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Review Part 1: Squid Pro Quo By Erica Stone

Hi everyone! Today starts my review of Erica Stone’s Squid Pro Quo. I hate to say I didn’t know who Erica was, because she PM’d me and said she was a fan of mine, but I’m really bad with names and I don’t recall her. So hopefully we haven’t ever interacted and I just forgot.

One thing I’m really happy about though, is that when I barely mentioned the product yesterday, several of you chimed in and said you buy everything she puts out because you like her style. Some had this particular product and said it was good – but we’ll see if it passes the TIFF TEST (insert ominous music here LOL).

How I Found Out About the Product

After my wretched experience this past week with the Blackgator product, I went trawling for something else in the WSO section of Warrior Forum. Squid Pro Quo caught my eye because I’m a big advocate of Squidoo. I’ve used it for years. It still works to promote anything they allow.

I especially love using it for tangible sales – particularly around the holidays. Now I’ve read many Squidoo courses – some of them were stinkers and some spammy. I hope this one’s not one of those kinds. I like reviewing other people’s Squidoo products because the site is always evolving and my own Squidoo products were taken off the market previously because I didn’t feel like keeping them updated.

For my particular audience, I like reviewing this product because:

1. It covers a method that’s free (I think – Squidoo at least – not sure about what she has us doing, though).

2. It’s newbie friendly (Squidoo is)

3. It’s profitable (using Amazon)

4. It ranks fast and performs well in search engines (if you know what you’re doing)

5. This product is affordable. She kept the price point at $19 – nice! I like that.

Nobody told me about this product or about Erica Stone. I just stumbled on it.

My Review of the Squid Pro Quo Sales Copy

When I clicked through, there was a notice that it was WSO of the Day on September 14th. This never impresses me personally because I know they’ve made WSOs of the day on crappy products, too. Then there’s a graphic with a Squid and some money and some phrasing about an unfair advantage.

The sales copy says there’s not a lot of product research required (yea), that we don’t have to write tons of content (hmm not sure how the lens works then), that we can build a lens under 2 hours (I hope so because mine don’t take long).

She says she’s going to give us cut and paste code so we don’t have to learn HTML. I like this. She mentions how it’s perfect if we’re late starters to the holiday season and how this works year round (true of Squidoo).

There’s a mention of Market Samurai, which I own, or free tools that deliver the same results. She promises to teach us a cool formatting trick for images that works on Squidoo or other sites. She says there’s a 1-time backlinking strategy she teaches, and she recommends weak competition keywords to rank fast.

Ah one thing I like – for those of you who live in states where Amazon commission isn’t possible, you can use Squidoo and partake of the Amazon Associates program because they pay Squidoo – and Squidoo pays you.

Her CTR to Amazon is over 30% on her test lenses using this strategy – awesome!

What We Get in Squid Pro Quo

She says we get the main Squid Pro Quo guide of 23 pages with two sets of thorough, step-by-step instructions.

We also get bonuses that include a keyword idea tracking spreadsheet, lens planner spreadsheet, three one-time backlinking methods,  and 3 HTML templates.

She also made it so that there’s an easy system for us to outsource to someone else. I like this! I just handed over content to my ghostwriter so she could create 3 new lenses for me (they’re Christmas lenses).

What She Promises

She swears there’s no upsells (hallelujah) and there’s nothing we have to buy to get it to work (yea!). She also offers a 60-day money back guarantee. Nice.

After that there’s a whole slew of review testimonials, which never mean diddly squat to me.  I go through real comments on the WSO thread. Oh! I see it must be a dimesale or something? Someone mentioned that the price was $13.10, and now it’s $19, so I don’t know if there’s a cap on it or what.

Tons of comments about people saying they bought it because they buy everything she creates. Good to hear. I love that people who got review copies disclosed it. I know they’re supposed to, but some don’t. Means this lady attracts ethical followers. She says she makes $2,000 a month from her Squidoo lenses. I would be too if I hadn’t sold them all off. LOL!

Some people had been asking how it relates in terms of her other Squidoo product and apparently, this is a shortcut – different image tactic, single lenses versus groups, much less content, etc.

Someone mentioned her stellar customer support – and I noticed someone else told me personally that she’s like me in responding really fast. This is important to me. I get annoyed when my peoples’ support tickets go unanswered when I promote something.

Note: Someone asked Erica if they need to put the Amazon disclosure anywhere on the page and she said yes. I don’t think this is necessary because Squidoo built it in there for you here:

It’s at the very bottom of your page. It says, “This page and all the pages on Squidoo generate income for lensmasters and charities based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Have fun.” So Squidoo built it in for us – they have our backs!

