Moving Your Lenses Away from Squidoo?

Hi there 🙂 Well, they say that all good things have to come to an end. I don’t agree. But the good days with Squidoo certainly is over.

I feel like having been invited to a birthday party, and having fun, drinking cocoa and eating cake while holding nice pink balloons in my hand, and then all of a sudden the moon rises and the hosts show their true and ugly faces.

Soon the party isn’t funny, and you feel like taking part in a horror movie.

Beaten up, your money stolen, you decide to leave as fast as  you can. But how?

So many questions pop up in your head: What if I move the content of my lens and delete it… Will it still show up in Google? And will Google punish me for duplicate content?

And where do I move my lenses to? How do I do it?

Or maybe you’re still in doubt… Should you just come through this bad situation and start building lenses as soon as the storm has passed?

Are People Giving Up Too Fast?

In one the Facebook Squidoo groups I’m member of, the leader wrote that she was certain that Squidoo – like a submarine – would emerge again later.

[amazon asin=0743233387&template=image&chan=default]

I don’t think so. I think it’s a sinking ship, and I’m abandoning. Like the man in this picture above me seems to be doing 😉

I believe that if you’re in something, it has to be something you will stand for.

I will not stand for the way Squidoo HQ is treating people like criminals. This is what they wrote to me when they locked my lens about creating Amazon HTML links (without warning, of course…):

You’re getting this note because one or more of your lenses is in violation of our Terms of Service and SquidDon’t policy, as well as in violation of the Terms of Service of our advertising partners.

And they continue:

We hope you can understand that every free platform needs a system of checks and balances to keep it working and successful for its community. Fortunately, 99% of our members have no trouble with this policy and are thriving on the site.

Did you get that? 99% of their members have no trouble with this policy. Only YOU, you filthy scumbag!

And all the money that lens has made has been “defaulted to charity”. Stolen, in other words.

locked lens

Can I live with these conditions? Yes, but I will not. And especially, because I know that these actions have hurt a lot of good and hard-working lensmasters.

I have places to take my lenses. I can live without the $8 or so Squidoo stole from me. But other people have put so much energy and hope into Squidoo. And that’s what I’ll not be a part of: Stealing away people’s dreams.

That sucks!

Where to Move Your Lenses

The best place to move your lenses to is your own blog. On your own server. But even if you have many blogs, like I have, there are probably some that are outside the topics of these blogs.

You could create a new, if you have many lenses about a single topic. I did that for my cat lenses, which I’m moving now.

Other options are HubPages (not a good option – they are even more strict than Squidoo), Zujava, Weebly, Wizzley, Tumblr, Fancy, RedGage, Blogger, Mahalo, and for short texts Bubblews.

How to Save the Content of Your Lenses

I wish there were an easy way to do this, but I haven’t found any. These three ways might help you, though:

  • Open your locked lens in Edit mode, and click on Save lens text to your computer at the bottom right side. This feature might come from Squidutils, so if you don’t have it, sign up with them, first.
  • Get an add-on for Firefox called ScrapBook, and quick save your lenses with that.
  • Open each module and copy the HTML code into a new text file.

Duplicate Content?

I’m no SEO expert, haha, far from, so what I’m about to tell you might be wrong.

I got this question from a fellow lensmaster:

If you move the content that quickly, do you run the risk of duplicate content on your blog somehow?

And this was my answer:

Good question. Since I deleted the lens, it doesn’t show the “this lens belongs to a criminal. we’ve removed it and stolen her money” page it used to. If I use the link, it goes to a 404 page.

So I just did a search on Google, and it still shows the Squidoo version in the results. I clicked through and got the 404 page (error page).

This means that Google – if it could think – would go: Hm… It seems like this Squidoo thingy has messed up its links and pages. I don’t like that. I’ll punish them.

Especially if they have many error pages.

That’s one of the arguments Squidoo has been using against us for flagging lenses: If you link don’t work, they claimed that they would be punish. And I believe them in this case.

