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Jun 15 13 11:44 AM
Jun 15 13 11:48 AM
Yes, shooting the complainer always fixes the problem.
Jun 15 13 11:54 AM
MiaBellezza wrote:You're right Kathy, but i still made a valid point; a contrary example, if you will, that highlights certain discrepancies. But this all occurred at the end of the comments, no doubt entirely missed somehow by the originator.
Jun 15 13 11:55 AM
Jun 15 13 11:57 AM
Nu Mil 3 Design wrote:Paul wrote:
Yes, shooting the complainer always fixes the problem.Please use a little folksy salesmanship: Yes, slicing and dicing the complainer always fixes the problem.
Jun 15 13 12:00 PM
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Jun 15 13 12:05 PM
Jun 15 13 12:13 PM
Jun 15 13 12:18 PM
That's just my way of looking at it, though; everyone else has the right to be annoyed at different things than me. :/
Jun 15 13 12:20 PM
Greekgeek wrote:Well, basically, it comes down to, "We can't fingerpoint other members." Which, in the abstract, is a rule I can respect. It's been one of the cardinal rules of Squidoo since the site began. The one you're so intent on bringing to justice lost Giant status after breaking that rule.
Jun 15 13 12:28 PM
Flynn, the post above this one (I can't reply to it as it is 'awaiting moderation') is a brilliant summary of what many of us are thinking. I too only had one lens flagged, an old one which I deleted because I didn't think it was worth wasting time fixing, and so far none locked. My two posts in the thread about the changes to the Amazon modules weren't written out of bitterness because of locked lenses.I am so sad to see Squidoo losing what made it a good place to write - the sense of community and the feeling that HQ was on our side.Seeing lenses locked that deserve to be is fine, putting people through hoops trying to fix them because you don't want to make it easy for spammers is silly and self-defeating. The spammers are already here and so are others using duplicate content, copyrighted pictures without permission, spun content, etc, etc. Those people are not pulling their hair out trying to fix locked lenses and feeling terminally embarrassed by the slanderous message that appears when someone clicks on a link to their lens. Many of those lenses are still going strong in spite of the fact they have been reported many times by different people who are not 'jealous' of them. We just want Squidoo cleaned up.We also need a sensible set of rules making it plain what is permissible and what isn't and they should all be in one place with a clear link to them on the dashboard.As some people will know, I have helped lensmasters when I can, particularly new ones. I feel like a proud mum when I see some whose first lenses I critiqued and who found the advice helpful, have lenses in top tiers, LOTDs and Purple Stars.Right now I don't have the heart to write anything new here although I have been writing. I had plans for lenses but I don't want to add to the number I might have to fix when the next thing happens that messes up the lenses. Remember the pre-Christmas page format change - great timing!Yesterday I was angry, today I'm sad. Skating over people's grievances won't make them go away - see Flynn's first post if you don't know what I'm referring to.
Jun 15 13 12:30 PM
Jun 15 13 12:41 PM
Jun 15 13 12:43 PM
sockii wrote:Looks like I've been deleted as well, if not ban-hammered (yet).
Jun 15 13 12:44 PM
fanfreluche wrote:sockii wrote:Looks like I've been deleted as well, if not ban-hammered (yet).
Well as I said elsewhere: don't go there without pompoms or you'll look silly. Or get banned. Or both.
Jun 15 13 5:50 PM
Greekgeek wrote:Well, basically, it comes down to, "We can't fingerpoint other members." Which, in the abstract, is a rule I can respect. It's been one of the cardinal rules of Squidoo since the site began. The one you're so intent on bringing to justice lost Giant status after breaking that rule.
They're tired of a vocal minority of members turning official spaces into a lynch mob for one member's head. So they cut off that line of talk quickly wherever they see it. They don't mete out punishment for breaking the rule, but they also don't tolerate the rulebreaking.
Take three steps back. Putting aside your frustrations with that one person, can you see why that might be a reasonable decision?
What worries me is that by sidetracking every discussion of Squidoo's more systemic problems into yet another torchlight brigade for one person's head, it causes HQ to take other concerns less seriously. (After all, they wind up deleting those posts and shutting down threads where that breaks out.)
At a personal level, I find the fingerpointing viscerally disturbing in its ubiquity. I feel like we can't discuss any topic at ALL without someone pivoting the conversation back to that one thing. And I understand why, really I do; it's the gnawing thing that is the absolute and utter last straw for many of you. But for me it's getting to be like having my friends telling me all about the horrible things my ex is doing now every time I see them, when I've moved across the country to get away from all that. (Except my problem is with someone else; thank goodness none of you talk about that person all day long or I'd never have been able to visit this forum at all.)
I think at this point all the complaints have done is pushed HQ into taking a stand, and unfortunately they see things differently. And I'm afraid dwelling on it is obscuring more serious issues.
Saying "the dam has sprung a leak right here, in the third bottom block from the right!" and arguing over whether that particular block is really showing water damage is not as important to me as, "the dam is leaking, because you've built it on porous limestone and there's water undermining the foundation!"
I think I spent too much time studying ancient Rome growing up. Do you know why Rome lasted longer than just about any institution ever, even when many emperors were insane and horrible? Because the Romans accepted human nature as fallible, and they knew that any system would inevitably have corruption, cronyism, and favoritism, so they created a way for it to work anyway. So the key for me is not, "I see favoritism and cronyism!" Yep. It happens. The key for me is, "Regardless of what other people are doing, can I succeed through my efforts, and will the system reward me, if I do good work?"
