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Squidoo, Zazzle, and Creative Commons

Zazzle Referrals = Creative Commons that Earn Cash?

Last week I had a brain wave. Zazzle designs work a little like e Creative Commons: as a Zazzle Associate, you may feature them on your page or blog by providing credit and a link (in this case, a referral link) back!  You’re promoting an artist’s products (that’s the whole point). But as a side benefit, you have access to a huge body of gorgeous graphics.

Which of course meant I had to make a lens about it:

Want Graphics? Use Zazzle Designs Like Creative Commons

Be Considerate in How We Use People’s Work

I discussed not just how to put Zazzle graphics on our pages, but a little about copyright and artist’s rights and…ethics. I checked with Zazzle’s TOS to see what’s permitted, and then I checked with artists to see what they want (these are not always the same). We must remember, they are making money with their own creative work (wow!), not giving away graphics for free. This raises some interesting questions which we need to consider. I invite people (especially Zazzle artists) to air their opinions on the lens.

But IF you are promoting Zazzle designs and products, then you need to put them on a Squidoo lens. So Page 2 of my Zazzle tutorial covers HOW to put Zazzle designs on Squidoo lenses. In a Text Module. In a Black Box. In the Squidoo Sidebar. In multiple image galleries. I published the whole kit & kaboodle and posted a link to the lens in the appropriate Zazzle forum.

The Squidoo “Rhythm” Method of Lens Promotion

BUT… here’s where the plot thickens. I’ve been trying a “rhythm method” (pun intentional) to time when I publicize new lenses. I know from experience that if you publish a lens that’s especially popular with Squidoo members,  everyone comes and looks and likes and blesses and there’s a party for the first week of the lens’ existence. Then the buzz dies down, the visits fade to a steady but modest trickle, and the lensrank boosts from likes and blessings and traffic spikes wear off. (You get the same effect with almost any form of social promotion.)

PROBLEM: A lens does not earn any Tier payouts until its first full month of existence. That is, it has to exist on the 1st of a month to earn advertising payouts for that month (Amazon and other affiliate sales count from the start). If you get the “Squidoo buzz effect” too soon, the lensrank boost wears off before it counts for Squidoo earnings. It’s only one month, but hey, I’m greedy! SOLUTION? If you make a lens mid-month, hold off using social media to promote it until near the end of that month.


I didn’t really stick to the plan, did I? I advertised it on Zazzle. Zazzle members flocked to it, several of them noting they had never seen a tutorial like that with sample codes for them to copy and use (they haven’t seen all the helpful HTML and CSS tutorials by many Squidoo members.)

I Feel Strangely Flattered…

A few days later, a Zazzle member created a Squidoo lens with a multi-image gallery HTML template, complete with a color coding system much like the one I use. He advertised it in Tricks of the Trade. And I thought…hrrrrmm. But it could be a total coincidence! Or it could be that imitation is a form of flattery.  I really don’t know. The more the merrier, eh?

But I think I’ve created some useful and unique resources on my Zazzle / Squidoo tutorial lens, so I want to make people aware of it, too.

Creative Commons Are Still Cool

So much for enlightened self-interest. On a more charitable front, I am very excited that Seth Godin and Squidoo donated $15,000 to Creative Commons. It’s a project founded on sharing, generosity and improving the content of the web while giving credit to people for their original work. How cool is that?

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