Saturday, November 22, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

105 Months Later…

Posted: 19 Aug 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The Squidoo Summer TeamSquidoo began for me the day I met Seth Godin – Father’s Day, 2005 to be exact. That day, Seth told me and three other people his idea and handed me a 19 pager about his vision for the site.

I spent the summer as the architect tasked with turning that idea into reality. It was only supposed to be a three-month summer project.

On August 1, 2005, Seth asked me to join Squidoo as the COO, and I didn’t hesitate for a second. I loved the promise of Squidoo, and I loved working with Seth. We started building right away with Viget Labs.

Seth said, “Let’s give it three months and see how it goes.”

On Friday we announced that HubPages is acquiring Squidoo. Nine years and 14 days later.

If my math is right, that’s 105 months longer than the “see how it goes” period. It is safe to say it exceeded all our expectations, by a lot.

Three things come to mind when I think of 9+ years on this project.

This is my record for a single project. It might stand for the rest of my life. I’ve never worked at a company for nine years. I’ve never worked on a project this long either.

The web changed. A lot. Think about this: when we started Squidoo, Facebook was a closed network of about 1 million college students (it has more than a billion members now). There was no Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram… I’m not even sure Youtube existed yet. So there were no like buttons, no selfies, no sharing articles. This was the dawn of "Web 2.0" – the social web, and the web was all about searching (Google).

So many memories. Since Friday, I’ve found myself thinking back to all those months. There are so many good memories, I could fill a book. There were plenty of challenges too. While many of those weren’t fun, getting past them meant a lot.

Today I’ll share some of my favorite memories, in no particular order:

On our fifth anniversary, we donated a total of $275,000 to five charities. As we said then, “The primary goal of Squidoo’s founders is to make it easy for you to give little bits of money to charity every day…. without using anything from your wallet. Every Squidoo page earns money for charity or its creator, and once millions join in, that tiny drip turns into a torrent.” Those causes included Acumen, Juvenile Diabetes Research, Room to Read, charity: water and Wikimedia. Over the years, we gave millions to good causes. We built a school in Cambodia, funded scholarships for inner-city kids and helped with research on juvenile diabetes.

We generated millions of dollars for members too. Our member forums were full of success stories. Someone mentioned Squidoo generated enough money to pay their utilities each month, then later their rent, then later, both. Someone else said they could afford a new car and the payment that went with it. Many have said that Squidoo gave them the confidence to publish online for the first time, realizing they could make money with their passions and knowledge.

Laptop Bags. If there ever was an Exhibit A for what Squidoo was meant to be, it was “Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags”, a lens by Kate Trgovac (AKA mynameiskate). Kate’s lens about laptop bags was wonderfully and beautifully curated, with lots of care going into her selection and her commentary. For quite some time (three years, I think), Kate’s lens was the #1 result in Google if you typed in “laptop bag”. That’s one valuable search term too, as evident by all the advertising around it. Kate became the laptop bag expert on the web. I heard all sorts of companies and people were reaching out to her to see if she might list one of their bags. We even heard from a boutique seller who said 38% of her sales came from Kate’s lens.

Squidoo's SXSW Web AwardWinning the SXSW Interactive 2007 Web Award for Community. Gil and I traveled to Austin for the 2007 SXSW show. Squidoo was nominated for the Community category. That year, Twitter won for the Blog category in SXSW’s annual Web Awards.

The day the 100,000th lens was created. In March, 2007, the 100,000th page was created on Squidoo, and we reached a mark of 50,000 users.

Building an albatross. People who know, know what this blog post is about. I laughed when reading it then, and I still laugh today. Brilliant.

We were profitable, early. We announced in 2007 that we had achieved profitability. We never took any VC funding either.

#37. Sometime in 2012 – I believe it was October – Squidoo achieved the rank of 37th on the web (based on U.S. traffic). I loved to say – “only 36 sites left to beat” (even though I knew moving up even one more slot would be a monumental move).

Building the team. The Squidoo team had a reputation with all our partners of being fast, smart and thoughtful. No project was slapped together, but they all went fast. I won’t say I’ll miss the team, because I don’t think this is the end for those relationships. I would be thrilled to see our paths cross again.

Seth SquidLearning that Seth Godin is the real deal. When I got on the plane to visit Seth for the first time, I was nervous. Not in the starstruck sort of way though. Anyone who has known me since 1999, when Permission Marketing came out, knows I’m a huge Seth Godin fan. While I thought it was unlikely, I did think, "what if he’s not the person we think he is?" People have asked me variations on that very question ever since. I’m happy to report this guy is better than advertised. He established a culture based on three things: empowering our members and treating them well, giving as much money as possible to good causes and providing a place for employees and contractors to have a work/life balance that values family. When we were a tiny, tiny team of four people, I sprung the news to Seth, Megan and Gil that I wanted to go to New Orleans to do volunteer work, post-Katrina. This was in early 2007. Most CEOs wouldn’t have loved the idea of 25% of the team checking out for a week – especially with a few days notice. But Seth not only said “go go go”, he cheered me on in such a big way, it gave me more energy while I was there.