That's just my way of looking at it, though; everyone else has the right to be annoyed at different things than me. :/
Jun 15 13 5:58 PM
Here’s some questions from around the community.Q: Why were there bugs with the Amazon Module roll out?A: Bugs happen. It’s the reality of working on a live site (we don’t have downtime) and even with testing (which we do) it’s not a perfect science. Our team does work very hard to communicate problems to lensmasters and get things up and running quickly. The best thing that you as a lensmaster can do if you encounter a bug is to file a Bug Report so that it gets logged into our system.Q: I hate the new changes. Why don’t you listen to lensmaster suggestions about new features?A: This is a great question. We have a team of development people who carefully design new features based on research and stats. We also do read lensmaster feedback that’s submitted via our feedback system. For example, we had a lot of requests for a Coffee theme which we implemented. We’re also reducing the size of the Amazon product when you have only one item in your Amazon Module based on your feedback. These changes should be live soon.However some people like apples, some oranges. It would be impossible to please every single lensmaster with design nuances and features. We do strive to roll out new tools and benefit both veterans, newbies and the company as a whole.Q: Are you trying to push veterans off of Squidoo? I’ve had a lot of my old lenses locked.A: Absolutely not. Squidoo is a big place and there’s room for everyone. We value veterans and newbies alike. However the reality is that we’re moving into new territory with the search engines. SquidooHQ spends a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get our lensmasters their fair share of traffic. In order to do that, we’ve got to listen to (and respond to) what the search engines are telling us they’re looking for in the sites they point to. When they change their standards, we need to change ours, or risk losing significant amounts of traffic.Squidoo is also reviewing all lenses on the site (this is an ongoing process) with the new quality standards and that means that lenses created 3 or 4 years ago might not meet these new standards. This isn’t a judgement against the lensmaster who got their lenses locked, just a change in policy that will benefit the community as a wholeQ: Why should I make new lenses?This is an easy question. Because new fresh content matters. Readers want to see current reviews, recommendations and what you care about right now. Of course there are tens of thousands of older lenses out there that matter too. These lenses are the foundation that many of you built your accounts and reputation on. Good, solid, quality lenses that continue to receive nice traffic and sales. But there’s also a lot of thin lenses that aren’t so good out there. These are the lenses we’re removing from the site. The best thing you can do is update the current lenses you’re proud of and create new content that meets our new quality standards that we announced in March. There is a huge amount of opportunity for lensmasters to climb the ranks with new lenses,grab that opportunity.Q: How can we make money on Squidoo writing the sorts of lenses you are now advocating?A: There are two ways to make money online: race to the top or race to the bottom.The race to the bottom involves getting as close as you can to the no-fly zone. Pump up lots of links, use multiple accounts, swap ratings, do what you need to trick people into clicking. You’ve all seen advertisers, eBay sellers and non-reputable websites do stuff like this. It works for a while, and you can even make money writing ebooks to tell people how to do it. It feels automatic and easy, until it stops working, and it always does.The race to the top, on the other hand, involves being personal and staying far away from those edges. People on Squidoo have built entire lenses about just one product, not a list of 70. If your recommendation about that product is honest and compelling and yes, remarkable, not only will people buy from you, but they will tell their friends.Squidoo is a great place to build a reputation. To build lenses that complement one another, to engage with other lensmasters who fit in with your work, and to be the sort of person that others seek out for help and advice. These folks aren’t having trouble making a living online, because they start from a place of generosity. By paying it forward, and doing it publicly, they come out ahead.
Bonnie, this is one of the best and most helpful posts yet! Thanks so much for sharing your responses to the most frequently-expressed concerns about the recent changes.
Oops! This response should have gone below.
A helpful post – well explained – thank you.
I agree 100% Thanks
Very helpful, answers my questions. Thanks so much.
Spell check, should read “roll out” not role out…I keep noticing more and more incorrect spelling on squidoo…and I have decided to to let people know. I think the phrase roll out came from rolling out the red carpet and that old song roll out the barrel and we’ll have a barrel of fun…could be a good motto for squidoo.
Thanks! Auto correct is playing tricks. All fixed.
Since we are spell checking here, it should read ‘carefully’ not ‘careful design new features’. Just saying. :)
Geez, you all missed the worst one. Lensmaster, not lensmsater, in he second question.
Pesky things, those typos.
Geez, you all missed the worst one. Lensmaster, not lensmsater, in the second question.
Roll out in the sense used in the post comes from plane manufacturing: rolling a new plane out of the hanger,
Bonnie, again thanks for the communication.
My issue is still with the locked lenses and greenlight process. It seems that non-Giants have not had a good response (none-to almost none from what I can tell in the forums).
The idea was that a locked lens could be corrected. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the case for many , many people. These people feel that their efforts have been ignored.
Even a negative response (greenlight looked at and denied) would be helpful.
I know that in my case, a very good and helpful lens was locked. I lowered the kws and had no response, this is going back more than a month.
The problem with forums is that they don’t represent a huge percent of the Squidoo population and often times people will report a lens as locked on the forum, but never follow up if it gets unlocked. We don’t currently notify lensmasters if their lens will remain locked and that’s something we’d like to improve, but for now the best route to an unlock is to follow the procedure, we are unlocking lenses that fit our new standards.
