Friday, September 27, 2013

Do You Squidoo?

Update (Aug. 24, 2014): Squidoo is shutting down! Roughly a week ago Squidoo's founder released a statement that the site is going the way of the dodo and will be selling it's content to rival HubPages. It's not a huge surprise if you were familiar with some of the things that were going on there (such as what's noted in my blog post below), but I feel sorry for all the people who devoted hundreds or thousands of man-hours to the site - especially in the past year or so.

Before I turned to writing books, I spent some time trying to earn passive/residual income from other writing activities. While the terms are often used interchangeably (I do it myself), there is a slight difference between passive income and residual income.

Passive income can be viewed as income a person earns without actively being involved in its generation. A good example would be corporate dividends: you made an initial investment that consisted of buying stock in a company. After that, you don't have to do anything in order to receive your regular dividend check.

Residual income, on the other hand, refers to some up-front endeavor or work which continues to produce income after the initial labor is complete.  Writing a book, for example. As long as the book keeps selling, the author can continue to receive royalties.

In my case, I knew of several online sites that offered revenue-sharing for writers willing post content on said sites.  One of those sites was, and I eventually posted close to 40 articles there.  I never earned a great deal of money there (I think the most I ever got was something like $40 one month), but it was fun and there was the potential for my earnings to increase down the road.  Plus, my work was going to be out there earning something forever. But it turns out that "forever" wasn't as long as I thought it was.

A few months back, I received an email from Squidoo saying that one of my lenses was going to be unpublished because it violated Squidoo's terms of service.  ("Lenses" is what they call articles on Squidoo.) Mind you, they didn't tell me what I did wrong (much less how to fix it) - just that I was in violation. (Oh yeah, they did give me a long laundry list of violations I might possibly have committed, but nothing definitive.) 

So basically, I was expected to go through my article, make a bunch of random changes, then submit it again for review.  There was another issue, though: even had I made any changes, there was no way to resubmit what I'd written!  I tried writing emailing Squidoo to get more info - what the problem was, how to fix it, how to submit it again for review - but never got a response.

In essence, without more info, I didn't know how to fix the problem.  And then I received another email from Squidoo saying that a second lens was being locked (although in actuality it was essentially the same email, with only one change: the name of the lens) - again for reasons unknown. And then it happened to a third lens. Then a fourth. Long story short, I looked today, and roughly one-third of my content on Squidoo is locked and unpublished.

Thankfully, I still have time (I think) to do something with all of the now-unpublished content I have on Squidoo, thereby bringing us to the crux of the matter (and the reason for this post):

To the extent that it is appropriate, I will probably bring some of my Squidoo content here to my blog. The rest I will probably migrate over to another revenue-sharing site like or

Of course, I'm not the only person this has happened to. There seems to be an endless parade of folks having the same issues at Squidoo (not knowing what the problem is with their content, not knowing how to fix it, and so on). I believe I read somewhere that Squidoo is doing all this in response to changes in Google's algorithms, but there has to be some means by which they can be more responsive. There needs to be method to this madness.

In retrospect, there are a lot of lessons to be learned here - particularly about how quickly favorable things can turn against you with respect to your writing. Right now, what Squidoo is doing is almost analogous to be rejected by a publisher: "Sorry, kid. Maybe next time..."  But what's probably more important is to persevere, and for me - at this time - that means saving the content on Squidoo that I labored hard and long over.  Likewise, for those struggling with their writing, it's important to understand and accept that not everyone will perceive value in what you are doing or your final product, but that doesn't mean it's worthless - far from it, in my opinion. Keep believing in the value of what you have to offer, and keep believing in yourself.

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