So while it isn’t easy to end a project – particularly one you love so much – I know this is a good time. I’ve now had the chance to get to know some of the HubPages team, and I’m super impressed. I know the people who will have their work transferred from Squidoo to HubPages will be in excellent hands. I’m sure I’ll be in touch with Paul and the HubPages team over the coming months. I look forward to watching the Squidoo lensmasters thrive as contributors there.

Squidoo was a 7-day-a-week labor of love for me, and I find myself needing to take a quick break to recharge. I didn’t notice it as much until the announcement was made.

But I made a list with no particular timeline for what I want to do next:

  1. Take a nap
  2. Hang out with Sara and Kayla and act like one of their gang for a bit
  3. Visit my family who live in various spots across the country
  4. See what happens when I spend more than 15 to 60 minutes a day on No Treble (which has grown to 400,000 monthly visits since we started it)
  5. Look at an idea list that just kept growing and see what’s interesting
  6. Play my basses a lot more. Piano too. Maybe even start composing again.
  7. Figure out my next project

WPR Interview: All About the Bass

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 06:30 AM PDT

WPR: Great Bass Lines... ScreengrabI did an interview with Central Time on Wisconsin Public Radio on July 30th.

The segment’s title was “Great Bass Lines And The Science That Makes Us Love Them” and kicked off with Laurel Trainor, a professor of psychology, neuroscience and behaviour at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Laurel directs the Institute for Music and the Mind, and in a recent project, she measured brain response to high- and low-pitched sounds using an EEG. The segment continued with me geeking out over all sorts of bass lines with the hosts and callers.

It was my first radio interview, and it was a ton of fun. The only problem was that the show could never be long enough to cover all the great bassists and bass lines. Maybe there will be another.

Thanks to the show’s hosts, Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert for having me on and for spreading the good word about the bass!

Here’s the audio:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Spinning Vinyl, and Inspiration

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 07:56 AM PDT

VinylSince I purchased my first vinyl in the 7th grade, I’ve been hooked on the format. Over the last year, I’ve rekindled that love, purchasing vinyl from shops and eBay at a rapid clip.

I’ve always loved sharing music with others. I’ve also been trying to think about how to do that on the web, for fun. I started working harder at cataloging my vinyl collection on Discogs. While that was a good start, it isn’t actually much of a recommendation platform.

The work involved in any idea I’ve had to date makes the project prohibitive for me.

That all changed today, thanks to my good friends Aaron and Stephanie. It started with an idea from Aaron, posted on Facebook:

Corey Brown, please start an Instagram feed—take a photo of the album in context (meaning don’t just square it up for the artwork, make it live). And in the comment post a shortened attribution URL to the CD (hook it for NoTreble!). You know, in your spare time. Dude, I would eat that up.

Then Stephanie added to the idea:

Connect it to a Tumblr and call it Corey’s Picks or Corey Spins Vinyl. You’ll become even more famous. :)

And just like that, a simple concept that is super easy to implement and maintain was born.

This will be my next thing… all fun, no work. (Not sure about the “famous” part though.)

Thanks Aaron and Stephanie!

Photo from my Instagram collection.

To Do List Stress and a Return to Paper

Posted: 03 Mar 2014 09:26 AM PST

Corbinizer: Coreyweb edition

Every day since June 2009, I’ve used Cultured Code’s Things app to manage my hectic to do list. There’s been no better way for me to capture to do list items when I think about them, because I’m never far from some device, whether it’s the Mac, iPhone or iPad. Adding a to do list item and forgetting about it (and having it all sync up across every device) is just amazing.

It is also a curse.

A to do list like this one (perhaps without the necessary discipline) becomes too much of a combination of have-to-do, want-to-do, should-do and wish-I-could-do entries, and it seemed the list grew longer every day. No matter the tactics I’ve tried – applying tags, setting up projects and even trying to avoid adding too much, the result was an overwhelming list of things to review and sort. Not to mention feeling no sense of accomplishment.

A few months ago, I discovered I was retreating a little, occasionally writing down a “must do” list for the day on paper, and avoiding Things app altogether on the days I did that.

Then Aaron showed me Corbinizer about a month ago, and it was game over. (Corbinizer’s creator Brandon Corbin presents a compelling case for using a paper-based task manager on his blog.)

After three weeks of using the Corbinizer, I finally reached a daily milestone: checking off every item on my daily list. The Corbinizer makes unrealistic lists look that way: unrealistic. Seeing how much I was completing (and how much I wasn’t) was extremely helpful in figuring out how much my to do list should include.

I found the original format of the Corbinizer needed some tweaks to become the absolute perfect tool for me personally. Brandon’s version has four panels for tasks, and four panels for ideas/notes. I’m a daily to do list kind of guy, and having to start a new Corbinizer after four days really didn’t feel right. Plus, I capture notes elsewhere (a Moleskine notebook when I’m avoiding my devices, and SimpleNote when I’m using one of my devices). So I modified the Corbinizer to include seven days. The remaining panel is for notes.

My new routine is slightly modified from my old one: each night and each morning, I review my list in Things app. Now, I capture the important tasks that need to be done in that day’s Corbinizer panel. If I have time at the end of the day, I either do one of my wishlist tasks on Things, or get something else done early.