OK. Fair enough. I do think that some would have spoken up about getting a greenlight, but I digress.
For those locked lenses that are not greenlit……once they are deleted or removed can we try and re-work them anew and publish them?
Will there be a history of them in the system that will make it so that they must be completely different?
I ask because I have at least 3 locked lenses that I am sure would have passed a greenlight review.
When they are deleted can I try and publish them again or will they somehow be “remembered”?
I’d like to know this too. Thanks.
Good question….I have seen many people telling others to just make a new lens with the same info. An answer to this would be great.
I'm in the same boat as yourself NYC-Info.
Have wrote twice asking about the problem and also asked why the lens is locked.
3 weeks later and still no reply to my questions.
Just can't believe how shabby Squidoo has started to treat lensmasters.
OK I'm not one bit surprised staff are busy, but if we were allowed to modify our locked lenses, perhaps this would have taken a load of work away from them.
But the OTHER thing about forums is that it’s where people with problems tend to head, even if they don’t normally take part in the daily conversation.
And given the level of frustration seen in people there, it’s quite reasonable to assume that people who don’t even know about the forums/similar support groups are going to give up that much faster.
And sure, many people don’t report back, but it’s gotten to the point where a lot ARE reporting back.
Actual stats on “X greenlight requests made/Y accepted./Z refused/A not yet addressed” would be far, far more believable and reassuring than “Oh, THOSE anecdotal complaints don’t count. Listen to THIS anecdotal reassurance instead”.
This journey has not been an easy one and I understand the changes are necessary for us all to succeed in one way or another — eventually. When we see posts like this Bonnie, it helps me to stay focused on improved writing, lens building, and on being a better Squid.
I agree that this is by far one of the best post you,ve written Bonnie. Very helpful and goes to show that writing good quality lenses or any articles online will do well and help earn money online. The more you write, the more people will build a trust with you.
Thanks for this helpful post! I understand a little better every day. Now for another question – I’ve asked/suggested this on another page so I hate to be redundant but… I really wish there was a way to make changes to a lens that has been flagged then get your changes & updates greenlighted… Any possibly of this?
These Q&A posts are extremely helpful, Bonnie. I like the “race to the top” (vs race to the bottom) example – that really does resonate, not just in terms of publishing on Squidoo but in terms of the economy as a whole. Now I just need to try to figure out how to do it. :)
Bonnie,I really like the new writing standards that Squidoo is implementing. When I tried getting my first lens published it was immediately locked (and I was frustrated). Then after rewriting the lens to meet the new standards, it has moved up quickly. Thanks for sharing these important topics!
Bonnie, I have absolutely nothing against you and in facthave a lot of respect for all that you’ve done for me. I also understand howfrustrating it must be for you to deal with all sorts of questions from all ofus and try and keep everything balanced. Please forgive me for saying this andI just wanna say one more time, this is nothing personal. You’re an amazingperson!
However, I truly feel like HQ have misinterpreted whatGoogle wants. Google wants unique content and stuff that helps intendedaudience and stuff that others will want to share with their friends, familiesetc. They don’t say that they want personal/story telling content. Lockingdecent sales lenses for this very reason seems pretty insane to me. Why didn’tyou guys try and start with the top tiers first? There are so many tier 1coloring page lenses with links and way too many affiliate links. I don’tunderstand why those pages are still up while good sales lenses are gettinglocked. I am sorry for speaking up.
I think so too. Pretty soon all of us lensmasters will just be writing personal recommendation for products we don’t even own just to keep our lenses from being locked. I mean its obvious that all of us do not have these products at home but we may have seen them and read reviews about them and want to let our readers know about them. For e.g I may have a bread machine at home thats probably 5 years old and really like it but that does not mean that it is what my readers want. In my opinion everyone wants the latest gadget with all the bells and whistles out there to save them time and money. The 5 year old breadmaker will certainly be no match to the newest machine out there. So does this mean I cannot make a lens about the new breadmaker? – sorry if this sounds rude
I think the better question is…Why would someone buy a bread maker from someone who doesn’t own the product they are recommending?
I agree. People like personal reviews from people that actually use the products they are searching for more information about.
What about someone who carefully researched all the bread makers, and outlined their good and bad points, saving the reader time and effort?
I am not an SEO wizard, but every one I know who is, including Matt Cutts himself, says Google wants added value, rather than regurgitating press releases or canned product descriptions. Outlining the pros and cons of each bread machine model, in one place, is value.
I went to buy an iPhone case recently, and Amazon was hopeless. It kept giving me cases for the wrong model, even when I carefully entered the right one. It also offered up chargers, styluses, and other accessories I didn’t want or need. A lens with options I could actually use would have been great!
And I wouldn’t have cared whether the person owned all 10 or 15 cases, just give me what I need!
I think owning the iPhone case is really important. I’ve owned some really bad cases and it would have been immensely helpful to see acutally reviews from the people who owned and recommended them. Even carefully researched specs don’t replace the value in acutally owning the item.
