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Squidoo's September Earnings Update and What You're Not Told

By Edited Nov 13, 2015 2 6
Access Denied 2008
Credit: Mike Licht on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Additional text added by me, RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

On the 13th anniversary of 9/11, I decided not to write. I wanted to reflect on the events of that moment in history and remember my friends and colleagues who voluntarily helped our friends south of the border.

But the business world never stops - and Squidoo was no exception.

Yesterday, in an HQ post titled An Update on September Earnings, Corey Brown attempted to quash rumours that people would not be paid their entitled earnings.

I found it fascinating that numerous responses [by people who haven't been banned to comment] seem pleased by his limited explanations.

I decided to take a screenshot of his announcement (shown next) since Squidoo has been known to alter their official announcements and unauthored FAQ reports in the past.

An Update on September Earnings by Corey Brown
Credit: Screenshot by RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Okay, Let's Break it Down

First of all, the conversion of lenses is "going well."

The likely explanation for that is as follows:

Content was already moved prior to September 2nd, 2014.

How do I know? Because when I edited out everything on my lens Under a Porch & Into our Hearts the score card still gave it a 72/100 completion rating.

Edited out all content on lens and scorecard still gave it 72/100
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Even More Compelling

Around early July 2014, I noticed a prompt on my Google Analytics report.

It stated:

Tracking Code Mismatch
Tracking code on page www(dot)squidoo(dot)com does not match property
SousababySquidoo's tracking ID UA-[8 digit number]-1

When I looked for more information, it said:

Missing Tracking Code
At least 351 pages are missing valid tracking code for property

Here's the thing: I had already deleted about 50 articles from Squidoo (with the intention of putting some of them on InfoBarrel). So by mid-July, I only had about 300 or so lenses on Squidoo (or so I thought).

My Theory: If Squidoo had already begun to secure content to be transferred, all 351 lenses would possibly have a HubPages redirect (in place) on them. This alteration with the URLs would likely cause a tracking code mismatch.

Why Were We Told September 2nd?

Corey Brown has stated the following numerous times in various posts: 

If you haven’t deleted your account by August 29, 2014, your account and pages will be moved automatically to HubPages beginning on September 2nd.

Remember: For many of you, your content is being moved without YOUR consent.

I think the reason that we were told September 2nd is as follows:

So Squidoo could collect ad pool revenue for everything in August and potentially September as well.

By forcing you to take some sort of action by August 29th, you forfeited any right you had to ad pool revenue for that pay period. And by "pay period" that would mean the preceding 60 days.

A friend of mine deleted all of his lenses on August 20th. Now it appears he has given up all of his ad pool earnings for June and July (and a good portion of August). The only thing he is left with is Amazon and eBay royalties.

It would appear that Corey Brown's responses to the following questions confirms this.

Corey Brown Advises to Submit a Bug Report

"If you deleted before July and haven't been paid"

Corey Brown's response to ad pool revenue
Credit: Screenshot by RoseWrites

Deleted in August?

"Only gets you Amazon and eBay royalties"

What about lenses deleted in August?
Credit: Screenshot by RoseWrites

Now Here's the Kicker

In his cleverly worded post Corey Brown states:

Until your lenses are deleted or transferred, we are recording your revenue data as usual.

Then he adds:
 ...if your lenses remained on Squidoo for any part of September, your earnings for those days will be combined with earnings from August in our next payment.
Lastly, Corey Brown sums it all up with this statement:
In other words, any revenue generated by lenses will be paid for as long as they remain live on Squidoo.

Notice this Folks? 

Corey Brown only gives two options:

Until your lenses are deleted or transferred...

