Even before Squidoo was hit with a Google penalty for being full of
spam it was pretty clear that the business model was doomed to fail
sooner or later.
The problem with any site that allows users to create their own pages
is that the users will push the boundaries in terms of promotion. Many
brands who don’t want to be associated with link spamming will create
a page on another site and drop 50,000 links to it at no risk
whatsoever. If Google gets upset they won’t penalise the owner of the
page, it’s the site that gets hit with a penalty.
The thousands of Squidoo pages about p0rn, pills and gambling are
being promoted using all sorts of black hat techniques that most
people would never use on their own sites.
A new service called the Million Dollar Wiki is similar to Wikipedia but allows you
to create a page about anything you want for $100. The problem is that
the site has very little link equity to start with (just like any new site) and judging by the
links its attracting already will really struggle in the future. Lets
face it, if Google doesn’t trust the site then there will be no
traffic and the links are worthless.
About 12 months ago I was about to launch pretty much exactly the same
type of site. A version of Squidoo where users could pay to create a
page about anything they wanted. I kept putting the idea off as the
timing didn’t seem right and even had the entire thing coded and ready
for launch last October.
In the end I kept looking at the links people were throwing at Squidoo
and decided that there was no way for my site to attract enough trust
and natural links to overcome the thousands of spam links that people
would throw at it from day 1.
In order for this sort of site to be really effective you would need
to have a trusted site and start selling pages in a sub directory. The
problem is that you run the risk of losing trust to the main site
based on the content of the paid pages. I’m not sure this business
model can ever really work.