Stay long enough at WHAM sites or marketing forums and someone will advise you to start promoting your affiliate products on Squidoo, Zujava, and other free writing platforms. Their main reasoning is that Google loves these sites, so if you publish your content with them, it will most likely appear on top of search results pages (SERPs) in just a matter of time. Aside from that, signing up is free.
But as an Amazon affiliate - or someone wanting to be one - should you follow this advice? The honest answer is no. Here's why.
- Squidoo et. al. no longer have high domain authority.
When Squidoo started implementing big changes back in March 2013, it was not long before lensmasters (or members at the site) figured out why. The site was "slapped" by Google, so traffic experienced an all-time low. So to regain Google's trust, Squidoo locked many lenses and banned accounts that only promote affiliate products. Imagine those members who worked hard to get their lenses on top of SERPs only to find out one morning that their lenses are gone.
If you look at the traffic statistics of Squidoo at Quantcast, you can see that the site is slowly going up. But compared with traffic last year - or even back in 2009 - the site has still a long way to go before it fully recovers.
- You don't have control over a free site's changes.
If you read a site's terms of service/use, you'll see that they can implement changes anytime they want. Squidoo, Wizzley, and Zujava are just like any other site that undergoes changes when they see fit. When a change is implemented, you need to adapt immediately. Otherwise, not only will you lose your content but your earnings as well.
We take Squidoo again as an example. Last July, the site implemented a 20-links only policy for links pointing to Amazon products. Though existing lenses with more than 20 Amazon links were not locked or unpublished, it was certainly time-consuming to be going over 100-plus lenses that exceed the new link limit.
- Quality filters are too sensitive.
Even seasoned lensmasters complain that the Squidoo's filters are too sensitive. Imagine yourself spending two to three hours creating a "unique" lens only to get a duplicate content warning when you hit the publish button. Or worse, locked.
Here's a brief conclusion.
While free writing platforms have their uses, it's best to invest in your own website - either create one yourself or purchase ready made websites. Not only will you have total control over your content, but rest assured that your hard work will never be put to waste. You don't have to worry about getting locked or banned. It's your site, so you can do anything you want with it.