There are good reasons to use the original Corbinizer the way it was intended. If you think of your to do list in daily increments like I do, here’s the Corbinizer: Coreyweb edition.

Get things done, and enjoy.

P.S. If you download my version of the Corbinizer, here’s a handy video by Brandon demonstrating how to fold the Corbinizer:

The Corbinizer, including my mod, is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

This is How to Design and Develop a Web Project

Posted: 01 Nov 2013 08:48 AM PDT

EW patterns by Brad Frost

EW patterns, by Brad Frost

For years, the first tool I reached for in the early stages of a site’s development was Omnigraffle.

Over the last couple of years – with the introduction of powerful frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap and Zurb’s Foundation – I’ve turned to Omnigraffle less and less. It is just too easy to get an idea across with these frameworks.

Turns out, I’ve only scratched the surface.

Entertainment Weekly recently launched a new responsive site. A few of the team members behind this project have generously shared their approach and process for this project. This is the roadmap for future projects, as far as I’m concerned.

Brad Frost produced the HTML and CSS for the project. He shared how the team went from “HTML Wireframes” to increased fidelity to “real” development.

Dan Mall, who oversaw the design direction, shared the process that happened before the wireframes, using “the design studio methodology, the KJ technique, and … some one-on-one interviews, among other things.”

Jonathan Stark (the self described “token codemonkey on the team”) gets into some CSS and Javascipt specifics, as well as their Git workflow.

For me, the most significant piece of this entire process is Pattern Lab, a tool Brad Frost made to create atomic design. Just brilliant.

If you’re looking for more on the subject of wireframes, here’s some great additional reading:

Time to get to work.

Speaking at the Frederick Startup Community Meetup

Posted: 14 Oct 2013 09:41 AM PDT

Startup TalkI started noticing the Frederick (Maryland) Web Tech community on Meetup a year or two ago thanks to their great discussion topics. Since it is only about an hour away, I’ve been able to attend a handful of events there over the last year or so. Though the topics were the initial draw, I was thrilled to meet the people who make up this great community even more.

One of the organizers is Paul Wilson. He recently asked me to speak at the Frederick Startup Community Meetup on October 24th.

Paul suggested I could share from some of the startup efforts I’ve been involved in: Squidoo, No Treble, Bright Cowork and Refresh Winchester.

I’ve been jotting down notes ever since, thinking about specific stories I think are worth sharing. Those four startups are all quite different, but they all have their share of wins, losses and interesting stories and lessons.

Meetup details:

When: Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: Cowork Frederick, 122 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD (map)

RSVP: Frederick Startup Community Meetup page

Hope to see you there.

Square Peg Round Hole

Posted: 28 Sep 2013 05:35 AM PDT

This is a video I can’t share on No Treble (no bass!), but I must share it.

The band is Square Peg Round Hole (love that name). The tune is “Big Thicket”.

The song comes from their album Corners, which was funded through Kickstarter and released about a week ago.

Off to buy it right now.

Geeking Out Over Social Meta Data

Posted: 21 Sep 2013 07:09 AM PDT

I shared a Wired article on Facebook last night and noticed that they had a bigger image than normal on the resulting Facebook post:

Wired article shared on Facebook (with a big image!)

Instead of something like this:

A typical image size when sharing links on Facebook

So I checked out the source on the Wired post and found some social meta data goodness… Bigger og:images and Twitter meta data too!

First, bigger og:images

When you set a larger image, it makes a huge difference when a link is shared on Facebook. Here’s an example of this No Treble article.

No Treble link shared on Facebook - no with a big image

After I shared this discovery with Aaron, he sent me the doc for og:image sizes. A minimum of 600×315 is required for the larger image, and it needs to be set to a 1.91:1 ratio for optimal results.

Wired passes two og:image references: a square, cropped thumbnail (first), and a large version (second). I’ve done the same on No Treble. There are cases where I won’t have a big image on older articles, so I wanted to make sure I was passing the thumbnail all the time.

Twitter Cards

From Twitter’s Developer site:

Twitter cards make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “card” added to the Tweet that's visible to all of their followers.

Here are the docs:

Once you validate, you’ll see a button to submit your site for approval:

Request site approval from Twitter

Approval for No Treble only took a few minutes, even though the message indicated it could take a few weeks when I first submitted.

Here’s what the card looks like for the same No Treble article:

Twitter Card validator result

This matches what you’ll see on when you click the “Show Summary” link under the tweet:
Twitter "Show Summary" presentation

Finally, here’s the embedded card markup result:

More info

Wired uses the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to generate their meta data.

Yoast also has a post about Twitter cards.

I’m not using the Yoast plugin, because I set things manually in my templates due to specialized meta data rules I’ve developed for No Treble. Filling in the blanks is easy in the WordPress template if you don’t want to use a plugin.

Here’s what I have set for Open Graph:

And for Twitter:

Here’s Wired’s meta data for the article I shared. Now I just need to figure out what the “go:…” meta data is all about:


Posted: 04 Jul 2013 09:12 AM PDT

IndependenceAbout nine years ago, I moved from the intense (insane) DC metro area – where I was born and spent most of my life – to the laid back Shenandoah Valley. The town I moved to first – Stephens City – has a population smaller than the high school I went to, by a lot.

