Is Squidoo the Latest in a Long Line of Web 2.0 Casualties?
By now most of us will have read or have heard rumours of the latest changes to the terms and conditions to mighty “Web 2.0 Behemoth” Squidoo. There seems to be a pattern emerging here and it seems to follow a pre scripted route.
Web 2.0 sites get launched, there is a feeding frenzy and it is like the old days of the Wild West. There is a land rush and certain Internet Marketers tell all their followers to get their keywords listed and their pages / lenses whatever registered. Life is good for a few months and material gets indexed very quickly because Googlebot, Slurp or whatever is busy assimilating all this new content and profits are made, AdSense revenue etc. rises and Clickbank does very nicely out of all of this thank you very much…
Then BANG. Google wakes up to the fact that for certain keywords/research items their index is full of the same thing because… their bot indexed the pages and did its job and now we are all wading knee deep through the same pages all describing the same items. It is the Internet equivalent of Flood Damage. Google over reacts and puts the pressure on the new Web 2.0 property usually in the form of behind the scenes pressure to make all their outgoing links (that’s inbounds to us) “nofollow” whereas before they were “dofollow” to try and stem the tide of new material. The implied threat is “do this or we’ll blanket de index your entire site”. The owners panic and enforce this new “dictat” but through inconsistencies with the nofollow attribute (yes even from within Google itself) this action doesn’t have the effect required hence the “big boots” come out and we see what happens. I am surprised Squidoo managed to hold out as long as they did as they were slapped pretty hard before but not entirely surprised when you consider the history of everything.
Unfortunately because we live in a society whether we like it or not we are controlled by and large by what the Big G says and does (Guess Orwell got it wrong and its actually Big G not Big Brother) it is going to have to take someone with enough Testosterone to stand up to the Mighty G and say “No, we will sort it out our way and not yours”. Of course this means the site will have to allocate the resource to deal with the fallout. The obvious route is to go down the existing route and have a blanket ban but have the structures in place to deal with genuine grievances and mistakes quickly and fairly.
Yes it does sadly mean that every now and then “babies will be thrown out with the bathwater” but there has to be some sort of appeals process to take this into account.
I am not trying to be an apologist for Squidoo as to be honest I have never really fathomed out how the damn thing works to best effect entirely and there are other true Squidoo experts who can advise better than I can (I apologise and grovel accordingly) but having read through the new guidelines it seems to me that they have been fairly straight up and honest about it all.
How they arbitrate the fall out and manage this will be the true test of how good their organisation is or isn’t?