What's the deal with Squidoo?

Seth Godin is really hard for me to get a fix on. He will sound like a genius for a handful of posts, then leave a stinker like his infamous 'we're talking too much' post about how bloggers need to post less (interesting viewpoint for a guy that leaves multiple posts a day). And don't even get me started on him not allowing comments...

So when I first heard about Squidoo, I got excited. I tried it out last fall as a beta tester, created a few lenses, then quickly wondered 'Ok....now what?'. I'm still wondering if there is a way to get excited about Squidoo. Jordan is obviously a fan, but I can't see it. I've added a link to my 'Contagious Marketing!' lens on Squidoo, if you want to check it out.

Honestly, I haven't spent much time with Squidoo, because I can't see what it's 'unique value proposition' is. I did notice where they have added the ability to add RSS feeds, which is good, but in the end that's not enough. I keep thinking that the lens need a way to be more interactive, to allow the community to offer feedback.

Course then I think 'Kinda like a blog, right?'.

I just don't see where Squidoo is going to offer anything that someone else isn't already offering, and doing a better job than Squidoo could. And it looks like I'm not the only one that feels this way. Now I do see where Squidoo can help in Google rankings, but from my experience, my blog posts get better results than my Squidoo page.

But I think if we could find a way to add some interactivity into the mix, that Squidoo could go somewhere. I'm just not sure how to do that in a way that blogs, message boards, etc., aren't already offering. So to anyone out there that's a fan of Squidoo, what attracts you to the service? What are you getting from Squidoo that you can't get anywhere else, or what is Squidoo giving you more efficiently than anyone else? Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the service, but I'm definitely willing to listen if anyone can give me a reason to be converted!

UPDATE: As David points out, Seth has allowed comments on his latest post. I left my comment, which was: "Good to see you come down and join the 'noisy commons', Seth. Let's hope this is the start of your joining and embracing the community, and not a one-shot deal.".

If Seth is smart, he'll make comments a permanent fixture on his blog. If he's not, he won't. Here's his latest post, a good one.

SECOND UPDATE: Seth says no deal to comments. He has this to say to the noisy commons: "Commenters, feel free. But not here. Sorry."

Now you see what I mean about Seth leaving a great post, then a stinker. He opens up comments, which is immediately a hit with his fellow bloggers, and results in several, including myself, asking for this to be a permanent feature. Then he turns around in the very next post and closes them again.

The idea here is to JOIN the community, not to alienate them. Seth would have been wise to have never left either post.


posted by Mack Collier @ 11:12 AM,

19 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

You are not the only one. Jaffe covered this a while back and I posted a comment saying how I couldn't figure out what the thing did.

http://www.jaffejuice.com/2006/05/squattoo.html

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Karl Long said...

he also went into this a bit on his podcast "2m – Is Squidoo the purple albatross around Seth Godin’s neck?"
http://www.acrossthesound.net/2006/05/ats_33_the_new_.html

IMHO the biggest problem Seth has is not squidoo, but the fact he's "not joining the conversation". Even though he blogs, he's actually very "one way" in his approach, no comments on his blog etc.

cheers,

Karl

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"IMHO the biggest problem Seth has is not squidoo, but the fact he's "not joining the conversation". Even though he blogs, he's actually very "one way" in his approach, no comments on his blog etc."

Exactly Karl, and I think if Seth would actually let the 'noisy commons' give him some feedback on his ideas, he might stop laying so many stinkers.

If you want to lock yourself up in an ivory tower and act like you are above everyone else, then you'd best be that much better than everyone else.

And Seth aint. Smart guy? Sure, but there's no shortage of smart bloggers on the internet.

Now if Seth or one of his fans wants to explain to me what's so remarkable about Squidoo that makes it a purple cow, I'm all ears.

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

Wow. Comments are now allowed on Seth's blog. He's been listening! This is what makes blogging great!

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

David you were all over that. But are they allowed from now on, or just for that post?

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Karl Long said...

It seemed we were simublogging that escapade :-)

Anyway, comments are off now, and Seth is basically saying, comments might be good for some, but not for me.

I wonder if he gets so much flak because we "want" him to be a poster child for 'new' marketing, but in the end he is an 'auteur' of ideas.

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Karl the thought 'why exactly are we giving this guy so much attention?' has flashed through my mind several times this morning.

This really is silly.

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Clyde Smith said...

I used to keep up with Seth's blog but I found that he wasn't saying anything I wasn't hearing elsewhere. I do check out the Godin posts that the bloggers I follow post and, like a number of other pundits, I'm always disappointed when I click through to his blog.