I’ve written quite a bit about GPSes. Have I actually owned ALL of the models I’ve highlighted or compared on my lenses? No. But I’ve either used them (while helping students) or know what the different features are, what they do, and why they are or aren’t important to a particular type of user. In other words, I consider myself an expert about that product in general and don’t feel I need to actually own every single one I talk about in order to give readers a valuable experience and valuable information. I can help them choose which is the right model for them, and I’m very familiar with many models that I haven’t actually owned. So, hopefully that’s “close enough” for Squidoo’s new standards. Yes? Maybe?
Three of my locked lenses were on items I own (two were items I even used this AM).
I believe they were locked for KW density issues. When this happens and people don’t have a legitimate opportunity to fix it….it doesn’t make one feel comfortable creating new content.
The information was extremely helpful (in one case it was a specialty product that many people are not familiar with/ the other was an old fashioned item that is hard to locate in stores).
I definitely think you’re qualified to talk about GPS’s in this case.
Sure you could say I had case A and it stunk, but case B was great. But, if you are limited to cases you actually buy, you can only review one or two of them (unless someone has a mad case collecting habit or something). Not a very thorough or useful lens.
oh that is so true about Amazon – I needed an adapter and the rig-a-ma-roll I had to go through to finally find the right one (was a real pain)
[newer + more comments I haven't copied] j2008 bdkz • 5 hours ago
Sorry to keep disagreeing with you Bonnie, and I dont mean to be disrespectful when I say I think what you are doing is allowing your own personal preferences to over-ride what may actually work for others. Fair enough if you personally prefer to take notice of personal recommendations when looking at a product you are considering buying. But there's plenty of Squidoo members who can attest to the fact that whether the "reviewer" actually owns the product is not necessarily the deciding factor for many prospective buyers.
Surely it is the market that dictates whether we own the product or not is important? And so far there's plenty of evidence (in clickthroughs and sales) that proves it is not important?
And I have certainly not seen any statement from Google to say that it is.
Well, if you believe they’re buying breadmakers from the lensmaster, I have some land in the Bermuda Triangle to sell.
We don’t sell stuff. We RECOMMEND it. They still have to go to Amazon and decide whether to buy it. And recommendations cover a huge scope of possibilities, and it depends entirely on what we are recommending for.
“this breadmaker is white, is under $70 and will fit your theme” – you don’t need to own it, you’re just handily listing it for someone.
“90% of customers found it didn’t break” – way more useful than “it didn’t break for me”, requires research. Owning it tells you nothing about how many people it actually broke for.
“I have trouble getting the lid open, the design is a little funky” – you actually have to have used it, handy extra info.
A properly researched list of recommendations is far more useful than a personal review. A personal review is more trustworthy, but also more biased, as it only tells you about the one (in most cases) example of this one person who may (to be blunt) actually be an idiot for all you know. Or lying.
I must agree on the researched recommendation route over more personal reviews. When I wrote on herbal supplement safety I looked at published medical research and not personal reviews. The reason simply being one person’s wonderful/or horrible experience does not necessarily equal the same experience for you.
Even when recommending something like a bread maker (my mom has had hers for 20 yrs) it depends on the bread you make, how often it is used, and how you took care of the product. If you treat a product poorly or don’t use it correctly then of course you will have a bad experience but the readers do not you know all that. They are simply reading the product was bad and believing the negative because they do not know the full scenario.
I believe it is best to combine personal reviews with the bigger picture in recommendations. If a one star product was the best thing to ever happen to me then I would definitely want to see why everyone else thought it was a failure. Then I would be able to say ‘this product worked for me because this..or..this but is not going to be good for…etc’. I like to think a good balance between the two makes for a great product lens :)
P. S. I loved this Q & A immensely because I think Bonnie did a fabulous job explaining the answers to so many questions which have cropped up lately. Also, I’m so glad you explained the Amazon module issue. It definitely made me feel relieved to know I was not going crazy. So thank you very very very much for such a great read. Keep these posts coming!
I agree with Bonnie. Heck yes I want to know about a bread machine that you have been using for 5 years. It means the manufacturer had a quality product that has lasted. I have a food processor that I don’t go a day without using and totally recommend it although it’s not the latest model, I will purchase another one like it when it dies. That one will be the latest one.
Just to clarify, you can write about..1. Stuff you own currently2. Stuff you want to own.3 Newer versions of stuff you own or have owned in past.Is this correct?
Should we be saving our receipts?
You can if you want to….not me :)
Remember, only the one model that you own (or want to own)…can’t really compare by first hand knowledge those you don’t personally own, can you? So best not offer any alternatives or researched comparisons–those don’t count anymore.
Knowing something has lasted five or ten years is very helpful. Often, the older models are no longer available. Sometimes, the quality deteriorates.
My toaster oven died after 10 years. I thought replacing it would be easy, but it turned out the newer version had a tendency to explode! My favorable experience with the old version didn’t help.
I’m going to make a lens on my washing machine, it’s 15 years old… Not available in stores since ages. That might be interesting for a washing machine collector, he might even make an offer to buy mine.
Or I could also make review of products I own but since I don’t live in the US no reader would be able to buy them.
I know someone who collects washing machines and other appliances. Unfortunately, he is downsizing his collection
Similar point to mine Dom…
I wrote a lens about my firend Triplosimac, then Colin broke it by running it on empty and melting the casing. I still have the lens, but neither Triplosimac nor his new friend Polti are available on Amazon. Is it now wrong or against the rules to sell other steam vacs that are?
