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Squid Don’t Policy Update

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 4.12.51 PMWe just added a new section to our SquidDon’t policy. The best way to describe the new SquidDon’t is: mundane (or everyday) products that are similar in design.

We’re seeing an influx of lenses about shower curtains, tablecloths, garbage bags, cotton balls, etc. These are topics that have produced spam in the past and while not every lens about shower curtains in spam we’ve decided to make these and similar products a SquidDon’t to improve the overall health of the site. We did this last  year with coloring pages because they started to take over the site in mass quantity. The same thing is happening with shower curtain lenses. Unfortunately there are certain topics that encourage spam on the web like Acai Berry, weight loss and making money from home. Shower curtain lenses (and similar products) are now in this category.

Here’s a bit more of an explanation. The purpose of Squidoo is to create lenses that enrich, entertain, review, recommend and add value to the web. It’s easy to do that with things like books, movies, music, collectibles, games, gadgets, and unique products like this, this and this.

The problem with shower curtains (and other similar products) is that they are the same item only in different colors. So what we’re seeing are lenses about pink shower curtains, Halloween shower curtains, woodland creature shower curtains, etc. These are the lenses we’re locking under this new SquidDon’t policy. If your lens is locked under this new policy you will receive the royalties owed as explained here: What happens to the royalties on my lens when it gets locked?

It is OK to create a quality lens about Star Trek Gifts that’s includes a Star Trek shower curtain however to just create lens after lens about every shower curtain style on the market is now what we’re calling a SquidDon’t.

This is a site wide policy that will affect both Giants and non-Giants.

Bonnie Diczhazy (bdkz) is Editor of the SquidooHQ Blog and Head of Community here at Squidoo.com.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/nancycarol nancycarol

    Sounds reasonable to me Bonnie! Thank you for the heads up!

  • Susan Zutautas

    Glad to see this Bonnie.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/MSchindel MSchindel

    Excellent! Thanks very much, Bonnie.

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      Thank YOU!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/kinworm kinworm

    This seems fair enough since these items are rarely personal topics. How many shower curtains does a single person really own, anyway?

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      Exactly, it’s just very difficult to create quality content on a very simple product like a shower curtain so we decided to make it a site wide policy.

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/getmoreinfo getmoreinfo

        what about?: wall decals, toilet seats, phone cases, lamp shades, bedding sets, etc. I have seen these types of lenses done in multiple colors and styles.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Upon-Request Upon-Request

    Thanks for the heads up!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/pkmcr pkmcr

    Bonnie I have just discovered that the lens which you may recall I created to show that one could create a decent Shower Curtain lens (which was awarded a Purple Star) has been locked. There is no indication of this at the top of the dashboard. There are outstanding royalties on it and when I go to the lens it says “Any unclaimed royalties the lens has earned will be defaulted to charity.”

    Can you confirm that this is not the case?

    Could I also ask if there is a sudden change of policy that at least a number of days notice is given so that we can easily copy the whole page rather than have to go looking for cache?

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      Yes, Paul you will get the royalties for this lens. You can also edit and copy the content.

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/pkmcr pkmcr

        Thanks Bonnie – I managed to get the cache so have saved the page in it’s entirity. Appreciate the quick response

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/MaggiePowell MaggiePowell

        Would be nice if this treatment was given to all giants…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Evelyn_Saenz Evelyn_Saenz

    Thanks for letting us know. It is great to know that you are looking out for the best interests of the community.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/britflorida britflorida

    What is it about shower curtains anyway? I feel as though I’ve missed out on a major trend here – I think I’ve only ever bought two shower curtains in my entire life :)

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Colin323 Colin323

      That’s ‘cos you’re from Yorkshire, lass. Here we strip off, run onto t’ moor and stand underneath a waterfall.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/RenaissanceWoman2010 RenaissanceWoman2010

    Thanks for the update. Whatever keeps the platform going strong is all good.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/acreativethinker acreativethinker

    That’s a good idea, thanks Bonnie.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Steve_Kaye Steve_Kaye

    I’m laughing that anybody would publish a series of reviews about shower curtains.

