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TheWizzard

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2024.01
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2023.08.21
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Squidoo was a very popular content platform with very loose rules. By loose I mean VERY liberal.
For once, it allowed publishing content in all languages. This was perfect for me because my English was not very strong then. I could write in my native language and communicate with other contributors who wrote in my language, link to my content (links were strong because Squidoo had high authority), and even earn some money on the way.
Essentially Squidoo was WordPress with some cosmetics. This means you wrote in modules that were pre-formatted with an exact aim for each module. There were dozens of modules, for instance:
  • Text
  • Picture
  • Video
  • Poll
  • Quiz
  • Duel
  • Comment
  • Callout
  • Amazon
  • Zazzle
  • Link
etc.
By the way, a squid was chosen as a symbol because it has unproportionate big eyes like a good web researcher and creator should have.




If I remember correctly, there was a minimum of four modules to create an article, ready for publishing. Such an article was called a lens and its author was called a lensmaster. This means you could create and publish a lens in a matter of minutes. Some lensmasters created a few lenses per day.
Many of these modules were constructed to encourage the activity of the visitors. The activity brought you points, resulting in the so-called lens-rank.
You got points by:
  • Visits from other Squidoo users.
  • Visits from other people (for instance, coming from search engines).
  • Activity on your lens (for instance, somebody participated in a poll on your lens or dropped a comment.
  • Your activity on other lensmasters' lenses (you could participate in quizzes, like lenses, comment,...).
  • Sells of items, presented in a lens (e.g. something from Amazon or Zazzle).
  • Refreshing your lens with new or updated content.
etc.
The more points you got, the higher your status. After 50 published lenses you could become the so-called Giant Squid (after editorial review), which gave you additional powers and respect. I eventually got that.


Why lens and not article or post? The lens should symbolize your approach to writing: in-depth examinations and condensed to-the-point presentations.
The activity was further encouraged by different competitions and rewards. One such reward was so-called The lens of the day, which was awarded by employed editors and there were about 300 lenses with such award per year. I got one of these too. I believe only two lensmasters from my country earned that and I will provide a link to this lens later.
It took some learning curve to understand the basic principles of lensrank (with a super complicated formula). Essentially you should get as much quality traffic as possible. The definition of quality was a bit shady, but with activity on your lens, the lensrank was good (but with sold items through your lenses, earning provisions for you and the Squidoo owners) even better.
Lensrank had financial consequences. While there were about seven million users at the peak of Squidoo's success, only two hundred thousand lenses were indexed (and each day the lensrank was recalculated. The first two thousand lenses were in so-called Tear 1, the next few thousand (I don't remember anymore, but maybe ten or twenty thousand) were in Tier 2, and others through 200 thousand in Tier 3. The rest were simply not indexed by search engines (but still useful for selling stuff if you got other sources of traffic).
Having a lens in Tier 1 could bring you up to one hundred dollars per month at the peak of Squidoo's success, Tier 2 was rewarded by a few bucks, and Tier 3 with a few cents. Or you could donate everything to different charity organizations (provided by Squidoo owners).
This motivated lensmasters (and editors) to 'push' their lenses as high as possible. All sorts of manipulations were in play, especially when rewards became higher and higher. The friendly community became more and more greedy and jealous.
One simple possibility of keeping your lens ranked and at least among the 200 thousand, was building backlinks from your blogs. Of course, blogs should be indexed by search engines and have at least some authority. I was writing about that in my posts about WordPress and Blogspot. This was achieved in a pretty simple way. You just linked such blogs from a few lenses, bringing them the authority and interest of search engine bots, and then link from your new posts to new lenses.
Here is a simplified scheme, many lensmasters used:


The owners of Squidoo (not immune to greed too), who manipulated visits to Squidoo from Google by some illegal traffic exchanges with different shady websites imposed several restrictions. First was banning the use of all languages except for English.
I lost a few lenses, translated others, and somehow survived.
Then Spanish Inquisition followed. All lenses from so-called spam countries (essentially everything except Great Britain, Canada, and the USA) got through reviews of editors who abused their power to eliminate their competition and push their own lenses higher in lensrank competition (and start awarded their own lenses on a daily basis).
But traffic from Google further dropped (which is a logical step, because many lenses with powerful backlinks were deindexed and the flow of authority through the Squidoo website was exponentially demolished.
The answer from the owners was simple - they tried to change Squidoo into a portal with super simple lenses with two modules only and a goal to redirect traffic from Squidoo to authoritative pages (namely Amazon with its huge commissions which were dropping with traffic and activity what definitely hit the pockets of the owners of Squidoo). Many lensmasters reported on the locks of their accounts because they simply didn't achieve the standards of always changing rules which became harder and harder to understand.
Google didn't like that. The website with a tradition of being a vibrant community and resource of important information changed to a cheap attempt to drive as much traffic to Amazon as possible.
In just a few weeks, several years of successful building of Squidoo where the real value was in the community, was destroyed. Lensmasters were angry with each other, management blamed lensmasters for their own mistakes, and editors tried to squeeze at least a few additional bucks from the sinking ship...
Then the notice came: Squidoo was bought by HubPages. Owners secretly decided to pull the plug and go on.
This means I have to write about HubPages too. But before, let me show you my lens, which was awarded the highest possible recognition in a seven-million-strong community:

https://discover.hubpages.com/literature/how-to-write-a-fairy-tale

In my next post, I will further explain my expedition in Web 2.0 communities, similar to Squidoo. Most of them are dead now but not all.





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最終更新日  2023.08.21 02:47:17
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