Stay Away from Squidoo

I signed up for Squidoo today. I’ve tried a few times before, but then would get part of the way through the sign up process, see that they wont’ state what is published publicly and what is not, and give up. I tend to walk away from sites that don’t treat me with respect. I…

I signed up for Squidoo today. I’ve tried a few times before, but then would get part of the way through the sign up process, see that they wont’ state what is published publicly and what is not, and give up. I tend to walk away from sites that don’t treat me with respect.

I took a deep breath and worked my way through annoyance and signed up anyway.

But let me state that registering for a site that insists I give personal information – be it my real name, my email address or my birthdate, and does NOT make it clear what is published and what is not, really annoys me. In the early days I would shrug and say, ah well they know not what they ask. Then it got irritating: ‘sheesh, can’t they just put a *published/not published* tab there?‘ Nowadays, I reckon it’s sheer laziness or bloodymindedness when sites insist on knowing about me but don’t state up front, in the open, what they are going to do with that information.

So lesson number one – at the very least, be clear on what is Public Profile, Private Profile, System Profile. Even better if you can offer more. And inform your potential members what will be public. Even if you aren’t going to give them an option, let them know up front!

Having said that, Squidoo commits the second cardinal sin. Do NOT contact me when I say don’t contact me.

What part of “don’t fricking contact me” do you NOT understand, Squidoo?

In preferences I specified ‘nope, don’t want daily newsletter’. Nope don’t want the weekly either. And no, don’t contact me.

That was this morning.

This evening I get this email:

Hi there!

I’m Megan, the Editor in Chief here at Squidoo. And I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say welcome.

Did you know that….

* You can make a lens that sends donations to your favorite charity, for free? (Yes, free).

* Lenses help you get discovered online. If you’re trying to get the word out about something (your business, product, passions, a big idea), you gotta have a lens.

* There are hundreds of thousands of lenses handbuilt by real people like you, on everything from “How to Roast CoffeeBeans” to “Books That Changed My Life” to “Everything You Need To Know About…ME!”

If you haven’t made a lens yet, I’d recommend checking out the Lens of the Day group and our various Top 100 lists. You’ll see some jawdropping examples of what you could do with lenses. ( and

And if you have questions or want to meet some fellow lensmasters who know all the right moves, just stop by our forum at (

Thanks so much for giving Squidoo a spin. Hope you like what we’ve cooked up for you, and there’s always more new stuff on the way!


Megan Casey

Editor in Chief

Well I already had the verification email, the thanks for signing up email and whatnot. Yes, I expect Admin emails that say “system will shut down on Sunday AM” or ” you haven’t paid this month”. Yep, send me ‘in-world’ or ‘personal’ messages on site. No, don’t clutter my email Inbox. I don’t expect ‘helpful’ emails when I was given an option of opting OUT. ‘No’ means ‘no’, however you want to couch it. I got the welcome email – one is enough thank you!

This is what happens when you let social networking be taken over by marketing folk. Sheesh. I’ll let you know if I get their daily/weekly spam. Totally regretting not listening to that little voice that said Stay. Away. From. Squidoo!.

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  1. Thanks for giving Squidoo a try. I’m really sorry you had a bad experience.

    To be fair (and as the author of Permission Marketing, I betting you to be fair),
    1. we use OPT IN on all our mailings, as your screen shot shows. In other words, you don’t get our newsletters unless you ask for them.
    2. you’re right, we could be more clear about how we use or sell your email (we don’t.)

    After that note from Megan (which most people find helpful) that’s all you get. And if someone wants to contact you about your lens, we blind forward it to you, so they don’t see it.

    Sorry Squidoo isn’t for you. But we’re not evil. Really.

  2. hey kiddo, I know you’re not evil. but the site is annoying – I probably wouldn’t mind the extra welcome email on the tails of saying “no emails” if there had been check boxes for “keep private” during sign up. There’s only a certain amount of trust during the ‘defining purpose’ process (at signup) and once it’s spent, it’s harder to get back.

    Tip: birthdates are used to clarify identity with utilities like telephone and gas companies in Australia. We don’t hand over our birthdate blindly…

  3. Silkcharm earns her scowl! Whoo!

    I have tried to get into Squidoo, but haven’t found it to really work for me yet.

    Not because of the issues you have, but because I just didn’t want another location to have to maintain.

    My own personal brand – my Soundbag site – has long long been lost to the convenience of others having a service for me (typepad, linkedin, facebook, etc.).

    I believe that in 2008 I will work hard to reinvigorate my personal brand and only use net objects that help reinforce my value – as opposed to only theirs. Yes, I’m always ready to help someone out. I’ve got a lot of value out of Yelp and want to help the community with my participation. But I also want to own my own avatar, ya know?

  4. Laurel,

    Just wanted to pop in and let you know my experience.

    I’ve been using Squidoo for about 9 months, and have never had a single piece of spam or unsolicited e-mail from Squidoo so I can vouch that they do keep your e-mail safe.

    The e-mail also serves a double purpose of your Paypal ID if you wish, so Squidoo can send you your hard earned monies.

    In the US (where Squidoo is based), birth dates are required under several laws that have been passed to prevent underage exposure to things as benign as chat rooms and forums. However, it is a legal requirement in the US or I’m sure Squidoo would not ask for it. I’ve never seen my birthdate used anywhere.

    I’m really sorry to hear that you are not interested in the community. Your voice sounds like you could contribute a lot there and have a lot of fun.

    The Captain

  5. Thanks for giving us a try!

    (and for the headsup about birthday)

    by the way, I meant to type “begging” not “betting” in my first comment.

    Happy new year and be well.

  6. To all: my concerns about sign up have to do with “barrier to entry”. Perceived or not, it’s when trust is established. A pop up menu that says a)keep private, b)only friends c)public goes a long way to feeling comfortable revealing my identity and handing over trust.

    It’s not that I won’t give the info – happy to reveal my birthdate, location, email address privately – but I don’t want it broadcast. I choose when and where and what locations I broadcast my information.

    On the second point (*spam* emails) there’s an irony here. In my courses I point out that the confirmation email is usually not used properly – it should be an welcome email, introduction and training one too. However it should come immediately at signup, not 12 hours later after 2 or 3 other emails: where it looks like a ‘come back to our site’ attempt.

    We hand over information when we trust we have some control. We trust more when ‘no emails’ promise is kept.

    Hope this helps someone, somewhere starting up an online community 🙂

  7. Squidoo has become a terrible website. They had recently locked a lens of mine that was on the top of Google for nearly 2 years. They said it was possibly duplicate content, but how can this be? Duplicate content doesn’t rank #1 on Google that long if ever. Also, it is funny that they had given me a PURPLE STAR for content they claim is duplicate. Makes no sense. Squidoo is a big waist of time!

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