When I announced my decision to move back in 2004, friends and colleagues treated me as if I was Christopher Columbus about to sail over the edge. All I knew was that I was moving my family to a more peaceful place, I’d spend far less time in the car (and use that time for personal projects I couldn’t think of starting before), and I had high speed internet.

I met Seth Godin less than a year after the move. Four months after that, we launched the beta version of Squidoo. Squidoo was very much a “New York company” at that time, with me being the lone guy living “off the grid”, as Seth liked to tease back then. Today, it is much more of a Winchester, VA company, if you consider the high percentage of the team working at Bright Cowork.

The world I watched as a kid was very similar to the world my father and my grandfather watched. There were big differences, to be sure, but the world of work seemed to be about the same.

My father worked at the same company for over 30 years. He was quite successful at it, and while I know there were many times he would have loved to move on, he stuck it out. My grandfather did the same.

So I used to wonder what was wrong with my in my late twenties and early thirties when my record working anywhere was about three years. I’m guessing my father wondered about that too. Neither path was wrong – just representations of different times.

I started noticing the world changing in 1993 when I started getting heavily involved in online bulletin boards. I realized then that the world was shrinking, information was becoming easier to find, and marketing and networking opportunities we never imagined before were emerging.

By the time I got on the web in early 1995 – at the age of 26 – I knew what I wanted to do from that point forward: web work. I remember I stayed in my chair for eight hours straight clicking, reading, searching that first session. There have been many like that since.

For too many years now it seems, there’s been a lot of talk about the economy and unemployment. I see a lot of blame and I see a lot of promises that seem impossible to keep (i.e. “we’ll bring manufacturing back to Virginia!”). I’m sad that there isn’t more talk about the reality of our present and future, which is this: the web has leveled the playing field. The web has created opportunity. We have unprecedented access to information, and an audience.

If you want to learn something, I’m sure you’ll find a wealth of information on the subject if you spend a few minutes searching. Not only that, you can also find people to discuss it. For free.

When I was a kid, you’d have to be awfully rich (for starters) to reach a big audience. Now you just need to pick a platform (or several). Many of them are also free, and many require little to no technical knowledge.

Squidoo today is in the top 150 sites for traffic, and I’ve spent my entire eight years at Squidoo working in this little section of the Shenandoah Valley. My personal project – No Treble – is the most read publication for bass players on the planet by every measure I can find. I started that here too, in 2009. There’s no way this could have happened 20 years ago. Heck, it might not have been possible 10 years ago, given the budgets I had to work with to start both companies.

I’m sitting here this morning typing this post in my home office. This house is nearly 150 years old, and yet I’m zipping through web pages, downloads and uploads. Just another reminder of what’s possible, if you spend a little time upgrading.

This isn’t just opportunity here… is unprecedented opportunity. But it requires questioning the old rules, the old way of doing things. There are many careers that are simply not coming back. But there are many more being invented every day.

I love to tell my daughters this: the sky really is the limit now. Find what you love, the knowledge, the people to collaborate with, the platform, and do your thing.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

photo by Jeff Krause

Eight Years of Squidoo

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 08:58 AM PDT

8 years of SquidooEight years ago (give or take a few days), I met Seth Godin for the first time and heard about his idea for Squidoo for the first time (we called it Plexodex to confuse people). I don’t remember the exact date back in June 2005, but it was on Father’s Day.

And so it just hit me: I’ve been working on Squidoo for eight years.

Not only is that a record for me… it smashes any former record of working on one thing for so long.

I started wondering why, and something else hit me: I really haven’t been working on Squidoo that long. I’ve been working on the next Squidoo for that long. And I don’t mean some giant leap. We’ve kept the spirit of Seth’s original idea for all these years. What we’ve been doing is introducing a ton of incremental change.

Or as Seth says: “Drip drip drip”.

The great thing about working on something long enough – when you’re tweaking it bit by bit – is that at some point, you get to look back and see how that work mattered. Small changes don’t look like much. Stack a lot of them, and you’ll eventually see it worked.

Of course, it is a lot more than that. I signed on to work with Seth over that summer of 2005 simply to work with him. I had no idea what the project would be, and I didn’t care. Eight years later, it is still a thrill.

I got the chance to learn a lot. First, from Seth, Megan and Gil.

Then we hired my brother Josh to fix the frontend work I did in the early years, and my sister-in-law Tisha to become the bug tracker boss.

Bonnie joined us and made our community focus so much better.

Then Aaron not only joined us – he also joined me at Bright Cowork and that started a pattern of team growth within those walls, with Joey, Liz, Stephanie and Paula joining us there.

Eight years is a long time, especially on the web. But thanks to a culture of shipping and the team members I get to work with, every week offers up new ideas, new challenges and new opportunities.

"When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there."- Steve Jobs

Oh, and happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

An Update on the Payment Schedule

Posted: 04 Oct 2014 06:10 AM PDT

Good news, payday is coming! For some of you, that means twice.

We had planned on running one final payment for both August and September earnings, but the system requires us to run those as separate payments. Those will be coming this week (week of October 6-10).

