What's Missing from Squidoo?
If I have a blog, why do I need a Squidoo lens?
It's a question I've been asking myself since my brother Gannon introduced me to Squidoo, Seth Godin's post-bust brainchild. It's a neat little idea. The lenses are easy to build, and if someone buys something off of your recommendation directly from your lens, you get a little kickback for it, or else the commission goes to charity. I now have two active lenses, I've spent several hours creating them, and I have raised a grand total of 30 cents for charity.
Lensmasters can recommend anything on Amazon.com or Overstock.com, which is to say they can recommend pretty much anything that is sold, they can add RSS feeds, links, lists, videos, and many other things that are available elsewhere on the web. It is a personal passion aggregation.
But I am having difficulty figuring out where Web 2.0 comes into all of this, and why Seth Godin is so high on it (other than an understandable emotional attachment to his own idea). Where is the community? Where's the social networking? And what is the benefit users get for participating? While it's possible that one day there could be a great payoff for aggregating content and recommendations like this, right now the buildup is so slow that this Fast Food Nation of ours probably doesn't have the patience or the wherewithal to see it through.
Absent any compensation, I don't mind collecting links and blog posts and book reviews for the sake of benefiting the public. That's one of the reasons I participate in several blogs. But since I can do that on the blogs, does that 30 cents I earned for charity provide enough of an incentive to build many lenses?
What's your opinion? How can Squidoo be improved? Please reserve your comments for constructive criticism. It's easy to lash out at one of the most influential marketing bloggers in existence; it's hard to make something that works.
If you need to lash out, though, you can lash out at my lens: Web Usability and Testing.
- Cam Beck
One Other Thing: If you've built a Squidoo lens, post the address. I'd love to see how other interactive marketers are using this medium, and I'm sure we could all profit from the discussion.