Squidoo Do the Dirty on Affiliate Marketers

I just happened to check on one of my better performing Squidoo lenses today because I’d noticed a drop om affiliate sales coming from it. In fact a drop in affiliate sales coming from all of my lenses. Why should this be I wondered?

I know there has been some devaluation in Google’s search index of such web 2.0 properties like Hub Pages and Ezine Articles, but for the most part Squidoo has been left alone. Sure a lot of my lenses have dropped a little in the SERPs, probably a by-product of the recent and on-going changes that Google are making to their algorithm. But even with some of the low competition buying keywords that my Squidoo lenses are targeting, they were still ranking high enough to attract visitors looking to buy the product the lens was promoting, and converting into sales.

But as I said, sales have dropped noticeably and I needed to know why. Now I do.

First some background. For a several months, I’d known about a neat trick you could do with lenses to improve the conversion rate of affiliate sales by getting at least one ad banner above the fold. You could place the code in the lens bio with a couple of lines of text and that banner would more often than not be the one that got most clicks and most conversions into sales.

If you put ad banners inside text modules, the highest one is still below the fold because of the way Squidoo sets out their page design to place their own or adsense ads highest. Fair enough, its their site and their business which we are contributing to by building the lenses, for which lensmasters get a small reward from their revenue sharing scheme. It is only small change, but the value of lenses was increased many fold by being able to use a squidutils banner in the bio box to attract clicks and sales.

But no more. Squidoo have done the dirty on affiliate marketers using this necessary trick. They have somehow altered the bio box so that the code from squidutils (or any other affiliate banner code) does not display any more.

You know what?

I’m just about sick to the back teeth with these greedy buggers who run web 2.0 sites like that and pissball about with the earning potential of the handful of marketers who know what the hell they are doing.

Like me.

Well I’m done with them if that’s the way they are going to undermine the hard work I put into building and ranking their site for them. I’ll be looking at unpublishing those lenses I set up to sell affiliate stuff and once the content is de-indexed from Google, I’ll be putting it up on my own sites and taking ALL the earnings for myself. Geez, don’t these guys want our business?

Terry Didcott

Hub Pages Change their Rules in Reponse to Google’s Update

So Hub Pages have made some sweeping changes to their publishing rules that will affect all users (Hubbers, as they like to call them). Well, it was going to happen and to be honest, I’m really glad they finally came to their senses. So what are the changes?

Here is an excerpt from an email I just received from them:

…it is now a requirement on HubPages to have at least 50 words for each eBay or Amazon product you feature in a Hub, and it is no longer permissible to place RSS, Link, News, Amazon, or eBay capsules as the first full-width capsule in a Hub.

We have also changed our policy regarding duplicated content. While we used to allow Hubbers to have some duplicated content (e.g. to publish their off-site writing and blog posts to HubPages as well) so long as they did not link back to the original source, we have now simplified the rules so that no duplicated content is allowed on HubPages, period.

No big surprise about the duplicate content thing. It is a big no-no from Google’s point of view and really anyone who was going to the trouble of creating a Hub Page and then copy/pasting a page of text from their own website was being pretty naive. Two reasons for that.

  1. Google hates duplicate content so duplicates get removed from their index pages
  2. If you put your website’s content on a big authority site like hubpages.com then they are going to “own” the content in the eyes of Google simply because that site has more authority than yours, meaning your site could end up taking a penalty from Google resulting in a drop for your site (or its page) in their index.

They don’t seem to have addressed another potentially big problem that may well have had a big influencing factor in getting the whole domain devalued in the Google index. That is the nature of the content that is being published on hubpages. Most topics are fair game and rightly so, but there are a few topics, particularly those branded as spammy, that Google are cracking down on. They include things like weight loss (or more particularly the acai berry and hoodia side of that subject), penis enlargement (yes, we are all fed up about hearing about it), getting your boyfriend/girlfriend back (this has reached epic proportions), certain feminine viral infections along with male virility drugs, smokeless cigarettes and of course the old chestnuts of adult topics.

There are more and to get a good idea what they are, just head over to squidoo.com and check their list of banned topics to see what they are.

That last statement may make you stop and think for a moment why Hub Pages were penalized and Squidoo were not. In 2009, Squidoo were badly penalized by Google because they were allowing so much spam to be published on their site. They reacted back then by creating a list of banned topics and systematically removing all lenses that fell under them. It took a while, in fact the best part of a year before Squidoo lenses started to rank well again in Google’s index but they did and they still do.

Reason?

They don’t allow certain spammy topics that places like Hub Pages and Ezine Articles (another casualty of the recent Google crackdown). Funny, neither do eHow, who also came through the crackdown unscathed.

Anyway, I digress and these theories have already been written about elsewhere so I won’t go expanding on them too much. The point of this post is to let my 3 readers know that Hub Pages are doing something positive about their current lacklustre performance in the SERPs because of Google’s “Farmer” update as it has become known.

Whether they are doing enough remains to be seen.

Terry Didcott