job at Annualizing it all and giving food for thought! Thanks for your work!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      5 years ago from United States

      As a whole, Paul, I believe you did an excellent job of addressing the issues. You got me talking where I have previously tried to remain quiet. I would like to note that a lot of great lensmasters have been sick for a really long time of having their hearts ripped out by the ranks. We have yelled, begged and pleaded for years for excellence to dominate the site. When we can't get that, we have been forced to water down our own hard work in order to remain in any paying tier, much less hoping for a T1 spot that is dominated by lesser quality, link filled, highly trafficked (by questionable means), completely sales oriented stuff instead of quality supported by relative modules. What many want may no longer, if ever, exist. Each day we do the best we can with what we have. I see faces here that have been fighting this battle for at least 4 years that I know of and, while they are great warriors, the battle continues and escalates as the site is literally flooded by more of the same low quality, high ranking lenses. There is so much more that I would like to say, but honestly, without having a true conversation, I know people will think I am talking about them and make assumptions about what I am saying and jump on it because they didn't read carefully what I actually wrote and said. Been there! Done that! So I will shut up now.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I like your summation of Squidoo then and now. Lots of room for improvement these days. I hope the changes we've seen recently get Squidoo on the right track for the long haul.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      5 years ago from UK

      Very interesting look at the various issues that are stopping Squidoo from being as good as it deserves to be (and stopping honest lensmasters from getting the traffic, income or enjoyment they deserve). I don't spend much time here these days but I'm all for standards being improved. Of course, it has to be fair, consistent, and we all have to be prepared to take responsibility for the quality of our own work. From what I've seen in the last few weeks, it's encouraging how many people do care enough to rise to this challenge. Thanks for giving everyone a chance to share their views.

    • Othercatt profile image


      5 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Exactly! I couldn't agree more!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      5 years ago from Washington KS

      This lens was well done. You presented the positives and negatives in a well balanced way. I don't fully understand the turmoil and hope my lenses aren't a part of any problem because finding Squidoo was a blessing to me.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I think your words should be taken seriously, not just by other lensmasters, but by HQ as well. You are not negative, you have given helpful advice to better our Squidoo experience, and the site. We would all like to be proud of our work and WHERE we do that work, and in order for that to happen, changes must be made.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thankyou for writing this very informative article. I did not vote in the modules because I am pretty new (Jan 2013) and so I do not have anything to compare against. But I will say this. I was only here a few days and I noticed the whole 'quid pro quo' atmosphere. I even had people PM me on facebook to let me know they had just published a new lens. Talk about putting pressure on a naïve newbie! The other thing I noticed right away was Giants publishing new lenses every day that were basically pushing products. Today purple bedding, tomorrow pink bedding, and so on. It confused me as I was of the mindset of 'we write articles about things we know'. I created a handful of these to try them out and sure enough it was these lenses that were flagged when the filter ran, yet I modeled them based on what I saw being produced by GS's. So I have gone back to why I came here in the first place, and that is to find my voice as a writer and share things that I know something about. Your article has confirmed for me many of the things I was suspecting. I am waiting to see how things shake out before I make any decisions to stay or go elsewhere.

    • LifeAhead profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for making this lens Paul. As a new lensmaster who just joined the Squidoo community at the end of February, I can't give an opinion on what's really improved or hasn't. It appears that HQ is attempting to correct the situation as best they can with a very small but talented crew. Your frank and constructive criticism and the comments it inspires can only be good for us all in the long run.

      I agree that giving seasoned lensmasters the opportunity to "beta test" platform changes makes a lot of sense - and I'm pretty sure Seth Godin would agree. Beta-testing software is a successful strategy because the users help make it work the way the 'tribe' wants to use it.

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @SteveKaye: Very well put.

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @julieannbrady: There's a few things I haven't mentioned - I was avoiding making this a checklist for the cheats :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Well, I don't think you mentioned clickouts? I know some lensmasters have talked about "checking" their links on their lenses on a routine basis. Manipulating clickouts on links from lenses has also factored into some lenses attaining lensranks that weren't warranted. As Steve says, "I want a system where the honest person has a chance!!!"