How I Got the Product

When I decided I wanted to review it, I submitted my request for affiliate approval and in the message box, I told Erica that I wanted to do a review of it. I was going to buy it, but she emailed me a free download. Very nice, although I do hope she knows how my reviews go – I assume she does since she said she’s a big fan of mine.

When she emailed it to me, she said there were two sections:

  • Keyword finding guidelines
  • Lens building techniques

When I unzip the file I see a folder for Keyword Tracking, one for Lens Planning, one for Squidoo Links Instructions, and one for Your Amazon Links Instructions. I also see a PDF for the main book.

Main Book Review

So I open up the main PDF first. It’s 26 pages long, starting with a graphic and the disclaimer. Then the table of contents, which ARE hyperlinked, conveniently.

The Introduction is an overview, welcome message kind of thing.

The Strategy Overview is more detailed. She mentions a page on Squidoo which I hadn’t checked in forever so I just did. This section is basically telling the newbies to Squidoo how this all works.

The Ideal Keywords section is very different from anything I’ve ever done! I’m anxious to use this strategy to test things out. The note is kind of shocking to me on what does NOT matter. Ah part of what she’s teaching, I kind of Frankentiffed from Info Product Killer long ago with my toilet seat site :)

Good insight on what to avoid because I KNOW some newbies will think they struck gold, when they really got a dud. She shows us a sample live lens of hers. Actually three! I’m shocked at what’s missing in the introduction module. And she wasn’t lying when she said minimal content – I could create THOUSANDS of these in a flash I feel like.

Okay I do a little sleuthing in an incognito window. Checking to see how her lenses rank:

  • Lens #1 ranks #10 on page 1
  • Lens #2 ranks on page 1 of Google in spot #7
  • Lens #3 ranks on page 1 of Google in #10.

All page 1, so that’s good.

Kinda cool the way she does her module titles with keywords.

How to Find Keywords is a section I’m excited about! I love doing research like this because you stumble on a nugget and then you feel so proud of yourself.

She has a good starter ideas strategy. Love the kids one. Mine will be all over that. Okay Scarlett’s home today and she just brainstormed with me and MAN my daughter came up with some good ones!

Oh shoot I uninstalled Market Samurai since I preferred my Google keyword tool, so I’ll just go with that version. Ick it has me download a free tool. I hate downloads. LOL!

Okay the free tool is very cool. But I’m lost on what to put in her spreadsheet. I get the first two columns, but what am I entering in the last ones? No clue… it’s not registering with me even though they’re trying to explain it.

Okay shoot. I got all excited because I found a phrase with all the criteria, but then I realized it was 3 words long. LOL! I registered the lens URL anyway. Gotta stick to the exact criteria she has listed here. Oh crap I did another rule breaker! UGH – shame on you, Tiff! Oh well, another good lens idea with hits on all the other criteria so I’ll grab the URL. lol

Okay Scarlett and I sat down and replaced the keywords I screwed up on – again, she blows my mind! She came up with all sorts of stuff and I’m going to clue you guys in on my overall topic so you can see what I’m doing with this one example.

Her keyword she picked out was “baby dolls.” So we went and did the extensive research for this. Now I have to say there are some sickos out there. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Nowwww we’re on a roll! Finding some gooood stuff! Really love this research method and now I know why she’s making bank on Squidoo.

I found 7 awesome keyword phrases for this niche that meet all the criteria! Woot!

Now the next step is not something I like – I feel like it’s link leakage. I never put this on my lenses, but I’ll adhere to her instructions. Okay but I did it the way she talks about so it’s not like what I normally see. I find the elements I need.

Boy this research stuff is fun, but time consuming – once I know what I’m doing it won’t take as long, but right now I’m carefully implementing.

Got my planners filled out! Must say here that usually, I never use people’s planner stuff but these are really well done, except for the 4 columns where I’m not sure what I’m supposed to put in there.

I’m onto the lens building portion!

Oh gosh heart attack. I just realized after ALL that work that I forgot to check and see if someone else had that lens URL – they don’t! Woot! Kinda surprised, too!

I open up the lens building PDF she gives us, which is 14 pages long. She gives instructions on what to do if the URL is not available. I disagree – just take out the dashes. Instead of her options, I’d rather include another word like “the” or “best” or something. But that’s not an issue for me because mine was available.

