A representative list of topics we don't allow on Squidoo, and why.
These topics can show up in droves when a specific affiliate program directed people to come paste their cloned content on our site. Or because they appeal to people trying to get quick traffic to bad stuff. Even if you think the topic is okay in a specific case, or if the lens looks technically well-crafted, it's not okay to use Squidoo as a way to bludgeon the web with non-authentic content.
Once a topic has earned a bad enough reputation (usually as part of an affiliate scheme that encourages unsuspecting and otherwise innocent affiliates (like you?) to make money through bad actions), we ban them from Squidoo. This means there are topics we're just not going to let people write about. We wish we didn't have to do that, but it's the best plan available to remove the bad actors that want to take advantage, while keeping the site open for passionate people with authentic opinions.
Even if you have a lens that has been published live for a while and even earning royalties, previous publication does not intend that we accept or approve or endorse the topic. It's entirely possible that a lens will get unpublished even after it's been active for a long time. This is because our systems for finding these types of lenses are always evolving and improving, and because we reserve the right to unpublish or remove any lens that violates our rules over time.
A good rule of thumb is this: Ask yourself if your lens is supporting an affiliate program; if your lens is using content that someone else gave you to add to the page; if your lens is trying to make money by pushing readers to an affiliate program; if your lens is really on a topic that you're interested in, have direct experience with, and isn't JUST trying to turn a sale. Once you answer these questions honestly to yourself, you'll probably have your own answer about whether you should spend your time trying to publish those kinds of lenses here or not.
Contents at a Glance
Vocabulary to know
Deleted: Lenses that are unpublished for 60 or more days get deleted. That gives you a long time to export your locked lens content if you want to save it to your computer and take it to another platform.
Featured Lenses: Featured lenses are published, live, and have achieved a LensRank that unlocks the privilege of being featured in Squidoo search results, and being indexable by search engines like Google.
Work in Progress: These are simply lenses that have not yet earned a LensRank that is good enough to get the lens featured in Squidoo search results or to search engines. WIP lenses are usually still live and published and active, and they are accessible via a direct link. Once your lens earned a better LensRank, it will leave WIP status and become featured.
Under Construction: If a lens has not been published at all, it will be considered Under Construction.
Please read our Squidoo Policy Update lens for important changes that may affect your lens.
A sample (not complete) list of SquidDon't topics
These are basic categories that have topics we can't support.
The biggest offenders in the spam world, and topics that aren't okay on Squidoo, are:
--Pharmaceutical, drug, and diet aid reviews and diet pill sales. (Examples: Viagra, Hoodia Gordoni, Penis Enlargement pills, acai berry etc) Plus whatever the latest miracle cure drink happens to be, and affiliate/salesy lenses thereof.
--Yes, weight loss and dieting lenses are far more often spam than good--especially when they're selling something, or promoting an affiliate site. Acai berry reviews have earned a rotten reputation elsewhere on the web, for example, and that's seeping into Squidoo as well.
--MLM, network marketing, pay per click projects, traffic exchanges, and even quite a few affiliate programs that have earned bad reputations.
--Ebooks and affiliate programs for "medical cures." This means yeast infections, PE, snoring, hair loss, augmentations, asthma miracle cures, etc. Of course we hope all our visitors are in good health, and we'd love to rid the world of toe nail fungus, too. but 99 times out of 100, lenses about ebooks and affiliate programs selling medical cures are awfully scammy...
--Likewise for help with love life, sex life, dating sites, etc. If getting your ex back (who might be gone for a reason) requires paying $29.99 for a PDF, we have to say no.
--MLM and network marketing systems, tips, and products. These are almost always flagged as spam, or actively spam others, and we tend to keep a pretty tight rein on them. Wait, did you say this one already?
--Gambling lenses. (Yeah, that means you, TexasHoldem lenses. And most poker lenses. We'll probably overcorrect heavily on these, and can't guarantee that we can move swiftly to re-publish false positives. Your best bet is just to stay away from gambling and lottery lenses or the topic in general).
--Downloading movies, tv, or games; watching movies, TV, or satellite online; copying DVDs, games, and programs. Not only are these against our TOS, they're against DMCA laws. Yes, you can link to Hulu episodes or Amazon DVDs for sale, but make sure you don't mislead people to think something is free if it's not.
--Video game illegal downloads, copying and sharing, game gold generation, affiliate program "make gold doing XYZ" ebooks, etc. If it doesn't offer something new of value, or share your experience with the game, stay away.
--Dealing with credit card debt, cash gifting, envelope stuffing, mortgages, currency trading, Forex, Regenesis, etc. There's a clear way to make good stuff on this topic, but alas, most people just make spambait on it.
--Hate lenses. Sure, you can give negative reviews. But spewing hate at a person crosses the line, and if we get contacted about them we might unpublish them.
--Ringtones lenses. Free (and so-called legal) movie download lenses. Free Mp3 download lenses. Yikes. These exploded in the last year, and we've never seen ONE that's worth anyone's time. Really.
--Adult lenses. Porn lenses. X-rated lenses. Or even just lenses with supremely mature content or violence. We don't want to unpublish lenses with bikini-clad girls on them, but be cautious, because many of our advertising partners can react badly to lenses of scantily clad lingerie models and tend to ask us to remove them.
