Squidoo. A lens or a mirage?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Seth Godin launched his new online company called Squidoo recently. With little or no knowledge about the product, I waited anxiously for its announcement as my friend Harper worked as a summer intern on this "secret" (sssssssshhhhhh...) project. But I'm disappointed, atleast for now. Lets see why...

What is Squidoo?
Before digging deeper into Squidoo, it is important to understand what a lens is. A lens is a single webpage that highlights one person/group's opinionated view on a subject or topic or ideas. A webpage that points to other websites / blogs /wikis (sources of information) that the lensmaster(person creating the lens) thinks is important to him/her. For instance, a lens on Formula 1 will (or should) tell you the races for next season, driver's contracts, stores selling Formula 1 merchandise and such. Or to see Tom Peter's Lens on all-time great books.

Squidoo helps you build lenses. Squidoo becomes a window through which other's can see your views!

What are people saying about Squidoo?
Interestingly, for a couple of days after Squidoo's announcement (it is not yet released), articles on Squidoo did not offer any user's personal views or insights. Part of the reason is beta testing invitations weren't sent out until this Monday.
The early birds were simply re-quoting Seth by extracting sentences from the e-book - Everyone is an expert. Few examples are Squidoo, Seth Godin on Squidoo and Squidoo Beta. Quite a few interesting comments and heated exchanges here.

As you can see, there are mixed reactions.

Why Squidoo?
Every product has to have a purpose. A mission. A goal. Seth does a good job of defining what Squidoo's purpose is in Squidoo organizes lenses. We host them for free. We make them easy to build. In short, what MT/typepad or blogger is for blogs, Squidoo is for lenses.

Squidoo, in principle, is a co-op that will earn $ for you and the links that appear there. The trick here is only lens that are ranked high by the proprietary algorithm will attract traffic in the first place.
So are we not falling in the same SEO trap as with Google?

Would I Squiddo?
It is definitely not synonymous to asking "Would I google?". Atleast not yet. I haven't recd. a beta invitation. So it remains to be seen
if it can really go beyond the marketing air surrounding it. So I don't know if I would Squidoo. Only time and its acceptance and usage will tell.

To quote Seth, "If you can't describe your position in eight words or less, you don't have a position." I am eager to know "why one should Squidoo" would be described in eight words.

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