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      One more comment: I am really disturbed by the tricks that people use to inflate lens rank. This completely negates the original intent behind Squidoo.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I want a system where an honest person has a chance.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      You've given me a lot to think about...I expect I'll return and leave comments above under each area where appropriate. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I didn't vote in most of your polls because I didn't know enough to have an opinion - but I sure do know more now. Thanks for making this lens.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi this was a good read, glad I found this lens. Great info. I don't think that you were being negative.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Presently I can not think of any other major issues, of course, I'm a newbie, less than a year here. I do agree with some of the issues and I do see the need for change. Most times reality has a negative overtone to it because it points out what really is.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You're not being negative and you could have so easily been. I think you have pointed at relevant issues that affect all of us in the Squidoo community. Thank you so much for taking the time to compile these points.

    • NausetViews profile image


      5 years ago from Boston

      You've done a great job addressing all of the pressing issues on Squidoo. Regarding HQ- I agree with your statement that they have a great team of people, but they definitely need more help. In light of many of the recent decisions (having Crowd Ignite on pages, testing that ugly black box, etc.) makes me think that they need someone on board who understands Google, SEO and what can keep Squidoo on the right track to grow as a business without jeopardizing years of progress, achievements and remaining in Google's good graces long after competitive sites were slapped.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      5 years ago from Royalton

      @Jo-Jackson: I completely agree on the ding button. Love your idea of the "report button"

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You've made many great points here, Paul, and I appreciate you taking time to do so. I don't visit forums often, so I didn't comment on that section, but I agree with much of what you have said here.

    • Paul Ward profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @Jo-Jackson: There's a link at the bottom of every lens for reporting.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      5 years ago

      You have done a great job but I would like to see a section on what people think they should do if they see poor or copied content. I would like a "report" button on every lens with a dropdown list for plagiarised content (with a space to type another url where you saw it), spun content, very bad grammar and spelling etc. I'm sure HQ would be overwhelmed at first but if there daily reports were sorted by most complaints those are the lenses they should look at first. There is a lens on Squidoo that is a spun and sometimes direct copy on one I wrote on Suite101 and I don't know how to report it.

    • tea lady 2 profile image


      5 years ago from Midwest, USA

      Thank you for all the work you've done with this lens. I celebrate 7 years with Squidoo today and I have to say that as I've watched Squidoo grow over these years (with my 350 lenses) I have been disappointed in the way things have gone in the last 2 years. I think you have professionally covered many of the issues I have experienced.

    • LynetteBell profile image


      5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      PS I love Ruthi I hope it stays around!

      Thanks for the opportunity to have our say.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Got it pretty well covered.You're right- focusing on problems will probably bring some solutions. Lifting the "vault" in certain areas seems to be a good idea-in number of lenses for acceptance in the Giants program, as well as in overall standards. (Not considering myself an expert, by any means...)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      5 years ago from New York City

      This has been a thorough review of issues that have bugged many of us. It also shed enough light to answer some questions I've had. Overall, the problems are the same as everyone else has, although I think Squidoo HQ has a better mindset than, say, Hubpages. There are plenty of people out there looking for shortcuts or just plain cheating. It happens in every profession. These people have no commitment to community or Squidoo's more general success. We will always have them in sports, politics, etc., plus online marketing.

      What's gone wrong at Squidoo is Megan Casey's departure along with Seth's virtual departure and not enough done to replace their work as the sight has expanded. Gil, Bonnie, Susan, etc. are terrific individuals, but these are the same names (minus Megan, Seth, Kimberly) that were working two years ago when I started. They're understaffed and outgunned by the creeps. Beef up the staff and get Seth back in the game (without the anger) is the medicine I recommend.

    • Rodaussie profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up, however as it had happened to the music industry everything that goes global and online loose value. The same is happening in photography unfortunately and we have to copy with that and find new alternatives to live with that. It in my opinion doesn't seems to be reversible... All the best

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Well done, Paul. You've given us all some things to think about.... and a chance to appreciate what we have and how we can make it better.

