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The Most Profitable Lens on Squidoo – Earnings Revealed

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Squidoo has been live (still in beta) for over 2 months now so earlier in the week I decided to head back over to check out how it was going. As I surfed around I was drawn to their Top 100 Lens lists (they have a number of them, arranged by a range of different criteria including the most emailed lenses, the most visited and the most blogged lenses.

I was quite surprised when I got to the Top 100 for most profitable lenses to find one of my own lenses (I’d forgotten I’d started any) featured in the list.

Not only was I featured – but I had the most profitable lens in the whole of Squidoo!!!! It’s a lens I made about the Nikon D200 DSLR camera. I literally threw it together just to test how easy it was to make a lens.

Picture 2-8

I also found quickly that I was the 9th highest rated Squidoo lens master in their Top 100 Lens Masters list.

Ok – I’ll be honest – I was a little excited by this, partly because I had a #1 in front of something I’d made, but also because I remembered that Squidoo share earnings with their Lens Masters.

Of course I immediately logged into my account (took me a little while to remember my password) to find out how many tens of thousands of dollars I should be expecting to be sent to me.

First I stopped by their FAQ pages to find out how much of what ever I’d earned I should expect to be sent and found that the split is 50/50 – but unfortunately as they are still in Beta they are not paying anyone anything. Doh! Having said that, any money left after their overheads goes to charity so I’m not too disappointed.

But how much has the most profitable Lens in Squidoo earned since it was created just over 2 months ago???

I logged into my account – and found my total.

$10.21

Ok. So I was a little shocked by the smallness of that figure. Not because I’d really expect a page to earn thousands – especially a page as simple as that. But because that’s the highest earning lens on Squidoo. I’d have honestly thought there’d be at least a few that would earn more.

Once I got over my initial surprise I began to think about it a little more with a bit more balance. Here are a few random thoughts:

  • $10.21 over two months for one page isn’t bad really. Just yesterday I was writing how some people say an average blog post can earn $10 per year! This is better return than that – even if the income is split 50/50 with Squidoo.
  • Squidoo is still a new entity. My Nikon D200 lens hasn’t even got a page rank yet (none of Squidoo has). It’s only been 2 months and things should grow.
  • 1 lens earning $10.21 over 2 months isn’t much, but what if I’d taken the time to develop 100 lenses? What if I’d made 1000? Of course we can’t just multiply the number of lenses by $10.21 because that lens is obviously more profitable than anyone elses – but the earnings would surely be more (even though I have 5 lenses and this is the only one to make anything so far). I would critique a blog with one post by telling the blogger to add more content – it would be unfair to judge Squidoo based upon my 5 lenses.

I’m still unsure about Squidoo. My initial concerns over it’s poor SEO tactics still remain (although they’ve made a few changes including removing the word ‘Lenses’ from the lens title tags as I suggested) and I do see a bit of spammy stuff going on there, but overall I guess I have to say based on my own experience that the jury is still out somewhat.

What have your experiences been with Squidoo?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I would like to see you write a sequel to this post, this time as a competitor to Squidoo analyzing your experience. :)

  2. Rob Clark says:

    Interesting. I’ve a couple of lenses on Squidoo but only one is actually showing any earnings. My $0.95 isn’t enough to get onto the top 100 but I’d love to know where abouts on the long tail of earnings I lie.

    I have noticed that squidoo is the source of a slow, but steady trickle of traffic over to one of my blogs.

  3. Iain says:

    Your post says “Written on February 16, 2006″…is this an Oz thing or have I missed a day somewhere? :)

  4. Oh, my Squidoo Lenses all show me zero’s. My LensRank is at 22 now, but no money.

    http://squidoo.com/reason/

    Have you checked http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/09/smbusiness/squidoo/index.htm yet? Quote:
    “Godin said he wants to build Squidoo into a self-sustaining profitable company. He also wants to raise $100 million for charity and make it possible for 100,000 people to eventually quit their job. That might be manageable since the company — which only employs four people — has fairly low costs.”

  5. Liam Daly says:

    Darren,

    You’re going down! You were actually #7 in the LensMasters list a couple of days ago.

    I’ve noticed for not overly competitive search terms Squidoo does very well, and beyond that it’s improving.

    In the time from when you created your first Lens to a few days ago when they launched the new home page I observed the rate of overall earnings to overall lenses double.

    For Bloggers the most important point about Squidoo is how useful it is as a primer for your blog. Modules with an introduction, the RSS feed(s), favorite posts highlighted,and a Google Map (if relevant), are a good start to tell people about your blog whilst benefitting from whatever link love Squidoo passes. This can be very useful for a large blog that isn’t as well designed and presented as ProBlogger is.

  6. Jon says:

    Liam…he’s still number 1 for most profitable.

    A clear lesson here for bloggers and online marketers in general. Darren chose a product and was tightly focused on his niche. It wouldn’t surprise me if on the list of most profitable, the rest hadn’t made a penny.

  7. Josh says:

    Lens? What are you talking about? A camera lens or something completely different? You’re writing as though it’s something everybody in the world already knows about.

