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RANT: Squidoo Banned Topics: Is Squidoo Going Too Far?

Posted on Mar 25 2010

Be Aware: Before you start a lens on whatever topic you think of, be aware of the Squidoo rules.

Squidoo Banned Topics:

* MLM
* “Get your ex back”
* Rude XXX
* Ringtones
* Dieting and weight loss
* Gambling
* Pharmaceuticals and drugs
* “Medical cures”
* Downloading movies, music, and TV shows
* Dealing with credit card debt
* Song lyrics
* Illegal stuff
* Videogame hacks and illegal downloads
* And a few others!

This list doesn’t include everything, because Squidoo doesn’t give out a list of everything. You can see by looking at the list though that it should be easy to avoid topics that Squidoo considers spammy, because it’s pretty clear where they draw the line.

Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating when you see something like credit card debt on the Banned list, and then see adverts that Squidoo is running in the sidebar of lenses promoting debt solutions.

INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING!

But… Squidoo can do whatever they like. It’s their site not ours… We are guests after all.

SURE, Squidoo wants quality lenses that offer quality information and advice, that are unique, made by individuals who are proud to show them off as their own.

Squidoo does not want people who build a crappy page just so they can link back to their website. Squidoo doesn’t want content copied and pasted from elsewhere. Squidoo wants to be clean, family friendly, and respected.

BUT, shouldn’t they respect their own banned topic rules?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Squidoo going too far with banned topics?

– Lewis

P.S. You can read more about Squidoo banned topics at the SquidDon’t lens

Lewis Smile

Lewis Smile is a Writer, Blogger, Web Geek, and very much a daydreamer. He helps people for a living, and works online. See the Contact Info page to say hi. Find out more about him here.

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22 Comments

  1. This drives me mad and makes me very annoyed. I wouldn’t mind if Squidoo cleaned up its own backyard. The problem is that while they have regularly added new topics to the squiddont list, they haven’t done a search and deleted lenses that already break those rules. Go do a search for horse racing and you’ll find lenses on gambling systems for example.

    My lensography was on a warning for nearly two weeks because I linked to VWD, an affiliate site that lets you play the UK lottery. I had already changed the link, but couldn’t republish because of the lock. So the lens was there visible to the public with the supposed banned link in place, while admin ignored my posts in the forum.

    I am amazed that downloading movies and TV shows is on this list. The sport and recreation Top 100 is crammed full of precisely this type of material. But if you look at Squidoo’s front page, it’s telling you that the top lens in that category is about the Vancouver Olympics. Yes it did have top slot about 4 weeks ago, now it’s at No. 30.

    And that’s another gripe. The people whose lenses are perpetually on Squidoo’s home page are spinning the yarn that they don’t get any traffic from it, yet those lenses hardly ever change. A Squidoo buddy of mine is spitting feathers because her lens was showing in the Top 5 in its category for more than a week before it showed up on the home page.

    When I posted in the forum about it, I didn’t get one ‘official’ response, just several from those who clearly had a lot of self-interest maintaining the status quo.

    I enjoy writing for Squidoo, but these contradictions are spoiling it for me and serious Squids who want to produce good quality material that will still be interesting to read in 12 months time.

    Good blog, first time I have visited and won’t be the last!

  2. MB says:

    I am growing tired of Squidoo’s censorship/banning too. They can do whatever they like but so can we and I think more and more Squids are opting to create their own sites rather than deal with banning – so Squidoo loses in the end.

    Domain names are cheap and so are reseller hosting accounts so anyone making decent money on Squidoo should invest in themselves, remove their content from Squidoo and create their own sites.

  3. While this is frustrating, I’m beginning to see what’s happening.

    I think Squidoo, having been Google slapped once, is probably responding to Google’s measures. Google is becoming increasingly stricter about their SEO methods.

    The other day I read the blog of a prominent Squidoo marketer who used her Blogger blog to get traffic and draw backlinks. Google immediately took down all her work.

    Google is trying to to make their search engines as clean as possible for information as well as marketing. People are coming up with software everyday to spam the same content across the search engines.

    This is the reason why I’ve made some switch to traffic exchanges and paid advertisements. Less work. Less SEO hassle.

  4. MiMi says:

    The drivel created on Squidoo now and in the past is like an oil spill — impossible to clean it all up.

    With so few people actually running Squidoo, it would be nice to have ad monitors — paid or volunteer. I am pretty certain that Squidoo doesn’t want contradictory ads displayed, and something does need to be done about it.

  5. michey says:

    You have a valid point here, I was surprised about at least the try of maneuvering subjects, giving directions: like “now lets write lenses about Christmas”… and so on.
    I want to decide when I’ll write about whatever, and if I can create a good lens on a subject and they convince another 2000 people to write about the same subject, Squidoo actually diminish the value of my lens.
    The most successful platforms are the ones which are “open source” (link WordPress) and the ones which impose to many restrictions will suffer because people started to have the taste of open source environments.

    Nowadays is hard to find a subject which is unique in squidoo because they encourage people to have hundreds of lenses which produce:
    duplications, junk and so on.