  • http://kitchenwitch-cookery.blogspot.co.uk/ Nan Thompson

    Okay — so how does this new rule about not producing mundane lenses about similar products fit in with all the “Review these 100 similar product” incentives that HQ have been pushing lately?

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      The shower curtain lenses we’re seeing are for the most part pretty thin. They simply list different colored/themed products and they have very little content. Additionally there’s nothing unique about a shower curtain. It doesn’t do anything.

      On the flip side having multiple people give quality reviews about the same movie, book or electronic item is extremely valuable. The quality content and personal reviews are what make the new product review lenses outstanding.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/StephenJParkin StephenJParkin

    Some people may have several bathrooms and therefore 2 or 3 at any one time. In answer to those wondering how many any one person may have. I think the policy is a little over what is needed as I could imagine a perfectly good lens on the topic being banned. See the comment by pkmcr below.

    I understand perfectly the feeling that Squidoo needs to be seen to be a decent site, but when the policies changes are so fast and unannounced that lenses that received a Purple Star are being banned then there is something wrong with the way changes are being implemented.

    It should be possible to send private messages to the main offenders and the owners of perfectly good lenses on the topic. Then after they have had a chance to clean them up and copy them to other suitable sites you could implement the formal ban.

    This time I am not affected, but I do have sympathy for those who are affected. Sudden and non negotiable policy changes are a sign of totalitarianism, or just plain old fashioned bullying, and I had always thought that Squidoo was the place that encouraged frank and open discussion on just about any non offensive topic!

    I was rather hoping that the last batch of major changes would have led to a period of stability. It seems I was wrong on that score.

    I hope that the true intention is to make the site informative and still to encourage new writers to get started. While maintaining the supportive community and an ability to earn a few cents for yourself and/or your favorite charity(s). I also do not like people who spam for the sake of it, I am assuming one or two individuals with say 5 to 10 lens each on shower curtains have spoiled the topic for the more reasonable folk?

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      We acutally did the same thing for coloring pages about 8 months ago. Unfortunately the Home & Garden topic is being overrun by multiple shower curtain lenses. Most lensmasters that have a shower curtain lens will only have one or two lenses locked and they will reviece their royalties.

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/StephenJParkin StephenJParkin

        Yes I noticed that too and feel pretty much the same on that one. I really wish that we could somehow find a better way, The thing is that some perfectly good lenses and lens masters are getting hurt by the actions of the inconsiderate few people. A lot of the writers have other things to do and may miss the HQ actions until it is too late to recover their material.

        I notice that you like me write directly to Squidoo and of course that means we do not have a draft copy of what we produced. That is my point and I am glad it is not lost on you.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/graceonline Kathryn Grace

    This is great news! Squidoo just keeps getting better and better. Thank you.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/EditorDave EditorDave

    Heh. Thanks for doing this … (but then again, some of your “quests” in the past sort of *inspired* that type of lens that is now being locked) …Thank God I don’t like “selling stuff” on my lenses but rather I like to provide a discussion of *topics* that to me are worth in-depth writing. (I’m a writer, after all … and I like doing my own photography to supplement my writing.) I have a “locked lens” at the moment … and since you don’t provide a button *ON THE LENS* to get HQ attention, I’ve sort of had to bang at the back door with emails to “bug-report” and “problems” … Since there’s no explanation on *why* it was locked other than it somehow twisted some tentacles, it’s hard for me to figure out how to fix it. It had a lot of comments (some from friends who are now no longer with us) … and I’d hate to lose that lens by having to create a parallel universe lens from scratch. I can fix the one that’s there (but locked) … if someone will tell me what’s wrong with it. (By the way, it’s my lens on Jeepneys … jeepney-travel … and the photos and narrative are my own. — it’s one of my older lenses.)

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/calconcrete calconcrete

      Know what you are saying. I had one of my 5 year old lenses locked several months ago. No explanation of the reason. I checked out posts and read that they were locking lenses without original content, excessive associate links and X-rated content. My lens about epoxy garage floors was all original and had no associate links.

      I took out a failed Flickr link and appealed. No response and they deleted the lens shortly thereafter.

