I finally had a chance to play around with Squidoo last night and I’m impressed. As Seth Godin’s brainchild, I had been meaning to fully check Squidoo out for some time now.
Some have questioned the usefulness of the service, but I have to disagree. Squidoo can’t be evaluated against creating a blog or having a web site. The service is more of a mini portal to different topics. For the publisher of a Squidoo lens, the advantage is the ability to create another resource to highlight expertise on a subject providing users a great starting point on a particular topic.
A lens is one person’s (lensmaster’s) view on a topic he or she cares about. More specifically, a lens is a single web page filled with information and links that point to other web pages, to continually updated RSS feeds, or to relevant advertising. It’s a place to start, not finish.
For the end-users browsing Squidoo, a lens (well, the good ones at least) can provide a comprehensive overview of a category of information. Users can read through the information provided by the “lensmaster” and obtain a better understanding of the topic or use the lens as a starting point for a more thorough dive into the area.
To try out Squidoo, I created the following lens: What is RSS?
Squidoo provides a bunch of different modules that can be added to the lens. You simply choose the ones you want, put them in order, and then add the content. Pretty slick system. Pre-defined modules include text lists, link lists, RSS, Amazon, jobs via Indeed, Flickr, and Google Maps. For my lens, I took the approach of providing a reference source for learning about RSS feeds.
Squidoo’s business model centers around advertising. Between Amazon and Google AdSense, Squidoo promises to divide up the revenue in the following manner:
We divide up the money we receive in a very public way. First, we pay our bills. That’s direct out of pocket expenses like rent and servers and salary and benefits expenses (our CEO doesn’t take a salary, and neither does our board of directors). Then, with no other deductions, we pay 5% of our post-expense revenue directly to the charity pool, 50% directly to our lensmasters and retain the rest to pay off investors and employees. Don’t quit your day job yet, but you should know that as we all grow, our goal as a co-op is to pay as much money as we can to our lensmasters and to charity.
Only time will tell how beneficial Squidoo will be both to the lensmasters and lens readers, but I think it’s a creative approach as a starting point for content.