Tag Archives: featured

shut happens

Official Announcement: Lensroll Directory Closed

shut happensI’ve been getting a lot of emails asking what happened to Lensroll so I guess it’s time that I shout out the official word. The directory of Lensroll has been permanently shutdown.

Let me explain.

About a month back Glen shared  a short message he had gotten from a fellow Squidoo user. He had received the message from Gil.

“Google is about to release a major update to their Penguin algorithm, which is focused on link building tactics. Unfortunately, sites like lensroll.com and dir.squidutils.com are no longer considered white hat.”

To us the message from them was crystal clear. In their eyes we had become bad neighbors. (If you do a quick search you will find Squidoo’s position on incoming links)

So without hesitation, Glen and I discussed and weighed all the factors and came to the conclusion that Squidoo HQ had already made up it’s mind about us.

The short of it is Squidoo might flag a lens as spammy just because of it’s incoming links. So with that it mind we thought it best to follow Tim’s lead and close down the Lensroll directory too.

We did not want to be the cause of any rash judgments handed down to a lens as it is well known to any user of Squidoo that they have their own internal ranking system and wield that sword recklessly at times.


I spent the better part of 7 years perfecting an open source code called Pligg to run the directory so forgive me if I appear to close to the subject. I taught myself  how to code, fought and won battles of malware and defeated the spammers. Basically I’m  damn proud of what we were able to accomplish.

The sites own statistics clearly showed Google did not appear to consider us a bad neighbor. Traffic had been steady for 6 straight years. 90 percent of organic search came from Google. Bounce rates were in the 50’s. We had survived all of the previous updates that Google had thrown at us.

Not to mention there were plenty of pleased users too. There was a real community of real people. Over 5000 comments and climbing daily. Real participation!

I personally think that HQ is paranoid and jumped the gun. Lensroll was not hurting them. What’s hurting them is their own stupidity. Knee jerk reactions rarely payoff in business.

I regret that Zujava, Hupages and Wizzley users were caught up in this. The directory had over 50,00 Squidoo lens submission which made up about 85% of the site. To delete all lenses only would have had the same affect, rankings wise,  as shutting it down entirely.

We want to thank everyone who helped us grow over the years. Without you we would have been just another place card on the Interwebs.


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The Death of the Pareto Principle

death of the pareto principle.jpgHere’s an abridged extract from the book Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters, Bill Tancer, Hyperion, 2008, page 123

In the late 1800s, a French/Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, observed that in Italy 80 percent of the country’s income went to 20 percent of the population, and also observed that 80 percent of the country’s property was owned by 20 percent of its citizens.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that an industrial engineer at Western Electric by the name of Joseph Juran applied Pareto’s observations to business, to develop what he called the Pareto Principle, or the law of the “vital few”, a hat-tip to Pareto’s original observation.

The 80/20 rule’s most popular application is the observation that 80 percent of a company’s revenues are generated by 20 percent of its clients, but the rule has also been observed in countless other business situations, such as time management and quality control.

With the distribution of content through the Internet, in the form of digital song downloads, blogs and user-created photo and video segments, the 80/20 rule may have become a relic of the bricks-and-mortar economy. Jakob Nielsen, commonly referred to as the father of online usability and several books on the subject, addressed the topic in his online newsletter Alertbox. Mr Nielsen noticed that in large online communuties and social networks, there is a division among visitors. There are users who actively contribute and there are those Neilsen refers to as “lurkers”. He labeled this phenomenon “participation inequality” and indentified the breakdown of online visitors to social sites in a 1-9-90 spread, versus Juran’s 80/20 distribution. According to Jakob Nielsen, 90 percent of online users are “lurkers”, or users who visit online communities but don’t contribute; 9 percent contribute from time to time; and only 1 percent of online users are active contributors.

Neilsen goes on to note that in terms of blogs, the inequality of active participation is even worse, possibly approaching less than 0.1 percent of Internet users…

it goes on from there to be quite an interesting read.

What’s amazing is I had a similar theory, and have shared it from time to time, both in person and also online.

I’ve been actively involved with the Internet since for at least 10 years, having first started with an ezine in 1998 and then building websites, registering my first domain name in 2000.

Here was my theory: For every hundred people, you might have ten that sign up, so they can do more than just read and also respond. Of those 10 people you might get 1 that is an active participant. I looked at those numbers and figured I had 111 people. As opposed to the neat 100 that Nielsen has.

But then I stopped. I’ve got the same figures. Of the 100 there are 10 within that group that get involved. That doesn’t add 10 to the 100, it’s in the 100. Same too for the active participant, it was 1 within the 10. I was overjoyed to see that something I felt strongly about was in fact… fact.

No doubt others have seen the same type of trends. Even in their own guestbooks, with only a small amount of people participating in any quality feedback or discussion.

Now I was going to draw a conclusion from this information, several in fact, but I thought that rather than do that, people should just absorb the information, and come to their own.

So read this blog entry again, but not my commentary, just Bill Tancer’s words, and let it simmer for a while. In fact, buy the book, it is worth the time and money and it could turn into a worthwhile investment.

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Fit Write In

Write for the community

Whether you’re at Squidoo, HubPages, AssociatedContent, Gather, wherever!… think about the emotion and atmosphere of the community.

For instance, recently I was researching “farriery”. A farrier is someone who shoes horses.

I got to see this up close and personal not far from where I live, a neighbor gets his horses done regularly.

Now I can write an article about farriery in half a dozen ways. In fact, I did.

At HubPages I’ve published one called Pimp My Clyde. Which, for those in the know (and young at heart) is a parody of the title of the hit MTV show Pimp My Ride.

Now honestly, I could have got away at HubPages with either Farrier or Farriery, because they like being serious there. They want to be an authority site, rather than a place for personal blogs. But I didn’t think too far ahead at the time. Still though, the community does have a sense of humor and I’m not going to be whipped for it.

I could have perhaps used such a title at Squidoo. Or even Gather. I was going to do a more serious piece of farriery at Squidoo but both the lens names “farrier” and “farriery” are taken. And nothing published. What a shame. I’m sure I could claim the lens name allaboutfarriery or something similar, but instead I went for a different angle, a close look at Horses Hooves.

I’ve published an article at Gather called “Equine Pedicure”. Which I think will get a lot of attention there. That and the fact that I uploaded a LOT of photos. I’ve come to the conclusion that Gather people LOVE a lot of photos. That and the witty yet appropriate title should work well.

At AssociatedContent I’ve published a more serious piece on farriery titled Farriery: The Art of Shoeing Horses. Something you must remember when writing for AssociatedContent is that you you can’t edit the articles after you’ve submitted them. So be sure to put your best foot forward. But don’t go overboard with the outside linking either.

I’ve got a feeling that an affiliate link will get cut (or maybe the whole article rejected) but a link to a quality article (and restricting oneself to one or two) will be fine.

Be aware of the rules for each site, both written and unwritten. Don’t be afraid of publishing at a few different sites. It gives you extra bites at the apple when it comes to Search Engine Indexing, not to mention the benefit of backlinking AND also dipping into a fresh stream of traffic for your linked articles.

And of course be mindful of the quality of your articles. In the very least don’t crosslink duplicate articles, as it doesn’t benefit anyone. Especially your reader who has just finished reading it. You won’t get any respect if they click through and find the exact same thing, even if its been slightly reheated.

And get a feel for the dynamics of the community. Either by reading others articles or perusing through the forum (if they have one). Once you have some hindsight it really focuses your foresight.

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