But I cannot delete my lenses and I cannot edit them. Nor can I delete my entire account - even though the revised Squidoo and HubPages Transition FAQ states clearly that if you want to take your content elsewhere, that's fine.
So why is it that you and I cannot access our own content? We cannot edit or delete it yet Squidoo can display it publicly well into September with ads showing on all of our lenses? And the worse part is that now we may even face duplicate content issues/penalties because of this.
Aren't you and I entitled to our fair share of the ad pool revenue too? And why can't we access our content (without clicking on a HubPages link) to delete it and put it elsewhere?

We Need to Know these Answers

What about the lensmasters who were away and didn't know about the August 15th announcement and those who didn't make any decision (for whatever reason) to forfeit ad pool revenue by deleting lenses/accounts by August 29th, 2014?

If people (for whatever reason) did not click a transfer button or a link on HubPages and were unable to delete their accounts/lenses by August 29th, how is it that Squidoo is continuing to deny them access to their content? Particularly since you acknowledged that going to another platform was fine.

And since Squidoo is continuing to keep our content publicly accessible (for Ads, Amazon, eBay, and "some" partners), will Squidoo be paying lensmasters their rightful share of all four things?

If not, why?

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Sep 12, 2014 9:54am
Excellent article. I certainly got considerably less than what I was owed for June and July, so they're obviously confiscating ad earnings for anyone who deleted their account.

Corey Brown acted annoyed when I asked on Squidoo if we would get everything we're entitled to if we delete lenses, and he claimed that we would and that consenting to the transfer wasn't a requirement to get what we're owed. Although, now my concerns have been proven as justified because I'm not getting everything I was entitled to after deleting lenses, and I know this is true for others also.
Sep 12, 2014 1:50pm
Thanks Jonathan for chiming in.

I remember your concerns quite well. True, Corey Brown acted annoyed, his exact wording was, "Transferring your account to HubPages has no bearing on payment rules" and he assured us "you will be paid."

He didn't say "you will be paid EVERYTHING you are owed and entitled to" and he also pointed to the "payment rules" or "as usual" policies they've always had on Squidoo.

A couple of times he mentioned that "a deleted lens will no longer be eligible for any portion of the ad pool for that pay period" [which means the preceding 60 day period].

Twice now Corey has stated that ONLY Amazon and eBay royalties would be paid to those who deleted lenses in August. [I know, it seems unfair, since your lenses showed ads on them publicly right up until August 20th, 2014].

The wording of posts needs to be carefully examined and the reality is, that those who deleted their content or pushed a dashboard transfer button or link on HubPages did so out of duress, imo.

I don't recall Squidoo's TOS stating that they reserved the right to deny lensmasters access to their own content for any length of time. Nor do I remember agreeing that they could withhold earnings if I didn't agree to move my content to whichever platform Squidoo might choose in the future should they decide to sell out.

The crux of this whole transaction is that Squidoo did not seek the express permission of lensmasters to move their content first. Their own TOS states that Squidoo does not own the content - yet somehow Seth Godin et al. feels entitled to move content and deny access to it by its rightful owner.

Some "writers" have likened this move to a bank merger - but it isn't. A bank that mergers is not legally entitled to hold onto money if an account holder wishes to withdraw it all at the last minute (before the merger). A URL is simple an address (akin to a bank account number). The content (or the money, in this example) was never something that could be withheld from its rightful owner - at any time. A person would be able to withdraw all their money and close their bank account right before the merger (without penalty).

The same would hold true in this case with Squidoo.
Sep 12, 2014 5:40pm
Yes, Rose, the thievery continues, as I did not get paid what I should have been paid either. Honestly, I was surprised I got half what was owed me! I am one who opted out of the sellout scam completely and had saved, deleted, and de-indexed my 178 articles on Google within 4 days of the original announcement.
Sep 13, 2014 8:07am
I'm sorry to hear that you've not received all of your earnings either, Ruth.

What's so atrocious about all of this is that Squidoo failed to even ask lensmasters if they wanted their content moved to HubPages. There must've been $ attached to this deal for our work (which I believe to be the earmarked "Best of" lenses).

