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The Online Giant Squid Becomes 'Hub' Sushi: Squidoo Lenses Turn Into Hubs

By Edited Jul 10, 2015 7 25

Hub Sushi

Not For General Consumption

I wonder if a sushi chef would ever conceive of concocting the dish that Squidoo writers were asked to swallow on Friday, August 15, 2014. That's when the official announcement that HubPages was acquiring key content from Squidoo was posted online. Squidoo writers were officially notified by email 4 days later, on August 19, 2014. It seems to me, if Squidoo truly valued and respected their writers they would have notified us first or at the very least at the same time as the official announcement, and they would have given us more than two weeks to make a decision.


In addition to catching everyone by surprise, my impression of the flowery worded announcement from Seth Godin, head honcho of Squidoo, reeked of disingenuousness. Godin began his statement by referring to his disclosure as "good news." Really, for who? Not for the many faithful Squidoo writers (Squids and Giant Squids) and Contributors, but rather, I assume the good news was for Mr. Godin. In addition, apparently Godin and Hubpages CEO and Co-Founder Paul Edmondson had at least one conversation about "The best way we know to serve our users . . ." Just what is the best way, gentlemen? Here's what the two top dogs came up with; ". . . give them an even better place for their content." That's sweet, guys.  Apparently, after brainstorming it "became clear" to both fellows "that 'combining' these platforms leads to a stronger, more efficient, more generous way to share great stuff online." Hmmm . . . but wait a minute, the two sites were not combined. The statement appears to say two contradictory things. Combining platforms seems, to me anyway, to be different than acquiring key content. "HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo. . . . Squidoo is moving the best of its content to HubPages."

The official announcement was made just two weeks prior to the deadline of August 29, 2014 to agree to the transfer or delete your account. It appears if a writer fails to act, his or her work will automatically move to HP. Here's the artful wording used to explain the time (or lack thereof) of the move, "We're doing this now so we can have as much in place by October 1 as possible . . . just in time for Halloween." Wow, that Godin, always looking out for his people. . . . She said, sarcastically! In truth, I picture Mr. Godin writing his announcement with a great big sardonic grin on his kisser.

How the Squidoo/HubPages deal likely went down . . .

by RoseWrites

How the Squidoo/Hubpages deal likely went down . . .
Credit: by RoseWrites on InfoBarrel 26/08/2014 Copyright - All rights reserved. Photo used by permission of the owner, RoseWrites

For Sale

Wait! You Can't Sell What You Don't Own

Initially I wondered how the news would affect those of us 'Squids' that already had HP accounts. It didn't take long to find out, someone asked this question in the Contributor Facebook Page – and I was suspicious of the answer. We were advised that we had to transfer our lenses through the method provided by Squidoo and create a new HP account.

Not only did that make no sense to me, it also didn't sit well. Why would a Squidoo writer who already had an HP account have to create a new one? Why? The only reason I could come up with is the reason a number of others had concluded . . . someone other than the writer was hoping to make some cash from the transfer of these lenses. Duh.

Well folks, here's something interesting – you can't legally sell something you don't own (without the permission of the owner). That's not to say these types of transactions don't happen, unfortunately they do. But here's the good news, unauthorized sales are never upheld in court – well, The People's Court, at least.

I already have an HP account and I don't want a new one! When I signed-up with Squidoo (and all the other writing platforms for that matter) I agreed to share any revenue generated by my articles, but I did not agree to give up my rights of ownership to my content.  So, I can decide to press that big green friendly button or I can do what I've decided to do, delete my lenses and account and place my articles wherever I choose. It's that easy.

Huge Sale

Credit: morgueFile.com By sideshowmom

"Best Of" "Puple Star" and "Lens of the Day"

Thank You But It's Still My Work

DebW07 - Squidoo Contributor
In January of 2014 Squidoo announced the implementation of the "Contributor" program. "Giant Squids" were invited to apply, and a select few were chosen to participate. I was selected and assigned my chosen niche. Early on we were given access to a special Contributor Forum, Facebook Page, and we were invited to participate in chat room conferences, and all these extra perks helped to build a comradery between the contributors and Squidoo staff (minus Godin - he was not actively on Squidoo while I was there). In addition, we were all encouraged to write quality content and ask other writers to contribute quality content in our chosen niches.

