I've noticed a somewhat disturbing trend lately. Well, to be honest I'm sure it goes all the way back to the notorious "Squidoo Slap" of 2007, but it seems to be reaching a critical mass in the past few weeks.
IF you know what Squidoo is you fall in to one of 3 categories:
1) The conscientious, honest, and hardworking lensmasters. Mainly, folks who hang out at SquidU, put lots of effort in to making great lenses, who care about what they're doing and why they're doing it.
2) The hard-core SEO/marketers/make money online NOW types. These are the bajillion bloggers and gurus preaching that everyone should make lenses to promote their blogs/websites/pyramid schemes/ponzi schemes/get rich quick schemes/e-books/affiliate programs/ways to make money online scams. Just a quick browse of Google will bring up DOZENS of "guru" sites that promote some pretty low-brow and even downright silly ways to use Squidoo. Everything from spamming guestbooks (and yes, I have to delete at least 10 or more comments from my own lenses every.single.day from these types) to (I'm not making this up) one self-proclaimed expert who preaches that everyone should ONLY make one lens per lensmaster account to make the most money. Seriously?
3) Everyone else on the planet who honestly still (rightly or not) believes that essentially Squidoo is a spam-machine. And that's it. Only recently have I seen Squidoo compared to less-than-kosher places like Yuwie and ASD (the old Ad Cash Daily scam). Now Mixx has banned lenses from being submitted and even my old standby of forum siggies with lens URL's has become suspect. The reigning opinion is not a nice reflection on Squidoo.
Seriously, what the heck? Even an innocent post about the Twitter Charity Drive has been frowned upon on a forum in which I am VERY established on (and rarely do I even mention Squidoo at all there, and not even anything since August). The problem? Not the charity part. Not the Twitter part. It was the fact that the URL for the contest was from Squidoo and they don't appreciate "those types of spam links". Um, what?
I asked questions. I poked around. My findings? Regardless of what your lens is about, the prevailing opinions are that 1) Squidoo "clicks" pay us cash (???) so if we put links in our siggies we're "tricking" folks in to giving us money, 2) Since lenses are "primarily" used for revenue generation, any promotion we do is considered advertising for personal financial gains, 3) that "promoting" for a charity has less-than-savory connotations - that is, the charity makes a few pennies, but we (as lensmasters) make more and therefore only use the charities as a "front" to trick more people in to our evil plans to take over the universe apparently (insert the eyeroll here).
So, my question is this - how in the world do we change the tides of opinion? I actually read a blog post (from a highly respected blog) regarding social bookmarking in general today during my reasearch that stated "if you see a Squidoo link, just skip it - don't give them any votes". I also read a blurb stating "unfortunately, Digg still allows submissions from Squidoo, but we hope that will change in the future".
I have explained Squidoo over and over and over to people. I've been blue in the face, but I must admit, today my spirit has been crushed. Mentioning the word Squidoo in conversation is apparently akin to mentioning Amway. I want to scream.