HQ HAS misinterpreted what Google wants. Google wants a webmaster to ADD VALUE to your content. Squidoo thinks value = personal.
I read the imminent showcased purple star lenses – all of them are fantastic stories and NONE OF THEM make me buy anything from themIf I want to buy something I want a list of great products and A LOT of great feedback -NOT ONE person’s experience
Everybody knows that you won’t buy x number of stuff just to review them – people are not stupid
And all those content rich lenses locked for what? they weren’t even selling products!
I agree with others that there should be no lock and there ALWAYS should be personal checks on lenses – the filters only proved one thing: they are not good
I really wish for a better world here at squidoo… I constantly have a stone in my stomach as to when or why my lenses will get locked without notice and also just for honestly saying what I think here or on the forum…
I am well aware that it is NOT your actions Bonnie – you are just the executer – a very difficult role to have….
Exactly. i think the “personal recommendation” standard is a little off. And completely open to well, let’s just say a little fibbing. It’s easy enough to say that Aunt Bertha was famous for her Bose radio. I do mention products that are important to me: I wrote a lens on a certain kind of tea that a sister loved for example. But I do want my readers to trust me when I say something, and I honestly think I can recommend and review something that I have not owned or done. I also have written many, many book reviews of books I do own, and not sold that many books. I also am very hesitant to use personal photos, I may add them but I like to keep my privacy from the web in general. I know I am swimming against the stream there, but hey. So for now, I will try to add an unique focus in my own unique ways. I also find that my lenses develop over time and it is sad to think about so many lenses being locked without being given that time. And Bonnie – there are hurt feelings – even though we realize that this is not our site, we are still adding content and many people feel that they have not been respected. I appreciate the tone in this posting, I think it is important to realize that even if lensmasters get it completely wrong they have spent time on the site, chugging away.
Bonnie, This post has assuaged a lot of my doubts and clarified for me what it is you are trying to do. I am glad that my faith in Squidoo as a platform has not been misplaced.
More communication of this type (preferably before changes) would be much appreciated by me at least. It shows that you really do care and we all know that your hands have been pretty full of late with all of big G’s changes and the general speed of technological changes too!
Thank you for this.
I started writing here because I wanted to write a particular article. I have found that if I write about things I enjoy and am passionate about, I enjoy myself more. I may never make a sale, but I will have spent some time “putting pen to paper” so to speak, which was the goal to begin with.
I am glad that the standards are getting raised, which will allow the cream to rise to the top.
“Why were there bugs with the Amazon Module roll out”Is it safe to publish yet? The glitch ate a lens of mine that I worked 3 weeks on. I am kind of down about it and am not very inspired to publish anything else until I know it’s safe.
I for one am happy that Squidoo is moving in a more quality-oriented direction – I nearly quit Squidoo over the holidays because of the plethora of poor product-oriented lenses. I still see them, but now I know you’re working on the problem.
I would like to see the internal Squidoo search engine be a little more robust — but I’ve already submitted my thoughts on that, so I’ll shut up now.
Thank you to the SquidSquad for all you are doing.
Very helpful, I especially liked your response to haw we can make money – by racing to the top. (But it is not that easy).
I really felt like nothing new was addressed here.
Thank you for the info.
Makes sense to be. All aboard!
Yes, Bonnie, very helpful. I appreciated the Purple Star for my latest lens. It is fairly typical of what I write. I now have 141 lenses, and haven’t had one locked since the first couple of weeks, a couple of years ago, when I had ‘some duplicate copy’ – fixed it, and they are still there. I guess this suggests my writing style fits the new standards. The only negative, I’m not making any money…. even though I have many affiliate links and lots of personal recommendations… ;-)
Thanks for helping us all become better at doing what we love – writing about what we’re passionate about! Well said and well done!
I like this Q & A format and appreciate learning about all the changes in such a helpful way.
The information about quality lenses is good. I get lost with details about the links and affiliate stuff. It’s all new to me.
I admire the candor in this post. Thank you Squidoo HQ.
This clears some things up for me although I’m still seeing a lot of overly promotional sales lenses getting promoted to the front page. Progress takes time I guess.
Thank you for this Quest it was helpful.
Thanks for this post – good to know.
Well-written, I agree with everything here.
Alright then. Let’s break this down. Because while this is acknowledgement, and that’s nice, there’s nothing here promising any kind of fix or solution. (Bonnie, we know you’re the spokesperson who gets all our flak, but I ultimately have no idea what decisions making power you have, and there’s nothing here that couldn’t have been written by someone with no power to change anything).
“Bugs happen. It’s the reality of working on a live site (we don’t have downtime) and even with testing (which we do) it’s not a perfect science. Our team does work very hard to communicate problems…”
Yes, bugs happen. We get that. But most of the problems aren’t bugs, they are major broken issues that simply don’t work on most lenses. That’s not a bug, that’s a *broken feature*. And considering the scale of the bugs that we have come to expect, that should probably indicate a serious deficiency when it comes to beta teasting.
And more practically, if it is known that new changes = vast numbers of bugs, it makes sense to communicate that there WILL BE problems (i.e. that there will be a change), not just that “we changed it already, and oops, there’s a problem”.
It doesn’t matter if you think you have the best developers in the world. The data on nearly every change ever indicates that they, or your testing process, are NOT the best they could be. So it makes sense to build a little room to move into the system.