At this moment, Google hasn’t seen my new placement, so it’s not in its index.

But when it does find it, it might show both versions for a short while.

And this is NOT duplicate content.

Duplicate content in the eyes of Google is only when you have the same content several times on the same location – like if I posted that guide on several blog posts on GetMoneyMakingIdeas.

I’ll ask a real SEO expert and see what he thinks about it.

What You Should Do Now

You basically have two options:

  • You can stay with Squidoo, show a low profile, hope and pray that they don’t lock your best performing lenses and steal your money, and then start creating new high quality lenses according to their standards, when the storm have blown over. Let me give you an example of a purple star lens, by the way, so you know what to aim for… http://www.squidoo.com/doctorwhobedroomDon’t worry about keyword stuffing. That lens is performing well, and the keyword “dr who” is mentioned 239 times (thanks Anna).
  • Or you could move away, copy and paste your best lenses to other sites, and delete your lenses as soon as possible. That way, you returning the favor to Squidoo, who chose to punish you for working hard for them. When Google finds lots of 404 pages, they’ll know something is wrong with the webmaster at the main domain: Squidoo.

I’m taking the second route. What about you?

25 comments
Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa - May 14, 2013

I have had quite a few lens locked. Fortunately they had already paid out or had nothing on them. It is one thing to lock a lens but it is disgusting that they do not feel obliged to pay out the money that has been earned on them.

This is an awful way to treat people and I am glad that I stopped building lenses. I knew that it would be a waste of time trying to edit and amend, as they suggested, because they are not clear on what is and isn’t acceptable.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. The lesson that has been learned is to make sure you own your own online real estate so that no-one can steal it from you when they feel like it.

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    Britt Malka - May 16, 2013

    You’re right, Victoria. It was fun as long as it lasted.

    Your own blog is better, and I’ve always known that. But for testing and fun, Squidoo was great. Well, at least I discovered a new niche worth working in by having lenses about it 🙂

    Reply
Debi J - May 15, 2013

I’m with you Britt. Just got another notice yesterday on my Purple Hoodies lens… one that got the most likes, comments and highest in my rankings. I’d already been paid but I mentioned to my sweetheart that they’d given me notice that MY money was going to be given to charity (as if that was the only appropriate place for my “ill-gotten” gains) and he was as shocked as me.

Between the major mobile-user change right before the holidays that messed up a lot of lens masters income to the removal of the transfer option that locked many of my lenses inside my VA’s accounts to the most recent lock downs and money stealing, I’ll be deleting my lenses and accounts as well.

What an awesome time for a product creation challenge eh!? 🙂

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    Britt Malka - May 16, 2013

    Oh, yes, great timing 🙂

    And I’m grateful to Squidoo to be right on time – twice.

    First time around, I had planned a product about Squidoo lens flipping. I stopped immediately.

    Then I thought I’d figured out what they wanted, and had a new idea for a squidoo product that would work. Then they locked lenses like crazy, even non-salesy like my “how to use your own affiliate link”. So I stopped right there. I’d only taken notes for the book and created two lenses so far. And I can use my experience later for something else.

    But what if I’d been out earlier? Then I would have wasted a lot of time, and people might have bought my books, and then Squidoo did all that… Horrible! I’m glad it didn’t happen.

    Reply
John Brewer - May 15, 2013

Quite honestly…I have never done a Squidoo Lens and so reading this has made me really second think whether or not I want to do one.

I found your blog via TiffanyDow.com/blog and thought I would drop in for a line and say hello. I will be taking advantage of this 90 product creation program as well. Thanks for the participation I see on Tiffany’s blog because I am learning stuff from you.

Thanks and Let’s Ride!!

John Brewer

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    Britt Malka - May 16, 2013

    Thanks for stopping by, John 🙂 I don’t think now would be a good time to create lenses. Maybe later. Not for me, though, I’m done with them. But PotPieGirl wrote yesterday that Squidoo have had their ups and downs before. And she expected them to come up again, although she also had locked lenses.