If you had earnings in August, you’ll receive that payment early in the week.

If you also had earnings in September, you’ll receive the second payment around mid-week.

The Squidoo Dashboard will remain available until the end of next week to allow everyone a few days to review their earnings before the site is taken offline.

Thank you once again for using Squidoo, and we wish you the best in your future online endeavors!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

An Update on September Earnings

Posted: 11 Sep 2014 11:55 AM PDT

First, a quick update on the transition: the conversion of lenses to HubPages continues to go well. Some recent changes increased the speed in this transition, and we’re looking looking forward to wrapping up on time.

Second, an important update on earnings: Until your lenses are deleted or transferred, we are recording your revenue data as usual. There was some concern because the Dashboard was not reporting earnings for a handful of days due to a glitch, but that is no longer the case.

So if your lenses remained on Squidoo for any part of September, your earnings for those days will be combined with earnings from August in our next payment. We expect that payment (the final one) to be processed in late September or early October.

In other words, any revenue generated by lenses will be paid for as long as they remain live on Squidoo.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

Reminder: HubPages Opt Out Deadline is Tomorrow

Posted: 28 Aug 2014 02:42 PM PDT

Squidoo & HubpagesIf you’ve already hit the green button on your dashboard to accelerate the transfer to HubPages, you’re in good shape. If you’ve already deleted your Squidoo account, you’re also set (and remember, you’ll still get paid for all the time your account has been live). This is a note for those that are still trying to decide.

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to opt out of the HubPages transfer. The deadline for this is 2pm EDT. (Here’s a handy timezone converter to help you find what time that is in your location). If you opt out, your pages won’t show up any longer and nothing of yours will be moved to HubPages when the transfer is complete.

In order to opt out, your account must be deleted by 2pm EDT tomorrow, August 29th. After that time, you will no longer be able to delete your account or any lenses attached to it, because we have to freeze everything to do the transfer. All lenses on Squidoo will automatically be deleted after the transfer is completed.

We want to make it clear that even after tomorrow’s deadline, you will have complete access to your Dashboard, stats and the Workshop (without Publishing), and you’ll be able to continue to backup your account.

If you miss the deadline and decide HubPages isn’t right for you, you can always delete your account on HubPages after the transfer is complete. Hit the green button, accelerate the transfer, check it out when it’s done, and if you don’t like it, by all means, hit delete…

Both teams at HubPages and Squidoo have been hard at work with the transition tools. Things are working well in our tests, spanning hundreds of accounts and thousands of lenses in a test environment. Everything is on track for the timeline to begin converting accounts on Tuesday, September 2nd.

If you do want your account transferred, we do encourage you to click the green button on your Dashboard to opt in. In doing so, you’ll be picking your username at HubPages, and be able to set up your account and create Hubs the way you’d like.

If we don’t hear from you… if you don’t opt in or out… and you have at least one featured lens – your account will be transferred instead of being automatically deleted. If your Squidoo username isn’t available on HubPages, they’ll assign you an alternative. Usernames on HubPages cannot be changed, so it is best to keep this in your control.

So, to summarize:
a. you’ll get paid for all the revenue your pages generate on Squidoo, by Squidoo.
b. if you hit the delete button, nothing will be moved.
c. if you hit the green button, you’ll get moved in the order of the people who have opted in.
d. if you do nothing, we’ll move your eligible pages to preserve them, but you can delete them at any time on HubPages.

If you experience any issues, please file a bug report so we can address it as quickly as possible. Thanks!

Additional reading:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

Important Update on the HubPages Transition

Posted: 22 Aug 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Here’s an update for you.

Our original plan was to disable lens editing and creation today, but we’ve decided to extend this until tomorrow to give you a little more time.

Tomorrow (August 23rd) at 8am EDT, pages will all be unable to be edited or created on Squidoo. Also, new account creation will be disabled.

If you’ve opted in, your lenses and account will be transferred to HubPages according to the schedule, and you’ll be notified when everything is successfully transferred so you can review your pages and resume editing and creating.

Reminder: if you do not wish to make the transition to HubPages, you’ll need to delete your Squidoo account before August 29, 2014. Be sure to back up your content first. If you haven't deleted your account by August 29, 2014, your account and pages will be moved automatically to HubPages beginning on September 2nd. Some accounts may move sooner, but those will only be from the group who has opted in. You will receive notification from HubPages to your Squidoo account email address once your account has been successfully transferred. Remember, you can always delete your new HubPages account at any time if you don’t like the way the transition is working for you.

Updates to the FAQ:

HubPages has stated they will give all Featured lenses a minimum of a four-month grace period before HubPages' rules and TOS will be applied. This will make for a great Halloween and holiday season for all lenses created for those occasions.

We’ve updated the FAQ to make the payment schedule more clear and we’ve lowered the payment threshold for those who prefer the earnings vs. donating to charity. See the FAQ for specifics.

Here’s a recap of the schedule:

  1. Tomorrow, August 23: new lens creation and editing and new account creation will be disabled at 8am EDT.
  2. Friday, August 29: last day to opt out of the HubPages transfer group. Backup your lenses and delete your account by this day if you want to opt out of the transfer.
  3. September 2, 2014: HubPages will begin the import of opt-in members. We expect this to move quickly, and you will be notified by HubPages once your account is transferred.

