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26/12/2014

Former Hub Moves to WebNuggetz

My unfeatured HubPage was moved to WebNuggetz yesterday

 



Since the quality of my work is not good enough to HP, it's got moved else where. Actually, what I did is delete a similar page on my own site and pasted the former Hub instead.

The deleted page was entirely reworked (rewriting all texts and missing products replaced) and posted on WebNuggetz. This is because the Hub was too long and readers would have been bored with the huge amount of info. WN is perfect, ideal, amazing, wonderful, incredible for visual pages. The former Hub is too long and needs additional pictures. In addition, I have to find related products to feature as after the move from Squidoo I had to remove 90% of the featured masks from it.

Fingers crossed for the page to be as successful as it was on Squidoo. I'll never know how it's worked on HP since it didn't have a chance to make a season. Never mind, it's now safely hosted, hehe.


EPD features discovery


While working on that "nugget", I also discovered some specific features on Easy Product Diplays. I knew some of them but never thought of using them, and some, I never knew. 


The first one I really love is that I can have a product floating to the right or the left of my text directly form my EPD dashboard. This feature is a time saver especially when I want to copy and paste a former lens or hub into a new page. This feature helps me not to have to paste the content first on a Notepad so as to get rid of the formatting code contained in those old pages. The system allows basic HTML, though. I can thus add titles, subtitles, italic, bold, underlined texts along with text links. 

Another feature I love is that I can opt out from displaying a buy button. That is something I accidentally discovered. And with this great option, I can even add text beneath my featured products just like I did in Squidoo modules (well over there text was to the right of the product).

It was fun to make. All I had to do is uncheck the buy button option, and type text in the product name form. Then I changed the font into one that matches my site and pasted the code in the page.

Because I forgot to add a buy button to some items, I also worked with the import code feature for the first time. This one is a big thing! When you create an array of 12 or more products form your affiliate programs, you don't want to have to re-do all of them in case of missing products. This is where EPD is fantastic! Instead of searching for all item codes, just grab your existing EPD code, go to "get code" tab in your EPD dashboard and click on "import code". This will make the system display your articles and enable you to just replace the missing ones.

It saved me time when I had to just add a "check price" button! 



Price comparison for the same product is also easily done using Easy Product Displays. How many times do you find a product that is cheaper in an online store than in another. However, you know people will want to buy it from the other store. Doing a price comparison will help them buy the cheaper one. 

Another use for such a feature is for example, some products that come in sets of 2 or 3 products (perfumes, beauty products, etc.) Using EPD I can show that this store sells a set of 3 for the same price as that store sells a set of 2. I plan on using this option for future gifts and Halloween costume articles I'll post on my sites. 

When searching for products, for example, Venetian masks, if I want VIVO products displayed first, all I have to do it type "Venetian masks - VIVO" in the search feature. This way these authentic masks will appear first in the results. If I do not want them to appear in the results, I will type "Venetian masks -VIVO" (--> minus sign).

Also if I'm in a very productive mood - which happens very rarely - I can search for dozens of related products before adding them to my article. In EPD, I can type up to 10 ASIN codes each separated with a comma. The system will provide me with the 10 products so that I can add them to the display.

I hate having to copy and paste all Zazzle codes and then remove excess code from them in order to paste the good part on my pages. Using EPD, I can just use the link code, then click on the fetch button and the Zazzle item will magically appear in my EPD display. 

How to use the fetch feature




Well, that's it for today. See you soon for another trip in the fabulous world of Internet marketing.




Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

23/12/2014

My First Unpublished Hub for Quality Matters

Spammy Hubs


So early this morning (I'm in Europe so evening for you is morning for me) I've received my first notice for a hub unpublished for quality reason. Hm... the title was "friendly" - "A Friendly Heads Up: Your Hub Could be Featured!" Er... my hub WAS featured yesterday. Let's read (portions of) this email.

Dear justholidays,

We wanted to let you know that Best Venetian Masks for Masquerade Parties has the opportunity to become Featured! Didn't know it was not featured...
Featured Hubs are... They are also made available to search engines... strongly recommend dusting it off and making a few improvements. I just updated that page (second time since it made the transfer from Squidoo)

The perks of a Featured Hub don't end at increased visibility online. Featured Hubs are likely to be more successful... Not sure about that, traffic started to increase as soon as I updated it, but when it was still OK for you it didn't get any kind of traffic at all! Not to mention that my HubPages traffic is dysmal compared with dying Squidoo traffic (incredible uh!)

It's possible that your Hub is not Featured because it contains spammy elements. Thank you so much for insulting me! Perhaps it was written for a link, Wow! keep on insulting me, please, you can't imagine how pleased I am! or has too many unrelated or distracting products capsules. Yes, 7 Amazon ENTIRELY RELATED capsules on a grand total of +/- 2,500 words. Even Hubs... We recommend that you remove any spammy elements that might be present in your Hub. Unless Amazon capsules are spammy elements, I can't remove anything BUT content... which is not what you want, is it?

What else can you do to improve your Hub? High-quality Hubs are original.... My Venetian mask hub was probably not a high-quality page but I was proud of my work and don't want to ruin it so as to match your standards. I'm sorry but Venetian masks are VISUAL stuff not just boring endless content.

Thank you for taking the time to update and improve your work! I won't waste my time reworking a hub that doesn't get me the same traffic rate as it did on its original home so as I always did when Squidoo started getting mad at locking lenses, I deleted the hub. It's going to generate money for me on another site or platform.

Cheers, Cheers :)
The HubPages team Justholidays

That is how I fix a low quality, spammy, violation, whatever page on a platform where I can't control anything. Even though we don't have complete control over our work, we always have the liberty to pack and leave. 

I've deleted 9 hubs since the big move from Squidoo. More will follow, of course, especially the Venetian pages since the one deleted today was part of a series. Without it, the others don't have any meaning any more. 

Thank you HubPages for making me feel like a spammer, a cheater, a loser... Well actually I don't feel like that, but if I was as sensitive as some writers are, I'd be really depressed. I'm not, writing is not my life, I just write to earn an income to enable me to get together with my foreign partner some times in the year, because he is not allowed to travel from his country to Occident (documents are hard to get and my country doesn't deliver such visas nowadays). That's all my writing is meant for. It's just going to earn me money else where.