“Q: I hate the new changes. Why don’t you listen to lensmsater suggestions about new features?*lensmaster. ;P
“…we had a lot of requests for a Coffee theme which we implemented. We’re also reducing the size of the Amazon product when you have only one item in your Amazon Module based on your feedback. These changes should be live soon.”
*facepalm*How on earth is a coffee theme on the same level as removing the ability to write content as before in certain parts of your lens and BREAKING CONTENT? A better analogy would be arbitrarily removing popular themes. Actually, no, it’s more like adding a bunch of flashing banners and a garish moving border on the DEFAULT theme.
The suggestions that everyone is screaming about aren’t ‘make a few cosmetic changes to pretty the site up’ or ‘add a fun new thing’. They’re “why did you break this thing nobody anywhere ever who actually uses Squidoo wanted you to break?” They’re ANTI-suggestions. And “please stop breaking things and give us warning if you are going to remove a bunch of options and BREAK OUR CONTENT” is feedback that is only sporadically being acknowledged and is generally being poorly implemented if acted on.
“Q: Are you trying to push veterans off of Squidoo? I’ve had a lot of my old lenses locked.A: Absolutely not. Squidoo is a big place and there’s room for everyone. We value veterans and newbies alike. ”
I doubt many people seriously think Squidoo wants to kick off people who’ve been on here a certain amount of time, so addressing it as if it’s a serious question is fallacious. The real question is “why is Squidoo acting like this? Does it not realise it is completely alienating everyone? I know it can’t be doing this on purpose, but how can it not realise?”
“Q: Why should I make new lenses?This is an easy question. Because new fresh content matters.”
Let’s rephrase that: Q: Why should I keep making new *articles on Squidoo* as opposed to elsewhere?A: Because fresh content is good for Squidoo. That was a complete non-answer.
Essentially, it’s not the ‘write better quality’ that most people are upset about. They’re upset about the functional stuff; the fact that the filters aren’t a good guide or easily fixed, the locks without warning, the content getting broken outright, the loss of perfectly handy options and arbitrary changes to lens structures and appearances at a time when they are already dealing with a bunch of other issues.
If Squidoo can’t cope with changing stuff, it shouldn’t be changing this much stuff. And who cares if larger spotlight images (which has been brought in and complained about ALREADY this year! Seriously, stop pushing the same thing and acting surprised at the getting the same reaction, and then ‘graciously’ undoing it again) bring 5% more clicks if it breaks 20% of lenses.
I have not had any locked lenses, and very few of my lenses have hit the filters. One was greenlighted instantly, as it clearly didn’t deserve it, I haven’t even bothered touching the others. I actually liked the black bar discovery bar (don’t like the floating one, though). I know the payout was scarily low (my worst in three years) but that we’re still riding out the massive changes from a couple of months ago.
I’ve come out of this stuff better than the vast majority of people – and I’m STILL considering leaving Squidoo, moving out of my comfort zone, because Squidoo has stopped offering the things I came here for.
Because I can’t trust Squidoo not to stuff my content with ads if I forget to fill in the discovery module. Because I can’t trust my content not to get flagged, and for it to get fixed if I do (and I really, really, really hate using the “special email” options, because 1) I HATE EMAILING PEOPLE and 2) it’s hugely unfair on the many non-Giants and non-comfortable-with-harassing-staff people). Because I can no longer trust the Amazon modules not to get changed on me again. Because I can’t trust all my content not to get broken or hidden or deleted when a module is ‘improved’ by limiting its options (e.g. poll module, Amazon module, my lenses module, About Me module). Because I enjoy the flexibility I had here, and that is being curtailed at every turn. And because I don’t know when these changes will come out, or why.
Stuff that helps? Asking “is this changing actually necessary?” not “can we do this? yes? awesome!”Asking the actual community about the minor stuff that isn’t about massive sitewide spam removal.Acknowledging issues in advance; such as “there WILL be bugs” and “payout’s going to be painful, sorry, here’s what the data looks like for the following month” instead of pretending you don’t even pay us and letting all that discussion be unofficial. Making sure you aren’t BREAKING PEOPLE’S CONTENT. Not running all over the place panicking like hubpages did when they got slapped making random changes and nofollowing stuff and deleting and breaking things.
I really, REALLy hate being one of those people who piles onto announcements complaining. But if *I have had enough* (who has not lost any lenses, who is looking forward to better sales this month and next, who DOES NOT DEPEND on my online income but does it largely for fun, at least in comparison to many here, who have a lot of patience with changes, who has so many different kinds of lenses that most changes will hurt AND help me….); when I realised that my reaction to the removal of *existing formatting* was “hmm, okay, were can I move this article/put this other article…WAIT, Squidoo just stopped being my default?”. That’s a sign that I’ve been pushed too far, and I’m following a lot of other people who were affected far more than me and snapped far sooner.
Everyone that made it through the Giant Essay of Doom gets a free cookie.
free shipping I hope?
Flynn, the post above this one (I can’t reply to it as it is ‘awaiting moderation’) is a brilliant summary of what many of us are thinking. I too only had one lens flagged, an old one which I deleted because I didn’t think it was worth wasting time fixing, and so far none locked. My two posts in the thread about the changes to the Amazon modules weren’t written out of bitterness because of locked lenses.