  8. Jon says:

    Hey Josh, He did provide about 12 links, in case you wanted to find out what a lens was :)

  9. Leon says:

    What’s Squidoo? It sounds like Technorati. And speaking of Technorati, I have a problem with Technorati. I’m trying to replace old tags with new ones but I can’t edit my tags. The error message says “Please use one tag per box, including numbers, letters and spaces.” Here’s the llink to my account. HELP!

  10. Aj says:

    Hi Darren,

    Well this means my http://www.squidoo.com/M2CGlobal related lenses (about 5) are doing absolutely blooming marvellously outside of Squidoo in the last month, with a total of 3 new people signing up and a cheque for $20 on the way and I am close to reaching another $50 cheque by the end of this week!

    And here is me thinking I am not doing very well as my lenses have slipped slowly from around #300 down to around #1200 in the overall rankings.

    Will this type of lens, one that aims to direct the user away from Squidoo without showing any of the available money making modules, be it’s downfall? or will I be forced to have particular modules in the future?

    Aj

  11. Julieanne says:

    This is interesting Darren. A friend and I have started a forum about Squidoo to brainstorm techniques for making the lenses profitable. Also, to use squidoo to optimise other websites on the search engines.

    One of the questions I asked on the forum the other day, was how your Nikon lens became the most profitable. And, I was really curious about how much money it was earning. Thanks for telling all of us:-)

    I’ve been using the lenses to gather content for my Scuba Diving Blogs, and its saving me lots of time, plus building a lot of links on the lenses too, which should eventually get a high ranking. Here’s more details about how I’ve been doing that…
    http://julieanne.powerfulintentions.com/blog/article/3368

    I’m sure Squidoo will be profitable for lens builders eventually. It takes time for something like that to grow. It’s a great idea too!

  12. Darren Rowse says:

    Iain – yes it’s an ‘Oz thing’ – us being quite a few hours ahead of the rest of the world in terms of time zones.

    Liam – yes since I noticed my lens a few days back my pages have gone up and down with the D200 one ranging from 6 to 11 in that time.

    I’m sure in time it’ll continue to grow in it’s SE presence.

    Josh – sorry, but I was just using the Squidoo terminology – head over and read their FAQ if you want to know what a lens is.

  13. Peter Cooper says:

    Why, oh, why don’t they add a single small link unit somewhere going horizontally across the page under the title or something? It’d probably triple ad revenues, and still look good. Putting AdSense (in a pretty ineffective format) at the far bottom right of a page is idiocy if money is a factor.

  14. Gil says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for your comments about Squidoo. As a quick footnote I’d like to point out that our Top 100 lists only factor in data from the past two weeks. This date restriction helps keep our lists fresh–otherwise they would never change. So as you suspected, $10 in the past two weeks is not that bad.

    We’ve also just released a Superstore module which people are starting to use to sell everything from purses to rockets. This huge addition gives lensmasters many more commerce options besides Amazon and Adsense.

  15. Darren Rowse says:

    Thanks Gil,

    well if it’s $10.21 in just two weeks…. that’s not bad. But I got the $10.21 figure from my lens master dashboard which I thought was for all time not just two weeks…

  16. seth godin says:

    Gil, Darren’s right. The amount in his dashboard is not from the last two weeks.

    There are some bigger points I’d like to make here. Mostly a cost of transparency.

    While it may sound like an excuse, the fact is that we’ve been in beta for about 9 weeks. 63 days! There are very few sites, and none with a commerce component, that have had this sort of start. So patience is a virtue.

    Second, Darren spent about ten minutes (maybe less, he doesn’t even remember) building a page that is earning maybe $50 or $100 a year. With no promotion. That’s pretty good…

    I think the win occurs, just as it did with blogging, when people really focus on both the content and the promotion. It’s not unusual for a blogger to spend an hour or more a day on the creation and promotion of a blog. Do that for 100 lenses and I wonder what happens.

    Thanks for trying it out, Darren.

  17. Darren Rowse says:

    Appreciate you stopping by too Seth.

    I think you’re right. 10 or so minutes for $10 isn’t bad money. After my initial surprise that’s what I came back to for me. No one will get rich from one lens any more than anyone will get rich from one blog post.

    The cool thing though, as with blogging, is that the post/lens has the potential to go on earning indefininately. So in the short term the ROI is small, but extend it out for a year or two it’s not bad.

    I’ve talked here at ProBlogger a few times about each post being like a small investment in the bank that has the potential to bring returns over time and I think the principle applies over at Squidoo.

    Of course at Squidoo I have to share my profits with your good self in return for your services whereas in blogging I just share it with my good wife. Of course many others won’t want the hassles that come along with setting up, maintaining and running multiple blogs and so Squidoo is an attractive option for them. Others, like myself, might try a combination of both as a fun way to diversify and cross promote their interests.

  18. Digger says:

    You hear that Mrs. Rowse! You’re not getting a dime of that $10.21 dammit! Seth already took your cut!

  19. Ash Buckles says:

    My 2 lenses haven’t earned a dime. However, I didn’t expect them to. I just creating them to see how it worked because I was in the middle of building a new (now defunct) personal network site that was similar to Seth’s approach.

