Squidoo Ghost Town, An Evacuation Begins

When Seth Godin Bombed Squidoo

Seth Godin’s inflated reputation as an internet guru took a big hit when he surrendered Squidoo, selling out to his competition, HubPages, screwing the writers who trusted him.

Godin lamely blamed it on a recent change in how internet traffic is routed. What this really meant and Godin couldn’t bring himself to admit was that Google got so fed up with the mounds of spammy junk on his site, they cut off most of the search results routed his way.

Squidoo Ghost Town

Within twenty-four hours of this writing, Squidoo began its devolution to ghost town, the worst kind of ghost town, digital, one where not even the ground is left to become barren. Not a stick of furniture, not even dust will be left.

I walked down Squidoo’s Main Street that morning. It was a habit. You check on your sales. What’s in Tier One? Any interesting news from HQ?

It didn’t feel the same, everything frozen, motionless. It was like the whole family ran out of the house so fast, they forgot to turn off the TV and the lights. The ceiling fan in the dining room still turned, stirring the stale air for no one.

Barely a week passed since the storm warnings were washed away by the disaster predicted. The disaster was made worse by its being so banal and disillusioning.

When TGIF Became OMG

We all just looked at each other. Digitally, that is. ‘Did you see what I just saw?’

As reality filtered in, between puffs of disbelief, the truth grew irresistible.

“Great news,” Seth Godin declared. As soon as movers came for the furniture, he explained, our home, the sprawling, multi-hued place known as Squidoo, would be demolished. No, not quite that. It would be disintegrated, vaporized, foundation, walls, stairs and attic, all gone without a trace.

Godin told us we should be happy. He was holding the door for us. What more could you ask?

There was a Twilight Zone feel to it. It couldn’t be happening, could it? Not like this.

Inevitably, disbelief turned to sadness. Since, for most, it teetered be between anger and resolution.

No Fiddler On The Roof

When Tevye, Goldie, their remaining daughters and the good people of Anatevka were forced to leave, their hearts were swollen with a toxic mix of love, loss and rejection.

For the Squidoo diaspora, it’s worse. Our humble citizens aren’t being forced to evacuate because of our sincere belief in God and cultural traditions that held us together. We have no spirit on the roof playing our tune.

Our God announced that he was a manipulative stick figure without magical powers. He got bored with us, it seemed. More likely, like the general manager of a sports team going through a really bad season, he sold his players for cash, throwing in the towel. Probably for a tidy profit.

“Well,” the atheists said, “we told you there’s no God. Now, God himself told you.”

As you can imagine, the taste of reality didn’t make anyone feel much better, except the atheists of course who got an ego bounce, for all the good that did them.

Squidoo and Digital Disbelief

Now, you can walk all around Squidoo without consequence. If you throw a brick through the window, it won’t break. If you step into a bar, no one will serve you a drink

Squidoo is a ghost town, for another thirty days or so, and then, it’s No Town.

Fittingly, like T. S. Elliot’s Wasteland, not with a bang, but a whimper.

No archive exists. The public records are being destroyed too. Fortunately, we will have a few pictures. And memories.

Impossible to nod at everyone in the community, but I believe a lot of us will miss…

  • Barbara’s slightly offbeat love for country and western music and its messages
  • Steve’s dazzling photography of the birds he loves
  • Nancy’s pride in history, her own as well as all that bubbled around it
  • Jackie’s passionately peculiar mix of Old England and present day Florida
  • Shinichi’s gentle reminiscences of his travels around Japan, his adopted country
  • All the Contributors who partnered readily with Squidoo to bring niche focus to the platform, an initiative that failed, but not from a lack of passion
  • The excitement that rippled across all the groups at mid-month when the Blue Box dropped

As Sam Kirchinsky, played by Armin Mueller-Stahl reflected in Barry Levinson’s movie, Avalon, “If I knew it was going to end so soon, I’d have remembered it better.”

Why I Will Try Not To Remember Squidoo, Better or Worse

When I was twenty, I had a monster crush on a girl who I thought shared my infatuation. Without going into all the sorry details, I can tell you she gave me the slip one night at a rural airport as it was shutting down, leaving me to walk all the way home in the dark.

When I knocked on her door, trying to understand, a couple of days later, she peaked out long enough to see who was there. Then, she closed it again.

Squidoo’s like that for me. Whatever sweetness saturated us before, it all got thrown away in the nasty dissolution.

I’m not going to do an autopsy. I’ve already done that. To me, in the end, it was as if I’d been flirted with outrageously by the boss’s daughter, only to find out it was just a rouse to keep me on the job, pumping out product until they shut the power off.

Seth Godin? I have his know-it-all image from the web, you know the one that makes him look much better than he really does. I have it next to his books I bought. Who knew it was all fiction?

The brilliant marketer who preached to the TED crowd, pranced around the internet with a blog where he was too precious to allow comments, explained it all to the gullible in interviews, he’s the guy who bombed with Squidoo and wasn’t man enough to come clean in the end.

Amen. I used to root for, then defend A-Rod too. I’m not so big I can’t say so when I’m wrong.

Will The Last Person to Leave Squidoo Please Turn Off The Lights?

The wind will soon stop whistling down Squidoo’s Main Street, at the intersection with Lens Rank. It will stop because nothing will remain to feel the breeze passing.

When the lights go out, a strange thing will happen, stranger than fiction. All the structures the lights illuminated will vanish, as if the light was what made them real.

And so, the people. And so, the small police force, the structural engineers and the office staff. It will be as if none of them ever existed. There will never be a cemetery to visit, no sentimental statues. The trophies will melt to liquid and evaporate in the flash of closing.

Ghost towns used to stand longer. I’ve walked through real ghost towns, feeling the sadness, the memories embedded in the remains. Real lives had been there. But this is the digital age. Things and people are less than disposable. That old age at least left a residue.

The Squidoo ghost town has a thirty day lifetime remaining. It’s already counting down.

David Stone

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