We have created a Squidoo group that features lenses by those that support Bastiat Free University. Follow the link by clicking our name and you can go make your own lens for free - or several lenses. It will be a fine token of support - although when your lens earns $15.00 both you and BFU will both get a $5.00 bonus.
There are at least three good reasons to build a lens;
- to make a statement about something you care about,
- to make a little money for yourself or for charity (BFU is not a "recognized" charity).
- or for those of you that wish to control your personal image on the web a lens is a great personal branding tool.
I've built all three types.
There is a lens about BFuniv, a lens about going PT - becoming a permanent tourist, a lens about building wealth, and one for Americans about vote for any third party candidate -- among other lenses on my passions.
I've built a few to try generating money; one about Swiss goodies and gifts, another about top 5 employee recognition gifts, and recently one about Elliott Wave theory and socionomics.
For personal branding I guess you could count the BFU lens, but I also did a tongue-in-cheek one about Allan R. Wallace. There are a few Allan Wallaces around so perhaps the world needs to know which one I am.
The one negative that stands out about Squidoo is that the rules are out of your control. I had created a lens on college donations and making school contributions. One fine night Squidoo decided it needed more modules. They removed my lens. My first, and wrong, assumption was that they disliked my appeal for donations as they also removed another donation assistance page. I wrote and asked why. Days later I discovered the cause, days after that they responded to my e-mail.
The lens dropped from a top ten in Google to the fifth page - and is still dropping - it was a good and useful lens. I have added a module, but it will take time for Google to re-discover and re-rank the lens. On your own site you have more control, there is a BFU college donation page on our own bfuniv.org - it is still in the top four on google search for its key phrase. Long term there will be little or no effect - short term it was a frustration.
I have never liked unilateral contracts - one where the other guy calls all the important shots. I have walked away from deals and consulting jobs that wanted to reserve the right to change the rules after an agreement is made. That is incidental here - if all my lenses disappeared tonight due to another arbitrary decision it would change nothing in my life.
It takes just an hour or two to set up your first lens - and they may be around for a very long time. If a Squidoo money maker only brings in a dollar or two a month - fifty will bring a hundred dollars or more, possibly forever. My Swiss lens has hit about seven dollars this month - not much, but the number is growing and combined with other lenses is worth the hour or two I spent. 7 X 12 is $84.00 per year - this year and next year and growing.
In reality, including new lenses, they average under a dollar a month. Most of my lenses were made for informational purposes - so this is not a strong indicator of what you can do.
Plus building a squidoo lens is kind of fun.