There are two different Web 2.0 approaches.
One is to provide tools, widgets and open-ended features that let users share their content. This is an “opt in” model, in which you provide really useful tools, and users find powerful ways to use those tools which you didn’t even dream about. That creates goodwill and draws more traffic to your site.
The other is to repurpose users’ existing content, mining and exploiting it and redistributing it in new ways that users may not have imagined. Following Facebook’s lead, this approach is usually presented as a fait accompli. If there’s enough user pushback, the company may add an “opt out” option.
Squidoo has provided us with many handy tools and new modules — building blocks — and let users find great ways to use those blocks. It’s also taken some building blocks away, including powerful ones we still miss. (Squidcasts and favorites.)
Other building blocks have broken, or never worked properly. I keep hoping Squidoo will shift from the attitude of, “If you can’t put up with a site that’s got frequent glitches, bugs, and nonfunctional tools, then Squidoo’s not the site for you” to “Our site has fabulous tools, more than any other publishing site, and we’re going to nurture and cultivate that edge. Tell us what’s broken so we can fix it and maintain Squidoo’s superiority over other user-generated content sites.”
Instead, in the past year, Squidoo has been moving in the Facebook direction.
- Our lenses get featured in Squidoo magazines — except, in practice, our lenses don’t actually appear in these magazines. Our lenses simply get links across the top promoting the magazine, boosting its search engine rankings, and diverting traffic away from our lenses. Lenses hijacked by Squidoo magazines also get yanked from the SEO-friendly Squidoo category tree. For example, Google search results will display a lens under the breadcrumb trail “Happy Snowman” instead of “Holidays > Christmas > Christmas Tree Decorations.” “Happy Snowman” is less informative, so less likely to get clicked on, and it undercuts search relevance for “Christmas Tree Decorations.” After a user pushback, Squidoo gave us the ability to “opt out,” but refused to change it to “opt in.” That means that every month, more of our lenses are hijacked by Squidoo magazines, so we have to keep “opting out” if we care about SEO.
- The Facebook Gift Guides mined our Facebook friends’ personal information to create for-profit pages which implied our friends had endorsed them. Member pushback, pointing out the illegality of this, convinced Squidoo to make Gift Guides “opt in” rather than “opt out.”
- Now Squidoo’s added a “pin it” button to the top of each Squidoo lens, granting members of a third party website, Pinterest, permission to copy, share, repost, redistribute, and embed full-sized images from our Squidoo lenses not just on Pinterest, but on any blog or third party website. I’m not sure that the temporary traffic spike of a social media share will compensate for having my best photos posted who-knows-where on the web, forcing me to compete with myself for image search traffic (which is responsible for most of my lenses with 500+ visitors a week). Pinterest’s TOS also claims the right to redistribute, manipulate, or sell images posted on its site. That’s against the TOS for Zazzle images, affiliate images such as Allposters and Amazon, or images that we have paid license fees to use on our own articles.
What other ways will Squidoo repurpose our content?
I’m concerned that Squidoo’s focus is shifting from creating and maintaining tools for us to publish content to finding new ways to use and exploit our content.
That approach may well work for lensmasters who aren’t getting much return out of their content. However, for me, it’s a reason to reconsider which kinds of content to post on Squidoo, which elsewhere.
I was quite surprised to see the Pinterest bookmarklet icon show up on Pinterest the other day. It seems to go against all that Squidoo says about proper use of images and respecting copyrights. Now, even if I have a Flickr photo on my Squidoo page that is propery displayed (creative commons license ok for use on commercial site, with proper attribution given), someone can now pin that image and the attribution is no longer there with the image. Now someone else can grab the html code from Pinterest to embed it anywhere else on the web. It is only magnified and worse if someone pins my original photo I’ve posted on my page, or a photo that I’ve gotten express written permission to use, or like you said, paid licensing fees to use. I can’t believe Pinterest is as popular as it is with as much copyright infringement it creates. I can’t believe Martha Stewart hasn’t sued them yet.
I’m really stymied about this, too.
I’m still waiting to see how HQ responds to members pointing out the serious copyright problems with Pinterest. I’m pretty sure they haven’t realized what can of worms they’ve unleashed.
If they’re going to let photos be Pinned, they need to have a big fat warning across Squidoo dashboards that any photos you share on Squidoo are assumed to be Creative Commons, available for commercial use, and if you don’t want that, you shouldn’t post images on Squidoo– nor should you post anyone else’s images that don’t meet those criteria.
Martha Stewart isn’t suing them, because marthastewart.com has added “Pin it” button to its artciles. Apparently that website is willing to let their photos be shared and hosted by Pinterest. It’s not like Martha Stewart is selling posters, prints, or T-shirts of those photos, nor does it have any other purpose for those photos.
The problem with Squidoo adding a “Pin It” button is that some of the photos on Squidoo articles have third party copyrights, and its photographers/artists haven’t all decided they’re willing to let their photos be shared and embedded off-Squidoo. There are too many different reasons why photos are posted on Squidoo. They are not necessarily all compatible with Pinterests’ “Ignore copyright, share it everywhere!” attitude.
I have these same concerns too. I work very hard to try to ensure that all my images are properly attributed. That attribution gets lost of an image is “pinned” because the link just takes you back to the page on which the picture is featured.
I cannot bring myself to use a site if it means compromising my principles in the search for traffic.
Squidoo obviously doesn’t care about copyright infringement. Look at all those coloring pages with hotlinks and Disney images, and Dover images,etc right on the lens with instructions to copy paste….and well known Angels doing this and getting paid tier income…and the lenses stay there after reports to content concerns is notified….so based on results….
*sigh* Just keep reporting them. SOMETIMES they take them down.
I don’t think Squidoo has a clue about Pinterest’s copyright violations, really.
just found your blog while googling for a way to prevent squidoo from allowing pinning of my organization’s logo to pinterest… and after spending an hour trying to track down all the pins and repins of our logo.. what a mess! I’ve sent in copyright infringement forms to pinterest, sent them a strongly worded email and sent a notice to squidoo as well.. but i can see i’ll be deleting my lens as soon as pinterest responds and i dont need them to see my logo there anymore. Has the entire world gone crazy? Licensing and ownership seem to mean nothing anymore. Thanks for the info.
I hope Squidoo responds. So far they’ve been a brick wall; if enough people remove content due to this idiocy, maybe they’ll reconsider!
Hubpages was very quick to let us add nopin codes to our hubs if we didn’t want the hassle: if you’re there, poke around in profile settings and look for the “social media” setting. I don’t make much money on Hubpages, but it seems more responsive to members’ needs.