Squidoo HQ came with a bit of a bombshell on April 8th: they're going to be closing down low quality groups. This caused a lot of groupmasters to close their groups down immediately. There are a lot less groups out there any more of the 'anyone can join' variety. Some smaller groups disappeared as well - some included that I didn't think were all that bad. So far it's self-censorship.
But some people are panicking a bit. One lensmaster started a rally to make sure that the right lenses would be allowed to stay around - having misread the blogpost. He thought that there are only going to be 100 groups left AT ALL... Which is not what Kimberly said. She said that the best 100 groups were going to get extra features. Which is a very different thing.
Right now we know only two things: 1) no new groups can be created right now and 2) the worst groups are going to be closed for us if the groupmasters don't improve them or close them. Beyond that - this post by squidophile summarizes the consequences pretty clearly.
The bid for quality over quantity is going to mean that all big groups are going to have to offer more to lensmasters to stay in the air. This could mean featuring the most prolific lensmasters, making sure your group page is changed reasonably often (as in once a month I should think) etc.
Aside from groups now having to make sure they have a decent group page, it's unclear whether we can keep using the groups platform as a convenient way to create a lensography and interlink our lenses. It is clear that the technology wasn't created for this purpose, but for giant squids and others with more than 50 or even 100 lenses - they do have to be connected somehow. That's just good SEO.
In the meantime some people are responding by really improving their game. Like Paula Atwell, who has decided to start promoting her group in hopes of getting actual search engine traffic. That's really going to benefit the lenses featured on her group page and her own lenses as well. I doubt it's going to help her group rank though - Even the most focussed group is not going to be niche enough to get much traffic.
So, for those of you in that last camp, trying to make your groups better so they can stay up, do read up on what Barkely (giant, squidangel and Citizen) has to say about getting your group from good to great.
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