Seth's Squidoo - Is it About.com, Wikipedia, or Geocities?

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Story Text:

The title is a little harsh, but justified i think. Seth just released his new eBook, "everyone is an expert" [pdf]. Its an ad, a damn good one, stacked with value, and i'd highly recommend it, but an ad nonetheless, for his new project Squidoo.

Squidoo will be a kind of About.com - where people get to submit and maintain "lenses" - which are essentially fact pages from what i can gather from his eBook. They'll have a uniform UI, be linked to other lenses and ranked with LensRank heh..

Now, you may scoff, and indeed im finding it a little tough not to take the piss out of this royally, but as it's Seth Godin, it may very well take off big time, and may succeed where other "expert pages" type affairs have failed.

In fact, I'm going to see if i can start one on a topic im interested in right now, on the belief that he might just pull off something marvellous with this old idea given new life....

Comments

the one thing i never

the one thing i never thought about.com or any of the others did particularly well was allow their platform to serve as a means by which content contributors could monetize their expertise (like by allowing them to sell consultation services). if seth can pull this off i think the project could be big. otherwise, i'm personally a bit skeptical.

Seth also talked about the "lenses" concept

At his keynote @ ecomXpo presentation earlier + also mentioned the squidoo beta coming soon,
I think we should wait and see what is shaped from the project cause Mr. Godin DO HAVE quite an impressive crowd of listeners (in number and in quality) and may take this a step forward than the existing apps.

Kidmercury that was very

Kidmercury that was very well said. That's the reason why I personally never contribute to such places. Don't really know why I post on forums then, but that somehow feels differently.

everybody

everybody and his dog has a blog network...

Todd thinks it's a winner

» The Big Moo and Why Squidoo Will Work

Here’s 3 reasons why I was wrong (realized after finishing the Big Moo).
1. We were all talking about the project already (me before I’ve really even found anything out about it) - Seth is naturally remarkable now
2. Seth knows he’s remarkable and doesn’t want to do anything that turns him back into an ordinary cow so he let’s others do his work for him (I’m sure he would be the first to admit this). - Case in point - “The Big Moo”. His greatest work now comes from helping to cultivate the best from other extraordinary minds. The ability to influence a social community of great thinkers with out trying to influence their thought is one of the things that makes Seth’s work continue to succeed.
3. Squidoo will have a new twist on an existing idea. The free prize is what will make it work and make it more successful than the original (mind you I’m really not in-tuned to what the project is yet, but plan on reading more right after I post this article).

Squidoo?

You know, I like catchy short names and all, but Squidoo? WTF?

You know, I like catchy

You know, I like catchy short names and all, but Squidoo? WTF?

i agree. whatever happened to the good old days of corporate-sounding, boring, non-cutesy names like General Electric or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company? now it's all flock and pluck and anything with two consecutive o's. the trend has been played, now it's a fad.

It's "BRANDING"

From AIGA Journal

Quote:
“What's in a name?” Juliet asked. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” She was of course wrong. Names influence perception and can enhance experience. But they need support. A global brand strategist, citing McDonald's as an example of regional adaptation in branding, writes that “In India the brand caters to a largely vegetarian and non-beef-eating population where its leading burger, the Maharaja Mac, is made with chicken and local spices.” Well, sure. But the operative change there is not the patronizing name of the sandwich, but the ingredients in the recipe. That's not branding. It's cooking.

It's a sad day when *ahem*

It's a sad day when *ahem* "male enhancement drugs", banks, insurance companies, social network sites, search engines, probably zit cream, the newest teeny-bopper pop singers, and spy ware companies all have meaningless names that all sound darn near alike. This isn't branding this is stupid-branding.

...try finding a cool name

...try finding a cool name for your .com these days...

It's times like this when I

It's times like this when I think I need to reopen the old dotcomMorgue.

There's good cute names and there's stupid ones

This one seems to be the latter...

private beta opens monday

private beta opens monday

Seth Speaks

Godin is responding to the response to the name Squidoo

Quote:
Find a name that came up with close to zero Google matches. The only English language matches I found for Squidoo were for a style of fishing lure (we bought 6 gross, more on that later).

If I had a choice between a killer domain with a generic word in it or a great word that led to a less than perfect domain, I'd take the first, every time.

The second thing that's happening with the explosion of made-up unique names is that the very structure of the word now communicates meaning. Web 2.0 names often have missing (or extra) vowels. The "oo" double o is a great way to communicate a certain something about a net company.

"HRKom" doesn't sound like the same kind of company as, say, "Jeteye". This is all very irrational, artsy fartsy stuff, and it's also important.

Altria and Achieva and Factiva and Kalera all sound like companies invented by naming firms. Which is a fine signal to send to Wall Street, but nothing you'd want to name your kid or your web 2.0 company.

The shift, then, is from what the words mean to what the words remind you of. The structure of the words, the way they sound, the memes they recall... all go into making a great name. Starbucks is made of two words that have nothing at all to do with coffee (except for their profits!) and the reference to Moby Dick is tenuous for most of us. But over time, the shape of the letters, the way they sound and the unique quality of the word makes it close to perfect.

>The "oo" double o is a

>The "oo" double o is a great way to communicate a certain something about a net company.

Somebody, not naming any names, has taken leave of their senses.