More screenshots of this hub

 

Yes there are big pictures on the page, but these pics are there for illustration purpose, no link on them. If they're part of a mask that is for sale on Amazon, I added the related Amazon capsule somewhere. Is there anything more related to a Colombina mask than a Colombina mask? 

White Colombina is there to show what an original one looks like, the other one is just more intricate and makes the page look nicer. OK, I could remove the white but I've never agreed to test over and over again just to have a page republished. There are only 24 hours in a day and I have different sites to take care of.

 



How to make a moretta mask tutorial - what a spammy capsule!




Personally the only spammy elements I can see on this page are the floating ads that follow me wherever I go on the page. Impossible to get rid of them. This is what I call nuisance... I rather liked the older ads, those that don't move, that are text based and don't distract me from what I read. Even the new Adsense layouts are absolutely ugly and a real shame. There's nothing that claims "I'm an ad" more than those.

Since I updated another hub yesterday, I'm pretty convinced that it's going to be unpublished as well in the coming hours. However, because it is one that is part of those Venetian pages, it is going to be deleted anyway.

I feel that I'm beginning a long, very long journey deleting unpublished hubs... 




Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

22/12/2014

My Favorite Affiliate Product Display Tool


Easy Product Displays Search Feature
My favorite affiliate product display tool is what I'm going to talk about. It is not Squidoo or HubPages related. It's an entirely different subject. Yet it is the perfect tool for those who plan on leaving HubPages for greener pastures (hear: their very own site or a platform that allows page personalization).


How to display products on a page


Nicely displaying products on our pages is a must for us, former lensmasters and other webmasters. We were accustomed to nicely craft our pages and still love doing so. However there are very few online software that enable us to do so.

My sites are now all on a WordPress platform and although I was accustomed to HTML and CSS writing manually on my older sites, I enjoy the ease of use of that platform. This is a big time saver and I definitely love writing on it. 

But when I want to add products on my pages, I still have to play with HTML or CSS so as to display the items in a good way. This is where I waste time. And believe me, I often waste a lot of time, because I want my displays to be as nicely crafted as I can. Then when I conceived the table, I must look for the products on sites like Amazon. Once I found the product, I must make sure I enabled the right tracking ID so as to know which site generated which sale.

After that, I must open each product page or go in my affiliate site backoffice and search for each product in order to get the URL, the image link and the product name. Paste each of them in my table. Once one table is done, I must create another.

There are some free tools I tried for the purpose. However, once again, I had to look for products, find links, copy and paste them into the forms and then copy and paste their code into my pages. Most of the time, I had to get back to the settings so as to have my product display fitting within my pages.

I even paid some plugins to do the job. Sadly one of them doesn't seem to be updated in a long time as it doesn't work any more. Another doesn't enable anybody to reach the actual product page. When I realized that, I had to deactivate them and look for another way to add affiliate links and images in my pages.

Easy Product Displays 

Easy Product Displays Layout (flow - 200 pix)

 


A friend of mine offered me a free trial with Easy Product Displays, a superb tool that allows me to create affiliate displays on all of my pages, in any way I want. Plus I don't have to browse Amazon or Zazzle to add those products, all I have to do is type my keyword and choose the product directly from my backoffice. 

My affiliate program IDs are saved in my profile, so when I start my search for products, I only have to select the appropriate program and ID (once for all searches).

For other affiliate programs like Share a Sale or Commission Junction I must copy and paste the product links, though. However, they will soon integrate Share a Sale into the system. This will help me save big time once again!

The little plus is that I can choose between several layouts (14 different static layouts and 7 flow templates). I can also add borders or no border, I can also choose what I want to be written on my button, choose its color and even select some pre-designed Amazon, BuyCostumes, Zazzle, etc. buttons in addition to be able to link to a customized button I host on my own site. 

Everything can be personalized in a display. Want a big 400 pixels image? It's ok. I prefer 3 x 200 pixels images? It's ok as well. I can set the font size for the description and the button. Border, no border, rounded button, square button, and so on.

As soon as I'm finished with the desired settings - which I can save for later use on another display - I grab the code and paste it into my page. The code is designed to fit within most Web pages and the way products are displayed will adapt to my site. 

As an example, when I select 150 pixel images, my site will feature 4 x 150 pixels products in a row. I can add as many products as I want, they will all become 4 rows of 4 products. The last row will include the remaining products - 3 if I added 15 items and 4 if I added 16 items. 300 pix will enable me to present a choice of 3 items per row and so on.

On top of that I can also add text and align images. But there is more... As a marketer, you surely know that you have to update your product pages all the time. I hate that task! 

With EPD, I can easily upate them, all I have to do is import my old code into the system and replace the missing products, then grab the new code and paste it into my page. There are so many things I can do with it. Too many to be listed here, actually.

So if you are looking for a tool that helps you save time when you want to display arrays of products on your web pages, then don't look further, Easy Product Displays is the only one you will want to use. How to videos are available on the site. 

Check EPD in action



I definitely recommend this tool.



Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

20/12/2014

Squidoo vs HubPages Traffic

So early September, my 36 remaining lenses moved to HubPages. As the announcement stated, HubPages is now the largest site of its kind. However that doesn't mean that former lenses get as much traffic as they deserve and used to get. 

HubPages traffic is dismal...


When former lenses turned into Hubs, traffic was not a big problem as they generated the same traffic rate as on Squidoo. For some, number of visits was even higher. But as soon as Google launched their latetest update, traffic dropped like a stone and never really stopped. 

Right now, with Christmas season in full action, my only one related Hub doesn't get more than 15 visits/day. It's a page that was successful on Squidoo, not for its traffic, but for its huge number of sales. 

Christmas trains riding around the tree add to the magic of the season. This former lens used to receive if not an incredibly huge amount of visits, at least it generated a huge number of sales! Those visitors were actually buyers.

Now that it's turned into a Hub, it's getting very low traffic - 15 visits/day is nothing compared with what it was on Squidoo - and it has not generated a single sale since the move. Last sold Christmas train was in the latest days on Squidoo.

It's unbelievable!


Unfeatured Hubs


I've been without an Internet connection for a few weeks so when I got back online in the end of November, I found some threads about unfeatured Hubs in HubPages forums. 