    As for what I’m concerned, I’m not going to use or recommend them. The way they’ve treated people I know is horrible. So humiliating. I do what I can to help people, to teach them, and to give them self-confidence. Squidoo did a fine work of breaking all that down. Yuk!

    Good luck with your product creation project 🙂

    Reply
Joanne Reid - May 16, 2013

I signed up, Britt, to SirGo. I was updating a lens yesterday and when I went to publish it, Squidoo gave me a warning that it was too commercial and allowed me to ask them to greenlight it. OMG I was annoyed because it was a lens about my fiction writing. MY fiction writing. And full of personal stuff such as writing without worrying about my mother’s opinion. Etc. Sure, I had Amazon links but the focus was my Amazon kindle books. Arggh.

I am waiting for them to greenlight it but think I will just move it to the new site.

Thanks!
Joanne

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    Britt Malka - May 16, 2013

    Yes, that’s what I would do, Joanne.

    Of course they have to protect their business from being misused, but they catch so many honest lensmasters in their squid net. That’s what I don’t like. “Your lens is locked and we took your money, because you’re with 99% certainty a bad guy.”

    Or their filters could be wrong? Naaah 😉

    Reply
Tiffany Dow - May 31, 2013

Don’t you wish there was just a simple credibility factor for each person online If you’re a spammy scumbag, you get no love from sites. If you’re legit, you get freedom! Wish it worked this way.

I had 5 lenses warned but luckily all it took was personalization to get them cleared. My traffic’s soaring and conversions too. It’s going great this month! But the attitude there has been disappointing 🙁

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    Britt Malka - June 2, 2013

    Yes, Tiff, it would be awesome if things worked that way.

    I understand why they have to protect their business. I once put up an article directory (two, in fact, one in Danish for Danish articles only, and one in English). I got all kinds of spammy articles, and I refused them and would rather have a few good. But I put up the guidelines from start.

    I didn’t allow people to post almost anything, told them that they would get paid for it, let them see how much money they had earned, and then locked their articles and stole their money.

    If only Squidoo had treated people correctly, I wouldn’t mind their new (but rather flimsy) policy. But the way they did it? The arrogance and the locked without warning lenses with all your money stolen, no, I cannot be a part of that system.

    I’m not upset about the lenses I had locked and the around $10 they took. (One of my lenses was a tutorial!) I’m upset for a lot of people who put in a lot of honest work in their lenses.

    They told me that my book who helped a lot of people to get started on Squidoo that “This is not is the spirit of Squidoo or the Giant Squid program.” [SIC].

    Well, I can only add that they way they treat honest working webmasters is not in the spirit of Britt Malka.

    Reply
Mohammed - June 3, 2013

I always say that Squidoo is just Big Scam and i don’t know why people run to post them articles on it, they gust collect the content not else, and if you promote your own inf, product or program they maybe refuse you because someone just came before you.
I don’t know about you but for me Squidoo SCAM.

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Bob - July 4, 2013

Glad I found your site Britt,

I’ve put up with this long enough. I had long ago, on my own, deleted some older “quest” lenses which were admittedly thin and without value. The rest of my lenses I’ve felt really good about because I know how much time I spent on them, and I’ve had no flags period to deal with. I’m a Giant Squid and was a Squid Angel until Squidoo got too cool for that, too. My top lens, which is now locked, had over 27,000 lifetime visits… and NOW (in July 2013) they have a problem with it which is severe enough to lock it without warning??

I have two lenses locked today, one in the top 100 and the other in the top 300, which were doing really well and getting tons of social interaction.