The acquisition by HP allows Contributors to transfer their own articles/lenses but discontinues the program and status of a Contributor (not a very tempting offer). I am going to miss my fellow Contributors. They are a bunch of truly talented writers and a bunch of really good people.

A few months ago, Squidoo rolled out another feature that they called the "Best of." These were lists of lenses considered to be the best of the site on a particular topic, such as the Best of Music, etc. Once again, I was happy to have my work recognized with several of my lenses selected for these lists.

It is these Best of (in addition to Contributor, "Purple Star" and "Lens of the Day") lenses that I suspect Squidoo will be anxious to transfer first. It is also these lenses that I deleted from my account first. Although I am grateful that they were chosen, they were meant to be the Best of Squidoo not HP.

Squidoo - The Best Of
Red Squid Hat Mix - Large Squid Hat In Red With Crazy Eyes
Amazon Price: $15.99 $13.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 10, 2015)

Squidoo Lenses Now Hubs

'Hub Sushi': Some may Like It - Others Will Not

So, I'm not authorizing the transfer of my lenses but what happens to the writers who do? Well first of all, Godin has clearly stated that not all lenses will be transferred, only the "highest

rated and most useful content" will be transferred. Thus, if your work is not deemed to be transfer worthy, you are warned to go to your dashboard and download your work so you "can keep it forever." In addition, lenses transferred to HP will most likely go through a review process and must pass their standards. They will be turned into Hub Sushi – chopped up and made to look like an HP "Hub."

I began this piece with the title, "The Online Giant Squid Becomes 'Hub' Sushi: Squidoo Lenses Turn Into Hubs," and then I asked the question of whether or not a sushi chef would ever conceive of concocting the dish that Squidoo writers were asked to swallow. After perusing the official announcement and subsequent email, I must say no. I doubt even the shrewdest and most malicious of chefs could come up with such a dish – well, perhaps with the aid of some magic mushrooms – no, no, not even with that. No sushi chef would ever create the cuisine of Hub Sushi, the foul smelling squid dish that looks pretty but leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Here's how they tempt you; "The Squidoo team has always been focused on what's best for you . . . (HP) has built a platform that will help you reach your goals even faster than we can do it alone . . . opens the door for even more 'magic.' Have fun. Make a ruckus. Do good work. Thanks for the magic you make, and for being kind and generous."

Beware, however, because once you take a bite of Hub Sushi (by clicking on that welcoming green button), you just might get a bad taste in your mouth. Especially when you realize that someone could be making money from your work in a way you hadn't anticipated, or would've authorized had you realized what they were doing.

In Mexico we have a word for sushi:  bait  ~José Simons


Squid Profits: Squidoo Keyword Research Success Formula
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 10, 2015)

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Aug 27, 2014 5:14am
Wow Deb, you pointed out so many inconsistencies. Such as:

1) The timing of Godin's post without a courtesy email, until days later. And why such short notice (to press a big green transfer button or delete) since Squidoo plans on working on this until Oct?

2) The two sites were not "combined" (great point Deb).

3) Even Squidoo Contributors were told NOT to use their existing HP account (must be a $ sign attached to this mysterious "key content").

4) You cannot sell something you don't own (without the express permission of the owner). Squidoo's own TOS service states they do not own the content.

5) Writers agreed to SHARE any revenue generated by their articles (NOT ownership of it, nor any transfer of their work to another platform).

6) Wise decision to remove your "Best of" and other Squidoo-recognized lenses. I plan to delete my entire account near midnight on Aug. 31st to collect my share of the ad pool for August - not just Amazon and eBay sales revenue. Oh and I'll wait for any "late" payments (however small too, Mr. Godin).

BTW, thank you so much Deb for using my cartoon (and for asking my permission first) and for linking to my article too. (I will add yours to mine now).

Just an aside: For the writers who already clicked on the transfer button, if you did so out of duress, there "may" be legal recourse for you.