I am so sad to see Squidoo losing what made it a good place to write – the sense of community and the feeling that HQ was on our side.
Seeing lenses locked that deserve to be is fine, putting people through hoops trying to fix them because you don’t want to make it easy for spammers is silly and self-defeating. The spammers are already here and so are others using duplicate content, copyrighted pictures without permission, spun content, etc, etc. Those people are not pulling their hair out trying to fix locked lenses and feeling terminally embarrassed by the slanderous message that appears when someone clicks on a link to their lens. Many of those lenses are still going strong in spite of the fact they have been reported many times by different people who are not ‘jealous’ of them. We just want Squidoo cleaned up.
We also need a sensible set of rules making it plain what is permissible and what isn’t and they should all be in one place with a clear link to them on the dashboard.
As some people will know, I have helped lensmasters when I can, particularly new ones. I feel like a proud mum when I see some whose first lenses I critiqued and who found the advice helpful, have lenses in top tiers, LOTDs and Purple Stars.
Right now I don’t have the heart to write anything new here although I have been writing. I had plans for lenses but I don’t want to add to the number I might have to fix when the next thing happens that messes up the lenses. Remember the pre-Christmas page format change – great timing!
Yesterday I was angry, today I’m sad. Skating over people’s grievances won’t make them go away – see Flynn’s first post if you don’t know what I’m referring to.
Can I just say thanks, Flynn, for saying so much of what was on my mind and very likely also that of other people who haven’t posted.
I don’t like speaking out because in some people’s minds anyone who dissents is against a push for quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is something I’ve wanted to see on this site for a long time. I’m also not here to make personal attacks on HQ members (and I know Bonnie in particular has been working incredibly hard, and I don’t envy her the role of spokesperson for Squidoo).
However, there’s only so much I can do to keep up and being told ‘bugs happen’ when my efforts to meet new standards are wiped out, well it does feel dismissive of some very real frustrations.
Lensmasters I admire, those who helped people quietly and without asking for anything back, now seem to be falling silent or packing their bags. This is a worrying time for those of us who are no longer in the first flush of enthusiasm and have years of work to change and yet still face the prospect of losing it.
Maybe it was because Flynn wrote so much that the ‘essay’ went to moderation, but in any case I feel it should be published for the balance that it adds to this discussion. And for the free cookies, obviously.
I agree, thank you Flynn, I couldn’t add anything to what you said. Pity apparently any kind of rational, logical dissent or counter-argument isn’t allowed here at this time. I suppose the rest of this thread will be deleted soon, sadly.
Wow…is this new? I like the Q & A….and that for once there are controversial comments included. My comment is on the race to the top or race to the bottom. I am still waiting to see lensmaster Xconsequenced for all the reports of cheating. Then I learn about pressuring certain people to like lenses in a certain group, as well as theirs. Not counting the example to all the newbies. All the things you say about what makes a winner isn’t what’s happening here….because they surely aren’t sitting at the bottom. They have been doing this for years, our homegrown cheat. So, as much as I want to go along with what you say….I am still watching, and waiting to see when the reports are taken seriously. I am still waiting for the line of “they’re just jealous” to be looked at for what it is. A manipulative attempt to discredit the people in the community that know, and have reported the truth.
That part of your Q & A is the part I have the hardest time accepting. It’s gotten to be a joke….and that bad apple has ruined many barrels already! I want to see their cheating dealt with in the same manner as the fiverr ones, and the others were. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask for….because then you will really be sending a message of trust.
Thank you so much! In the end it is all about benefiting us.
To quote you “However the reality is that we’re moving into new territory with the search engines. SquidooHQ spends a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get our lensmasters their fair share of traffic. In order to do that, we’ve got to listen to (and respond to) what the search engines are telling us they’re looking for in the sites they point to. When they change their standards, we need to change ours, or risk losing significant amounts of traffic.”
Your new territory is the result of poor management – and getting downgraded from the search engines for it. Google has not changed their standards. They don’t like overly promotional or too many ads above the fold on pages. Have you corrected this? No. They want VALUE, not what you have let climb into Tier 1 through liking and blessing games, or the reports of TOS violations you have ignored for years that climb into Tier 1.
Love this question and answer lens. I hope we see one every Friday!
This has been explained beautifully.
“When they change their standards, we need to change ours, or risk losing significant amounts of traffic.” This is what scares me. My understanding is that google has always changed their algorithms frequently. Even asking us to make major changes to our lenses once and a long while is frustrating (especially for those who have a lot of lenses). But we can come back from that. Asking us to do that every time google changes their algorithms might well be too much. It seems that a lot of people have stopped making new lenses (I know I have). In addition to just being burnt out from having to fix all our old lenses, there’s a whole sense of uncertainty to deal with. A lot of us, I think, want stability before we go forward. I think we all need a couple months without a new rule coming down that can get our lens locked (or hey, even a couple weeks would be nice).
An example of something I HAVEN’T done on squidoo, but put on a blog in stead, because of this uncertaintly, is a “Guide to Rome” with craft and costume ideas as well as historical background about Rome during the time when Paul was imprisoned there. Though it would have started out as a guide mainly for my church I would have changed it into something aimed more at the general public, like I did with the lens on Nazareth which got a purple star and still gets a lot of traffic. But I can’t share something with 40 plus volunteers, not to mention the other churches doing this type of VBS (which I usually share these things with), if there’s a chance this might be caught in a filter and shut down. Before, unless you pretty blatantly broke a rule, there wasn’t much chance of that. I had already started the lens, just hadn’t published it…but after the “purge” of lenses it I moved all that onto a blog because it just wasn’t worth the risk..
