Kay lives here

working with the web

Squidoo: First Impressions

Do you Squidoo? If you’re marketing something, there’s a new tool that might be useful.

I’ve been playing with Squidoo – I’d read about it when Seth Godin first announced it, but didn’t check it out fully until I read about Darren Rowes’ experimentations with it.

So what is it? It’s like About.com with a more democratic editorial process, where anyone can be an editor of their own “lense” – a page on a particular topic. The idea is that the most popular lenses rise to the top of the pile. It’s very “Web 2.0” – I can’t describe it without getting all buzzwordy, sorry! The Squidoo slogan “everyone’s an expert on something” pretty much describes what it’s all about.

So, off I went and started creating. The sign up process was straightforward, with some nice Ajax touches – when selecting a lens name, for example, it checks what you’ve entered when the field loses focus and lets you know if your choice has already been taken. The process of learning how to edit your lense – potentially quite a large curve – was simple, for me anyway. Someone not so familiar with web applications might have some more trouble. After I had finished, I discovered a link in the footer to “SquidU” – a large online tutorial area. Surprising that it’s not more obvious during the creation process. Or maybe I’m blind.

Next I added some “modules” – RSS feeds, links lists, technorati tag feeds (which don’t seem to be working), and Amazon affliate links. The Amazon angle is presumably how Squidoo will eventually be monetized, along with the Google AdSense ads. When the service gets out of beta, there will apparently be a revenue sharing arrangement with the lense authors. Interesting concept.

So ta-da! Here’s the final product: Best Practises Web Development. There’s more stuff I would like to have done – mostly more links, and some feeds – but I’m stuck on dialup at the moment and editing is just too painfully slow. I don’t know if it will be something worth maintaining – but it certainly was an interesting process.