      I’ve had to recreate the lens under a different name and am still spending lots of time creating back links for the new name at other sites.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/KathyT KathyT

    Drat… and to think that I was just mapping out my Toilet Paper Review series. :) Just Kidding! Thanks for the heads up, Bonnie!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/OrganicGiftsByDiana OrganicGiftsByDiana

    Great news – thank you !

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/kehsiberry kehsiberry

    Thanks for this! I must say Squidoo is fun. I only wished I did this way back before.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/RockinPicks RockinPicks

    Ok, I promise not to try to sell cotton balls on Squidoo . The policy seems pretty good. I can live with it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/RockinPicks RockinPicks

    Bonnie, What about the quest from Cozy on making a Themed bathroom for the holidays? Shower curtains can’t be on it?

    • Guest

      We acutally removed this section with the from the quest because of the new policy.

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      We acutally removed this section of the quest to comply with the new policy.

  • gloria freeman

    Hi Bonnie, thanks for the head up. This is a good thing for us all.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/LoreleiCohen LoreleiCohen

    Definitely needed. It was beginning to look a lot like the old Squidoo around here again so it will be nice to have things back on track again.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/GroovyFinds GroovyFinds

    Seems legit, Should I assume cell phone cases are next? They are just as annoying.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/raveonstudio raveonstudio

    Good to know! (I wrote the Star Trek shower curtain;-s)

  • Pingback: No More Shower Curtains

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/JoeHarvey JoeHarvey

    Thank you Bonnie!!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/grammieo grammieo

    Great thinking, I agree wholeheartedly!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/---Chazz —Chazz

    Will there be a warning before a lens is locked?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/flycatcher flycatcher

    I will be saddened to lose my Disturbing Shower Curtains lens, which you may recall I made (like @pkmcr did his) in the wake of “showercurtaingate” – but I do see the point and on sober reflection see also that you can’t very well make any exceptions. So be it.

    Garbage bags and cotton balls lenses, really? Even at my snarkiest, I don’t think I could come up with a fun/personal angle on those. :)

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/BeyondRoses BeyondRoses

      The garbage bags of today are delightful! The colors are soft shades like blue, and ivory with scents like vanilla and warm coconut, and it’s quite uplifting to change out the bath, and kitchen garbage containers with these lovely scented creations. Now if, they create a rose patterened design, I’ll really smile.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/RaniaCalvenea RaniaCalvenea

    Good.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/getmoreinfo getmoreinfo

    Thanks for the new information, appreciate it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Deborah-Diane Deborah-Diane

    Personally, I like this policy. Thanks for letting us know about it. :)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/MaggiePowell MaggiePowell

    Umm… kind of annoyed… as an exercise I wrote a highly personal content rich lens about shower curtains (stop laughing… it was good, and full of tidbits of information about Cthulhu). It had 100% rating since inception. Today I went to check on it after the new policy went into effect, and it was still at 100%, but the cafe press modules were hinky. While working on a fix, the lens was locked. No warning…. and it still showed live on the dashboard. Only now when someone looked for it, they get a warning saying that I wrote bad content.
    Isn’t there some way to lock the lenses… but give the lensmaster a day or two to move/fix/whatever to the content before chucking it?
    I deleted it… but really wish that policy changes came with warnings or emails or some sort of indication that lenses would vanish.

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      You should have gotten an e-mail. I’ll look into that.

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/flycatcher flycatcher

        FYI Bonnie, no email over here, either, and there is no padlock on the dashboard. The only way to know a lens is locked is to actually visit that URL.

        • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/pkmcr pkmcr

          No email here either and no lock showing on the Dashboard.

          The only reason I knew mine was locked was because I went to check it and clicked on the URL

          • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

            This is now fixed : )

          • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/kevinw1 kevinw1

            I had 4 lenses locked a few days ago with no emails. Does “fixed” mean that we’ll get emails telling us what’s wrong for lenses previously locked?

      • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/LivingInParis LivingInParis

        Bonnie, I didn’t get an email either. (Got the dashboard lock, but no email.)

