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Squidoo vs Hubpages vs Wizzley vs Zujava summer 2013

by Katinka Hesselink on July 12, 2013

Panda and Penguin are thoroughly messing with the Web 2.0 online marketing / online making a living business. The result for Squidoo is that has a lot less traffic than this time last year.

Hubpages was caught earlier and seems to be recovering decently. Wizzley and Zujava were started when Google was already making it clear that it was going to come down hard on low quality content, so they have more stringent guidelines built in than either of the others originally did. In other words: they have less legacy low quality content to deal with. 

The reason for this post is that @jasoncox1983 asked me on twitter: 

So what do you think is better now adays since Googles update Squidoo, Hubpages, or some other web 2.0 platform? Thanks

 The fact is – part of me thinks that this whole web 2.0 business is simply being outmaneuvered by Google and the only way out is building your own quality blog and promoting it and hoping it draws traffic. I’m sure that’s what Google wants you to do. Only start monetizing when you have a solid subscriber base AND a few hundred visitors a day. 

On the other hand, Penguin and Panda aside, I do still make a living on my online income. That income is made mostly, still, on Squidoo

Do I recommend Squidoo to newbies? 

Absolutely not! It’s been user-unfriendly to non-giants for at least a year now. Over the past month, even giant squids (lensmasters who have at least 25 quality pages on the site) have been banned, seen their lenses locked without warning etc. Two of my lenses were locked, in fact. One was probably a bug. The other deserved the lock, has been improved, and is waiting review. 

In other words: your content simply isn’t safe on Squidoo. You can always take it off, of course, but the fact is that currently the site treats it’s writers very badly. 

What’s a lock? A locked lens is invisible to both Google and visitors. 

Do I recommend Hubpages to newbies? 

Well, that’s a different story. While Squidoo’s filters are unpredictable, and you can have your hub locked (aka: invisible to both readers and Google) without warning, Hubpages only hides them from Google. Also, their instructions on what is ‘wrong’ with your page are clear and if you follow through, will result in your hub being visible to both Google and visitors again. 

Hubpages still has more hoops to jump through than I’d like, but I can definitely cautiously recommend them.

Do I recommend Wizzley and Zujava

I’m putting these two in one boat as they started around the same time and have similar advantages and disadvantages. My personal preference is Zujava, just like my personal preference between Hubpages and Squidoo was always Squidoo. That’s a personal taste thing though – I don’t have hard data to back that up. Also – look what happened to my Squidoo preference… 

Wizzley and Zujava both have very clear content filters (for now): just make sure your content isn’t copied from somewhere else on the web and make sure you have enough words. 

If you started out today, where would you start? 

If I started out today I would probably take that job as a software tester I turned down and limit my online writing to the stuff I REALLY care about (aka spirituality).  

The way things are today, I’m very glad I put off buying a house and getting a mortgage. 

Here are my original tweets to Jason:

@kh7spiritual 
@jasoncox1983 Squidoo – crazy to publish anything new there. Hubpages – seems stable at least. zujava and wizzley – decent options.

@kh7spiritual 
@jasoncox1983 Btw: mostly determined by how these platforms RESPOND to Google updates, not the updates themselves.

@kh7spiritual
@jasoncox1983 Basis of web 2.0 marketing is still, and more than ever: quality content. DO NOT over-use keywords. Do use plenty of words.

@kh7spiritual 
@jasoncox1983 The kind of words a real human would appreciate, relevant to the topic.

Note that in this post I’m only recommending (well, sort of) sites that I’ve used. All the links here are affiliate links. Depending on the platform I may earn something if you sign up through one of those links, or if you visit the site and click on ads there. 

{ 18 comments }

Jason Cox July 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Thank you for writing an entire article just because of my tweet. We’ve spoke many times over via Squidoo and a couple times via Hubpages both of which has a long history of it’s ups and downs.
Squidoo now that it no longer allows for dofollow back linking has lost a lot of it’s appeal considering how difficult it is to break the top tier on Squidoo.
Hubpages has lost a lot of it’s traffic, many of the power users have even found that Squidoo traffic has dropped to the equivalent level of Hubpages articles. The only way I personally have found HP to be profitable is if you are dealing in a topic that naturally pulls a ton of traffic (like gaming for instance) etc.
Wizzley has had a lot of negative comments about it from users after some very intense research, Zujuva seems profitable. The only problem I see here is the lack of traffic, and how it’s been pointed out that traffic is the biggest factor of ranking, again same issue as Hubpages. Considering it has a low authority overall it would make things ranking very difficult.
On a side note Associated Content (now known as Yahoo Voices) seems to be making a comeback. Will be interesting to track, and see where it stands by this time next year.