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I appreciate what you have posted here and I hope to see some changes in the future that benefit those talented lens masters who are providing decent content, well planned and presented "LIKABLE" lenses.

      I love the "like" policy that has been implemented as I am very careful where I place a *SQuid-Like* like these days. I have had lens masters run all of my lenses with a like hoping for a return or two but when I visit their lens lists.. oh heck no! I can't do that. I am sorry I do not condone lenses that aren't even readable or they are so junked up with product links you can't see straight. I really don't understand how they are even being processed into a ranking.

      I wish there was a "check this out" button so we could alert HQ about the junk posts in this arena.

      I am going to be scouring my works to date and streamlining them to what is relevant. I know it's tough when you first start out not to put everything you want into a lens because you want likes, you want blessings, and you want sales, but this is not a get rich quick overnight scheme and some people need to be told that.

      To the lensmasters that have diligently presented their best examples on Squidoo, my thanks. You are what Squidoo should look like to the outside world!

      Thanks for posting this piece, Paul!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I think you've written a very fair and accurate account of the situation. I too hope that HQ will listen to what people are saying. I know they have already started listening and implementing some suggestions.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image


      5 years ago

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. With several changes Squidoo could once again be great. But right now there is too much unfairness and also too much low quality. I think a report button on lenses would be a fantastic idea. I cannot think of one other social site or article site without one. I applaud you for taking the time to write this lens and I hope HQ reads it and considers some of your suggestions.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      5 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I think having a "report" button on lenses with reasons why they are being reported (plagiarism, stolen photos, etc.) would go a long way to cutting back on these problems. Perhaps there are not enough people on staff to do it, so this could help. Yahoo and other sites have done it for spammy and bad comments about articles and I like it that people are now accountable for what they say there.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I think you've summed up the issues nicely and I hope HQ reads and uses some of the suggestions you've made.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Paul, I applaud your realism in this article. You have stated both the good and the bad. Further, you have afforded readers the opportunity to voice their opinion also. Thank you!

      I have written on several platforms and find that I felt Squidoo was "home" instantly, for various reasons. I like that I am encouraged to write content pretty much on any topic I choose; like that Squidoo does allow (encourage) outside links, even sales affiliates. Many writing forums did not permit this extra earning opportunity. (Although more are beginning to pop up that do.) The Squidoo community is, for the most part, a happy place. HQ does what they can to encourage us to strive to higher standards. The rest is up to me!

      My concern now is that I have been through changes like this on other sites, sites that have then disbanded, or if not, they may as well. ZI hope that will not be the case with Squidoo! I am in it for the long haul here!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      I thought you laid it out nicely Paul. I have faith that these changes that Squidoo is implementing will only benefit us all in the long run. I sure hope so.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      5 years ago from Houston

      Well, apparently that whole Christmas thing was ill-timed. Never did get that and was grateful I was otherwise occupied. I'm with you when it comes to not understanding why you wouldn't use real lensmasters who are in the weeds day after day after day. And I have to say there have been some lenses featured on LOTD or the home page that made my head swivel. Oh those Linda Blair moments. Do better testing. Think about the ramifications and the rippling effect. We all know about unintended consequences. I know HQ tries but some of this is simply common sense. I strive to remain happy to be here and, for the most part, I am--but clearly money has nothing to do with it. :)

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Some lenses seem to be permanent on the home page.

