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September 15, 2006


I've heard that squidoo is claiming significantly more traffic than their Alexa rankings suggest, but the checks they are still sending to top lenses are so low that it's hard to believe this. I think it would be great if Squidoo publicly reported what they are donating to charity (if they do this already I don't know about it). If it's substantial, or trending towards substantial, I will retract my statements. But from what I see, Seth is trumpeting how much they are doing for charity when very little is actually being donated.

I want to reiterate that I don't have access to hard data in coming to conclusions...I'm just making assumptions based on alexa and hearing about very small payouts to lensmasters.


Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comments but they don't explain the I'm not proud comments you made. If they were raising 500 dollars a month and it was going to a school in India to buy books, what's your point about 'not being proud'.


My comments yesterday weren't about charity. It was about the fact that I think squidoo is a deeply flawed product, and Seth seems to deal with criticism by personally attacking those who criticize squidoo (he's done that in a comment to my post) and by suggesting that squidoo is making substantial charitable donations. It seems dishonest to me.

While we haven't published charity numbers recently (though they are higher than ever), there is a blog post from June which describes our charity involvement in more detail.

good idea. let's do a podcast.

I'm not sure what the podcast would be about. I think taking a shot at Squidoo and using the term "I'm not proud" is offsides.

You believe that if Squidoo shows you enough charitable donations, you will retract your comments but you get to decide how much that is vs. just accepting the fact that having a model where money goes to those in need is a good thing, regardless of having a specific number.

I'm not involved with Squidoo. I can't see why they need to justify anything in order to get you to accept the idea that the comments you used were offsides.

The company's plan in my view can't be 'deeply flawed' if even one needy person gets one need taken care of. That's not deeply flawed unless you've got a different way to look at it.

As I've said, you digging your heals in on this vs. just backing off the only comment I'm focused on (I'm not proud) is very weird.

I'm a Squidoo lensmaster. I have 4 lenses, one of which is the top-ranked lens (Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags - My "take" for the month of September so far is $88.10, 1/2 of which will go to Room to Read. My other three lenses are earning between $2 and $6 per month (on average).

I've been a lensmaster since Squidoo was in Beta. And those first few months, I earned about a cup of coffee a month. Now I can finally start to support my Valleyschwag habit as well as get some kids some books.

I saw Mike Arrington at FoWA this week. What bugged me about what he said about Squidoo is that his comments don't take into consideration the value of the community, just the value of the paypal transfer payments. To me, that is missing the entire point of Squidoo.

I really appreciate you taking up this issue, Rick.

Cheers .. Kate

Was this comment by Seth on my blog "offsides"?

I've reached out to Squidoo to talk to them (I was excited as you all are when it initially launched) but got nowhere. I offered above to get on a recorded call and post it on talkcrunch, but it appears that is going nowhere. The company isn't interested in talking to me, and never has been (even when I was writing positively about them).

I take offense at the fact that they trumpet all the good things they are doing when in fact a tiny piece of what appears to be a tiny revenue stream is going to charity. It's a marketing ploy to get attention to squidoo and nothing more. If Seth really cared, he'd donate a percentage of his book profits to charity (perhaps he does, I don't know). But to say that squidoo is a good product simply because they make some small charitable donations and then to slam me with three blog posts because I don't think the product makes any sense is an unreasonable position for you to take Rick.

So here's what I offer: Squidoo discloses what they donated to charity last month and I'll match it on the spot personally. And if they want to get on a podcast, or talk to me privately, I'm willing to talk. In fact, I've been waiting to do so for almost a year.

let's do a podcast?
Stupid F*cker!!!
So he can be the center of attention and the List Mom of Web. 2.0 F*ck Him!
I'll have a lot more on this and don't want to get your blog banned for my colorful language.

Alan, from reading from what you write, you just seem to be a miserable person pissed off at his own life

squidoo seems to be a contrived play on
While charity is good, attempts to market that charity
is distasteful.

Add Edgeio to the top of the \\\"what where they thinking list\\\" and go ahead and tag it as \\\"deadpool.\\\" Mad props to Rick for calling him out. I didn\\\'t think anyone had the stones.


The comment Seth put on your page was not offsides, he asked for an apples to apples comparision. Did I miss something?

I'm not slamming you, only your use of words, specifically, "I'm not proud". I'd have been onto the next thing if you had simply listed them as "I don't get it" and left it at that.

In fact, Mike, I'd be totally fine with you having a debate or post an opinion on the use of Charity as part of a business plan/strategy.

I'm singularly focused on the words you used at the conference which prompt others, including Cnet, to the winners/loosers lumping that took place.