Another link leakage problem I see, but I’m adding it anyway. I want to revert to old habits. LOL! But I’m not.

Building my lens is slow, but I’ll get faster. I watch her video tutorial on hyperlinks. Her voice is pleasant. No slurping. No splicing. She’s a pro.

Lots of work for me here. I like the way it looks – kind of like using the Amazon modules, only this gives you 100% of the commission. Hmm okay my image above the video looks kinda wacky. Not sure if it’s supposed to look like this. Maybe it is. I’ll leave it for now! LOL

Oh wow the last Text module trick is cool – and for a good reason, too! Very nice.

Okay she goes over some of the sidebar steps but I’m going to opt out of the ads (the middle one) and I’m customizing the bio on that page.

Oh. My. God.

I was so aggravated just now. I finish the lens. I’m DONE after working on it all day now. I go to look at it and what is the FIRST thing that pokes me in the eyeball?

A MISSPELLED URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Calm down, Tiff. CALM down! This *&^%$#@! keyboard of mine pisses me off SO bad! It makes me skip letters. It has to be perfectly aligned with some thingy plugged into my hard drive or it doesn’t work perfectly. Oh I’m so mad. I just had to copy the whole lens over to the correct URL.

I had originally built it on squidoo.com/baby-dolls-for-TODDERS (note the missing L) and I had to fix it to this: Baby Dolls for Toddlers.

Okay that part is all done. Tomorrow I’ll continue on with the PDF on backlinking, etc. This was draining – not because the info isn’t good. It is! It’s draining because I have been using Squidoo since 2006 – I have my own fast system where I fly through it. So anytime you learn other people’s stuff, it feels like a sort of obstacle.

I did notice that as I continued on with the modules, it got faster and faster. And I like to work from a Word doc and then paste it into notepad rather than paste it directly into Squidoo and fill stuff in from there.

Now that my heart attack is over, I’m going to go to the grocery store. Today I enjoyed what I learned in Squid Pro Quo! Gained some tips and I like some of her formatting tricks. I REALLY loved the way she researches. This is going to do well for me in Squidoo AND on my own websites, and the free tool she mentioned did just fine in helping me!

I’ll be back tomorrow :)

Tiff

60 Responses to “Review Part 1: Squid Pro Quo By Erica Stone”

  • Mary says:

    Thanks for this review, Tiff. I also purchased this product yesterday but have never done anything on Squidoo before. I didn’t get all the way through the process last night — I started setting up the module and then had to go to bed. :-) I’ll keep going, though, since it sounds like you think using her techniques could potentially generate some cash. Thanks again.

  • Oh dear, that misspelling issue sounds frustrating – but also, I have to admit, a little funny! It made me think of when my Bernese mountain dog was a puppy.

    I was working on my laptop, but then my coffee was ready – all mom’s need perfectly timed caffeine IMHO! ;)

    Anyway, I put my laptop on the ground and went to get my coffee. When I came back my keyboard looked a little weird. (NOTE: The Berner was my first puppy so I was unaware of their antics! LOL!)

    As I sat there staring at the keyboard and wondering why the shift key was missing I suddenly get an email from my mom: “Sorry Tiff, I can’t read your email.”

    What?! I hadn’t sent her an email.

    Then, I look and see that the email in question is just a bunch of scrambled letters. Ha!

    I figured out that Keba (the dog) had walked all over my laptop while I was getting coffee. She somehow managed to send my mom an email and she ate my shift key.

    Oh well. Shift happens! ;)

    Glad you got your url issue resolved with a few strands of hair left in your head! :)

    • Tiffany says:

      LOL! How funny Tiff!

    • Viviane says:

      Don’t you love those smart alecs? At least your dog tries to do do her own work. Mine has me slaving at the computer on her websites…

    • Jean Morgan says:

      Oh boy that is a great story! Thanks for giving me a smile this evening.

    • Ate the Shift key, huh? You gave me a good belly laugh. Thanks.

    • LOL! yes “SHIFT happens” … a new twist on the classic “sorry …COK” messages!

      My office manager cat Felix keeps trying to send Faxes all over the world …

      I come in to find pages and pages of instructions sheets printed up on how to operate the Fax… which happens if you press the right keys, so he likes to pretend he’s faxing like we do!

      BTW I just bought the squid pro quo as I’ve had a good year on squidoo and this might help boost it a bit more for Christmas revenue.

  • Susan says:

    Nice lens, Tiffany.

    I think this is the solution to your wacky image problem:

    Check the code in the first set of images. The for the second and third images should run right up after the for the product before it. I think that’s what happening and deleting the extra space so they run right after each other should fix that.

