February 28, 2013

Hop and Squidoo - Are "Selling Only" Lenses Spammy Lenses?

Hello, and welcome fellow Squido Lensmasters! For those who aren't travelling here by blog hop and don't know what Squidoo is, it's just a place where you can make nifty little web pages about any topic you choose, and maybe earn a little money for yourself or a charity in the process.

Wow...it's been a while since I wrote a Squidoo Hop post.  But something was posted on SquidooHQ that made me want to write.

It was a post called "Are You Selling Or Spamming"  It featured some lenses that it thought were excellent, informational reviews (that's nice...everyone likes to be featured, right?)...and it also linked to a lens which it described as "nothing to offer but links"  (OUCH!  Ok, no one wants to be featured like THAT!).  And yes, this was an actual lens...not a fake lens Squidoo concocted as an example, because the owner of the lens (who bought it from someone else) commented about it.  

Like many other commenters, I thought that was extremely bad form on Squidoo to single one lens out like that.  But apart from that, the question of whether "list of link lenses" have value is important to me, because (guilty as charged) I have quite a few "just sales" lenses myself.  

I first found out about Squidoo from CafePress, where it was promoted as a way to "show off CafePress products."   So, some of my first lenses, like my Texas Tees and California Tees lenses, did just that.   They weren't easy to make--in fact, I spent hours and hours searching for the right products to include, figuring out how to categorize them, and updating the lens with seasonal time and replacing product that were dropped.  When I see these lenses I see a fun to browse collection of interesting a funny shirts--but others may not see it that way.  I hope that other's don't visit my lens and think..."Ug, spam."  But, based on the comments on the that Selling Post...I'm guessing probably some do.   

But then there's another question...one that the article didn't bring up (but many of the commenters did).  DO THESE TYPES OF LENSES MAKE MONEY?  From my experience, yes, they do.  I had more sales from my Texas Tees lens than ANY OTHER lens this holiday, including my lens that got a purple star and the Oven Mitt lens which got on the front page.  That Oven Mitt lens had exactly the type of content that Squidoo's article encouraged for "good selling pages,"  but has only sold ONE item since it was created.    So, monitarily , my "bad lens"  had more value than my "good one."  

Also, I think the comparison they made between the lenses wasn't exactly fair.  That "bad example" lens was about quirky shower curtains (a visual product which didn't need much explanation) while the "good example" lenses were on cameras and readers (iPads and such), products which do require more than just a picture to truly understand.  While the shower curtain lens, in my opinions, could have been improved by a little better organization and a table of contents--because the products she was presenting was visual, I'm not sure that being more verbose would have added much value to user's experience.   

But, regardless do lenses like these, that just mainly list product,  bring Squidoo down?  Can a well organized "list of links" be valuable, or should these type of lenses be penalized or banned?   If "just selling" lenses do have a place on Squidoo, what do you think makes the difference between a good one and a bad one?  


  1. I think they ARE valuable, as I know many people who are too busy to seek these products out themselves. So if someone puts together a thoughtful list of say all the Zebra accessories out there, its a timesaver for the person shopping.

  2. I wish I had seen this earlier. Ruth directed me to the other HQ post not to miss and I didn't see this one (not keeping up with squidoo at all these days).
    You have me curious on the other lens that they highlighted but it's not there now.
    However, I think your lenses are just fine! It seems they are after more those who just randomly build with sales links, not taking time to do it.