An anonymous poster over at Joel on Software: the Business of Software, just ripped my heads up re squidoo into little squishy bits. They said:
Is it just me or do others "not get it"?
So this is a place to put yourself on a pedistle (sic) or stand on a soap box or something? Here look at me and my ego, I'm just trying to sell product on my website, but I'll put up a few uninteresting, poorly thought-out tips so you find me!
Let me give you an example of what I see as the value in squidoo:
Now, I've been hearing about this sudoku thing off and on for the last couple of months. I've noticed sudoku books at my local Borders too.
I wanted to know: how do you play this game? Is there a windows version of it I can try and see if I get anything from this?
Off to Google I go: a hour later, I still don't have a clue how to play this game. Way, way, way too much info. How do you play the damn game!
I go to the lens above a few minutes ago: oh, there's a flash tutorial that the lensmaker, who knows all about sudoku found for me.
I work through the that tutorial. OK, now I get it! sudoku is like a crossword puzzle (I had thought it was like go or chess), I can actually get into this now!
Squidoo lenses are distilled knowledge. The lensmaker, self-appointed, offers up their take on the subject. It might be moonshine, bathtub gin or wood alcohol, but the ratings there tell you what others think of it. If its really good stuff (Acorn Sangiovese comes to mind), then I've just gotten the knowledge I was looking for, and I'm a happy guy.
If I get into this sudoku thing, I'll click through to one of the books this lensmaker recommends because 1) he answered my question, reduced my stress and seems to know a thing or two and 2) It doesn't cost me anything, so why not?
For micro-ISV's the value proposition is a golden opportunity to establish credibility about the product you sell, not flog it.
Keep in mind, squidoo has been a public beta for about 18 hours now... both it and the quality of the lenses I expect will improve greatly from here on out.