    Why I should create over 100 lenses when I don’t have time to properly maintain them?

    Why I should create a lens on subject xyz, if already exists 50 lenses with the same subject?
    My enthusiasm to write lenses is diminishing by the day, I prefer to Blog on my domain using WordPress and I am free…

    All the best
    Regards
    Michey

  6. Charlino says:

    Good blog this morning. About a month ago I was doing some research on a sports topic with the intention of building an informational lens on the topic.

    When researching lenses for titles, I found several that had direct links to gaming sites. Some had only one module with content, a few had modules with titles and empty content, etc.

    The lensmaster(s) on this particular topic were related, yet it was unclear to me how one lensmaster was donned as having one lens, when in reality they had more than one that were directly related to the gaming sites. (I’ve found similar situations with other topics, as well.)

    If these were lenses produced prior to the crack down on spammy lenses, how can they possibly be locked yet show up in a search engine at the same time?

    Does the internal Squidoo search engine work differently with members than with non members? If I were not a member and did a search through Squidoo, would my search yeild the same results?

    When doing research for one of my recently published lenses (http://www.squidoo.com/HouseOfGaga), I used multiple search engines for informational links, and I also used Squidoo’s search engine to include fellow lensmasters on my topic. Since that time, my search words come up to ads in the sidebar that have no relationship to my research. Did I inadvertently create my own spam?

    My guess is at this point, search engines do not know the difference between a person doing research vs a person searching for something specific to buy or sell. Yet, based on the programming they surmise both as being the same. Automated ads based on an individual’s search patterns sort of misses the mark with me, especially as I have no way of knowing what the outside world sees when they view my lenses.

    I can certainly appreciate Squidoo’s position with their no-no list, and it is only smart that Squidoo syncs their list with Google’s (or all the main search engines) criteria. It is not my desire to be Google Slapped again.

    With that, it must be very difficult to program a search engine to sift through a million lenses (or in Google’s case a gajillion web sites) that were produced prior to their guidelines being set without something getting tripped up.

    Everything online is evolving so rapidly, it is getting harder to keep up with it all, remain relevant, and stay focused.

  7. Linda says:

    I had some Squidoo pages on Internet Marketing that had original content. These were all revenue producing, though I admit not by much, but Squidoo has banned them. I don’t understand why they would ban sites that are making them some money. Especially well-written, original content sites that went to great pains to teach neophyte marketers that it is NOT a get rich quick way to make a living.

    Frankly, if they don’t want my business, I will take it elsewhere.

    I still have a few Squidoo pages, but I don’t plan to be making any more of them at this point. It’s too much work to be banned. I realize it is their site and they can do what they want to with it. I agree that it is their right to do so. That said, I will move my content to my site, where I can do what I want to.

  8. Thanks for posting this. I got a notice to my email account. I was completely unaware. It just makes me wonder what else they will ban in the future.

    Gina, great response and you mentioned some excellent points. Google is an important player here for sure! What are traffic exchanges?

    Teddi

  9. Doug rchard says:

    I think you better watch what you say in this era of sensorship you may find yourself banned.
    How Dare You Criticize :))

  10. Interesting. I worked in the Gmabling industry and have two lenses. One on the history of slot machines and one on gambling addition help. These have not been de-listed. Am I just lucky!! (sic)

    RR

  11. oops should have done a lens on spell-checking the last comment should read ‘gambling’ and ‘addiction’ – although ‘addition addiction’ might have something to do with it!!

  12. Mike says:

    Some of the frustrations mentioned here tend to crop up on lots of free services such as squidoo. If it’s free it’s bound to attract spammers. The owners then have to decide how or even whether to try to control things.
    Most of the topics listed as banned do attract many of the less desireable folk out there as well as legit operators, but check the spam in your own email box. How many of those ‘clear your debt’ emails do you respond to? They’re junk. Throw ’em out.
    Even if you really are trying to make a legit income from them, you’re going to struggle to compete with them. There are easier ways.

    Regarding search engines separating buyers from researchers, even if this was easy to do Google and the like are unlikely to do it. They make their money from people clicking on ads and researchers don’t do that. They will treat everyone as potential buyers and throw ads at you in the hope that you might be tempted.

    Treating you as a serious researcher and simply passing ad-free information to you might help you make a living, but not them. Find a more friendly search engine.

  13. June says:

    Oh my. I just put up a lens about an acid reflux diet. Jeez it will probably get banned too as a “medical cure” when it stresses more to quit eating the junk food, and get off the drugs. I just can’t seem to win with Squidoo any more. I hate losing lenses after all the work that is put into them. Oh well….
    When all else fails it’s time to punt!

  14. Bcarter says:

    I still make a random Squidoo lens now and then, but my main landing pages are my own site now. I have total control and I definitely make enough to cover the hosting.

    I do agree that they should clean up their own ads, but as someone said earlier, it’s their house they can do as they please.

    I just don’t play as much there anymore.

    B

    • MrLewisSmile says:

      It’s a sad fact, but true for many people too.

      I get a lot of people at YourNicheBlog.com who have had their lenses locked, even though I wouldn’t class them as spam!

