Squidoo shutting down shouldn’t be much of a surprise to those who have been watching it for the past year. The only surprise is that it’s giving away member content without explicit permission, despite its TOS which states,
Squidoo does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your Lens. The Content will be owned by you or a third party from whom you got permission to post the content.
I suppose, since Squidoo is merging with Hubpages, a lawyer could argue that Hubpages is now, legally, Squidoo, in the same way that my old bank is now owned by and named something else. Nevertheless, it feels a bit shoddy, especially with the “good news” spin in Seth’s announcement and the incredibly short notice.
That discourtesy towards members also doesn’t surprise me.
In a way, I’m relieved — the death by a thousand paper cuts is over, at long last. Nevertheless, I feel enormous sympathy for the many members who were still active and passionate about keeping the site going. You folks were just kicked in the gut. I wish I could wave pom-poms and give you “good news” and put a positive spin on this. But… I’m worried about those of you whose family budget depended on that Squidoo pay day.
Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news.
I am pretty ragged these days, so let me just jot down some inchoate thoughts:
- Honestly, it’s about time. Many of us expected Squidoo to shut down, barring a miracle, towards the end of last year.
- Hubpages’ staff is much better about announcing changes well in advance, explaining them clearly, and sometimes (gasp!) listening to member input and concerns and adjusting plans accordingly. Usually, any important announcement comes from CEO Paul Edmondson, who reads through responses as his time allows and answers some member questions. A CEO actively engaged with the community and listening to member concerns. Let that sink in for a moment.
- I think you’re going to enjoy Hubpages for being stable and un-buggy, for not making huge changes every month or three that require you to overhaul all your articles, and for paying each article based on its own visitor impressions and ad clicks. I don’t know about you, but I was sick of the lensrank bell curve even though I was one of those who profited from it.
- I’m afraid that some of you are not going to enjoy Hubpages’ tighter quality standards, two-link-to-the-same-domain limit on each article, and extreme caution regarding Amazon and other affiliate links. Just understand that it’s for every member’s protection, to make sure we don’t lose Hubpages the way we just lost Squidoo.
- Hubpages uses human raters and editors to judge hubs before they go live (see the Learning Center guide to Hubpages’ Quality Assessment Process). This is one reason it’s faring better with Google than Squidoo was. It does mean you have to be patient. It’ll take a day or so for newly-published articles to be vetted.
- I’ve been earning more per hub than I was per lens for the past year. Hubpages earnings are nothing like the Squidoo paydays of 2011-2012, but I do at least make payout nearly every month with about 100 hubs. (For me, I need about 500 visitors a day; other people need more or less traffic, depending on which ads tend to show up on their hubs. Ad software attempts to match your content, and some ads pay better than others.)
- Just as a lensrank of around 10,000 or better on Squidoo was the ticket to decent earnings, the magic number on Hubpages is $12.50. That’s how much your hubs need to earn per week to add up to the payout threshold of $50 by the end of the month. Once your hubs start earning, their earnings for the past seven days are posted at the top of the dashboard, so it’s easy to keep track.
- One of the BIGGEST things to get used to on Hubpages is that, while you can track your day-to-day earnings far more easily, there is no breakdown of which hub earned what. This used to drive me crazy. How could I tell which hubs were successful, if I didn’t have that data? But a side effect of this is that it forces you to rely on quality indicators and visitor traffic as your means of evaluating your hubs, instead of only considering them in terms of their earnings potential. That, too, may be a factor in why Hubpages has been faring better with Google lately.
- Remember that you can delete hubs AND your Hubpages account later. For that reason, I suggest making the transfer and getting a Hub account set up, to make sure you’re in the driver’s seat with your own content. You can then decide which articles to leave on Hubpages and which to move elsewhere, at your leisure.
- We need to diversify. I’ve been putting eggs in multiple baskets since 2012, but I just lost my biggest basket. Once the dust settles at the beginning of 2015, I’m going to be experimenting with at least one alternate basket. I suggest you do the same. Monetized blogs, YouTube videos, Kindle books, Zazzle or Redbubble designs— there’s a lot of possibilities. If you’re not so busy keeping up with changes at Squidoo, you may have more time to look into them.
And now a few personal notes about my situation.
HUZZAH, TIMING! I was just starting to move my best lenses to my own blogs like this one, which I was still in the process of setting up. So for me, Hubpages is doing half the work of transfer that I hadn’t gotten around to. (I still need to do the other half: revamping my lenses to suit the less-commercial, more-informational style I’ve found works better on Hubpages. I feel more enthused about doing this than I did about rebuilding from scratch.)
But before I look ahead, let me take one last glance over my shoulder.
I had written no less than three different “Farewell to Squidoo” posts since June 2013. Every one of those posts was too self-centered, too petulent, too much of a rant, so they’re still sitting in my drafts folder. Flynn the Cat, AJ, Paula and others said all I might’ve said more eloquently and with more grace, or at least with more of a sense of humor. So I’ll let them speak for me and just sum up with stats.
…You know how I love graphs and charts.
GREEKGEEK’S (FINAL!) SQUIDOO STATS:
My lifetime Squidoo earnings from May 2007 to the present:
…I expect another $100-200 from the final payout, assuming we receive it.
GREEKGEEK’S SQUIDOO TRAFFIC POSTMORTEM:
Google analytics has lost my old traffic data prior to October 2011. But for the record…
Yep, I used to average about a million views a year on Squidoo.
Lately I’ve been averaging around 10,000 weekly visitors across 400 lenses, and about 3,000-5,000 for about 100 hubs. So yeah, my Hubpages traffic is better.
So for me, this change is probably a good one.
Time will tell.
But I can’t tell, because Hubpages’ User Agreement includes this rule:
You acknowledge and agree that You will not publicly disclose Your payments or Earned Balance (including any subcomponents thereof) from the HubPages Earnings Program without prior written consent of HubPages.
That’s why Hubpages members will only give vague ballpark figures or nonspecific answers about earnings.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
..two more graphs from Quantcast, which sum up how we got here.
Squidoo Traffic, 2008-present:
…Squidoo was pretty well doomed when it couldn’t climb back up to 500,000 visitors a day.
I wish I could remember how many pages there were on Squidoo back in early 2008. Surely, even with all the deletions, there are hundreds of thousands more lenses now than there were six and a half years ago. So the fact that we have less traffic now than we did then, even with the growth of mobile giving people more ways to access the site, is telling.
Finally: a tale of two websites, and their Panda woes.
Squidoo vs. Hubpages Traffic: