So you want to make money on Squidoo? Are you sure about that?
Look, I’ll be straight up here: if you just want to post mojito recipes and you don’t need to make a living, then by all means, keep Squidoo-ing. This article is for people who are running real internet businesses and wondering whether Squidoo and SquidU forum are good places to make money and help their online business.
Can you make good money on Squidoo?
After my recent foray into the world of Squidoo and SquidU, my definite answer is: these sites are not worth your time or your precious content. And you deserve to know the kind of experience you might have there BEFORE you spend hours and weeks and months trying to make money there. So I’ll share my personal experience, and then you can make your own decision whether it’s worth the effort and the risk for such a small reward.
1. First Squidoo downside: they are using rat psychology on you
As a personal transformation coach, one of the things I help people break out of are their addictions. So I’m very aware of addictive patterns and how draining they can be. I have stopped visiting blogs that encourage addictive behavior, and I even stopped checking my Google analytics statistics when I noticed that I was changing my blogging behavior based on the results. I want to follow my intuition purely without being a slave of addictive conditioning.
Well, at Squidoo they joke around about how it’s “addictive.” It’s not a joke. Pay very conscious attention to the “points” and “rewards” system. They are using operant conditioning to condition you to keep publishing content. And they are even using “periodic reinforcement” (unpredictable rewards), which creates an addictive response. It’s the same mechanism video game developers use to get people addicted to video games. If you are not consciously aware of what is going on, you may find yourself running even faster to try to catch that next “points reward” from Squidoo.
So what I want to ask you is: Do you want to be like a hamster running on a wheel for food pellets? Because that’s essentially what you are if you are chasing the tiers and the Giant Squid Club and all the other “rewards” that may seem like a big deal in the world of Squidoo but don’t add up to squat in your bank account.
If you don’t believe me, Google “operant conditioning” and “periodic reinforcement” and get educated about what is going on …
2. Second Squidoo downside: so why is it they want you running on that hamster wheel anyway?
Squidoo is seen as a “free” site. It’s not free. You are paying your way by giving them content, which they are using to get traffic from Google and make a LOT of money. Exactly how much money, I don’t know. Do they publish their figures? How much do they pay in salary to their big-wigs by the way – are those number published? If I can find accurate figures, I’ll add them to this article.
So here you are giving your valuable content to Squidoo. Now, in theory you are being “paid” for this. But are you? I read a lot of lenses on Squidoo where people were publishing their earnings. One guy was celebrating when he was going to make $20. In San Francisco where I live, $20 will get you four cable car rides, if you are lucky. How many hours did he work for that? Based on his lens, a LOT of hours.
Well, he was a relative newbie to Squidoo. So you might say, well surely those Giant Squids are making a LOT of money, right?
Not from what I saw reading a lot of lenses. I saw a top lensmaster at Squidoo say she works about 30 hours per week on her lenses and makes a few hundred dollars a month (I don’t know how recently that was updated, but do the math: those are below-minimum wage rates, at least where I live.) In order to stay high in the rankings, lenses must be updated continuously. That is a LOT of work.
The highest earnings I saw in any lens that I read on Squidoo was a couple thousand dollars a month by a very high-ranking Squid who clearly has spent VAST amounts of time on her lenses.
The only person I know making good money on Squidoo is my friend who How to Attract Money. She was barely making any money before she started using my system (only about $500 per month before Holistic Belief Reprogramming). Now she’s making more like $5000 per month. But she has multiple income streams, so she may not be making more than a couple thousand a month on Squidoo.
So if people are maxing out around $2000-$3000 on Squidoo, even after several years of investment and basically working a full-time job for Squidoo in many cases, Let’s do the math. These earnings add up to about $36,000 per year, at best. In San Francisco, where I live, that’s poverty line living. Even in other communities that may have a lower cost of living, that is not an abundant income. And per hour, it looks like less than minimum wage.
That means we need to look at this in the clear light of day. Squidoo is not “free.” If you are using it purely for entertainment purposes, then you may not care about this. But if you are trying to pay your bills every month, it doesn’t look very amusing to be running on a hamster wheel while operant conditioning is being used to change your behavioral habits, publishing and updating content many hours a week to make LESS than minimum wage.
And that’s best case scenario. From what I could tell reading lenses, the vast vast majority of Squidoo users are not making anywhere CLOSE to $2000 per month. Not even close. More like a few dollars per month. So ask yourself: how many hours a week am I willing to work for pocket change?
Oh, for sure SOMEBODY at Squidoo is making real money. It’s just not the lensmasters. Somebody has taken all that content and turned it into a goldmine, while the lensmasters work for poverty wages. Is this not plain as day to everyone using the site?
For those of us who quit our jobs in order to have a better life working from home, this is pretty dismal news.
Thus, the title of this article: you can do better.
Squidoo Downside #3: Squid U Forum
My time on the SquidU forum was brief. To put it bluntly, I felt like I had stepped into a scene from Lord of the Flies.
I read the rules and carefully adhered to them. An internet troll came along and began making false accusations about my lens. You’d expect the moderators would stop him, right? Ummm, no. The moderators jumped right into the melee and began making false accusations with him. Then they deleted my lens.
You might think this doesn’t matter, but to get maximum traffic to your Squidoo lenses, it helps greatly to participate in the SquidU forum.
Well, I thought this was just a big misunderstanding. After all, I’ve read the Squid Don’t list multiple times, and as best I can tell, I have not violated any of their policies. So I reposted with a rather lengthy background note this time to make it 100% absolutely clear that the accusations made by the troll were false.
The moderators then deleted that entire explanation, and told me if I reposted again, I would be BANNED from SquidU forum.
So then I emailed the moderators and asked for help, and they did not respond. I emailed people at Squidoo asking for help, and they claimed there was nothing that could be done because “SquidU is independent” of Squidoo. Yeah, right. That’s why Giant Squids reign at both sites, and why a top official at Squidoo introduced the so-called “Leadership Council” (what a misnomer) at SquidU. What they really mean to say is that there is no accountability at SquidU and that it’s perfectly okay by Squidoo if Giant Squid moderators act like characters from the Lord of the Flies running roughshod over newcomers with (outrageous) false accusations and threats of banning.
Which leads us to:
Squidoo Downside #4: No real standards, arbitrary lockdowns, and … so sorry, you worked hard on those lenses? Too bad.
Maybe all this bullshit seems normal to some people, but not to me. So after the SquidU Lord of the Flies performance, a few days elapsed before … no NOT ONE … ALL of my lenses were locked. Including a lens about Pilates and another lens about A Course in Miracles, my near-death experience, and learning to follow your intuition and let go and let God.
I’m really sorry, I did not see any of those topics on the Squid Don’t list.
But you see, there’s no accountability at Squidoo. So if they don’t like you, for whatever arbitary reason, including false and outrageous accusations that they did not investigate first, you’re just out of luck. All your hard work down the drain. Your lenses are locked and you no longer get ANY traffic whatsoever. And by the way, your unpaid profits then go to “charity.” Uh-huh.
Wow … really people put up with this bullshit?
I was already emailing with a Squidoo official so I told her about this, and she directed me to email a department at Squidoo to see if I could get unlocked.
Seriously? Are you people nuts?
I already have a successful online business, that I built using the tools I was attempting to share on Squidoo. Your audience NEEDS ME. If they were actually practicing my tools, your whole site would be making a LOT more money, and your authors wouldn’t be making poverty-line wages. And you want me to appeal to come back to Squidoo after the absolutely OUTRAGEOUS way you have treated me?
Answer: No thank you.
Your Giant Squids are making at most a few thousand a month. I actually know what I’m doing making money online, and I learned how to change my belief system to be successful. So this year I’ve already made over $200,000 in my business. Far more than people who have invested years at Squidoo and whose content is subject to being locked down at any moment should they happen to piss off the wrong person at SquidU.
I’m sorry, but what happened to me at Squidoo and SquidU forum is BULLSHIT.
And it may seem “normal” to people who are accustomed to being treated like rats or hamsters on a spinning wheel chasing pellets. But it sure as hell seems anything but normal to someone like me who teaches and lives TRUE EMPOWERMENT. Which is what I was attempting to teach on your website.
If anyone reading this article thinks I’m the exception to the rule in getting my lenses locked down, I suggest you start asking around. I’ve had a bunch of people relate similar stories to me.
What people who are Squidoo-ing need to understand is this: Your content is valuable. You don’t have to give it away to Squidoo for peon wages. You can build your own websites like I did, and you can make a real living from your gifts. Why would you throw your pearls before anyone who gives you so little in return?
Squidoo Downside #5:
Be very conscious of your freedom and integrity.
I did not see anyone posting about making a six-figure income on Squidoo in any of the many lenses that I read. But let’s assume for the sake of argument there are a few Giant Squids who are actually making a real-life income. Now what? This is the reason I have steered clear of being an employee ever again.
Once you’re making six figures there, after those years of hard work … what happens if you piss off the wrong person at Squidoo or SquidU or run up against a “new” rule or censorship there? They can shut you down literally with no notice. Your Squidoo income stream vanishes literally overnight.
So deep down you know that could happen, and what do you do? Slowly but surely, your rein in your content. The higher the income gets, the more careful you are about not crossing any invisible lines. Maybe you even go out of your way to kiss some butt at Squidoo HQ. They don’t even need to censor you now. You are censoring yourself, out of fear, fear of losing the income stream. Without even noticing it, you give away your freedom and integrity bit by bit. It’s the same thing people do as employees. They don’t want to get fired, so they start being less and less authentic.
So is it worth trying to make money on Squidoo? You be the judge.
Most people are so accustomed to being slaves of systems like this (I sure was, at one time) that they don’t even know what freedom and integrity are. Freedom and integrity does not mean kissing ass at Squidoo HQ. It means following your intuition and your heart even when other people don’t like it. So if you do choose to stick around Squidoo and SquidU, be very conscious of the ways in which you are not really being yourself because now to keep your content live, you have to “fit in.”
Sounds a lot like grade school to me. Again, it’s a big “no thank you, Squidoo, I don’t want what you’re offering, not on these terms. Not at the cost of my freedom and integrity.”
So that’s my rant for today. I hope others can, as I do, see the humor in all this.
But it’ll be a cold day in hell before I will be giving my content to Squidoo again. And my bottom line for all of you who aspire to make a decent living online is this:
Thinking Squidoo? You can do better. Get empowered. Make sure you stay in control of your own content. Build an organic and grassroots base of support for your business. Learn skills like I teach for changing your belief system so that you can create your own reality instead of being a slave to somebody else’s arbitrary and unfair system. And become wealthy for real.
About the Author and Expert EFT Tapping Coach Erika Awakening
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, visionary, travel blogger, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and living life on your own terms. (Follow Erika on Google+ by clicking here.)