--Lyrics lenses. Watch out for serious copyright issues. If you have an entire account dedicated to lyrics lenses, make sure you're adding a significant amount of personal review and curation, quoting correctly, and don't steal from someone else on the web.
--Wallpaper lenses. Watch out for serious copyright issues. Unless you personally designed the wallpaper that you're sharing these lenses are off limits.
--Coloring page lenses. Again, watch out for serious copyright issues, keyword stuffing and spun content on these lenses. Unless you personally designed the coloring pages that you're sharing these lenses are off limits.
--Traffic exchange, pay to click, banner ad sites, and other advertising or artificial traffic boosting systems. Not only are these not allowed, using them to promote your lens may be a violation of our TOS.
--Promotion of and reference to illegal activities, such as drug use, hacking, etc., or promotion of ways to get around illegal activities, such as "legal drugs," black hat systems, copying and hacking, free games and tv, etc.
--Promotion of activities that could be harmful to health, such as encouraging readers to become anorexic or induce a miscarriage.
--And a few that are harder to generalize, but obvious when we see them. That means even if they're not listed here, if SquidooHQ finds a demonstrable reason why lenses like these are relentlessly low quality, spammed, or harmful to the community, they're out.
--With so MANY awesome topics we'd love to see more lenses on, it's just not worth it to try to create SquidDon't lenses. Try browsing our top 100 lists for ideas, or ask in our SquidU forum.
You can't build any content in these areas on Squidoo.
If you are interested in these areas, it's entirely possible you will bump into our filter (we call it the SquidDon't filter). If you do, don't be surprised if your lenses get unpublished or your entire accounts get suspended.
No, we're not trying to censor anyone. No, we don't like mediating. No, we're not trying to keep the site Puritanical. We're just trying to keep it something that we're all proud to be a part of. So if that means you're left scratching your head over editorial choices or standards, we apologize in advance.
What to do if your lens gets unpublished
You will be able to login to your account and view your lens Workshop and export your content to save it elsewhere.
Please do that within 60 days, because locked lenses get deleted after 60 days.
We very rarely overturn our locking decisions, because our systems and our human reviewers have gotten much much better over the last few years since starting the SquidDon't program and enforcing other Squidoo policies, like our policy for hosting original, not duplicated content, and more.
How to export your content
If any of these policies don't mesh with your publishing goals, here's a way to save your content before your lens gets locked or deleted.
1. Edit the lens you want to export.
2. Scroll down in your Workshop and look for Export in the right hand sidebar.
4. The XML export contains all of the text and configuration settings you made on your lens.
5. You could also choose File -> Save Webpage in your browser. This even saves the images to a directory.
6. Once you've stored all your content on to your personal computer or drive or storage space, you're welcome to delete the lens. Just go to your Dashboard in Squidoo, find the lens in your list, and click delete.
Extra help: Things you SHOULD do
* Write good introductions.
* Have intro photos.
* Upload a photo of yourself (or your avatar) while you're at it.
* Try out a bunch of different modules.
* Replace the default module titles, like "New Guestbook."
* UUU - Unique, useful, updated content rocks!
* Don't copy. Don't cut and paste. Don't plagiarize. Obviously.
* Keep an eye out for style. Junky lenses send readers running.
* Stop by the SquidU forum and get feedback. Ask politely.
* Stay relevant on your lens.
* G-rated or R-rated, please.
* You're an author: act like one. Don't publish half-baked lenses. If you do, tell everyone it's just a first draft and in-progress!
* Watch for typos.
* Be kind to fellow lensmasters and your readers.
* Don't spam.
* Sure, sell stuff; but don't sound like a snakeoil salesman when you do.
* Invite readers to participate. Or not.
* Recommend things you know.
* Explain your topic to new readers.
* Experiment with "front doors" like SquidWho and SquidSports and SquidBoo and SquidFlix, but don't ONLY make those lenses. (Those are meant to give you starter templates to edit, not just stop with the status quo).
* Own a niche and make lots of lenses in it. But don't repeat yourself on the same topic. 40 lenses that say the exact same thing aren't kosher.
* Link to and feature other people's lenses. It feels good to give back.
* Be passionate. Be you.
* Be honest and straightforward and creative.
Extra help: Things to AVOID
if you care about making a good lens, don't do this stuff.
* Spam. Obviously.
* X-rated content.
* Spamming. No matter how good your lenses are, if you spam the verb, you're out.
* Copied lenses.
* Or even worse: mean-intentioned lenses.
* Undeveloped "starter" lenses with no personalized content.
* Lenses that sell selfishly (lenses that yell at the reader, or flash BUY ME BUY ME in all caps).
* Being meanspirited or malicious on the SquidU forums. Regardless of how good your content might be.
* Typo-riddled lenses.
* Empty or expired modules.
* Lots of modules with generic default titles like "New Amazon Plexo."
* Tricking your readers into clicking on links they weren't expecting.
* Lenses on SquidDon't topics, like pharmaceuticals and ringtones and gambling and weight loss pills and Yuwie and various affiliate marketing programs.
* Empty introduction modules.
* No lensmaster photos.
* Anonymity hurts.