      Well, it is that time. I will bestow, without expectation of reciprocation, one of my 20 golden likes. Sorry, but even with over 748,000 points I have no Angel power, since I never applied.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It's obvious you've spent a lot of time on this lens. You bring up some great issues. I have also been alarmed at so many sales lenses where there is no or little text and module after module of products for sale. I don't make much money on Squidoo - sometimes up to $20 a month, but that's because I write about what I like rather than trying to write for sales. But I just couldn't bring myself to write these type lenses. Now I'm glad I didn't go to the "dark side". I'll continue writing about what I like and revising my older lenses. Some of them need a lot of work. Thanks for taking the time to create this lens. You are generating a lot of interest and getting many comments.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @grannysage: I didn't know you could hide the monsters. I don't like them either. I'm going to go figure out how to get rid of them.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      5 years ago

      Well said Paul and I appreciate the venue to be able to post my thoughts. Squidoo is at a crossroads and so am I. I'm exhausted and my excitement for the program has died. I have no intention of creating new content for squidoo until my current content begins to earn what it's worth. I know I am a good, creative writer who's brought a TON of genuine traffic to squidoo in the 2.5 years I've been here. On my squidoopets accounts I've seen great success, made a name for myself online. I've been asked repeatedly if I am squidoo due to the username. I've branded myself with squidoo and my online reputation is ultimately at stake by association due to the unethical webmasters who have over run the system. I've begun the process of moving away towards doing my own thing, squidoo will have to work at enticing me back, and that enticement needs to be better pay out for the hard work I've already done.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't see this lens as negative at all. It is a much needed vehicle to get people talking constructively about very real issues that affect all of us who are trying to be successful on Squidoo. Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinions. I have to admit this is one of the few articles I have read every word of! Great job! And, yes, I am going to bless this!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Thanks for the outstanding lens and worthy of a blessing Paul! You have answered many questions that this non-social media gal needed answers to.

    • VBright profile image


      5 years ago

      Squidoo has long prided themselves as being a small group who accomplish a great deal. Bravo! They have done that, indeed. Now, however, with the growth of Squidoo, the number of lenses and lensmasters, it's time that HQ grew. HQ used to listen to the well respected lensmasters. They did not always comply, but they took it into consideration. Now, Squidoo HQ seems to listen to no one. They violate their own TOS (fingerpointing, for example). I love Squidoo, and always have. I write lenses for clients now, and sadly, I am taking much of their business to newer platforms. I also only belong to a couple of Squidoo FB groups, because they only exist to promote lenses and get reciprocal likes. It's become a link dropping junk yard. I hope Squidoo HQ does some deep thinking about their own behaviors, and also changing or improving on some of the ranking systems, and rooting out the truly bad amongst lensmasters. You've done a great job here, Paul! My hat is off to you. Let's hope HQ listens.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      5 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I really love this lens. There is so much in it, that I will for sure be back to look at it again, and comment more. I'm glad you said that about stolen images. That is one of my pet peeves too. Great job. ::::blessed::::

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent lens! I love Squidoo and am really pleased to see HQ taking action over things the vast majority of honest, hardworking lensmasters have wanted for a very long time. Making Squidoo a fair and quality site once more makes me one happy bunny :)

    • Fiorenza profile image


      5 years ago from UK

      A very good summary of all the issues. I worry that the effort I've been putting into Squidoo, using all my spare time to try to produce really good lenses following all the rules, has just been a waste of time and effort. They hardly get any Google traffic, I guess coz they're too informational or something and I'm not on Facebook etc so I can't drum up business. Whereas I see lenses on the home page that must be spun because the english is so garbled it can't be read. Something needs to be done because people are getting discouraged and will give up.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Definitely agree with sad reactions to "changes that are badly timed and inadequately tested. Changes made without warning" on the part of Squidoo HQ. I realize that Squidoo can & will decide to do whatever & whenever, but recent decisions that were badly timed, abrupt with no warning to members and lacked appropriate testing made Squidoo as a platform look silly. There certainly are issues on the part of lensmasters, but it seems Squidoo is totally focused on pointing the finger AWAY from itself when a look within would result in some BIG pieces pointing to the big picture problem.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Lou Martin 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very well said! I love Squidoo and the whole community but there is a lot of changes that needs to be made for sure in order to keep Squidoo a great place for writers. I'm tired of people gaming the system which hurts writers who are doing the right thing. We may need to do away with the Likes and Blessings because all I see on social media and Fiverr are people trying to game the system to boost their lenses.