Overall if I was to recommend a Web 2.0 platform for a newer member, I would probably send them to Hubpages. Overall it just has a better chance of income than Squidoo. That is unless of course you get a tier 1 lens on Squidoo, then it woul all be worth wild.

Katinka Hesselink July 14, 2013 at 4:51 am

I wonder what research about Wizzley you’re referring to. I was one to critisize their SEO, but fortunately they cleaned that stuff up.

Right now I have no reason to complain about them, other than the fact that I don’t earn much with them. Zujava has been doing better for me.

Chris July 13, 2013 at 2:32 am

Squidoo has really been acting heavy handedly as of late and quite frankly it’s taken the wind right out of my sales there.

Lately I’ve been writing on Bubblews which has a wonderful community of writers. I’m very happy there.

Anthony July 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

I think one thing you should have touched on is payment methods which are always important to a newbie. It’s why I used to recommend Squidoo and now recommend Zujava.

No need to mess around with an Adsense account when you are just getting started is a big deal in my eyes.

Zujava further sweetens the deal by giving every page a piece of the pie.

Katinka Hesselink July 14, 2013 at 4:40 am

Sure – zujava, hubpages and Squidoo all have their own internal payment system, which means you don’t have to sign up for adsense.

Zujava and Squidoo make sure you don’t have to sign up even for amazon, while on Hubpages you need your own amazon account.

The above is obviously not a full evaluation of all the issues involved in picking a web 2.0 platform to write on. Instead it’s based on the people-aspect of the situation and the question: where is my content safe.

The adsense issue is seriously important though for newbies, I totally agree. Especially as new accounts with few clicks are often banned from adsense entirely, for accidentally clicking on your own ads.

Skeffling July 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

Hi there Katinka,
I have been asked the very same questions by my readers and HP is where I am putting and locked content that does not fit with my own sites (my own sites are my #1 priority). Traffic can be high and unstable there, I have been keeping many smaller profiles rather than one large one and hubs seem to earn quickly even with low traffic, conversions are good.

If adding content to HP, add only 1 hub every couple of days per profile to stave off a subdomain google sandboxing. I have been earning Ok on Wizzley, no luck with Zujava, they don’t like my content, but Seekyt is anoither good Web 2.0 site with an awesome, helpful and reasonable admin who is striving to improve the site and not reactionary in any way! Good source of adsense income too.

“The fact is – part of me thinks that this whole web 2.0 business is simply being outmaneuvered by Google and the only way out is building your own quality blog and promoting it and hoping it draws traffic.”

I agree with this 100%! I have been giving people the advice to put the bulk of your content on your own sites, unless you want to end up moving it sooner or later from a Web 2.0 site as their policies change

Thanks for the post, makes me feel even better about the whole thing ;-)
Claire

Treasures By Brenda July 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for sharing, Katinka. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to put off buying your house but I can certainly understand why. I’m glad to say that my traffic appears to have stopped falling. I’m not seeing any recovery yet but I remain hopeful that, with all the changes Squidoo has introduced, it will recover.

For the last few months I have been concentrating more on the eBay side of my business. I originally started writing online to promote my eBay listings and I am trying to get back to writing about areas that allow me to promote those items on eBay, since eBay listings need good SEO, too.

Katinka Hesselink July 14, 2013 at 4:42 am

It’s not so much that this has caused me to put off buying a house, more that I’m glad I did, given the uncertainties in the field.

Paula Atwell July 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Well, as you already know, my entire account of 838 lenses was locked on Thursday night. I have one week to sort through the entire account and give Squidoo 100 lenses to approve under the new regime.

Not only is this unprofessional and heavy-handed, but no matter what gets kept, Squidoo has now lost income, support and promotion from my account, and I have lost significant income after being a Squidoo volunteer in various ways over the years. Not a great way to treat someone with 5 years history on the site.

Wendy July 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I think we’re all on edge. I’m worn down mentally and physically. I have JRA and my symptoms have been in a flare for about five weeks; stress can do that. I’ve been floored by those who’ve taken a hit ~ folks who have helped me and other floundering newbies to Squidoo. I don’t understand why the real JUNK is still out there. We’ve all been working full steam to fix our work for all the changes. I wish everyone the best at regaining what they’ve worked so hard to deservedly earn. Nothing was ‘given’ to us; we worked for it. I’ll still work on my current lenses but with all the uncertainty, it seems I’m on the hamster wheel running scared. I sure hope things improve. Spirituality, thanks for helping out the time I asked for it on the HQ forum. It’s good people like you that kept the comradery strong for so long.

Katinka Hesselink July 14, 2013 at 4:49 am

You probably realise that your story is the straw that broke the camel’s back, isn’t it?

