Seth Godin says Squidoo is not MLM

Seth replies to my “Newsvine/Squidoo doing the MLM thing” post.

Seth says “Neal is correct. This isn’t MLM, not by any definition (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) You are entitled to your opinion, whether I like it or not, but your facts are wrong.”

Squidoo’s email offers:

“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

Wikipedia defines MLM
as:

“In a typical multi-level marketing or network marketing arrangement, individuals associate with a parent company as an independent contractor and are compensated based on their sales of products or service (as well as the sales achieved by those they bring into the business).

I rest my case.

Seth does say he doesn’t have a problem with MLM, so I’m not trying to pull a “gotch,” nor can I. I’m just saying I don’t like the talent that MLM programs draw.

Being the brilliant marketing maven Seth is I’m sure he loves MLM stuff (of course Seth is the same guy who defended the Buzz companies who’s contractors were involved in deception back when).

As a publisher I *hate* MLM programs (schemes) because they draw the wacky people of the world. I’m all about the long tail, we based our business on it, however you get way down that tail and things can get really scary. There are a lot of freaks at the end of the long tail. The best producers don’t need to play MLM games because they can command straight up fees. Why would they produce stuff for contingent/MLM compensation? I don’t see it. In fact, Seth had a post yesterday about folks not being motivated by money.

Seth gives a couple of Squidoo sites saying “There is nothing on gizmodo or about like this, is there?”

http://www.squidoo.com/teajunkie/
http://www.squidoo.com/reymysterio/
http://www.squidoo.com/moleskines/

Nope, you won’t find niche blogs/publications about one brand of notepad or individual wrestlers. However I’m sure there are some solid tea publications out there (anyone know the leading tea pubs?).

The problem with hyper-niche pubs is that they don’t change enough and the readers don’t need them often enough. Now, I’m sure Squidoo can make a nice business out of getting tens of thousands of people to make hundreds of thousands of these–provided that they are indexed well into the Google. However, it is doubtful that these tiny pubs will ever make any serious money for the folks who build them. Of course, the folks building these are doing it out of passion in large part (I guess).

I’m fascinated by Squidoo, it’s a great mashup of a bunch of models (Wikipedia, About.com, Webogs, Inc)… I’m just don’t think MLM stuff will work.

Update: Hugh’s take on all this:

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