Names

I have a lot of respect for the godin. Even though I have disagreed with him as much as been inspired ;O) Names are a funny thing as any parent or person who has tried to name a company lately will tell you. Thing is, child or company, it's not what you name it at the beginning that tends to matter more what that name means as an adult or mature company. As in the case of starbucks, ebay, google, xerox .. you can't argue with the profits so the names don't sound so daft. boo.com is still a crap name but it's ok to say that now they are a footnote in the dotcom history books ;O)

The shift, then, is from

The shift, then, is from what the words mean to what the words remind you of.

i think this is a mildly dangerous strategy, as people's memories tend to be shape-shifting and ever-changing. suppose, hypothetically speaking, yahoo is exposed for pulling an enron. what does the double "o" remind you of then?

Emperor's New Clothes scenario if you ask me

I certainly agree with this:

Quote:
The shift, then, is from what the words mean to what the words remind you of. The structure of the words, the way they sound, the memes they recall... all go into making a great name. Starbucks is made of two words that have nothing at all to do with coffee (except for their profits!) and the reference to Moby Dick is tenuous for most of us. But over time, the shape of the letters, the way they sound and the unique quality of the word makes it close to perfect.

But Squidoo is just ugly sounding. And have you seen that strange squid on his site? Blech.

The more I read about this squidoo thing, the more I think Mr. Godin is trying to pull a fast one on the Internet public. Like this is one big joke and he wants to see how much press and publicity he can get out of the most silliest idea, name, and website, and then show the world how gullible they are. Wouldn't that make for an awesome next book? (I've often thought of doing something like that myself when I see how the press eats up the stupidest of the stupid ideas.)

If it's not that then maybe he's just on crack?

Maybe

And I would certainly buy the book ;O)

I think it will come down to the content. Nobody would like wikipedia if it wasnt for some of it being actually quite good :O)

Um....

Quote:
But over time, the shape of the letters, the way they sound and the unique quality of the word makes it close to perfect.

That's just a matter of familiarity. "Starbucks" is a perfect word to describe shops that sell over-roasted coffee and show up absolutely everywhere because Starbucks is a chain of shops that sell over-roasted coffee and show up absolutely everywhere. It's come to perfectly mean that because that's what it is.

And couldn't that claim be made about any name? Every word is unique. Is it possible for "boy" and "boy" to be two different words? Of course not. A word is a concept represented by a combination of characters and a combination of sounds, which serve to communicate a meaning. Even homonyms and homographs differ from eachother in either spelling or pronounciation, in addition to meaning -- if they didn't they'd be the same word.

And why he uses Starbucks, which he notes is not a neologism, as a way of supporting his neologism is beyond me.

eh?

eh?

eh what?

Eh what?

Did I ramble on a bit there?

My point about Starbucks meaning whatever it means to a given person is that familiarity is what will cause anyone to develop an association with any word. The first time you heard the word "Starbucks" did you think of the same thing that you think of now? I don't remember that glorious moment in history, but I expect I either thought of Moby Dick or Battlestar Galactica.

There's nothing about "Starbucks" or "Squidoo" that make that process of familiarizing and association unique. It happens with every word you learn, including every brand you learn.

Ah...so Squidoo is simply a

Ah...so Squidoo is simply a blog network, rather than a cult for Cthulhu? ;)

Looks like squid poop to me...

All I can think of at the moment when I see/hear Squidoo is Squid Poop. (The logo seems to be consistent with this!)

What I think of

Is mr godin rolling around in a nest made of VC money ;O)

I've just noticed his post

I've just noticed his post is titled "the new rules of naming" - I think the new rules of bullshit would be far more appropriate....

Just read the whole thing too

And I agree. In fact, I feel like I just stepped in a whole lot of squid poop.

I think Jill is on to

I think Jill is on to somthing here.

...show the world how gullible they are.

Squid Poop

lenses

I bet they drop the lens concept for blog or something more meaningful inside two months.

Looks like About.com all over again, with some SEO thrown in. How about SpaBout.com?

My big wonder concerns all the SEOs he met with over the past year or so (you know, those $1000 interactive days certain SEO types spent to met Seth Godin and disuss their businesses and business plans?). Did he get all the competitive knowledge he needed, or did he also hire one or two?

Not that I want to feed the

Not that I want to feed the troll (Godin, that is), but this caught my eye:

(you know, those $1000 interactive days certain SEO types spent to met Seth Godin and disuss their businesses and business plans?)

I "don't know" - at least I didn't ;-) But it explains why Mr Godin is all of a sudden everywhere. Honestly, I never expected to hear his name in these circles. For that reason, I've been surprised quite a few times the last few weeks.

However, John, you're perfectly right (imho) that the guys and girls in these circles might be able to teach Mr. Godin a trick or two. Probably even involuntarily. The squid does sound like a "search engine + ads" business model to me. Very much so.

Surprised?

Godin does marketing books and blogs, we talk about marketing ... we talk about Godin, natch? :O)

samples posted Hey, im being

samples posted

Hey, im being put on the next round of beta's later this week so i'll be able to give a bit more from the inside... did anyone else here get on the beta list?

i'm on the beta list, but

i'm on the beta list, but there's a pretty strict NDA. an excerpt:

Your participation in the closed beta is on a confidential basis. You can tell people that you’re in the beta, but you agree not to share your beta account, you will not take screen captures to send to anyone outside of the Squidoo team, and you will not blog about specifics of your beta testing experience until we lift the confidentiality restriction.

Arrgh! That's the second

Arrgh! That's the second property that launched in the last week that pops content up in a new window with all toolbars and such stripped out. When did people start thinking this is the cool way to treat their site visitors?

Arrgh the second: LensMaster?

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