      YourNicheBlog.com is where I build blogs for people, which they can then publish whatever content they like to, so it’s the freedom and search engine rankings that get people 😉

  15. Tina says:

    Hiya Lewis,
    Seeing as squidoo and it’s staff have so much internet experience and I haven’t then I trust them to make the right decisions on everything squidoo…including their list of banned topics {even though 1 lens of mine fitted a category on the list}, I am sure they have perfectly good reasons for banning all the topics which they have and doubt very much that any of the banned topics were chosen without first being discussed amongst the team of staff. Ok, some squidooers may feel that squidoo has gone too far with the banned list but I’m not one of them and fully respect their decisions.
    Alfiesgirl Tina

  16. charlino says:

    Wow – a lot of comments have come up on this topic. My earlier post was never intended to be a rant, but one of observation. Although I’ve seen a lot of changes over the past few years, my being with Squidoo is nothing less than positive. I still love the program, the premise, the experiment, the people who run it, the fellow lensmasters, and those who know a whole lot more about internet marketing than I.

    Mike’s post is spot on in accuracy with regard to free sites, search engines, and spammers. Great post.

    The bottom line is, we all have to make a living, and the cream eventually rises to the top.

    Thank you SquidCool for posting this topic. Responses thus far have been both interesting and enlightening.

  17. Madison says:

    I have been an internet marketer for 4 years. During that time I have only published a handful of lenses. Being a marketer, I have to stick up for fellow marketers, because there are some things that aren’t right. However, I also agree with some of the changes Squidoo has made.

    Here are my thoughts…

    There are so many crappy Lenses out there (built by fly by night marketers/spammers). I came across a niche that I was starting to promote. I did my keyword research and came up with a good handful of low competition,buying phase keywords.

    I checked to see if there were any lenses on Squidoo. Low and behold there was. What I found was that this same marketer had only written ONE lens and then took the content and placed it into an article spinner to create 20 more “unique” lenses.

    Somehow, Google actually found the content relevant. This person was ranking on the first page for every single one of their lens. Not only were they ranking for their lens, they were also ranking for hubs, xombytes and pretty much every article site under the sun.

    Yep, they were dominating the first page with their junky web 2.0 sites.

    I thought surely this was a mistake and that in a few days their position would surely drop. I was so confident that I wrote lenses, articles, hubs, etc knowing that my quality content would blow them out of the water.

    The result? My high quality lenses are no where to be found (2 months later) because of junky-poorly spun “content”.

    So with that said, this is why I am also siding with Squidoo. However, I don’t agree they should punish the marketers who worked their tail off to producte high quality material.Because if it weren’t for these great marketers, Squidoo wouldn’t have a pot to you know what in.

    But also with that said…how much is TOO much of Magic of Making up? I know Travis is a great marketer and I respect the heck out of him. But, it just seems like the whole MOMU is more of a cult following than anything.If MOMU was written by a low profile internet marketer would the whole “get my ex back” niche be such a no-no in the Squidoo World? Probably not.

    It is the same with the MMO niche. A big percentage of marketers want to immediately jump into teaching others how to make money online when they haven’t even done it yet (I admit I was guilty of that in the begining, but learned a huge lesson). Every MMO lens is claiming to be the “most honest review of (instert your affiliate program here). Again, when is enough enough?

    The solution? I think Squidoo should get rid of their Squid Don’t. I think they should impliment a tool to where you are not allowed to post a lens on a certain phrase if someone else has already optimized their lens around it. Is this a fair approach? Probably not, but there are so many keywords out there and differnet angles you can take with your marketing efforts. In the end it would cut back on duplicate content and allow everyone to get their shot at ranking on the first page for their phrase.

  18. S Ahsan says:

    first, its Amazing to see so many professional lensmasters :). Lewis, i was trying to hit you up earlier but there were several stuffs that kept me busy..I have tons to learn although i can create some good lenses. I realized squidoo banned a lot of topics beside the pills and herbs. As Madison above speaks of the “how to get back to your ex” etc, i realized it was banned until you bend the topic a bit. Well still need to discover about the squidonts! thanks for the heads up anyways… cheers

  19. Stu Sensei says:

    I just spent a good half a morning creating a lens on “list building”, only to find a message telling me that “this topic is banned” because my lens had triggered some filters for keywords they didn’t allow.

    But after reading the Squidon’t lens, I went and edited out some potential trigger words, and eventually I got through and was able to publish! woohoo!!

    Seems the bad keywords I was using were PPC and PTC (paid too click)..

    Anyway, I understand why Squidoo is tightening up. They want to keep their sit good quality. The same reason Ezine articles tightened up with their approvals.

    Stu Sensei Stirling

  20. Hannah says:

    How do they determine whether or not you’ve written a lens about a banned topic? I’ve written a lens about a topic I feel passionate about and it won’t let me post it, even though it doesn’t contain any affiliate links. Is it the category I’m trying to post in (Women’s health) which is banned? Or a word in my title? I wish Squidoo would tell us what we’re not allowed to write about BEFORE we spend hours creating a lens. I’m tempted to go back to hubpages because I don’t like working with a site who won’t even tell me what the rules are!

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