It seems that a few rules have changed since the initial FAQ put together at the time of the big move. Now Hubs that benefited from the 4 months grace period aren't protected against "lack of quality", "lack of engagement and traffic", etc. They thus can be unfeatured without warning for those motives.

This new rule is, in my humble opinion quite unfair to former lensmasters since many of them, caught in the big holiday season hullabaloo, couldn't fix those moved lenses. HubPages knew it, Squidoo staff knew it as well. Still instead of waiting till the beginning of the year for the move, they acted right in the middle of the biggest season for Internet marketers.

A more natural way to move 450,000 lenses without hurting HP as a whole would have been to unpublish all of them when they reached HP's site in January, then have each former lensmaster rework/fix/modify/whatever, in order to publish them one by one. At their own pace. Less stress, less worries.

There would have been no grace period, many lenses wouldn't have been deleted by lensmasters who knew they couldn't work on them in the 4 months grace period. 

Most lensmasters would have left their holiday lenses on Squidoo as they knew the site would have got decent traffic from Halloween till Christmas. Not the traffic rate we were accustomed to, however we would have had a decent holiday season.

There wouldn't have been this mass exodus we witnessed in August and HubPages would have transfered the best lenses instead of a good balance between good and bad pages.

On top of that, Hubbers wouldn't have been angry after Squids for having joined the party and wouldn't consider them as guilty for HP's traffic drop.

A ruined holiday season on both sites


Because of this, many have got their holiday season almost if not entirely ruined. A big part of these now unfeatured Hubs have been deleted as former lensmasters were misled when they agreed to move from one site to another.

Some play the game, mostly because they have no other place to host their former lenses. Others trust HP enough to give a try to fixing those unpublished pages. But those who have their own sites or are members of other platforms move these Hubs else where.

I'm convinced that the only one individual that earned something in the selling of "Squidoo's best content" is Seth Godin. He sold that content to HP and thus made a profit. HP bought the content and right after the transfer, was hit by Google's update which in addition to its average mess penalized the site for spam or something like that. The "nice" side of Google is that they don't tell you more than "spam"... so you don't know what to do to fix the problem either.

As said, because of this update, HP lost traffic and thus money. Former lensmasters lost traffic and thus money. I'm also convinced that, apart from a few exceptions, even those who moved their lenses in August didn't make as much money as they did on Squidoo with those specific former lenses. 

None of my Hubs were unfeatured for lack of quality yet. They might be hit one day or another, though. However, given the poor traffic figures, I don't think I'm going to take the chance to allow them to stay on HP. Valentine's Day is near and I will unpublish most of these Hubs so as to delete them and move them else where. Hopefully they'll get their traffic share - I'll relocate most on my own site and those that are too similar to existing pages will be hosted on other popular platforms.

So here we are. Another poor Christmas season. Another badly conceived project. Another proof that we definitely should have control over our work and our assets.






Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

22/09/2014

Squidoo to HubPages Puts the Forums on Fire

Squidoo to HubPages Transfer



Never again will I see this ugly monster
How glad am I for having deleted most of my remaining lenses before the transfer! This will enable me to repurpose all those lenses and possibly keep away from both HubPages and Squidoo - or at least what remains from Squidoo.

My transfered lenses are now fixed - all but two of which I don't know what to do. The modified ones are getting traffic, at least the seasonal ones. However I don't see HubPages sending me as much traffic as Squidoo did - and I don't talk about the 2012 traffic but more about the overall traffic my lenses always got during the first 6 years I've been on Squidoo.

Staying away from HubPages is not something I want to do but I think it is necessary for me to stay away from those constant problems that occur in the forums between Hubbers and former Squids.

After all I'm both a Squid and a Hubber. Actually I'm not a Squid any more. I'm a Hubber, just that.

Some don't seem to understand that, since Sept 2nd, we have all become Hubbers. That is something those that have been Hubbers and only Hubbers in their Internet life should remind when they criticize or judge a former Squid's property.

These people never had any kind of experience on Squidoo. They heard about the site, they got some feedback from forums they're members of, and they are particularly aware of the very bad reputation Squids have always had. Whether this reputation is founded or not doesn't seem to matter.

Then there are those that have been both Hubbers and Squids. In this category you will find:

  • People like me -- those who played by the rules on both sites, were successful on HP and on Squidoo, then only on Squidoo. While on HubPages, we've been hit several times by Google, some recovered, some never recovered. Some like me suffered from the subdomain implemenation, tried to save their subdomain but never got the same traffic rate as before. They thus focused on driving traffic to their Squidoo account and used HP as secundary "home".

  • People who experienced more or less the same problems except that they were one day successful on HubPages, after the first or second Google slap were forced to leave and join other writing platforms. Among them you find people that joined Squidoo. However, for whatever reason they never got any kind of success on there, thus they went back to HubPages and were more successful because the subdomain thing worked pretty well on new accounts.

  • People who were forced to leave Squidoo after a major failure and found a new home on HubPages.

Squidoo's and Squids' bad reputation


My Squidoo profile... you'll never see it again
Squidoo has always had a very bad reputation among marketers. I won't pretend that it is justified, I just note it. I recognize it. I admit it. It is a fact, something I can't negate.

Not long ago, a former Squid told me that she didn't want her name to be associated in any way with that site and its bad reputation and that she would delete her account.

We've always had the worst reputation that is possible to find somewhere. I never knew why but it was that way, period.

Most "professional marketers" bashed Squidoo and Squids as much as they could. However this never prevented them from exploiting any loophole to their own profit. They even sold ebooks and courses on "how to exploit Squidoo as much as one can" like cakes. 

I must admit that sometimes, while visiting a forum where Squidoo was the subject, or reading a blog post about Squidoo, I've been unable to even post the tiniest argument I could to defend it. I generally left without commenting and thought to myself that, luckily, it's all a virtual world and that hidden behind a computer screen one could post anything without fearing consequences.

Though those people who posted weren't actual lensmasters, but I suspect many of them were banned Squids (you know those that exploited the site and gamed the system) or people who's virtual friend had a virtual friend who had a virtual friend who was a Squid in the past (probably banned for having gamed the system or whatever other reason as, sometimes bans happened).