I personally couldn't tell you if Squidoo is a good or bad product, don't actually care at this point because a bunch of needy people get some money out of it.

Some will find the way Squidoo does the charity thing as distasteful or wrong. That, in and of itself, is fine for a debate I guess.

I think cheap shots tend to cause valid points, like perhaps a business strategy, to get drowned out.

Clearly, when you take shots, like your shot about the books comment above, you tend to lower the quality of your argument. Seth's book, The Big Moo has been sending 100% of money to three charities so, here again, you get to take a shot and then hide behind "I could be wrong." I've got a bet of 100 bucks going to JDRF that you won't clarify your "If Seth really cared" comment now that you know (and can verify it, use Google) you were completely wrong.

So, help the kids, don't respond.. or match my gift so they can find a cure. :-)


I don't understand this argument, it seems to be going in circles. A lot of companies donate money to charities, or have funds setup, including my own company (we do both work and donate funds - and we are pre-revenue). To me, it just wouldn't feel right advertising this fact on our website, or using it as a cause to get our product adopted - I certainly won't fall back on the fact that we donate money to charity in an argument when my product is criticised. I know a lot of my fellow entrepreneurs and CEO's feel the same way, they don't sell the fact. I especially think selling the fact in a company tag-line is misleading ('clicks for charity').

I bet all those other companies in the list donated to charity in some form or another, sometimes it can be as small as giving disadvantaged people opportunity by employing them, sometimes it can be monetary - but most companies I know (and individuals) do feel a social responsobility to give to charities.


You make a valid point. There is certainly room for a debate on Charity and its roll in a business model.

In addition, if Squidoo was out hawking itself as the new way to give, there'd be an issue.

My observation is that, today, Squidoo employs people, has not taken outside money, doesn't disclose its revenue/expenses, and offers the lensmasters an opportunity to keep 50% of what comes in the door or give it to charity. Squidoo is not registered as a non-profit.

That's basically it. Those are the public facts. So, there are only two reasonable observations/debates, if you will, that can happen.

1. The merits of using charity as a cornerstone of a business model. It's a debate/discussion worth having because, as you say, there are issues around it which many people will have differing views on.

2. The jury is out on what is successful so "I don't know, we'll see."

I'm focused on somebody of influence using the term "I'm not proud" when refering to Squidoo. If either of the issues above had been said/talked about, I'd be down the road.

For the record, I think there is a very fine line using Charity as part of a business model. Tricky stuff. Mainstream business uses it all the time and I'm not sure if it has the impact or we are speaking to buyers who would have bought already.

Thanks for stopping by.

"has not taken outside money"

It is rather well known that Squidoo have raised money. I do wish them all the best. As for the comment that has sparked all this discussion and 3 of your blog posts, it is just a persons opinion.

its not half of what they bring in to the lensmasters. its half "after expenses" including things like rent, salary, etc...its only half of the bottom line.

and yes, seth's comment on my blog was immature and "offsides" to use your word. in effect, he was saying "you can't say my service sucks because, look, this company you started sucks more".

You could be right. I was under the impression Seth funded it himself. As for the person's opinion, you are also right.

Thanks again for stopping by.


If the comment bothered you, okay. Obviously, I'm on a comment bothered me kick so I'm not gonna argue that.

As for the percentages, I think the amounts weren't my point but since I don't have access to the audited financials, we are both probably off on the exact amounts, percentages, etc. Given that other lensmaster types continue to post comments on other entries and private mail expressing opinions of, call it concern, I think (at the very least), your comments and my raising my hand on it, is of interest to more than one.

Fear not, I'm bound to give a talk some place where you can bonk me! Have a nice weekend, I still enjoy TechCrunch.

you as well. glad we kept this civilized.


I just found this post today and I want to be clear why I don't like Squidoo.

I read Seth Godin's blog from time to time and I've read his books, so when he was hyping the service for a few months I was anticipating something amazing.

My first taste of the actual service was finding someone made a TiVo lens and basically copied my entire blog ( to squidoo, with minimal comments above my posts. The page was covered in Google ads and Amazon ads. I clicked around a few other topics and found similar low-quality information.

People didn't seem to be adding new info and creating new knowledge at squidoo, they just seemed to be glorified RSS blog-to-ping search spammers, copying blog posts and surrounding things with oodles of ads.

Now, I see they give some money to charity but that doesn't excuse the service from being not very helpful and taking advantage of the content of others.

I don't care if the neighborhood drug dealers helped build a church and a school, I'm not going to say that charity work trumps what is basically a service I don't need nor enjoy.

"So here's what I offer: Squidoo discloses what they donated to charity last month and I'll match it on the spot personally."

Is the offer still open M.A.?

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