Additional reading:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

From Squidoo to HubPages: A Mover’s Guide

Posted: 18 Aug 2014 05:38 AM PDT

7332015_f260Veteran HubPages and Squidoo writer Relache has put together a nice guide to help with the transition called From Squidoo to HubPages: A Mover’s Guide.

So do give it a read, I think you’ll get some really good information from it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

Downloading Squidoo Content

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 05:52 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.11.33 PMWe’ve had multiple questions about downloading Squidoo content during the transition period.

To download lenses go to your Dashboard: and click the link that says “download all your lens content for this account” so you have a backup, because all content on Squidoo goes away in October. You can read more about this in the FAQ’s.

Once downloaded you should open the XML file with a text editor. All computers should have a text editor program installed.

We’ve have resolved a lot of the bugs associated with downloading content so you should be able to get your files now. If you are still having problems please do file a detailed bug report.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo and HubPages

Posted: 15 Aug 2014 12:01 PM PDT

Squidoo & HubpagesAugust 15, 2014

Here's some good news, big news, news that will open some new possibilities for you…

HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo, creating the largest site of its kind in the world.

For nearly a decade, both Squidoo and HubPages have provided a home for content creators online. We've made it easy for people to use our platforms to share content that they care about, to tell stories, write articles and link to places that matter to them. Over the years, more than four billion visits have been made to the two sites, which host content from more than five million people.

Today, we're announcing that as a result of this acquisition, Squidoo is moving the best of its content to HubPages. They're the industry leader, continually pushing the envelope in terms of their content, its presentation and the traffic and traction they get online. The best way we know to serve our users is to give them an even better place for their content, and when I talked with Paul Edmondson at HubPages, it became clear to both of us that combining these platforms leads to a stronger, more efficient, more generous way to share great stuff online.

Starting in a few weeks, all traffic to Squidoo will automatically be redirected to the relevant pages on HubPages instead. We've been busy building transfer tools that will make it easy (and mostly automatic) for content to move from the Squidoo site to HubPages. Together with some members of the Squidoo team, I'll be working with HubPages to ensure that we make the best possible transition and impact going forward. Squidoo pages will cease to be visible in September or early October.

You don't have to wait a few weeks to get started, though! Click on the 'get started' button on your dashboard and you'll be able to set up your HubPages settings as well as start building new pages there while you wait for the transfer to be complete (and your transfers will get done first).

It's important to note that we'll only be moving our highest rated and most useful content to HubPages. Some pages won't be making the move, and will no longer be hosted online, so it's prudent to go to your dashboard and download an archive of what you've built so you can keep it forever.

Click here for a faq to see answers to commonly asked questions about this move

You can start using the HubPages platform right away just by clicking the Set Up Your Transfer button on your dashboard. As your lenses are automatically moved, you'll see the steps on how to set up an account that will help you earn money from your pages. Payment will continue uninterrupted (between us, the two companies have enabled our users to earn tens of millions of dollars for themselves and their causes!)

If you don't do anything, you'll get a notice by email and on your dashboard when the transfer is completed and your pages are live. At that point, you have to click on the link and activate your HubPages account in order to make changes and earn money.

If you'd rather not have your account and content moved to HubPages, don't worry. There are instructions on your dashboard about how to download your data so you can take it with you, as well as a big button that lets you delete your Squidoo account. As long as you do this by August 29, 2014 none of your data will be moved.

We're doing this now so we can have as much in place by October 1 as possible… just in time for Halloween.

It's never easy to end a project (sometimes it's even harder than starting one), but the Squidoo team has always been focused on what's best for you, our users, and it's clear to us that Paul and his team have built a platform that will help you reach your goals even faster than we can do it alone. Moving these assets to HubPages opens the door for even more magic.

You'll certainly see many familiar Squidoo faces when you browse around HubPages, but some of the Squidoo staff will be moving on to new projects. I hope you'll join me in thanking the extraordinary team that's pioneered so many of the tools we use every day, and even better, that you'll celebrate with ever better content that will be seen by ever more people.

Have fun. Make a ruckus. Do good work.

Thanks for the magic you make, and for being kind and generous.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

5 Tips to Take Your Writing From Good to Great!

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 04:30 PM PDT

1351588143_f55be0a30aIf you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’ve written and published your content on the web or you’re thinking about it. Maybe it was on Squidoo or maybe you’re a new lensmaster working on your very first creation.

When we’re writing content for the web, we should always strive to be more than just good – we want to be great!

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran, I think these tips will help you to take your writing from “good” to “great”. Let’s get started!



1. Check your modules for contributions

Modules like Google News and Twitter can be great additions to a lens and help add valuable news, links and information. They’re not right for every lens so if you aren’t seeing the kinds of content you want, consider replacing them with something more relevant. It’s a good idea to periodically take a look at the content that these “auto-populating” modules are creating. Look for things like RSS feeds, twitter modules and check them for the quality of the content they’re adding. If you aren’t seeing value, consider replacing them with static content that’s more interesting and informational.

