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Why Was My Squidoo Lens Locked

My Squidoo Lens Was Locked – Why?

This morning I am really frustrated. I published a Squidoo lens yesterday, shared it with my readers and Facebook friends, only to find a comment on FB this morning that my squidoo lens was locked. I was flabbergasted.

I quickly checked my email to see the notification Squidoo sent me. I cringed when I saw the notification. In all fairness I am including an excerpt below.

Update: My Squidoo lens was unlocked! Humans checked it and realized an error was made by their software.

Dear Squidoo Lensmaster,

You published a new lens yesterday (which is great!) but we see that it contains a high degree of duplicate content. This is a notification that your lens has been unpublished from public view:



This lens was unpublished due to high quantities of content that exactly match content and writing posted elsewhere on the web. We call this duplicate content. A lens needs to contain original content that carries your personal point of view and words written by you, which are exclusive to your Squidoo lens and can’t be found anywhere else on the web. For content that you quote on your lens from another source, you need to be sure you’re crediting the source and including a link back to it….

…==WHAT NOW?==

Since your lens is being unpublished for having large amounts of duplicate content, or for plagiarizing, and since both are against our Terms of Service, your lens will remain locked from view and eventually deleted…

I could not believe it! I do not plagiarize. I pride myself about publishing original content. I questioned myself. Was it really possible I committed such a grave error in judgement?

My only recourse was to turn to Copyscape. It is an online (free or paid) plagiarism detection service that checks  if your articles are original and whether same or similar text content appears elsewhere on the web. To make sure  I had the highest quality service I purchased the premium option that allows one a thorough check for 5  cents per check.

I copied the entire content of my lens into Copyscape. To my dismay it returned 27 positive results. OUCH! Could this be the reason why my Squidoo lens was locked?

Upon examining the plagiarized/duplicate content it turned out that all 27 “violations” referred to a quote that contained a sentence  A key feature of LSI is its ability to extract the conceptual content of a body of text by establishing associations between those terms that occur in similar contexts“. This sentence was included in a quote from Wikipedia, which I placed on my lens on purpose as this definition is very complex and I could not define it any better.

When I removed the quote from the text and checked my text with Copyscape again, no duplicate content violation was detected. Below is the answer from the detection service:

No Results Found

Copyscape uses advanced statistical algorithms to search for copies of your content online. When no results are found, this is most likely because no content that is sufficiently similar to your content is currently available on the web.

There may be some rare cases where similar content exists online but Copyscape does not find it, perhaps because this content is located on a web page that is not indexed by search engines, or because the content has few identifying features.

I was so relieved! But I am still upset because I followed Squidoo rules, enclosed the quotation in quotation marks and linked it to the original source, Wikipedia. It must be that some Squidoo software checks the published lenses and that they lock any content that shows any duplication (irrespective of quote or no quote).

Of course, I immediately contacted Squidoo and disputed the lock out. This process may take up to 30 days.

What really bothers me the most is the fact that I spent many hours creating my lens. I did it in keeping with my off  page  optimization efforts to expose my website to a wider audience. It bothers me that my honest effort was so unilaterally dismissed by some software.

There are a couple of morals to this story. First do not include, even if allowed, known quotes in your Squidoo lenses or else they may be ruthlessly removed. Second, it seems that more and more we are at the mercy of some silly machines.

This experience really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I had great plans of publishing many more lenses. But if my Squidoo lens was locked for no other reason than a quote that complies with Squidoo TOS I am not sure I want to spend the effort of creating lenses which can be taken out of circulation at a whim of a machine.

Please leave me a comment or a “like”. I am feeling really blue.



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13 Responses to My Squidoo Lens Was Locked – Why?

  1. Richard January 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Hey Dita,

    Awesome blog post and very key points about giving the right attribution when needed. At least copyscape did its job which will help a lot of people know that they can rely on this tool going forward. I presume if you copy something from one of your own blogs in a related subject you will get the same thing.

    At least the plus from Squidoo is that they are only taking “absolute unique content’ which is great for marketers like yourself who is willing to go the extra mile.



    • admin January 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for cheering me up. The lock out really surprised me for another reason that I did not mention in the post.

      Namely, these days Google and humans really values posts or articles that refer to outside sources for references. It makes sense. Most articles in magazines, journals (scientific or not) make references to other articles and they are often in quotes.

      Referencing and quoting just shows that the writers do research for their writing and that they not pretending to magically come up with complex solutions. In this case how could I possibly come up with a technical definition of LSI (the topic that I discussed in the lens) when I am not a technical expert?

      I am curious how Squidoo will resolve this issue.

      Have great day,


  2. Michael Slater January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    It’s not so much that we are at the mercy of some algorithm, but that we never appear appear to have any valid form of re-dress or channel to argue our case with the likes of Google etc.
    At least in this case you were able to contact Squidoo and hopefully they will rescind the lockout. It’s really annoying when you have gone to the trouble of trying to adhere to their TOC, only to find that you may have to now wait 30 for it to be published or, worst-case scenario, deleted altogether!

    • admin January 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, it is amazing that the big platforms are never there to answer your questions. I don’t know if I feel confident that I will receive an answer from Squidoo. But, as I mentioned to Paul I have no problem re-purposing the content elsewhere.

      Best regards,


  3. louise January 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Oh I am so sorry, don’t they make you feel crap !! I think it’s just that feeling, when someone says you’ve done something “wrong” and you really don’t know why… As we say in England,”chin up” Hope you feel better now

    • admin January 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      Hi Louise,

      Thanks for the “chin up”. They say the same in Canada.



  4. Paul Eveleigh January 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    I stopped using Squidoo a while ago as they seem to make up rules as they go along. I know quite a few people who were unimpressed by their release of a new layout in the weeks before Christmas that caused as sorts of problems with content and links because it hadn’t been tested properly.

    One solution would be to offer your article as a guest post to another webmaster in your niche who has a high trafficed site, or syndicate it to several sites.

    Hope they see sense and you get your lens unlocked.

    Best wishes

    • admin January 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Paul,

      Good to see you here. I am thinking of publishing the content elsewhere but I am going to give them a few days to respond. Certainly I am not going to wait 30 days. That would be a waste of my time.

      I’ll keep you posted.

      Have a great day,


  5. Sandy Halliday January 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    That is sooooooo frustrating! I gave up on Squidoo lenses some time ago after I had a problem with them too. I created one about making money online only to discover that the topic was banned on Squidoo.

    Squidoo was popular a few years ago and then fell out of favor with internet marketers as they changed the rules. It seems to be back in favor again as I have seen a number of Squidoo products being sold as WSO’s very recently.

    I do hope you will be able to resolve it soon.


  6. Helena Zwarts January 28, 2013 at 11:31 am #


    I had also once a similar experience and I can tell you one feels really very low and degraded if you knew you always publish quality content…

    Luckily your story has a happy ending.

    Great article and thanks for sharing



    • Dita Irvine February 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi Helena,

      Thanks for visiting. I was pretty happy when my lens was re-instated. I knew I did not do anything wrong. Unfortunately, when they use software to assess a lens, mistakes happen. Software has a lot of limitations.

      All the best


  7. gracemary July 6, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I published a lens last night, this morning when i logged in, my dashboard say it is locked for duplicate content, I will try publishing it somewhere similar to squidoo and lets say what happens.

  8. John August 19, 2013 at 2:54 am #

    Hi Dita,

    Great blog post, thank you for sharing your experience with squidoo lenses, I plan to use them to promote my own site, although I would not use plagiarized/duplicate content, it is good to know even quoted and credited content could be picked up by their software.

    Best regards


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