I no longer write lenses there (NEVER will again) and advise anyone reading this to take the advice of others here… create your own blog, write elsewhere, do anything other than risk your time and online reputation with Squidoo. Now all of these visitors (yes, I was getting over 400 daily visits on just one lens) who come to see ME and MY lens see me labeled by Squidoo as a badee. If you click on these locked lenses it reads: “This lens has been taken down ….Sometimes, however, a lens is taken down from public view. This can happen when our filters have determined that there is spam, duplicate content or a Terms of Service violation.” Talk about tarnishing MY reputation. And even if they DO republish them.. how much did this kill my rankings and trust?

Frankly, right now I’m mulling over whether or not to inquire about a class action with some of the larger law firms, there are hundreds or thousands of potential claimants here… Squidoo cannot simply change their mind AFTER we’ve given them our time (hundreds of hours) and our confidence that we could potentially earn money from our work, and then “without warning lock lenses and brand lensmasters as bad people”… they’re doing a couple of things here which I believe opens them up to liability. They say “you can take your lenses elsewhere,” but what about the massive SEO and social efforts spent BUILDING those rankings? Sorry for the rant… but I’m ticked.

And I’m sick to my stomach that Squidoo would do this!

Reply
    Britt Malka - July 4, 2013

    It’s so indecent, what they’ve done, Bob. I’m really sorry to hear about your problems. Thanks for sharing. I posted a link to your comment on Facebook and a private forum to spread the word.

    Reply
Charles - July 4, 2013

Yes, a friend just had her entire account locked. There was years of work involved and she was earning 4 figures a month. This is a person respected by many who has many followers who have used her methods. Like Bob said, they change the rules after we have spent hundreds of hours trying to earn some money, which was strongly encouraged by Squidoo. The person I mentioned had several hundred lenses, an impossibility to correct in the time given.

She is moving all of her work to her own sites, and will be OK. But even this will take many, many hours to transfer this many lenses. So many people are totally frustrated.

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    Britt Malka - July 4, 2013

    Oh, my! I can’t even begin to imagine the work that takes, just to move the lenses. And then to build up traffic again.

    I’m so glad I removed my Squidoo book from the market a while back. I will not be part of that. It’s not within my way of doing ethic marketing to approve their behavior. I feel like Bob. It’s disgusting!

    Reply
Paul Forcey - July 5, 2013

I am interested to see what they do with the urls in the future. If they redirected all the traffic you were getting to one of their own pages..

Well it could well help them earn more money (which is what this is about). A class action suit could be interesting indeed!

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Bob - July 5, 2013

I need to figure out what to do with my lenses as quickly as possible in order to make an attempt to salvage them in terms of rankings.

I wonder if I get my 50+ lenses republished elsewhere “after” deleting them from Squidoo, like on my own dedicated blog, perhaps my old lensmaster name dot com (? helping Google figure out the connection), and get to work on promoting them if they’ll have any chance at a short term bounce back?

Anyone have ideas or suggestions. I write at Hubpages, too, but frankly I’m tired of dancing to someone else’s song. I have several niche blogs, but don’t think they would be suited for the generality of 50+ lenses, and that many lenses would fill up a blog fairly nicely.

Regarding any potential class action, I’d stipulate any monetary compensation I received as a result be given to charity… I don’t want money, I want the bullies to be forced to stop and pay back that which they’ve stolen. I’m convinced that Seth Godin doesn’t have an ounce of honor or integrity, though he talks the talk nicely; so many good people treated so brutally unfair leaves little else to think of the man.

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Bob - July 5, 2013

PS – You can easily save your lenses, their formatting, everything by going to the edit panel, highlighting all of your lens and copying and then pasting into MS Word.

You’ll still have to do some work on image links, some formatting and such, but it saves everything including H1 and H2 tags, making re-publishing elsewhere much easier than plain old xml text.

If I republish on a blog I plan to manually add each comment using the user names as found on MY original lens, too. I shouldn’t have to lose social comments.

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Bob - July 14, 2013

I wanted to post an update re: my Squidoo situation.

Shortly after posting this I made the decision to grab my own domain and start a blog related to the locked lenses, the new site is http://paracordbracelethq.com/.