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve stopped editing and updating old ones for fear they’ll get locked, and I just don’t have the time to spend trying to figure out why. I haven’t made any new lenses for ages either, because I can’t be sure it won’t be a big waste of time. Methinks it’s a sign I should get on to writing Kindle books instead of dodging bullets on Squidoo – at least for the moment anyway.
Thank you for the Q and A’s….that may be the best form of information we’ve had yet. I’m working on coming up with new lenses right now, because writing is what I do, and this is where I’ve been doing it for 3 years now. Old habits die hard, and this is one I want to keep.
Great post which has perhaps been the most inspiring and clear as to the overall goals and expectations of Squidoo. Thanks for the info!
This is wonderful. I love this type of question and answer lens. Thanks!
Squidoo is indeed a great place to build an online reputation and a writer’s portfolio. I got more writing projects by sharing my links here when I apply for posted projects. Since project owners know that squidoo is not like any other writing sites, my bids have greater chances of being considered (an finally hired).
Can I please recommend a faster review service when we email about our locked lenses? I want to get any problems corrected right away, as I can’t move forward making new lenses until I decode why I was locked in the first place. Instead of locking lenses, you should just keep them unpublished to give us a chance to fix them!
When I first started Squidoo I wondered how I would ever get as good as some of the heavy hitters I saw all the time. But gradually, I learned the ropes. Slow & steady won the race. I have been gaining in success as the changes roll-out. Use common sense, follow suggestion through quests and be creative. I am proof it can pay off little by little. Cheers~cb
Thanks for the explanations. Hope they will help reduce the frustration and discontent so palpable in Squidoo at present.
Very Help full….. great
Bonnie….Is there a particular reason my comment disappeared? You know the one where I was talking about the top and bottom and how I didn’t agree as some people seem to be at the top, but actually do the things you mentioned would land them at the bottom? The one where I mentioned/stated that more people would believe all the rhetoric if reports were actually given consideration and not ignored because someone claims someone is “just jealous”.
I would have added to it to by saying there are many people that help others “in public” for real with no other motive than to help the community. Those people have been here for 5, 6, 7 years….and they ARE hurting!
Teachers or Censors?That’s the question!You are not the only one who get his post deleted…
This is a helpful post. Thanks for your suggestions.
Pleasing everybody is impossible, but…Making sound choices, tech-based decisions has nothing to do with personal taste nor individual preferences.Yes, we are here for at least one of these possible reasons:1. The pleasure of writing2. Be part of an interesting community where anyone can express her/his own ideas3. Having the possibility to get known and establish a reputationand – last but not least:To earn some money.It doesn’t matter how much.
Getting a tangible return – be it one dollar or hundreds of dollars – is something that prove that we did something right and push us to continue.Squidoo is a free platform. We can make all the pages (lenses) we like.It’s easy to use and flexible with many additional modules and widgets.But, in the end, we like also the possibility to make a profit.
That said:Have you ever considered to help us to increase the revenue of our lenses?!There are things that we can do but others that can be done only by your webmaster and your tech-team.
So, in addition to tell us what to do or what not to do why not to instruct your programmers and Internet Marketing experts to deploy a series of actions aimed to increase yours and ours squid-income?!
Yes… great advice.. people keep on wanting to use shortcuts.. but it’s a no win situation… first of all it’s not authentic. and second of all.. it’s simply dishonest… that is why everyone needs to keep it “real” and write your own lenses.. passionately, honestly, and with gusto!!!
Thanks Bonnie, I will try to be as personal as I can be.
I am still seeing many of the old lenses are remaining on the top (at least in my areas) and they appear to be solid and customers must be looking for these “products” or the lenses would not remain on top. Things may be changing for Squidoo, but many “old” lenses will still remain in the top tiers.
Clear, concise and makes good sense.Thank you.
Thanks Bonnie, useful information and I particularly like your note on the race to the top/bottom, it’s an important subject in many areas of life and business.
Helpful info…. indeed always trying to improve!
We are all making a shift in our thinking.Thanks for the info!
Thanks for this great Q and A, Bonnie. And, for taking the time to listen to members and answer their questions.
It’s good to clarify some of these things. I’ve been with Squidoo since before the first Google slap, so I know it’s possible to come back from it. However, I am not currently making new lenses (except for the Imminent challenge, because I REALLY want to take the kids to Disneyland), because it isn’t worth it.
I think that the ongoing changes are what is really wearing down the Squidoo community. Major changes will always shake things up and people will get grumpy, that’s just the way it is, but they adapt and get used to it. The problem here is that every time we think we’re clear and ready to go, something new comes up, new filters lock lenses that we thought we’d fixed, new guidelines are put in place and new tweaks are added. While the changes are a GOOD thing, it’s really tough to stand up and move forward when the ground keeps shaking under you and knocking you down.
Hopefully, things will stabilize soon, but until they do, I don’t see the point of making new lenses and increasing the amount of fixes required every time something is changed.
Thanks because this is very helpul….
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