Rumor and failure are harmful when...

 

My useless trophies... though it's been 7 years!
These were only rumors. I actually made money on Squidoo. OK. The site didn't last for more than 8 years, but in terms of Internet, 8 years is almost and perhaps more than one generation. 

But this isn't a problem. When a site closes down, another opportunity opens else where. When joining a new site you're not forced to let anybody know that you were associated with a site that has a reputation that bad. It is something I've heard many times. They fear their new online endeavours to be hurt and put down because of Squidoo.


Problem is that... our accounts were openly moved to HubPages, with a big sign made out of neon light that clearly states "we're all former Squids". 

Some nasty people even added a lighted sign on our back - which we didn't see - and that reads "I'm a cheater, and a rubbish producer".

Needless to say that the opinion of Hubbers was formed. Needless to say that they feared our arrival. I myself, as an old Hubber was surprised to learn that HubPages acquired the right to display Squidoo's content! Both sites are so different!

HubPages policies have been extremely strict for the past three years - and even before but the sharp cuts have been done during the last Google slap. They did everything they could to survive and succeeded. But this was done to the detriment of many Hubbers that actually made good money on the site and some had to stop writing online because the big mess (for the authors) these cuts involved.

My own HubPages account suffered and never recovered. I did my best to write good Hubs, never violate a single rule, to no avail, Google doesn't like my old account as much as it used to. I've even been often willing to leave HubPages and move all these Hubs else where - to my own sites, for example.

So seeing those lenses reaching the site at a huge rate, knowing Squids are allowed 4 months to modify the former lenses and make them comply with Hub's TOS is beyond Hubbers' understanding.

And thus, they're angry, upset, frightened to see the sacrifices that HubPages team required from them being simply avoided for the next 4 months for Squids. I don't think they detest Squids as writers (well two or three of them detest Squids), they just dislike the freedom we've been attributed during the transition. They fear a new Google slap. And they let us know although we aren't responsible for the HP staff purchase!

Being penalized by Google can happen overnight. There is not always sign of it. You wake up one morning with zero traffic and a penalization mark in your webmaster account. It's as simple as that.

Being a Hubber and a former Squid is hard

I'm a Hubber, just a Hubber, only a Hubber now


Sure the atmosphere in HubPages forums isn't quiet these days. It looks like any kind of match could set them on fire. However, I'm not quite sure that it is a question of bullying - except if all former Squids are over sensitive. And even so, some Squids left our own forums because of the aggressiveness and nasty comments and attacks inside our own community.

It's a time of over reaction to critiques or what I call public admission of fear. As I'm pretty sure that as much as we weren't asked our opinion before the move, Hubbers weren't asked if they wanted to see 175,000 (and counting) lenses and their authors joining the HubPages forces.

So I let you imagine the site with the worst reputation online joins the one with the best reputation - as HP has a very good reputation if not the best.

Imagine that we, Squids, were told that 175,000 (and counting) HubPages and their owners would join Squidoo. That HubPages was a sinking ship and that their owners did anything they could to kill it... How would we have taken the news?  

I know many Squids wouldn't have been glad at all. 

On Squidoo, though,the situation would have been really awful as these potential new lenses would have competed for the 2,000 top tier ranked lenses, and thus their earnings, they would have competed against the 83,000 others for the 2nd and 3rd tier earnings. Then they would have competed against potential lenses of the day, potential purple stars and the perks that went along... Hubbers with 25 Hubs would have been awarded giant status with all perks. 

I can already hear and see the hullabaloo!

On HubPages there isn't any kind of artificial, silly, useless games to play, nor are there any kind of bonuses threw into the playground for Hubbers to fight against each other. Still there is a strong history of sacrifices, strict rules and other not always agreeable things that profited all, or more or less all Hubbers.

There is also no incentive for Hubbers to cheerfully accept lenses and their respective owners, no tier payments, no community interaction providing bonuses, no gain for playing hypocrisy games.

On HubPages one is accepted and liked on our own merits. That is what I like on that site. Not to mention the freedom of speech we were lacking of on Squidoo. It's harder to get banned for a bad word on their forums than it was on Squidoo.

Hubbers and Hubbers will be together


Wishing myself to be there on day for good... exit online stuff, only beach and fun!

One day, though, established Hubbers will take our word for it and believe that we are able to create high quality work - we already did on Squidoo.

They will also one day probably admit that if they're good at writing informational content, we're great at writing commercial content that drives both traffic and generates sales.

They will also one day realize that we generate money for the best future of HubPages and that, among us, they will find people with similar qualities than there are on HubPages. As among former Squids there are people who write for the sake of writing and sharing their written creations just like there are writers like that on HubPages.

They will find out that they have more similar interests as we have than they thought at first sight. 

Former Squids won't fear going to HubPages' forums and will dare popping up from time to time to take part to the hunts for site scrapers, copyright infringement, then just to share their thoughts about something - provided that they find the forums entrance which I am still looking for after 6+ years on that site.

Where will I be? I don't know... I must admit that HubPages is a writing platform like I like... No need of community interaction, I can be myself, can say what I want to say. It's important to me to remain myself and not have to pretend I'm someone else.



Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

14/09/2014

My Move from Squidoo to HubPages

7 years on Squidoo now a Hubber

34 lenses moved from Squidoo to HubPages on 8th September


So my 34 remaining lenses finally became Hubs this 8th September 2014 for my greatest pleasure. As indeed, it's pleasure to see those lenses getting their fair share of traffic. And it is an even greater pleasure to edit them and turn these pages into Hubs.

Like many Hubbers I was quite surprised to see the site acquiring Squidoo lenses and was also a bit frightened. After all, becoming the best online writing platform on the Web didn't happen overnight and HubPages was sacrificing themselves and many writers to keep their site online and in Google's good graces.

Why would they take the risk of acquiring content from a sinking (almost totally sunk, actually) site? Hm... It is something we'll probably never know. But at the end of the day, I'm happy of this action and enjoy being a Hubber. Now if their admins decided that I'm not a good asset, they may kick me off... and I would surely whine on here like I did when Squidoo was sinking.

But I know HubPages for long and know their leaders are smart...

