For me the news of the acquisition of Squidoo by HubPages was a blockbuster. I’ve always considered the two writing sites as almost equal rivals, though very different in style. So my reaction to the news that HubPages will take over Squidoo is something akin to what it might be like to hear that Microsoft had just gobbled up Apple.
For many Squidoo writers, this is a time of great trepidation, and not a little frustration. They’ve suddenly been hit with the news that a site that for many is not only a source of income, but that has been their online home base, will be going the way of the wooly mammoth. For months now they’ve been trying to cope with massive changes in the way Squidoo operates as the service tried to find a way to eliminate low quality articles from its portfolio so that it could once again achieve high rankings in Google search results. With all the upheaval, nothing seemed to work.
It’s tough moving to a new neighborhood
Now, unless they choose to opt out, Squidoo writers will become HubPages writers. Their Squidoo articles (those that meet HubPages quality standards) will be automatically transferred over to the HubPages site, and reformatted to look like hubs rather than lenses. For many Squidoo refugees, it will seem as if they have become strangers in a strange land.
I can understand. I’m a long-time HubPages writer and love it there. I opened a Squidoo account, but the whole site looked so foreign to me, I was never motivated to actually post any articles there. I’m sure HubPages will look just as foreign to those who have until now been thoroughly immersed in the Squidoo look and way of doing things.
The change is not as bad as it may seem
But there is a bright side to all this upheaval that Squidoo users may not yet appreciate. It could be worse. A lot worse.
In addition to writing on HubPages, I also wrote for Yahoo Contributor Network (also known as Yahoo Voices). I had over a hundred articles there, some performing very well, when the site announced it was shutting down. We had just a month’s notice before the doors on YCN would close forever, and the articles hosted on the site would simply disappear.
Of course YCN writers had the option to download their articles and place them elsewhere. But articles that were getting hundreds or thousands of views per month would lose their high search engine rankings, and basically have to start from scratch to rebuild that search momentum.
Unlike Yahoo writers, Squidoo users have positive alternatives
For YCN writers there was no recourse. This is was what Yahoo had decreed, and there was no way to maintain an author’s portfolio of YCN articles online with their original and highly ranked URLs. That means unavoidable loss of significant income for many writers, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
But Squidoo writers are not facing the same bleak outlook for their work. Not only are their articles being retained online, by being automatically moved from the Squidoo to the HubPages site, even the article URLs will remain effective. When a user goes to the URL of a Squidoo article that has been moved, they will be automatically redirected to the article’s new location at HubPages. So, all the search momentum an article may have built up on Squidoo will be maintained rather than just disappearing, as is happening with YCN articles.
There is a silver lining
So, I can see this HubPages/Squidoo development from both sides. I know the pain, anger, and frustration of having a site that has been the online home of much of your hard work suddenly decide to evict you. But I can also appreciate how much Squidoo and HubPages are doing to ameliorate the damage Squidoo’s failure (yes, that’s what it is) will do to their writers.
I know that seeing their site go away is a tremendous shock to users of the Squidoo platform. But all is not lost. Actually, in light of the options they’ve been given that YCN users didn’t get, Squidoo writers have a lot to be thankful for.
Ron Franklin is a pastor, writer, radio broadcaster and producer, computer programmer, and musician. Now the founding pastor of Covenant Community Church in Harrisburg, PA, he was an engineer and manager for high-tech companies such as IBM and EDS. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Denver Theological Seminary.