Thumbing, pinning, sharing and shouting out to the world. Perfect article Deb.
Aug 27, 2014 9:20am
Rose; first of all thank you for your generosity in allowing me to use your cartoon, that, in and of itself, was kind enough! But now I see that not only have you taken the time to leave a supportive comment but you have also shared my piece on your various social media accounts -- wow! Thanks again!!
Aug 27, 2014 9:31am
You deserve it (and more Deb). It saddens me when I think of all the time and effort you (and other contributors) put into opening your own Facebook accounts to voluntarily build up specific niches for Squidoo (loved yours with the disco ball).

As you know, I couldn't continue as LOL contributor (and I could no longer be funny on Squidoo). The favouritism shown to certain people (who clearly were doing unethical things) was a motivation killer. I always provided proof to HQ, however their solution seem to be to "hush" the whistle blower(s).

Guess now the whistle blowers have the final say. It's true "you learn more about someone at the end of a relationship than at the beginning."
Aug 27, 2014 9:41am
I enjoyed my time at Squidoo. I had fun with my contributor duties, learned a lot, and more importantly got to know some terrific people, so I don't regret a thing. I was sorry to see you leave but I certainly understood why you had to go. It's great that we both have other platforms to express our opinions and do what we enjoy most, write. :)
Aug 27, 2014 9:47am
It's not like I had any choice in the matter - but I'm extremely grateful that you pointed me to InfoBarrel.
Aug 27, 2014 9:53am
I think InfoBarrel is extremely grateful that I pointed you here. :)
Aug 27, 2014 12:44pm
Rose, I very much enjoyed your post on this. So, I agree with you and Deb completely. I'd like to add one point I think went unmentioned.

As part of his deftly calculated announcement (never said sale, never asked for agreement), he blithely stated he was confiscating all money below the recently raised threshold. We can't prove he raised it deliberately to get the money, but we do know that he backed off like his pants were on fire when he was called on it. In my opinion, there is still time to win back other concessions. Why should he not share the earnings of selling access to our content? It's supposed to be a coop, isn't it. Coop and 50/50 sharing is all over the TOS. Maybe we should all line up some fire and push it in his direction.
Aug 27, 2014 1:12pm
In my original article, Can Squidoo Do This?, I mentioned it in my 3rd text module subtitled "It Gets Worse." It's the 3rd bullet point: When did we (as lensmasters) agree that anything under $25 was to be donated (allegedly) to the Acumen Fund?

In my successive article (Sorry Seth Godin | Did I Make a Ruckus?) I drew attention to the change of threshold payments back to $1 (Bonnie emailed me the revised FAQ after reading my article). I have been incommunicado with HQ for months.

The problem seems to be that HQ refuses to give a clear answer on why lensmasters who do NOT click some green transfer button NOR some link on HubPages (who delete their entire accounts close to midnight on Aug. 31st, 2014) are somehow ONLY entitled to Amazon and eBay earnings for August.

If my 293 lenses are still in the public's eye (and those of other lensmasters), earning ad revenue for all of August and some partners pay late - why aren't we entitled to our share of these earnings?

I'll take late payments any day - it's not like money expires. I'm boycotting all URLs with Squidoo, HubPages and HugDug in their domain name to protest this.

Seth Godin and Paul Edmondson were well aware that Squidoo does NOT own the content - and never once consulted with the writers.
Aug 27, 2014 1:21pm
I remember that from your article, now that you mention it.

Needless to say, Seth didn't consult with the writers because he wanted to control what happened and the revenue generated from it. I think the whole process was up and running for at least two months before the announcement. The modification of all the review lenses to make them like standard lenses and the raising of the minimum payout were part of it, as was Bonnie and Robin's keeping a false front maintained to hold the silence.

It was all calculating. Smart guy, no morals, a toxic mix.

If anything has to change in the future, it will only come from embarrassing Seth. That's all the bothers him. His ego is inflated and vulnerable. He wants everyone to think he's still the brain who built and sold Yoyodyne, not the one who flopped with Squidoo, then tried to run away with the bank account.

Frankly, although I think it will be hard to get, I'm not willing to settle for anything less than a coop agreement - the sale revenues shared 50/50 with content owners.
Aug 27, 2014 1:00pm
I shared this with my followers and on the SFC. Everyone needs to hear this until they get mad enough to take action.
Aug 27, 2014 1:27pm
Thanks David! I added a link to your article as it is well worth reading, in addition to the piece by Rose.
Aug 27, 2014 2:09pm
Thank you, Deb. Rose's piece is an utter gem.
Aug 27, 2014 2:59pm
I really liked that cartoon you shared; really needed a laugh. Didn't know purple stars were included in the deal. Of my lenses one was Best Of and about 2 to 3 were purple stars. Some how I became a Giant Squid even though I didn't fill out the form to become one but was happy nonetheless.