Former lenses look good turned into Hubs

To be honest, I was worried a bit about how my lenses would look after the transfer. And even more scared about what to do to them to make them look good. Not perfect, but at least, acceptable.

And I must say that I'm agreeably surprised to see that I could turn a fancy Squidoo lens into an attractive Hub. Now comes the best part... I will add that I love my Hubs more than I loved my lenses.

Whatever I added to a lens was lost in their fancy design, which I liked a lot, don't get me wrong.

However whatever I do not add but just modify a bit, turns my Hubs into something I'm proud of. While it took me time to craft a lens and make it acceptable, I find out that just a few fixes and removals of excess links and other fancy stuff, turn my Hubs into something that is more than acceptable.

This is because of their clean design I think. Anything you add to the Hub (video, picture, Amazon product, recipe capsules, etc.) pimps up the Hub and doesn't disappear between multiple ads and fancy stuff.

No, frankly I won't miss Squidoo, I won't miss my former account, I won't miss my multiple Amazon modules... I already made sales on HubPages with this new account. How could I regret anything that happened these past weeks?

One thing, though. On 8th September, when I saw HubPages email saying my account was transfered, I felt a bit sad... Never again will I log into my Squidoo account, never again will I edit a lens, never again will I check my stat tab, never again will I see my lens traffic. I have to say goodbye to a 7+ year membership and a community I knew so well...

Ah well, it's for the best :D


HubPages' forums atmosphere


The atmosphere in their forums isn't the best these days. Indeed, the arrival of 175,000 live (plus those that are currently unpublished) lenses along with their owners doesn't seem to please all Hubbers. And so, some need to post their worries, show their knowledge... and let those they call "Squidoo Refugees" that they know how to run HubPages and that Squid's productions aren't welcome or as welcome as they should be.

While I understand them, because I've beena Hubber for so many years, I also feel for my Squid fellas, who I know for so many years. Some I like, some I detest... One can't please everyone. But what I dislike even more is that my former Squid fellas aren't at ease and confronted with some disagreeable comments, patronising, etc.

Some Hubbers did wonders to warmly welcome former Squids, some Hubbers did wonders to make them feel unwanted. Still my fellas shouldn't pay too much attention to what is said in forums. Actually the ambiance makes me think to the atmosphere in SquidU and the soon-to-be former official forums that one could find on Squidoo. 

Whenever there was a change, you could see everybody rushing to the forums and fight who would agree with HQ; who would disagree with HQ. We could also see fights because of the poor quality of tier 1 lenses in the past, or because of the blatant favoritism that was one of HQ's specialties... On SquidU we were more or less allowed freedom of speech - though limited. But in the new and soon-to-be former official forums, we would have been simply banned, without any way to defend ourselves for speaking our mind.

I know, I was banned!

I was even removed my Giant status because of a post I did on here... See the copy of the email I've received:

Hi Holly,

This blog post ended up on my desk: http://angel-on-squidoo.blogspot.com/2014/03/deleting-low-performance-lenses-these.html and I'm sorry that you feel this way about Squidoo.

However the Giant Squid Pact clearly states:

    2. Don’t lord your access or power over other lensmasters, or use it to do harm. This means on Squidoo, SquidooHQ, and elsewhere on blogs or even offline. If you flame or harass or malign other human beings online, that’s not in keeping with the spirit of Squidoo, and    certainly not the Giant Squid program.

So we're removing you from the Giant Squid program. My hunch is that you really don't want to be a Giant right now anyway.

Sincerely,
Bonnie
 


Talk about freedom of speech!


Well I wasn't frustrated nor did I feel offended, I didn't care at all. My traffic was already next to nothing, coming from lenses with 40,000 visits/week/lens to almost zero... Why on Earth would I have been worried to lose my giant status?

Moreover I've got only 5 locked lenses in total even though they removed this status that didn't protect me at all.

On Squidoo, once attacked, you couldn't defend yourself, nobody could do it either, you just had to shut your mouth and accept to be bullied like you'd be at elementary school.

On HubPages, instead you have freedom of speech and liberty to defend yourself when you're attacked. That is all what matters to me. And then again, we can't agree with everyone, we can't be friend with everyone, we can't prevent those that have knowledge or need to show it off, to do so. We have to accept everybody as they are or ignore them.

One thing, however, from now on, I'd like Hubbers to never name former Squids otherwise than... Hubbers. Because it's what they have become. They're now entire part of HubPages and I know for a fact that many really enjoy the change.





Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

28/08/2014

A Reply to One in the Myriads of End of Squidoo's accounts

RIP SquidU our in-house archive
Image: courtesy of Squidoodles
The end of Squidoo was announced on Friday the 15th August 2014 and since then, lots and lots of articles popped up almost everywhere on the Internet. Most soon-to-be former Squids need to vent, to make assumptions as to why Squidoo is closing, whether the process is legal or not, etc. 

From the average Squid who never really cared about his membership to the one that got so much involved in the site that they sacrificed their entire life to HQ's many silly and useless inventions, like the latest "Best of Squidoo" (hahaha) and their famous "Contributor Club" (where they exploited their faithful followers to death).

These Squids feel misled and who wouldn't? Though, I'll never undestand why they placed 100% of their faith in someone they've never seen, never met in person, that never shown he cared about them, and that is not a close friend or family member. And even so, sometimes one notices that they can also cheat on us.

There was clear evidence that the site was sinking, that it was hopeless trying to save it. The culprit is in my opinion - an the one of many others - HQ who didn't hire the appropriate people to save the ship. In my opinion, this closing is deliberate and long planned. I will never think otherwise unless proved otherwise. It was probably planned 2 years ago and these 18 past months have been awful agony for the site. If anyone needed more evidence, it is mostly because they didn't remove their pink glasses and still lived in La-La-Land.

Anyways. One particular article stands out from the crowd and it is the one that is named Why Squidoo Failed: Or How Its Abusers Cannibalized One of the Most Promising Sites on the Web and was published earlier this week on HubPages by a former Squid.

Here I am going to reply point by point to the 9 reasons Why Squidoo Failed. Because although this article does point the mistakes perfectly, the writer doesn't want HQ to take their part of responsibility in this mess. And because the way the article is written, it is offending for most of my former fellow Squids. And when I write "fellow Squids", hear: all honest Squidoo member, those I liked and those I didn't like at all. Because honesty and integrity don't care how much you like someone or not.

