Squidoo joins Newsvine in the MLM social news model…

Got the note below from Squidoo today. I hate this MLM (multi-level marketing)/referrer program stuff. I know it works, but it feels icky to me. We thought about all these models when we started WIN and found that you’re better off finding the best of the best and paying them well to make a “lens” of the web.

Quality folks don’t do the MLM stuff. MLM stuff draws the low-rent, scammers of the world (think: the folks you know who join those viatim cults).

I love Seth (I would invest in NASDAQ: SGOD), and I think Squidoo has About.com potential, but I think it’s not gonna work as it is structured today because there will be too many “experts” in each vertical, and the truth is that most folks are not really experts. Less is more. No one on Squidoo will do a better job covering gadgets than Engadget, stocks than TheStreet.com, or Hollywood gossip than Defamer. Real experts command real money, contingent money draws the weak experts.

[ Note: I know Seth’s response will be that the best lens creators will be voted up, but the truth is that the best lens creators will never *show* up because they will be getting paid by folks like About.com, Weblogs, Inc. and MSM publications. ]

Here is the note from Squidoo today:

Great news!

Every penny earned so far in the Squidoo public beta test has been donated to charity. That’s thousands of dollars for three
great organizations: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Room to Read, and The Acumen Fund. Congratulations.

But now… it’s time to start paying YOU. From this point forward any royalties your lenses earn are well and truly yours. (And we’re
backdating the start of the first pay period to March 1, 2006). Find out more about how you get paid.

So now what? Three things you should know:

1. We just introduced a powerful new eBay module. Highlight relevant products. Promote your own auctions. Share items you’re bidding on. Get a commission on every item sold.

2. Refer a friend, get $5. When someone you’ve referred earns her first $15, you and she BOTH get an extra $5. Find out more here: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/refer

3. Our new partnership with CafePress brings lensmasters and shopkeepers together. Get unique new lens content from the popular CafePress module.

Thanks, and let us know what you think!

The SquidTeam
Seth, Corey, Megan, Heath and Gil

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