        Also, my locked lens was exactly like your Star Trek example. It was NOT a Shower Curtain lens. It just had 2 shower curtains on it amongst lots of other content. The filters are behaving as if the term “shower curtain” is completely banned from Squidoo, not just as a lens topic. Is that the case?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Hairdresser007 Hairdresser007

    Shower curtains? That’s funny. OK So where do I find the Star Trek Shower Curtain? I will definitely add that to my Star Trek Items lens!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Fatherof4 Fatherof4

    I can see why you did this. If it keeps Squidoo healthy I am all for it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/d-artist d-artist

    Amen!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/discountcopiercenter discountcopiercenter

    Thanks for the update.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/MarcellaCarlton MarcellaCarlton

    good!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Titia Titia

    I wonder what the spammers will find to come up with next.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/thesatanrecords thesatanrecords

    good idea there was a lot of spam recently

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/alteredkat alteredkat

    I lost weight by eating Acai Berries and I making money from home selling shower curtains.
    (sorry I’m just being saucy 1st thing in the morning) ;)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/BeyondRoses BeyondRoses

    Pretty shower curtains are difficult to find in stores, and I know, as I’ve taken months looking for the right curtain. Online, there are lovely curtains, with flowers, roses, whimsical, and even lace design, and I was delighted to find online, what cannot be found in stores. Sadly, as usual, some people continue to abuse what could be the creative feature of a decorative product, and someone else has wasted their time in doing it right. I’ve seen other products reviewed that is less interesting, but I understand this is more about abuse, than the product.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/CosmeticMom CosmeticMom

    Not sure about how many shower curtains one needs, but I can see they are important if you are decorating your bathroom. Table cloths…I don’t often shop for them, but there are so many sizes and colors, not just one size like a shower curtain. I kind of feel toilet seats might fit into this “no” category?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/BeyondRoses BeyondRoses

    What I’m concerned about, is what people see when they can’t click through to a locked lens. Like are they seeing that it’s an “unwholesome” product, or as the message says, some abuse of Squidoo policy that applies to a creative lens made in good faith, that is now grouped as being unsavory?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/calconcrete calconcrete

    I like that. Squidoo is a valuable venue but sometimes there is too much blather to wade through.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/LindaJM LindaJM

    Good idea… thanks for safeguarding Squidoo!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Luv2help Luv2help

    I did have a peacock shower curtain lens from way back where it was initially a peacock bathroom ideas lens. I changed it over to the shower curtain title merely based on my traffic keywords. I do get that most folks have taken the ball and ran with it, so I’m not upset in the least. On to the drawing board. Thanks for the heads up. :)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/AlleyCatLane AlleyCatLane

    So if we have any shower curtains in our lenses, they are being locked? I have three locked lenses so far on bathroom decor which includes a wide variety of products besides shower curtains. So decor lenses aren’t acceptable either?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/freedomleader freedomleader

    Great guide for to follow.Thank you Bonnie.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Brite-Ideas Brite-Ideas

    you know what’s hilarious, I don’t have a lens about shower curtains and I’ve actually sold quite a few of them – even when we don’t build it, they come!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/prosperity66 prosperity66

    It’s going to be another huge loss of money for Squidoo and I’m pretty sure it won’t help us get back in Google’s good graces because Google doesn’t want to have anyone that’s not paying for traffic in their good graces.

    After the “mundane” products joining the long list of Squidon’ts, what’s next?

    And where is it going to stop? When there will be no topic left?

    Honestly, 10 reviews on the same dvd movie are even more boring than 10 lenses about the different shower curtain styles and designs available on the market.

    Don’t take me bad HQ but I don’t think you’re on the right track.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/CHANGECOACHER CHANGECOACHER

    shower Curtains? Geez!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Kylyssa Kylyssa

    Will craft tutorials for making such items still be welcome or should we place craft articles about mundane items such as shower curtains, tablecloths, shopping bags, and etc. elsewhere? I ask because I have a whole series in the works just waiting for me to finish the projects and/or photograph them.

    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bdkz bdkz

      Craft tutorials are fine.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/jeff_vance jeff_vance

    I wonder what will be next? Cupcakes??

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/aredey aredey

    wonderful

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