    • LadyFlashman profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      A very thoughtful lens with some great insights. I am looking forward to Squidoo have a big shake up for the better, I can't wait to see what happens next! I think this time next year Squidoo could really be a very different place.

    • sulcatamandy profile image


      5 years ago from Montana

      I think you did a fantastic job writing and presenting this information. I had so much more to say, but my browser went back and I lost my original comment. But thank you for the well written point of view. I am interested in what the future will bring for us squids.

    • retta719 profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      I tend to think Squidoo relies too heavily on volunteer work from the community overall and could definitely benefit from some additional staff. Volunteers are great and an important part of the community, but having paid staff members that are responsible for a specific task each day could go a long way in improving things. There have been quite a few times in the past year that I've seen requests go out "volunteer to do XYZ" or "join us as a fancy title" and they were things that seemingly would be better handled internally.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I love squidoo, been here almost 6 years and today is a very special day with HQ finally putting its foot down saying enough is enough. There is a lot of stuff to clear up, but this is a start.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think you raise some very valid points. I have never liked the Monsters. I think they are silly and have mine hidden. It is getting harder and harder to even keep a lens in Tier 3, where we could at least make a few cents. Expanding the Tiers seems reasonable rather than increasing Tier payments month after month. But the main question is, is anybody listening?

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      ****ARRRGGGHHH paul check your featured lenses!!!!! no need to publish :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The introduction of forms of automation to like and update lenses is a huge problem on Squidoo and I hope that in their list of changes this one features close to the top.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      I agtree it is not about being negative at all, we are the users of the site, and have suffered massively due to these "thin" content pages. I would spend hours and hours around squidoo, finding wonderful pages and really enjoying them, reading and learning. I would spend days on a page, before publishing, and it seemed these pages were tumbling out of Squidoo faster and faster, with the quests 1 after the other, pushing us to create, I just gave up as I could not compete anymore :( my enjoyment of the actual site was not the same. There is a very good balance to have, and can be achieved, and hopefully we are now on the way to a much better place for all.

    • ckatheman profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm still debating whether to put more effort in here or into my own websites - or if it's worth it at all. There just seems to be too much volatility and too many things out of my control. Google's behavior also irritates me and they are very much part of the problem. "Punishing" entire domains because they "can" without a lick of effort to stop individual spun nonsense from showing up in their results. Half of my Google queries over the last week have produced nothing but more and more advertisements wedged at the top of the organic results - results which contain nothing more than big retailers and garbage keyword spammed pages. It's turning into a complete joke. Other search engines are better, and at least Bing is putting forth some effort into showing Google for who they really are. "Don't be Evil?" Oh Please.

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 

      5 years ago from California

      I've been thinking for a long time that Squidoo is big enough to need more staff. My biggest problem with Squidoo is the amount of time I spend working - with no resultant income. Actually for months now I've been Squidooing an excessive amount to perfect my lenses and make new ones; but I've made less and less money in recent months. $1.98 last month - what the hell.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 

      5 years ago from London

      Monsters! HQ turned Squidoo into a game and lo and behold the gaming started. Some was just plain silly while other gaming was far more serious and has now affected Squidoo's standing with Google. Such a shame!

      Let's go back to basics and the way we were at the beginning when it worked well. Let's all strive to regain a reputation as a quality platform which provides an excellent resource. That needs major quality controls in place i.e. hurdles and firewalls which block the scammers and the spammers and the gamers. I'm extremely pleased to see that process has started - but there's still a lot to do. I'm very sure there's a lot of people who will volunteer support to help hQ clean up.

    • LisaDH profile image


      5 years ago

      I think Squidoo is a great platform and they're continually trying to find ways to make it better. It may not happen as fast as we'd like or in the manner we'd like, but it's a HUGE task for such a small group of people. I'm glad they're making some changes.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I believe you have the welfare of Squidoo and its lensmasters at heart. You've written things here that many of us think about and question. This is the most searching lens I've read on the doings at Squidoo and congratulations on writing it.


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