One thing I'm going to be missing to support my reply are the old SquidU forums, which are a gold mine of evidences. Also note that I won't write a thousand words in reply to each point.

So here we go.



Piracy on Squidoo
Image: courtesy of Squidoodles


1. Affiliate marketers were abusers


It is not new that, whenever there's a hole that enables marketers to exploit a site, they are going to rush to take advantage of it. It would have been easy to put an end to the exploitation but HQ didn't take measures. Some of these ways to exploit the site were even born in the old SquidU forums!

Do you remember one of the many affiliate marketing challenges that was backed up by HQ 4 years ago and that would take place on Facebook? What was taught? Using members' own affiliate links and skip Squidoo's integrated commercial modules.

By the way, the credit to the picture at this point in the Hub should not be "unknown" since the marketer's name is on the ebook image.

Next come those that used to build lenses using a well known software. Well, it wouldn't have been hard to "nuke" these lenses. They were recognizable...


2. Parasites on Squidoo


The writer seems to forget that only ads displayed in SOME SPECIFIC MODULES were entirely paid to lensmasters. Amazon and eBay integrated modules' earnings were entirely paid to Squidoo that would split fifty-fifty the earnings between the commission generator and themselves.

ALL ads displayed on Squidoo lenses were paid to Squidoo that would split fifty-fifty between paying tiers and themselves. So at this point I'm quite sure Squidoo didn't lose any more money than on lenses that wouldn't feature a single product, whether a in-house one or an external one!

Moreover it was not mandatory to use any commercial module! The one new feature that asked us to add a commercial module at some specific point of our lenses (5th module if I remember) was introduced AFTER the Google slap last year.


Though on Squidoo we were kindly provided tools for not sharing our earnings with HQ. Anybody recalls SQUIDUTILS? A site that would enable you to use YOUR affliate ID only. The software was praised and promoted in the official forums and a plugin to add to our Squidoo account was developed by SquidUtils (a plugin that would provide us with a more elaborate dashboard, not a link builder). So don't tell me HQ wasn't aware of how did the SquidUtils Amazon link builders worked!

Squidutils' owner was even hired by HQ at one point. So if not using such a software and thus not sharing our earnings with the site owner was putting it at risk, why didn't HQ take measures?
 
HQ should have made it clear from the start (back in 2005) that everybody was supposed to add at least ONE in-house commercial module! 


3. Those that used to game lensrank


Aaaaaaaaaah, my favorite ones. It's been a very long and hard battle between those abusers and those that would report them to HQ since 2007! Once again one regrets the disappearance of the old SquidU forum as it was filled with related topics!

As a former SquidAngel I reported thousands and thousands of lensrank gamers to no avail. Some of us were even required to shut up once for all. Some were told that it was NOT their job to police the site and its cheaters.

The writer tells in a comment that she was in the beginning, a Zazzler and came to Squidoo to promote her Zazzle store. Well I would say that, once again, a check at SquidU would have been helpful as Zazzlers were one of the site's worst lensrank gamers ever! How many Zazzle threads did we report? Zazzlers planning a huge Squidliking spree or asking for mutual likes and/or blessings if one Zazzler appeared to be a SquidAngel!

The writer also forgets that there was a time when we used to have the option to take an eye on Squidoo lenses stats through Squidaholic.com. The site that was taken down one year ago so that we couldn't get access to any kind of stats! From Squidaholic, we could see how many visits a lens would get, it was a gold mine of information. And we thus would know why a lens would dance in tier 1 - the most attractive tier ever.

Here again I've seen a wide range of lenses that actually deserved to be in tier 1: those that used to drive traffic. I'm sorry but when a lens drives 40,000 visitors/ week to itself, and thus sales follow, it deserves a place in tier 1. Though when a lens with 100 visitors/week, 10 angel blessings in a row, 100 likes from a liking spree and HQ's favors, I think it didn't deserve a place in tier 1.


Once again, HQ is the culprit in these games! They provided too much weight to internal traffic despite the fact that money was brought by EXTERNAL traffic! We told them but the answer was as usual: we don't care.

Same answer applies to the coloring pages! They all started with the huge popularity of ONE specific lensmaster's original coloring pages. Then one other lensmater exploited Disney's coloring pages. And was followed by the crowd. When HQ was warned of the risks, they asked us to shut up.


And I don't even mention those that used to update their lenses each and every day like clockworks. Once again, they were reported but HQ didn't pay attention. Instead they encouraged these updates
for years. Softwares were used for updating large accounts, once again, we told them, once again no reply or a short "shut up".

4. Those that copied others' lenses


The copycats... Well I remember the time when HQ suggested to all Squids, to take an eye to the existing lenses and that if they were not as good as they should be, then we would take them over - hear create our own lenses about the very same subject but make it better.

Here again the writer doesn't seem to know that.

In addition, these past 18 months, HQ made it nearly mandatory to create multiple lenses on the very same subject with their silly quests.

How many of us posted their worries in the official forums or blog? How many of these posts disappeared within the 5 minutes of posting? How many of us were simply banned from the official forums for not cheering any stupid idea that would KILL the site HQ would come up with? We're countless lensmasters permanently banned!

Squid under cover
Image: courtesy of Squidoodles


5. Lens transfers and sales


Lens marketplace was set up for whatever reason, I must admit that I don't remember which one. But one thing I clearly remember is that those custom built lenses were supposed to be edited and updated - adding content, affiliate links whenever useful. 


Then here again, the lens marketplace was pubicly opened in SquidU and HQ could see the threads, the complaints, the worries, the warnings... They didn't do anything against that, except that they removed the transfer feature last year. When it was too late, once again.

Yes this opportunity enabled undelicate people to sell rubbish to others, create rubbish for themselves, etc. However Angels, greeters and many other lensmasters were there to report these lenses. Once again HQ's reply was... "We don't care" - or no reply at all. Because communication was not one of HQ's strengths...  Most of these reported lenses were still active on the site even months after we reported them in mass.