I think his usefulness has passed.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

Clyde—

EXACTLY.

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Ann Handley said...

Ouch. I'm not sure I'd go THAT far, guys...

The bottom line is this: there's a lot of interesting stuff that happens in the comments, as we all well know. I'd love to see some real dialogue on Seth's web site -- I'd love to hear from the zillions who are reading him, which includes me.

He's got the audience, so why not?

 
At 10:15 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

OK—went a little too far on the last comment, but to your point Ann, this is what makes commenting such an integral part of the blogging process, the honesty (even if it's done in a moment of passion)

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"I'd love to hear from the zillions who are reading him, which includes me.

He's got the audience, so why not?"

I hate to say it, but there were several bloggers I noticed in the comments that I get more solid 'marketing value' from their blogs, than I do from Seth's.

 
At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Michael Wagner said...

Without comments it isn't a conversation. It might be a blog, but not a conversation.

Mack's post and the comments we have seen here remind of the kinds of "parking lot" meetings that take place when groups, boards, teams can't really support a conversation. It goes "off line" or into the parking lot where the real conversation takes place.

Am I making sense? Have you all experienced these kinds of discussions in the parking lot after THE meeting?

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Phil Leitch said...

I wrote a similar post the same day as you about the amount of flack Seth has been getting for Squidoo lately.

http://www.sundog.net/index.php/sunblog/entry/squidoo-a-good-idea-a-little-too-late/

I think Jason Calacanis probably made the best arguments for Squidoo not being as successful as Seth hopes it will be, at least if Squidoo keeps the current structure.

http://www.calacanis.com/2006/03/31/squidoo-joins-newsvine-in-the-mlm-social-news-model/

I think at this point Seth has boxed himself in and at least for the immediate future needs to stick to his guns even if he may know that Squidoo in it's current state won't reach the critical mass he hoped for and make anybody an expert (or much money).

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Kim Klaver said...

Mack -

I've had a lense with Squidoo since January, and have been in the top 100 for most of that time, never knowing for sure what put me there.

I have pretty much stopped doing anything with it, because I don't see enough action (links from or to it) to take time from my own blog and podcast for all the reasons everyone's already discussed.

So now it's like 200 something...I have no reason to pay much attention to it...it's like a mini website.

WRT his "Why I don't have comments", his comment there that "First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning."

Would that be the flaws in the readers' reasoning?

Seems to me that the suggestions he's often made that marketers should be part of the community they are trying so serve, a la Clue Train, don't work for him. Weird.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"WRT his "Why I don't have comments", his comment there that "First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning."

Would that be the flaws in the readers' reasoning?

Seems to me that the suggestions he's often made that marketers should be part of the community they are trying so serve, a la Clue Train, don't work for him. Weird."

Even more odd when you consider that he could easily turn on comments, but not respond himself. Heather at dooce does this, she routinely gets several hundred comments to each post, but rarely adds her own.

Adding comments would be an excellent way for Seth to get invaluable feedback on his ideas, which could ONLY help him, unless he truly thinks his community has nothing worthwhile to say.

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

I could find Seth a whole lot more credible as a marketer if he didn't come off as an egomaniacal jerk-off.

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

My love affair with Squidoo has been based on the fact that it gives one the ability to build their own credibility; essentially positioning one's self as an expert and increase searchability, etc.

But its lack of evolution and waning popularity are making me think that it's too static a model to ever become a phenomenon, and I am losing faith. Every other "microsite" that I have built to promote me and my company is referring visitors to my site. I have no evidence that Squidoo has sent many, if any.

I agree, Mack, the quality and usefullness of his posts is inconsistent. But the good ones sure are good.

And not that I want to become Seth's only defender, but I should share this: It has always irked me that he doesn't have comments enabled on his blog. Many times I have felt the urge to respond to his train of thought, only to give up because an email would be too much work on my part. Still, I have sent exactly one email to Seth Godin. He responded inside of a day, and even attached a free ebook that was quite useful to me.

He hasn't cut the community off completely, by any means. And even though his power might be going straight to his bald head, I haven't given up on him yet.

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"My love affair with Squidoo has been based on the fact that it gives one the ability to build their own credibility; essentially positioning one's self as an expert and increase searchability, etc."

But doesn't your blog do an even better job of positioning you and your firm? That was my whole point about Squidoo, sure it does some things well, but I can't find anything it does better than anything else that's available out there.

"Still, I have sent exactly one email to Seth Godin. He responded inside of a day, and even attached a free ebook that was quite useful to me."

Very impressive.

 

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