Squidoo still lives?! Interesting…

January 8, 2007 2:45 am 0 comments

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Linking to Seth Godin made me also look at the startup company he is a co-founder of — Squidoo, and it seems like it is still live despite all odds.

First, a little background for “us Web 0.1 Pakistanis”. Seth Godin is one of the leading Marketing Consultants and presenters in the world. His presentation style has great passion and simplicity. His marketing recommendations are following very closely by most of Silicon Valley.

Early in 2006 Seth announced he was putting all of his latest marketing theories to work in a company called Squidoo, and people took notice.

Despite the hype, however, they missed the hype curve , and got fairly poor reviews of the product.

About a month ago, the site had gone down as well, pretty much meaning the end of the idea.

Not so! Squidoo is live again and it seems to have a better interface for both the site and their lens

Q: Argh Osama you’ve had too much coffee — why should I care?

Well, I am only curious to see if the Squidoo model can work. I am curious because I am trying to study Network Effects in marketing.

The model is similar to Wikipedia, in that you can create one webpage on a certain topic. The difference is that you remain the only author of that webpage (called “lens”).

The criticism from TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington was that one person can never know enough about a certain topic, and hence the information on Squidoo will never be as mature as Wikipedias. The other cirtique was that one author per page means there will be many pages on the same topic in the sytem, confusing the reader.

All of that may be true, but only if Squidoo’s supposed to be “read” like a standard website. I think they had a different idea in mind.

So here is why I’m curiously following Squidoo — it is an interesting marketing experiment.

Squidoo is attracting people that are passionate about something. Passionate enough that throughout their life they want to find, research, collect and extend their total wisdom on that topic. If we ask ourselves, we might all be able to find that one thing we love.

This is very interesting (and a bit brilliant) because of two reasons:

1- Making you the sole author of the page of your interest gives you ownership and vested interest. You would want to feel proud of whatever you’ve written about a certain topic. What’s more, being the sole author means you wouldn’t just write information, you would write an expression of your perspective of a ceratin topic. You decide what you like about that topic. Your commenters are people feel exactly the same way as you.

2- If the topic is something we are passionate about, there is a good chance we talk about it anyway with our friends. There is also a good chance that (being the geeks we are) we are considered “resident experts” of that topic in our social circle. Thus Instead of just talking about it, we are very likely to market our knowledge to our friends.

So this becomes an interesting experiment in marketing — could Squidoo really grow organically just based on marketing by the users? Is a ‘perspective of a piece of knowledge that is based on my personality’ something that can increase the value of a product, just as ‘expression of my personality’ did for MySpace?

It would be good to keep an eye on this to see if Network Effects kick in.

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