Then HQ introduced the "gift lens". That was when we used to create a lens and then transfer it to another lensmaster. As Fresh Wonders' members we did it once. We created How To Squidoo best practices lenses and transfered to our leaders' account. We never gamed the system. And most lensmasters didn't either.


6. The lenslets


Squidoo was in December 2012 for some and in March 2013 for others, penalized by Google - hear we were HIT dramatically. I'm of those that think it was actually penalized in March 2013 for massive updating of lenses and mass deletion. The penalty was never removed since massive deletion of lenses never stopped.

These are my thoughts, which you are not obliged to share. Each of us has their own beliefs when it comes to penalization.

Then the writer pretends that "baby" lenses (hear small lenses) were the culprit. Strangely, in response to the Google slap, HQ came up with the idea of what we call "lenslets". 


These lenses are very short: 250 words min, a very few number of modules can be added, three or four max, I think and sold them to us as "quick and easy to build lenses". Or "the 1 hour lens". Wow! In one hour, I'm pretty sure one is able to create a page that stands out from the crowd!

The thing became even worse when HQ made it a requirement to build three of such awful silly lenslets as a way to renew our Giant status!

Who gamed the system? We or HQ?


7. Spamming


There have always been spammers all over the Internet. But who encouraged lensmasters to post their links everywhere? I bet you know...

Latest spam game: Love Squidoo Friday... Post your lenses with Love Squidoo hashtag to Twitter and spam your followers.

One of their favorite game: spam your Facebook contacts, and all kinds of social media.

This has always been encouraged by HQ.


8. Those that didn't want to sink with the ship


Whenever a lensmaster would scream "me, me, me" or "don't wanna lose my traffic", it was ALWAYS for good reasons! Lot of times HQ introduced new banners, new ads, new pop up ads that you couldn't close - no need to tell you the impact on our readership!

We would know exactly where the brand new feature would lead. We knew exactly how many readers we would lose.

Then came the latest stupid band on top of all Squidoo pages. Those where we were forced to share our traffic with those that

  1. reported us to HQ so as to have us banned,
  2. those that didn't do a thing to promote their work,
  3. those that would game the system, 
  4. not being seen with the rubbish that's included in these best of things,
  5. and so on.

Yes it was absolutely normal not to want to share OUR hard work with them.


9. Those that left before the end

Squidoo's death penalty
Image: courtesy of Squidoodles


Those are the lensmasters who left Squidoo when the "ship" started sinking. They were often very old timers, those from the early beginnings. They were Squidoo's best assets. They got their lenses locked, some of them got their entire accounts locked and even sometimes deleted.

Why would they have stayed?


Would you have been faithful to a site which HQ's deletes the best content pages you built and seems to never lock and/or delete the real junk?

Then there are those marketers who helped build the site's traffic as well. With the reduction of Amazon links, sales dropped dramatically. Those that joined Squidoo for the earnings they could get had obviously no reason to stay on there. But as said earlier, most of them had so many locked lenses that it was worthless trying to save their accounts.

By mass locking their biggest traffic drivers, HQ signed the end of Squidoo.



Phew, it was long...


I have another point to make. Squidoo was set as curation content site that would enable you to make money at the same time. Making money has ALWAYS been Squidoo's goal. 




Squidoo as seen in 2006
Yes you could even get paid building Squidoo lenses!


And then on Friday 15th August 2014, Seth Godin popped up for the first time in ages and let us know he SOLD Squidoo's "key content" (without more details) to HubPages and if we wouldn't agree with the move (and the selling of OUR work out of which we wouldn't get a single red cent), we would also even lose the money Squidoo owed to us.

This last part was corrected a few days later. But still the cocktail was bitter...

For me and most of my fellow lensmasters, yes, HQ is responsible for the end of the site. Megan's departure signed the beginning of the end. The fact that it seems that nobody was there to take the lead was a very bad sign. The owner taking distance with the site for 2 - and even more - whole years affected the community as a whole, its faith in the leaders, its faith in the future. And the way the remaining team at HQ led the site was the axe that translated Squidoo into a thing of the past.

I do think it was deliberate. I'll never think otherwise
unless proved otherwise. I wrote many articles predicting the end of Squidoo by the end of 2014 and even sometimes by June 2014. It is finally on October 2014 that Seth Godin is going to proceed to the lethal injection.

And although the author of the mentioned Hub is not wrong in everything, I pretend she is wrong about the culprit.

Then I'm definitely disappointed with some reactions of lensmasters I respect and like.


NB Some of the former SquidU forums' archives can be accessed through the Wayback Machine - the Internet Archive. Just make sure to first access SquidU.com archive and on the result page select a link that you want to read, then clean up the link and remove Wayback Machine's link and paste it into the WayBack Machine once again to read what was saved from the page.

Here is an archive of the Chatter Box...


Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

25/08/2014

The Big Move from Squidoo to HubPages

Today is the 25th August 2014 and is supposed to be the day of the great big move from Squidoo to HubPages. At least it is what I have been told when I clicked on that big green button in my Squidoo account. 

Editing feature was canceled on the 23rd August and the transfer was supposed to begin today. I don't know if they are ready to start the process, in any way, I am ready for it and excited to see my lenses reach my new HubPages account.

During the past week I've seen a lot of people following me on both my native and new HubPages accounts. In the wide list of these, there are people I've never met... but I know that it makes them feel better to see "friendly" (although I'm not known for being friendly) faces on the other side of their new online life.

I have also seen a lot of people worrying about becoming Hubbers. Lots of them not knowing that HubPages and Squidoo are entirely different platforms with different customs. 

Differences between HubPages and Squidoo



No tier rank payout, no ad pool


The biggest difference between both sites is that Squidoo had tier rank payouts added to lensmasters' promotional efforts and sales made through their lenses. Many lensmasters relied on such tiers because they were unable to promote their lenses effectively. It is going to be a hard route for them on the new site as they are going to have to promote, through all kinds of means, their new Hubs.

Following Hubbers


There is a nice feature on HubPages that enables us to follow Hubbers. But this should be done carefully and we don't have to follow each and every Hubber out there: the best thing to do is following only Hubbers that we are interested in. 

Do I have something in common with Hubbers that write about tarot cards and fortune telling? Then I'm going to follow some of them. Not all of them because I'm not interested in all kinds of writings about the topic. Then there are those that don't have an extended knowledge and write more theory than practice, so I'm not sure they will be of any interest for me.