Seriously: I’ve been silent on Squidoo’s changes, because I realize that – to an extent – they are necessary. However, your story – of a giant squid with loads of time officially mentoring people, right up untill you were banned in fact – made me realize I had to speak out.

And not only have you been a regular volunteer, you’ve also written about Squidoo and mentored people off-site.

Your story is public here – including loads of comments on people being staggered at your being banned:

http://squidu.yuku.com/topic/3100/My-entire-account-just-got-locked

Even as late as last week you posted about how to try and comply with Squidoo’s new content guidelines:
http://squidlog.net/blog/featured/its-not-all-about-you-making-lenses-more-personal/

Whether you promote Squidoo ought to be irrelevant. The fact is: you’re a giant squid who deserved the badge. They ought to have either:
- taken the badge away because they no longer thought you deserved it, and then given you about a month to clean up your profile
or
- flag offending lenses individually, perhaps making them invisible to search engines (aka: wip).

As it was they threw the bad out with the good and given us all very good reason to distrust the site.

AJ July 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

Katinka when I read that you had put off buying your house, I was so relieved as I have been worried about the impact that loss of income on Squidoo would have had on you.

Since you posted this, there’s been even more going on to cause concern amongst the members, particularly those of us who have tried to voice our crtiticism constructively.

I am now at the point where I am re-evaluating, so I have found this post particularly helpful. Thank you :)

Katinka Hesselink July 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

Well, on me personally the change hasn’t been that bad. Where others lost traffic over Christmas, I did great.

I haven’t checked my online income year over year, but I can still live off Squidoo. The big question for me is how THIS Christmas is going to go down. Last year’s Christmas paid enough to last the whole year – especially since I did NOT buy that house ;)

Virginia Allain July 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I’m being very, very careful how I word anything in public these days. I’m in the process of removing what I believe HQ finds offensive. It’s a lot of work since many of us have extensive lens libraries.

I feel for all of you in this time of hardship.

Joyce August 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

Katinka, interesting I’d find you here. You had “liked” quite a few of my lenses over the past few years. I am currently moving all my content, slowly but surely, from squidoo to blogger for now, just to preserve my stuff. I had over 25 lenses, and initially had 2 locked in the first wave of destruction. Then over half the remaining were flagged several weeks later, one of which was a very neutral, fun lens on memory bears with loads of original content and pictures. I didn’t even attempt to get an explanation since most say squidoo HQ is “not home” anymore. Not trying to earn money, I just want to make information available to people, mostly on the spiritual and health fronts.

So I am considering weebly, zujava and wordpress when I have time to mess with it. I found you here in a search I did to see what google likes; leaning toward zujava right now. Thanks for the info.

Katinka Hesselink August 22, 2013 at 6:33 am

I’m going to give you some contrary reasoning. Some types of content, like memory bears, whatever those are, are never going to get search traffic anyhow. In those cases there is no reason to dump them on a shared platform. You might as well own it and keep them on your own. And in case I’m wrong, there is still adsense and the amazon affiliate program.

Seriously, when it’s really all about writing for the joy of it, stick to something you control, like a blog or several. create them by topic and share where appropriate. Make sure people who love what you do can subscribe. Interlink by topic as well and avoid the shared platforms. They’re all, for that sort of thing, more trouble than they are worth.

When you strike keyword gold, do turn to sites like the ones reviewed here to promote your stuff, so it reaches a few more people . otherwise just have some fun doing it your own way.

It’s the only way to avoid the sort of filter trouble we see at Squidoo and hubpages right now.

Joyce August 22, 2013 at 7:13 am

I find I’m enjoying the ability to control everything myself at blogger. May just leave things there until, like you say, I strike keyword gold, which I think I may have with one topic. The only thing I don’t like is the fact that views from hacker sites like vampirestats mess up your traffic stats.

As for the memory bears lens, I just dumped it and forgot it. People like to have teddy bears made from clothes or bedspreads from loved ones as a way to remember them, and there are quite a few people who do well making them for profit. I did my keyword homework on that one and found quite a few do search for either memory or keepsake bears.

Stupid question- what is a shared platform? I turn up automotive sites when I search for a definition.

Maketta August 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I have one of my lenses locked and two I got a warnings on. I was able to get out of the warning by deleting most of my amazon modules for one of those lenses.

I was thinking about moving the locked lense to Wizzley. However, I was very upset with Squidoo. They encouraged people to make as many lenses as they could by becoming giant squids and now they are punishing people for it. It was never my goal to become a giant squid anyway and now I am glad I didn’t even bother because if I had I would of been furious. I think that was very hypocritical of Squidoo’s part.

I believe many lenses have been targeted unjustly. It’s sad they are taking people through this. I think for now I am just going to concentrate on my two blogs.

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