I mean, why would any team of IT people voluntarily provide redirects to thousands of pages otherwise? I'm surprised that people are thanking them on these HQ posts, actually.

And HubPages couldn't lose out - even if they reject 80% of what is transferred, they gain massive amounts of traffic (increasing their Alexa ranking like "bought" traffic - which, ironically is a TOS violation). To advertisers, HubPages will look even more attractive (and they'll command top dollar for ad space).

If you really examine what Corey Brown has said, he avoids spelling out every scenario and keeps pointing to the "as usual" payment policies. I can see where his words seemed to gloss over the finer details by using words like "attributable revenue" and "you will be paid" [he meant, you'll only be paid Amazon and eBay royalties and you've given up your share of the ad pool revenue for the preceding 60 day pay period by deleting your work in August].

What really irritates me about this particular post is that he addresses two scenarios - one of which doesn't exist. "Until your lenses are deleted or transferred..."

HA, well, I cannot delete my lenses at all. Squidoo removed the delete button and kept the edit button - but you can't edit either. The wording was deceptive in that post too - he said, "your dashboard will be up and running" except for "updating" [which meant you can't delete, erase, or edit, I suppose].

And even though Squidoo continues to display ads on my 293 lenses and allows the public to buy Amazon/eBay products off my pages, I cannot close (delete) my account.

In order to not have a duplicate content issue, I've been reporting Squidoo to Google for violation of my copyright. My photos (and those of people who ONLY gave me permission to use them) might also be something worth pursuing legally (and for other writers too).

Squidoo has cleverly stated things like "until lenses are deleted" and "the transfer of work is set for September 2nd" which are complete lies.

No one can delete their content, nor access it, and no one can delete their account. If the transfer of lenses really was Sept 2nd, why couldn't lensmasters decide at midnight on August 31st? or Sept 1st (for that matter)?

In a court of law, Squidoo only wants to make it seem that lensmasters had a choice to delete their work in August and thereby voluntarily (and knowingly) give up ad pool revenue for the preceding pay period.

Squidoo will claim "we didn't move lenses until Sept. 2nd and we even stated, until lenses are deleted or transferred."

Yet I videotaped my effort to delete my work at midnight on August 31st, 2014 (I even tried to edit a lens by erasing everything - and the scorecard still showed 72% on it).

There is definitely a case here for a class action suit - people (like you and Jonathan) were under the impression you'd be paid everything you were owed. And believe me, Squidoo finds a way to ban the whistle blowers. I'll bet numerous people are not allowed to even comment on those HQ posts.
Sep 13, 2014 9:52pm
What is bothersome about this is that Godin is supposedly a highly acclaimed business professional. Yet he made numerous changes to the site that wasn't to the benefit of the writers nor the site itself. The worst changes of all were the ranking changes followed by the cashout change.

Things were like business as usual with no hints of something going awry especially with the continuous promoting of writing missions for bonus points which we weren't aware were done away with. Had the site not changed or at least did a joining up, like oDesk and eLance, then things would have probably been okay (wishful thinking).

I'll be waiting as patiently as possibly for my $0.85 from Amazon since its the only and first sale I made since I've been on the site. Am quite surprised that the site is still up and posts are being made. Though it would be nice if the news posters, i.e. Corey, were more caring with their words.
Sep 14, 2014 1:01am
Well, ha, Seth et al. don't care (and haven't for some time). They've been in a big hurry to offload Squidoo onto HubPages for ?$ they could get from HubPages. The lensrank system was horribly abused and yet even with evidence of abuse, little was done about it.

I think that those who knew code and were some of the first Beta testers figured out how to game the system on Squidoo for years. Oddly, some of these same people are under the (false) impression that they'll have the same "link juice" schemes work for them on HubPages.

By the end of January 2015, I think the internet will be somewhat "cleaned up" from this. The big mistake that Squidoo made was NOT asking who wanted their work on HubPages first. (It's become an illegal transaction now, imo).
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