After reading the announcement I was tempted to sign up for HP even though I didn't have an account. After exploring their weirdly organized Help Area looking for payout threshold info and earnings options I quickly changed my mind. There were some squids encouraging the transfer over though some quieted down after seeing that they couldn't bring their work over to their existing account.

If I hadn't been checking in to update lenses in hopes of increasing their ranking I wouldn't have come across the news.
Aug 27, 2014 3:22pm
The statement from Godin indicated, "HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo," and "Squidoo is moving the best of its content to HubPages." My interpretation is that the "best of its content" includes Purple Star, LotD, Contributor, and 'Best of' lenses. Thanks so much for the comment, Browna86 and welcome to IB.
Aug 27, 2014 4:38pm
Great article! Somebody must have lawyered up. The latest FAQ has reduced the threshold back to $1. Glad my ten bucks is coming to me not a charity I've never heard of.
Aug 27, 2014 9:22pm
Same here though they sure took their time about it.
Aug 28, 2014 7:03am
I think you've done a good job summing it all up! I was unimpressed with the way things went, and after reading HubPages TOS and thinking it all over, I left. I'm moving my work to my blog.
Aug 28, 2014 4:53pm
Well said, Deb! This was a fiasco for writers from start to finish. The timing could not have come at a worse time and having a proverbial gun to your head about withholding earnings sent many of us into overdrive. I did not delete my content-I have a lot of money on my dashboard that I could not afford to lose. It will transfer and when the kids are back in school and my house is quiet again, I will be able to think more clearly.
Aug 28, 2014 5:19pm
Thanks MMM. I understand the position you are in and I don't fault you one bit. You earned that money and you should get each and every penny of it! I did just read, however, the notice from Corey Brown today that indicates people who delete their accounts will still be compensated. Here's what Brown said; "If you’ve already deleted your Squidoo account . . . remember, you'll still get paid for all the time your account has been live."

Good luck with getting the kids back to school and with whatever you decide to do. I have nothing against HP, as I said, I have an account there and will probably post some more "Hubs" in the future.
Aug 28, 2014 5:38pm
Oh, I haven't seen Corey Brown's announcement today - thanks Deb, will check that out now.
Aug 28, 2014 6:22pm
I have some problems with Corey's post - I'm going to do a write up on it right now.
Aug 28, 2014 6:31pm
I can see how some of the things he says would be a problem for you. I deleted my account today and so I feel like I'm done with this matter. I wish you the best, Rose.
Aug 28, 2014 5:36pm
Clearly you (and others like you) were/are under duress. I don't fault you one bit either. And I don't have anything against people on HubPages. I have a problem with the need for a "second" HP account (how content is tracked and $ given for "key content" to Seth Godin).

I also have a problem with Paul Edmondson and Seth Godin - both were well aware that they should have asked writers first (respecting the actual owners of the content). Instead, they bulldozed this arrangement at the worst possible time of year (esp. for moms).

Hope you find the best home for your content, in time, mommy cubed.
Aug 28, 2014 5:05pm
I opted out of the Squidoo / HubPages merger myself for the reasons pointed out here and elsewhere. Mostly, from the moment that Announcement hit my Squidoo dashboard, I knew I would not follow the lead of the one who just sold me like slave. Why the heck would I trust him and push that button?

I saved, deleted, de-indexed my articles and I am quickly giving each one a new home. And yes, some will be homed here at InfoBarrel soon.

I do not doubt for one minute that Seth, and probably his community leader and who knows who else, were having the writers build up the site for the sellout for well over a year. I was in on a group call with Seth Godin where he assured us Squidoo would not be sold. I was a Contributor and wrote my fingers to the bone for the façade.

Hindsight has repaired my eyesight! We were used and abused...period.
Aug 28, 2014 5:33pm
Hi Ruth, you did such a great job as the "Books for Kids Contributor," and so I'm sure you'll have a lot of great content to post elsewhere. Good luck!
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