RIP Squidoo

squidoo in trouble

Is the Squidoo boat sinking? Graphics by Steve Thompson / tagsforkids used under the CC BY-NC 3.0 US licence

The slow agonising death of Squidoo is about to come to its inevitable conclusion. I must admit I was wondering how long the site could possibly carry on. It finally got hit by Panda almost 2 years ago, and has been limping terribly since then.

The Panda hit was utterly deserved. And although the site did try many dramatic things to get back into Google’s good graces nothing worked.

I’ve often wondered about how exactly this works with Google. It kept sending Squidoo oodles of traffic, despite the con tent there being more and more spammy. Until one day it must have applied a big penalty. Finally the Squid stuff decided to get rid of the ‘shower curtain’ lenses (there was a whole account, over 100 articles, all devoted to different ‘types’ of shower lenses).

But despite the rules becoming more and more strict, and admittedly a lot of bad stuff getting removed, traffic never recovered.

Just take a look at this quant cast graph:

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 09.59.59

It’s almost like if Google likes you, you can get away with a lot of bad ‘behaviour’ and still get the traffic. But if Google decides it hates you, it is incredibly difficult to get out from under the penalty, even if you remove all the content that made it angry in the first place.

Mind you Squidoo is not simply going off line. Its featured content (175000 articles) have been acquired by HubPages.

It’s truly amazing to see the spin that is being put on this, especially by Seth Godin. Nothing is being said about Squidoo going under. It is an ‘exciting merger’.

This is reflected by the happy clappy brigade from Squidoo forum that are now on HP forums, taking umbrage at the somebody saying that Squidoo ‘failed’ and arguing it’s a merger not failure!

My one big worry is that the lenses, many of them with aggressive Amazon selling, will make Google angry at HP again.

My traffic there has been rising dramatically. It is now around 1000 views a day. Earnings have been increasing pretty nicely, and now it makes a very useful chunk of money (sadly it is the only of my online properties that does that).

I have around 50 squid lenses. It’s nice to think that they will be making some money, possibly again, as hubs. But it will not be nice if I lose the traffic to my main HP subdomain.

If I were Paul Edmondson I would not touch Squidoo lenses with a barge pole. One can only hope that the merger will not be as close as advertised, and that they have some quarantine in place to stop contamination with Google hate.

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Amazon at HubPages

Fractal1By far the best performing part of my online earning attempts is my Amazon affiliate account. It produces a lot more money each month than advertising or my pathetic print-on-demand endeavours.

Of course saying it is ‘the best’ doesn’t mean that it is actually that good.

However, Amazon’s way of paying affiliate fees to affiliates who don’t live in the States leaves much to be desired. They don’t pay by paypal!!!!  Outside of the States they don’t do bank transfers either, the fees are apparently too high. And the UK Amazon is apparently a completely different company, so there is no way you can be paid for sales on the US site by the UK version.

Hard though it is to believe, the only way to get paid by Amazon is through a cheque! Apart from the hassle of waiting for cheques to come in the mail, then waiting in the bank queue to pay them in, then waiting for the payment to clear, there is the little problem of the cost of paying in a dollar cheque into my UK account.

My bank takes £9 (with a much bigger sum it would be more), while the US side takes its cut also. I seem to be losing $27 every time I pay in the cheque.

This is why I was extremely excited earlier this year when HubPages announced that we could choose to be paid our Amazon affiliate sales through them. The main advantage for most people would be reaching the higher payout tiers, but since I mainly sell electronics, I don’t really care about that. But HubPages pays through paypal where the loss of money is much less.

However, my initial switchover was not happy. I was still getting lots of clicks, but very few sales. My conversion rate dropped to under 1%. In fact it was so bad that I am pretty sure that there had to be an error, and that it couldn’t really be down to mere bad luck.

The unfortunate thing is that a few days without sales might be completely normal.  You do have to test things for a while. I tested it for a month, before switching to being a straightforward Amazon associate. As soon as I switched my conversion rate went back to the far more usual 4%.

But a couple of months ago I decided to try the HubPages program again. There was is  this rather old joke. A physicist, a chemical engineer, and a microsoft programmer are in a car which suddenly stops and won’t start again. The physicists want to examine the engine expecting a mechanical fault. The chemist suspects the fault lies in the chemical nature of the fuel. The Microsoft programmer proposes the following solution: close windows, switch off engine, switch on engine again, open windows…..

Strangely enough the method worked really well for me at HubPages. When I reactivated my Amazon program there, the glitch, whatever it was disappeared, and I started  getting a normal conversion rate. The Amazon money adds up to my ad money, and together they actually make me feel rather pleased with my 140 hubs.

Incidentally Panda 4 appears to be very nice and cuddly as far as my hubs are concerned. My traffic experienced a couple of very nice increases since the end of May. I do worry that talking about is tempting fate, and that my good fortune will reverse, but  I can’t stop myself from sharing this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 23.32.32

 

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Earning Money from Freelance Writing

paper sharpeningsSince the passive earning from online content dream seems to be somewhat elusive, and the savings are melting at an alarming rate, I took the desperate step of signing up at some freelance sites (you known Elance, Freelancer, oDesk, etc.) where failed people like myself are ruthlessly exploited by internet spammers.

Actually freelance writing from these websites wasn’t my first choice. I initially tried to find Continue reading

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A Few 2013 Achievements

flowers mess color5I realise it is a bit late to do a summation of my many (non) achievements in the previous year, but then my whole attempt to survive outside the crazy world of formal employment and making money online has been one long chain of delays and procrastinations.  Even if it is late, I think it might be useful to make some kind of stock taking of where I have come after almost 2 years of trying to convince Google, or Amazon or whoever to pay my rent.

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I Just Signed up for Nanowrimo!

nanowrimo participant

singed up for nanowrimo

I just singed up for NaNoWriMo.  One of my delusional ideas for making money was to write a kick-ass amazing science fiction novel, self-publish on kindle, and wait for fame and fortune.  It is no less crazy than all my other ideas for making money online.  If I can guilt my friends and family into buying the book, I should be able to 5$ from this, about par for all my money making endeavours.

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100k Views at HubPages!

marbleplane6I’ve recently achieved yet another accolade at HubPages, my pages have been viewed a hundred thousand times.  It took me about 18 months to get there.

That does sound like an impressive amount, however I think all those views have earned me around $300.  Which is really rather pathetic.

On the other hand I am now nearing to getting the monthly payout, which is set at about $50.  That is also rather sad.  However, it probably pays the electricity bill.  Also HubPages traffic is again getting seriously depressed by panda.  If the bloody animal ever decides to take its paw off my articles, traffic will presumably increase. Continue reading

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Editor’s Choice Hubs, HubPages New Weapon Against Panda

image-1Last week the HubPages blog introduced us to their latest idea to fight the traffic devastations caused by the latest version of Google’s panda, Editor’s Choice hubs.  Editors (one assumes HP staff) are going to pick especially “good” pages, which will be taken out of individual subdomains and indexed on the main HP domain.  Presumably they will benefit from the PR6 of the main domain, and will be treated more kindly by Google. Continue reading

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