    However, I’m waiting for Squidoo to get out of beta because it is very glitchy (frustrating) right now. More over, it seems there could be more help with building the commerce components. Or am I just blind?

    I’m hoping to build several lenses in time and probably 3-4 lenses per week once things get going. On the other hand, maybe waiting is the wrong approach. ;-)

  20. Zensmith says:

    I have just started using Squidoo. I think they have done a good job of building a nice interface for putting together a lens. They make it very easy. I am not sure there will be big money in putting together lens. However, it is a fun activity and once you have done one – it is kind of tempting to keep creating them. I have even done one for one old eighties favorites that I link out to videos I never new existed.

  21. Sarah says:

    I just created a new lens (Easy Ways to Make Money Online) in the business category which you can.
    I read that the more outgoing/incoming links and modules and the frequency of your update is the biggest factor in your lens ranking…I’m experimenting this week to see how high I can get my lens…I made mine more in hopes of driving traffic to my blogt than selling products…I’ve read that Google loves squidoo so crossing my fingers!
    Sarah

  22. Ken says:

    The concept is similar to that of oondi (http://www.oondi.com) except that oondi will pay out 100% of the advertisement profits to the authors.
    The hosting costs are covered by clicks which occur on non-author owned pages like the index but it’s basically a non-profit organization similar
    to Wikipedia rather than a commercial one like HubPages or Squidoo.

  23. Your right you don’t make a lot of money with just one lense, but the more lenses that you create the larger your income will be. I’ve been making at least 5 bucks a month for a few months from a few lenses. The more highly focused or targeted your lense is the more likely you are to make money from it.

    But the best thing about Squidoo and other Web2.0 Social Networking Sites is that you can use them to drive targeted traffic to your own web sites!

  24. Courtney says:

    I had this very same discussion with some other work at home moms, and even blogged about it. They were lamenting that they hadn’t made any money from Squidoo. I think my lens earning are somewhere in the $5 range BUT I’ve garnered at least 6 writing projects from my IM ghowriter lens that have netted about $4,000.

  25. PotPieGirl says:

    Even tho this post is a bit old, I think there were some great points made. Mainly – if ONE lens can earn $10, just think if you had 100 lenses.

    I was paid for roughly 60 lenses last month and made just about $70. Is that a lot of money? No – but it is an income stream that keeps coming to me long after the work is done. I also made less than $5 in affiliate module payouts so the majority of my earnings was from the site-wide co-op share paid by Squidoo. I talked all about my Squidoo earnings on my blog and detailed out how much I have been paid for as long as I have been participating within the Squidoo community.

    We lensmasters are anticipating our September payday any “moment” now. This is for earnings in July. I can’t wait!

  26. fabb says:

    Creating squidoo lenses may be alot of work at the beginning to set up. But once the initial set up is done you only need to upkeep the site and update to keep it fresh and watch the money roll in.

    It might not be alot of money but it adds up and you are getting the valuable targeted traffic to you site.

  27. EelKat says:

    Squidoo works best if you have a lot of really big lenses that have a lot of *hand written* content (as opposed to ads and links) I’m one of Squidoo’s top lensmasters (and one of the higher paid ones too) and currently I have 378 lenses, but will hit 500 before the end of the year. I’ve had so many emails asking for advice on what I do and how other can do it to, that I ended up writing this lens:

    http://www.squidoo.com/EelKatSquidooSecrets

    and this one:

    http://www.squidoo.com/SalesOnSquidoo

    Both are how-to’s telling what I did so that others can do the same thing. I actually have a whole series, but those 2 are the best for anyone wanting to learn how to make money on Squidoo.

    Hope that helps you out. Good luck with your lenses!

    ~~EK

  28. cchiovitti says:

    Wow. What a difference a couple of years makes. $10.21 for the highest lens in all of Squidoo is sad, now with over half of a million lenses written it’s not uncommon to see earnings well over $100/month. Of course, Squidoo no longer publishes a “highest earning lenses” list but I could probably take a pretty accurate guess as to which ones were pulling in the biggest profits for HQ. The highest single lens I’ve had, I believe, was about $40 in a single month.

  29. I’ve been on Squidoo just a couple of weeks now and have managed to make one lens that is quite popular, looking forward to seeing my $10 clocked up in my earnings tab.

    You are right about volume. Most of the lensmasters making $1000 + per month have 300 – 500 lenses.

  30. Interesting post… I hope you have some sort of a sequel to it by now. I’ve been thinking of doing some work on Squidoo and am wondering if it’s even worth my time.

    Maybe the backlinks will help? We’ll see!

  31. squidooer says:

    i personally think its better to have squidoo lens than blogs as i am not that learned about internet and can not write a blog post every day(usually ran out of ideas),

    also i am making good $$ form my few squidoo lens

  32. Sid_who says:

    Hi Darren,

    So what does the whole thing look like now. How much do you earn from your lenses right now. I am sure it might have had reached 3 digits by now !!! Anyways your article was inspiring, thanks for sharing it !

  33. That is really interested to see and nice to see that Seth is following you … lolzz