After copying the entire contents of the lenses and pasting them into a MS Word doc, I deleted the Squidoo versions so I’d have a day or two before re-posting them on my own site. I wanted to avoid duplicate content issues; even though they were locked, as long as they’re indexed by Google the have the contents in cache, and by deleting you signal G that the URL’s are gone.

I moved the two locked lenses keeping them almost identical to the way they were before being locked, hoping that search engines would figure it out. I had to recreate my polls but that was kind of easy with the plugin “Social Polls by OpinionStage”. I published them live on my blog.

Then I started going to every backlink that I knew about for those lenses and re-directing them to the new URL, and pinging them to point search engines to my new blog and get the backlink credits. I posted an update on my Pinterest account with the new URL, (and re-pinned the two lenses).

I used this White Hat Fiverr gig (well, mostly White Hat) to get some fast social traffic to the new site (http://fiverr.com/computer3/give-a-social-marketing-package-which-makes-powerful-social-traffic-signals). Note, I’m not affiliated with nor do I know this Fiverr, but he’s fast and it really works due to the real human aspect of it (not bots or fake stuff), and the reasonable and natural size of activity on the various social and bookmarking sites. Why would I do this? I did not want to let much time elapse between being ranked on page 1 and having the lens all the sudden be gone. I needed to make sure Google was fully aware of where I was at, and that they took notice.

Result is that just over a week later I have my lenses ranking on my own blog (and brand new domain) on the 2nd page and climbing for the keywords I was after, so I have no doubt that in a very short time I’ll regain my position, AND never have to listen to Squidoo’s poo poo again. I now need to populate the site with some new content, but it’s well worth it.

Moral of the story is this… you CAN have success outside of Squidoo. If you’ve had lenses ranking well before Squidoo locked them, fret not, simply pack your marbles and play elsewhere. It’s a small hassle with a huge reward.

Thank you Britt for the motivation to take the plunge and move my articles!!!

Bob

Reply
    Britt Malka - July 14, 2013

    That’s awesome, Bob!

    Thanks for sharing your success story with us. I’m sure it has taken some work, but it’s good to know that it can be done – even when you’re competing with your own previous success.

    Reply
Dan - July 27, 2013

Squidoo will allow to export your lens as an XML file. You can take that XML file to http://piranhalake.com and import it. That will create a page for you on that website. It is the fastest way to get your content back online. Plus it will import Amazon products and links under your affiliate tag.

Reply
    Britt Malka - July 28, 2013

    That sounds great, Dan. What’s the catch 🙂 What are your conditions for sharing Amazon commission? How about AdSense? What are people allowed to and not allowed to do?

    Reply
Bernard Sinai - July 14, 2014

Hi Britt, I am facing the same issue and I think its time to move my lenses. I have an account with Hubpages and Zujava so I’m thinking of moving my content there.

Squidoo just sent me a message telling me that my lens had violated their copyright policy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t specific so I am confused as to which part they are claiming as a violation.

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    Britt Malka - July 14, 2014

    That is such a pity. Squidoo was a great place, before they ruined it. It really makes me doubt Seth Godin’s marketing abilities…

    Did you copy part of your lens content? I think even copying names from Amazon can trigger their filter. You can ask them, but I’m not sure you’ll get an answer.

    I had plans to move my lenses to my own domain, but never got it done. Now I’m not sure I have the copies anymore.

    Good luck with your lenses, whether you move them or try to fight for your right to stay.

    Reply
      MarigoldTortelli - July 29, 2014

      Britt, I’ve been going to Wayback Machine (the Internet Archive) and grabbing my deleted lenses from there and posting them to other paid-to-write sites. Some pages may not be available there, but if you didn’t save your lenses and you’re afraid they’re gone for good then check with the Wayback Machine and see if it was saved there before Squidoo destroyed everything good about Squidoo.

      Reply
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