A downside of following too many Hubbers is that you can end up with hundreds of daily emails letting you know they published a new page. If you set your emails to a daily summary, you'll get all links in one email, though. This leaves room for you to check that out only once a day but in the end, are you going to actually pay a visit to each of the 100, 200 or more links? Not sure...

Then following everybody on HubPages is not recommended and even frown upon on there.

Focus on external traffic generation


I know that Squidoo favored internal interaction a lot and used to reward those that visited and liked other lensmasters' pages, but this is not the case on HubPages. This process is more fair than the one in use on Squidoo. 

Only people who generate traffic and sales earn money. So for those who were dependent of other's interaction it's going to be hard to live the same kind of online life on there.

All we have to do on HubPages is focusing on generating external traffic. It is the only way to earn money since internal interaction doesn't benefit anyone in terms of money.  

Also a recommendation: NEVER click on your pals' ads... 






How do we earn money on HubPages?


HubPages allows us to earn money in different ways. Here's the way I set up my own old account - I joined 6 years ago, deleted most of my Hubs after the Google slap, but kept three niches on there, though.

1. Amazon


I added my own Amazon affiliate ID to my HP account, this way I earn 4% up to 8% through the sales my Hubs generate on there. It's more like 4%, though...


2. Google Adsense


I added my Adsense ID to my HP account so that I can make money in the event someone clicks on and ad when visiting my Hubs. It is forbidden to ask for clicks, it is also forbidden to click on someone else's ads for the sake of earning money! Clicks should be natural. Gaming the Adsense program will have your account closed for good - Google rarely unlocks accounts. 


3. Affiliate programs like CJ.com, Share a Sale and others


These are limited to 2 links/program/Hub. This means that you can add 2 CJ.com links to your Hub, no more. However if you find related products on Share a Sale or another affiliate program, you can add up to 2 links to them too. With 2 CJ + 2 SaS + 2 Linkshare + 2 LinkSynergy, it provides you with 8 affiliate links in one Hub. But be cautious not spamming with your links. In all events, when you'll click on the publish button, the system will let you know if you added too many links.


4. HubPages ad program


This one I joined but didn't activate Amazon or eBay. It includes "ad impressions" and as an option Amazon and eBay. HP ad program earns me some dollars each and every month out of the Hubs I built. These are "ad impressions" that generate those monies. Actually I must activate eBay but always forget to do so... hm...

Activating Amazon through this feature will also directly enable you to get a higher commission rate. Instead of the 4% (and possibly more if you make lots of sales), you directly get 8% from HubPages since the organization is more likely to generate more sales than an individual.  


How does the payment process work?


The HubPages ad program pays you through Paypal - that is the reason for which you should add your Paypal email in your settings. 

If you do not opt for Amazon to be activated in their in-house program, then any sales will generate commissions directly in your own Amazon partner program account. 

Google Adsense is paid directly in your Adsense account. 

Well, that's if for today, I've some former lenses to rewrite and move to their new homes, see you soon :)








Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.

22/08/2014

I'm Late at the Squidoo Farewell Party

I am late at the Squidoo farewell party guys! I should have posted about the company closing business sooner but did not. 

I kept silent. 

Not because I feared any kind of vengence from someone on there because of my writings. Not because I did not have anything to say. 

Just because I did not feel the need to post or vent about the event that I predicted long ago and knew that would happen.

I will not pretend that I did not participate in forums and Facebook groups and did not post my thoughts of the moment. I did and a lot! But I did not feel the need to aggressively blog about that.

So Squidoo is over...


So HubPages acquired "key content" - as per both companies' words - from Squidoo. I hope, wish and cross my fingers for not being a mistake that would cost HubPages its life. But I do not think so, it is a site that I joined almost 7 years ago, when I was a baby Squid and I know that it faced lots of disagreeable online events and always found its way to overcome ALL of them. It might have cost some accounts to Hubbers, it may have cost traffic to other Hubbers (like me) when we were moved to our subdomains but the site as a whole always survived.

There is no need to say that the editing staff is far better than the one on Squidoo. They know their job, they know how to manage a site of that size, they know what to do search engine wise and they also know how to communicate with their members. Respect is also HubPages' strength. All theses qualities were not found on Squidoo where members were considered interchangeable. Not to mention the change in the staff that led into the end of the site. 

As a matter of fact, you cannot ask a crocheter to convert into an oil digger in the blink of an eye. This needs some kind of formation. It is somewhat what happened on Squidoo these past two years with a trained manager leaving the site in hands that did not have the needed experience. They thus took the lead of the ship and drove it straight away in the gigantic iceberg named "search engines, traffic and money". Sadly, it took 18 months for the boat to completely sink.


Squidoo and its 18 months agony


In the meantime, makeup was put on the site's face, and we were asked to jump into more and more hoops as time went by. Many agreed and played the game, some because they thought they would get a benefit from it (cheerleaders and other hypocrits), some because they really thought the site would get better with efforts on their part.

However, death was already roaming and making plans.

From the new policies related to unique content - a policy that existed already long before - to policies regarding the number of commercial links. From policies about personalization (including personal photos and other more than silly requirements) to policies about backlinks we had no control over. From the new gianthood requirement of making 5 lenses in a year to the gianthood requirement to build 3 useless "lenslets" in order to keep our status. From so many silly, worthless, useless, nameless policies to even more silly ones, nothing worked, and everything was speeding up the crash.

All in all, these changes were more plasters on wooden legs than actual action plan. HQ never agreed to listen to the wise advice from people more experienced and knowledgable than they were. But they might have had plans on running out of business for long...

I can't say that I'm feeling bad, I can't say that I'm feeling sad, I can't say that I'm feeling misled.

All I can say is that I'm feeling... relieved.

My question at this point is... who approached who? Paul Edmonson going to Seth Godin or Godin approaching Paul Edmonson? 

Not to mention that, for me, the most astonishing surprise is the fact that it is HubPages that is acquiring content from Squidoo. 

Two different platforms, two different types of writers, too different one from another. 

I guess I will never know and, finally, it does not frustrate me.




Posted by Holly Day a WAHM who is able to turn any day into a holiday.