Squidoo: the almost-was web2.0 version of about.com

Business by on October 30, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I’ll admit that I loved the initial idea behind Squidoo – create an open network of experts on millions of topics by giving them easy to use tools to build mini-sites that showcase their expertise and create value user value.

I had trialled Squidoo when it first launched (I think my first lens was deleted due to lack of activity), but it has been a while since I experimented with it. I recently returned and developed a Mt Rainier lens, since I had developed a fair amount of knowledge while researching and planning a group climb of the mountain. A few of my quick thoughts on using Squidoo:

  • A very easy tool for generating niche-expertise web pages.
  • Product list integration was incredibly slick. They have one of the best interfaces for creating product lists that I’ve seen.
  • The user experience is still rough around some of the most basic items. It took me several attempts to upload a photo, with it failing silently several times. I later figured out that I needed a smaller photo. No messages – just trial and error. I experienced a few similar issues while using the product. They’re suffering from featuritis, and need to take a step back and make sure the basics are easy/enjoyable to use.


The business:

  • Traffic is clearly up. They have just under 50,000 lenses. The lens that I created has received 6 visits in the last week, ranking it at roughly 10,000. So, the vast bulk of their lenses are untrafficed, and a top percentage receive all of their traffic. I presume this to be largely SEO driven.
  • Expertise? I expected a small cadre of high quality lenses to dominate the top 100 (by traffic). I found a very mixed bag. The lenses I discovered fell into several categories:
The second two categories create minimal user value. I suppose that this isn’t that different than blogs, however blogs carry a much more personalized tone, whereas Squidoo lenses are all clearly Squidoo lenses. Squidoo runs the risk of getting associated with crappy content and AdSense spam sites unless users (or Squidoo) are able to differentiate the good from the bad.


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