2. Re-verify your claims

Have things changed since you first wrote your content? Of course they have! It’s always smart to keep up on current events, scientific developments and even the latest books that have come out since your lens first went live. A deep understanding of your topic can help make your writing easier and it’s a great idea to stay abreast of changes. Gaining your readers trust is impossible if you’re making untrue statements.

3. Share the latest and greatest

What’s new? A good lens shares accurate information. A great lens has the cutting edge products, latest developments and information reflecting the changing attitudes and understanding of the author. If your lens has been recently updated with what’s new, you’ll position yourself at the head of the pack when readers are looking for the latest information.

4. Don’t repeat yourself

Check out Google’s example of keyword stuffing – they define it as “repeating the same phrase so much that is sounds unnatural”.  It’s easy to  inadvertently drop in your keywords too often and end up with writing that sounds repetitive or stuffed. Replace oft-repeated keywords with a variety of synonyms or look for places you can remove the noun altogether.

5. Don’t be breathless

Breathless isn’t realistic. Most readers will see right through it and it won’t do your credibility any favors. Write realistically and avoid hyperbole to get your point across without turning off your reader. You don’t need to sound like a billboard or a television commercial to be persuasive and informative.

Be frank, honest and straightforward with your writing for the best results.

So there you have it – 5 easy ways to boost your writing and go from good to great, no matter where you are in your lensmaking journey. Now it’s your turn: how to you improve and refine your writing? What do you think of these five tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: dev null via Compfight cc

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

What’s On Your Summer Bucket List?

Posted: 14 Aug 2014 05:56 AM PDT

Have you completed your summer bucket list yet? Looking for one or two or a few more things to add to it?

Our current SUMMER FUN community lensmaking quest asks lensmasters to share something they did, learned or created this summer.

Here’s a few of our early entries. Please feel free to share a link to a lens of your own about something you did this summer in the comments section below.

I Learned How to Make Jewelry this Summer

1. I Learned How to Make Jewelry this Summer

This summer I spent about three weeks visiting my mom and her husband, and one of the many DIY projects Mom and I took on was making our own jewelry. Well, maybe I should say, Mom already knew how to make jewelry, or ‘bead’, as she would say, and…

Lighthouses on the Jersey Shore

2. Lighthouses on the Jersey Shore

I love photographing lighthouses and now that we are retired, my husband and I love to travel. What a great combination! In the past 8 years we have traveled to over 100 lighthouses and I have photographed each one. During the summer of 2014 we traveled to…

How To Play Rithmomachia

3. How To Play Rithmomachia

Rithmomachia, or the Philosophers Game is a complex mathematical game not for the faint of heart. It has often been reputed that the game was invented by the great mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, however there is no real evidence of this, althoug…

My Choice For Backyard Firepits and Why

4. My Choice For Backyard Firepits and Why

I have been on a search for a new backyard firepit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the one we have, just keeping my options open. For me, a casual fire pit for those cool winter nights here in south east Texas. In my researching, I ran across some…

Summer Stay-cation

5. Summer Stay-cation

Summer is that time of year when the wheel of life slows. There is a line like that in the beginning of the movie Tuck Everlasting, but it is so true. Things seem more leisurely. Sipping iced tea with the condensation dripping slowly down the side of the g…

One Red Paperclip

6. One Red Paperclip

A tale of optimism and possibilitiesIf you seek inspiration, read ‘One Red Paperclip’. This is such a great story! Kyle MacDonald made 14 barters in 2005/2006. He started with a red paperclip and ended owning a real house. His writing style is wi…

Summer is for...

7. Summer is for…

Summer is a time to explore, enjoy the warm weather, and try new things. You may enjoy swimming, you may take a vacation, or you may watch a lot of new movies! Whatever you do on during summer, at least make it memorable. I’ve had a lot of great summe…

How to Make a Hello Kitty Battery Operated Glow Light - Upcycle Jar Craft Demo

8. How to Make a Hello Kitty Battery Operated Glow Light – Upcycle Jar Craft Demo

This actually lights up with no candle, no flame, and no electricity. How’s that work? Follow along to see how to assemble this Hello Kitty glowing night light. It was really easy. For the last week of summer, I’ve been totally sucked off into do…

Our New Halloween Lenses Are Coming In!

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 12:02 PM PDT

Big Bows for Steampunk Halloween Decorations

1. Big Bows for Steampunk Halloween Decorations

Nothing says Halloween more than Steampunk. Where technology meets Dracula with his Victorian style, dark colors, ruffles, lace, and big buttons. Follow this step- by- step tutorial to make Big Bows for Steampunk Halloween Decorations. Accessorize hats, su…

DIY Minion Costumes

2. DIY Minion Costumes

Who’s doesn’t love the minions! Whether you are designing a fabulous handmade costume for Halloween or just making some spiffy new dress up clothes for the playroom minions are the way to go! You’ll find lots of cute ideas & all the stuf…

Super Scary Alice in Wonderland Costume

3. Super Scary Alice in Wonderland Costume

You’ve probably seen a lot of Alice in Wonderland costumes for Halloween, I’m sure we all have, but I bet you’ve never seen a scary one like this. I was really intrigued when I found this while getting ideas on what to wear. The dress outfit…

