Is Squidoo becoming a massive, dirty SEO back alley?

Like many folks I had a hard time trying to figure Squidoo out ever since Seth was running around with mockups of it at Web 2.0 two (three?) years ago. It’s a decent concept: anyone can create a “lens” of their favorite topic. So, if you love bulldogs you can create pages about bulldog that are somewhere between a blog and a wiki page.

However, the SEO slimebuckets (not the whitehats–take it easy 10%ers 🙂 got their dirty little hands into the system and now the whole place is filled with spam/SEO sites. So many that folks are marketing Squidoo as a way to make quick money.

I first found out about this use when one of the SEO slimebuckets tried to take over my SeRP and made fake Squidoo and MySpace pages (very smart–but lame).

Do a couple of searches on Squidoo and you’ll see what I’m talking about:
http://www.squidoo.com/search/results/porn
http://www.squidoo.com/search/results/mortgage

Also, the top 100 lenses seem to be lenses that have the #1-5 result on Google. Squidoo has the #1 result for laptop bags now: http://www.google.com/search?q=laptop+bag

Now, none of this is Squidoo’s fault… it’s just what happens when you run a platform company. Frankly, digg and Netscape have to deal with these sames issues. I told the Netscape folks to kill any story from the system after 30 days if it had less than X number of votes. This would take out the SEO incentive of posting and keep the system clean. Of course, you lose some pages and page views… so, that’s the balance I guess: keeping your system clean vs. having it packed with bad information that brings you traffic.

Squidoo is dancing very close to being viewed as an SEO trap I fear. If I was Seth I’d put the brakes on these people because they are tarnishing the name.

Also, if Google thinks the system is an SEO play they will ding Squidoo’s page rank/value, and that would be a real shame. It really sucks that these SEO, MLM, and PayPerPost maniacs keep pissing in the well. The Internet is such a great place and you have all these evil people trying to frack it up… it really pisses me off.

End rant.

MORE: Seems like folks are adding Squidoo links to their fake blogs, with fake tags, to complete the circle from blog to Technorati to Squidoo. Great.

Here is the Squidoo chart on Technorati:

.. and update #3: Of course Squidoo has it’s own affiliate program to get people into the circle:

Example: http://dailyfreebiesforum.com/blog/free-squidoo/258

  • http://www.ultimatepython.com/ Owain

    This kind of thing always happens. Give a little bit of link love and then people start abusing it.

  • http://www.vanmitchell.com Van Mitchell

    I’ve noticed this as well, shame when a service fills up with useless garbage.

    Although SOME of the spam pages actually have relevant
    information, Im sure it wasn’t intentional though.

  • http://www.companiesmadesimple.com Katie

    Yes unfourtunately this is becoming more and more prevalent.

    It is a shame that such a innovative platform is becoming more and more abused.

    Great blog btw!

    Katie

  • http://www.englishbox.co.uk Tomas

    I would imagine that they have no interest in
    changig things as they earn money with the google adds.
    They have an interest that pages are optimised.
    The whole system is designed for google.

  • http://www.onlinesteppingstones.com Matt

    Totally agree with you on this one and I think your idea below is extremely good.

    “QUOTE – told the Netscape folks to kill any story from the system after 30 days if it had less than X number of votes”

    Thanks for sharing with us

  • Andrew

    Interesting thoughts, and I respect your viewpoint. However
    at what point do you draw the line of what is or isn’t SPAM.
    If I help a company build a lens, where the can feature video content , articles, blog feeds, and other relevant information related to a specific keyword, is it really that awful that I advise them to embed a couple of backlinks with ‘said keyword’ on their lens. Squiddoo allows a very dynmaic platform where a company can project an image, with less constraints than the offical website. If a Lens hosts additional unique content that can’t be found anywhere else on the web, would the creation of a lens (although primarily for SEO purposes) still be considered SPAM?

  • Andrew

    Sorry for the typos in the above posting… formatting of comments box is off in my Firefox browser and I can’t see half of what I’m typing :p