Easy Minecraft Steve Halloween Costume

4. Easy Minecraft Steve Halloween Costume

For the past few years, I have learned a great deal about Minecraft. My knowledge hasn’t come from actually playing the game, but from my 10- year- old daughter that is obsessed with the pixelated world. In the past few months, we have made pixelated…

How to Make Themed Stained Glass Containers for Pennies - Spooky Spider - Mason Jar Cheap Chic Demo

5. How to Make Themed Stained Glass Containers for Pennies – Spooky Spider – Mason Jar Cheap Chic Demo

I love old glass. My neighbor found out and gave me a really old mason jar he had laying around in storage. He’s a sweet heart. I made him a batch of homemade, oatmeal raisin cookies, so it worked out well for both of us. I wanted to make it into a st…

Create This Glowing Zombie

6. Create This Glowing Zombie

This Zombie is my original artistic technique or at least I have never seen anyone crazy enough to think of it. DO NOT APPLY THIS TO SKIN! It is not meant as a makeup technique. You can receive severe burns if you do. Halloween is the best time of year and…

Princess Anna Coronation Gown for Dress Up or Halloween

7. Princess Anna Coronation Gown for Dress Up or Halloween

Disney hit it big time when they created Frozen, a tale of two sisters who face steep challenges and eventually overcome any obstacle in their path with sisterly love. Like most sisters that I know, Anna and Elsa are unique and have their own style. Elsa w…

Die-t Halloween Candy Bowl

8. Die-t Halloween Candy Bowl

I call this a die- t candy dish because nobody will want to put their hands in it and take the candy. The bowl is in no way meant for people on sugar restricted diets. I am using a basic lolly pop recipe. You can decide what flavor you would like to make i…

Zombie Flick Pick - Night of the Living Dead 1990 - Barbara Breaks Bad in the Boons - Lessons Learned from a Lethal Librarian

9. Zombie Flick Pick – Night of the Living Dead 1990 – Barbara Breaks Bad in the Boons – Lessons Learned from a Lethal Librarian

I love horror. Vampires, zombies, creature features, all are fodder for a fun flick fest for me. That being said, I don’t like being really scared that often. Usually, with the above mentioned type monsters, they are dispatched by the end and I can go…

Interview With a Bat

10. Interview With a Bat

Why bats at Halloween? Because we are social creatures who enjoy visiting for snacks. Show me a moth and I’ll show you a happy bat. My name is Emerson and I am doing this guest blog for Lee. I am the lead marionette puppet in the Stunt Cookies Product…

The Best Halloween Movies for Kids

11. The Best Halloween Movies for Kids

Halloween is an awesome time of year. The decorations, the cool air, the fall colors, and of course, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING. This spooky holiday also brings forth tons of scary movies. As a mother of 2 boys, one of whom LOVES Halloween with a strong p…

Sweet Sunflower Costumes for Kids

12. Sweet Sunflower Costumes for Kids

In just 5 easy steps, you’ll see how to put together a wonderful sunny sunflower themed outfit for children of all ages. Perfect for parties, dressing up, summer fun and Halloween, this page is filled with every thing that is needed to achieve this sw…

Make a No Sew Cowgirl Halloween Costume

13. Make a No Sew Cowgirl Halloween Costume

I like costumes that use real clothing so you can wear them again. So I have always made my own and my kids’ Halloween costumes. Oh no, you say. are you kidding? I don’t sew! Don’t worry. You can buy all the parts but they will be reusable s…

How to Make a Scary Skull Stained Glass Candle Holder - Jar Craft Scrap Busting Demo

14. How to Make a Scary Skull Stained Glass Candle Holder – Jar Craft Scrap Busting Demo

I did a mason jar candle holder a little while back. It was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t really happy with it and wanted to try again. I had an old pickle jar laying around that fell victim to my crafting Halloween lust. With some paint, Mod Podge, doil…

Disney Cinderella Costume

15. Disney Cinderella Costume

Cinderella is the beautiful princess who suffered a lot since her mother’s death. She was ill treated by her step mother but one night, she was lucky enough to be transformed into a real princess in her amazing costume. Since then, her destiny changed…

Princess Merida Halloween or Dress Up Costume

16. Princess Merida Halloween or Dress Up Costume

If you haven’t noticed lately, Disney Princesses are getting a bit spunkier. Right now, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna are all little girls are talking about. However, two summers ago, there was a red, curlycued princess that broke the mold when it come…

Temple Run Guy Dangerous Halloween Costume

17. Temple Run Guy Dangerous Halloween Costume

I don’t get the chance to play many games but Temple Run 2 is my favorite way to relax and wind down of an evening with the main hero character Guy Dangerous going off on his Indiana Jones style escapades and picking up gold and treasure along the way…

How to Make an Apothecary Bottle of Fairy Dust - Sugary Sweet DIY Demo

18. How to Make an Apothecary Bottle of Fairy Dust – Sugary Sweet DIY Demo

I’m on an apothecary bottle craft jig of late. This time around, let’s make a bottle of fairy dust. I like fairies all year round but they fit in really well with the Halloween season. This year, I’m wanting to gift handmade, decorated, apot…