    I had the same problem and that’s Erica’s solution (and it worked.) :)

    • Tiffany says:

      Wait I’m confused. The Youtube module? It has one image. It’s sticking outside of the red box. Is that right? Did I screw something else up? LOL!

    • Kate says:

      Tiff,

      I also had the same image problems and emailed Erica and this is her exact response:

      “Also noticed that your images are stair stepping in the first row. You can fix this by removing any spaces between the that ends the first and second product codes and the that starts the next product.”

      Hope this helps.

      Kate

  • Cyndie says:

    I am building a Halloween lens using your video as an example…thinking about getting this so I like the fact that you are reviewing this…thanks

  • Susan says:

    No, where your product images are stair-stepping down.

    I can see a couple of product images outside of the red box, but your YouTube module looks just fine to me.

    I’m pretty sure that for the image issue, the link needs to have this code at the end:

    _SL160_BO1,0,0,0_PA6,6,6,6_.jpg instead of
    _SL300_BO1,0,0,0_PA8,8,8,8_.jpg

    I’m hoping that will make sense to you based on how you put the other image codes in. If not, let me know and I’ll help you.

  • Susan says:

    LOL. I have to head out for my daughter’s cross country meet.

    I’ll email you a snapshot later of what it looks like in my browser. :)

  • Cathy says:

    Your lens looks great! I should have thought of that one as I have a toddler granddaughter living with me. Unfortunately she’s a little too young to bounce ideas off of. I need to borrow Scarlet!

    I got a review copy of this and loved it. The only thing, my review copy only had one sample lens, not 3.

    I already did one lens but I found one with just 2 words so I used it (already had 1 sale off of it).

    I love Erica’s stuff. She never leaves stuff out of her guides and she’s very ethical. Great customer service too.

  • Hi Tiffany your review is top quality,i am in he process of setting up my plr store with the help of your plratm product.This wso looks like something i can make great use off. Thank you for this review.well done cheers.

  • Viviane says:

    Tiffany, you won’t find more ethical than Erica, and she won’t write about a subject if she does not know it extensively AND has tested it thoroughly. I buy all her products without the slightest hesitation. She is also very methodical and offers great clarity.

  • Jean Morgan says:

    Hi Tiff,

    You may have seem that I was one of the people who re3viewed Erica’s WSO. I got a review copy whuich was amazing as I am usually asleep at midnight and she emailed about it in the early hours UK time. I am one of those who has a lot of Erica’s stuff. She is good and I rate her as being up there with you for looking after her people and her ethics. She says it how it is.
    I buily 1 lens using this technique so far. No sales yet but it ranks #8 on p1 in Google behind the big guns, Amazon, eBay, Walamrt etc so I am very happy with that indeed.
    I found the research a bit hard but then found I had enough to make over 40 lenses so time and effort well spent there. LOL. The actual lens building I did reasonably quickly, probably less than 1 hour and I can see me getting faster. I think this is like chinese cooking. The secret is to do all the prep and blast through the cooking fast…
    Did a bit of Squid years back but left it to do other stuff. Been doing a bit more this last few months and last months payment was +$1oo which is really good money for not much work.
    If the newer folks stick to the instructions and email Erica when stuck they can start to get a decent return in a few months I think.

    JeanW

  • LisaH says:

    I got it too, right after launch – she’s one of the few people I didn’t unsubscribe from because she puts out rock solid content every single time. Not a single disappointment yet, her products always rock. I think she has the same standards as you when it comes to delivering quality for your customers.
    Though with this I seem to have problems finding good keywords. But that might be my sleep deprived brain pulling a blank LOL!

  • Jean Morgan says:

    Is it the ideal keyword tracker you are stuck on?

    • Tiffany says:

      The spreadsheet? Yeah the last 4 columns but I emailed her to find out :)

      • Jean Morgan says:

        So from the left you put in the keyword and how many monthly searches. Then from Market Samurai you count up how many of the top 10 results have a PR0 and put that figure in the box. Remember if less than 3 discard the keyword. In the next column you go back to market samurai and count up the number of top 10 pages with 0 backlinks and enter that number in the column labelled backlinks. Remember that again there needs to be 3 or more. In the final column you add those last 2 numbers for number of pages with zero page rank say 4 pages and number of pages with zero backlinks say 3 which gives a total of 7.
        I then sorted my spreadsheet and plan to do those lenses with the highest figure in the total column first. These are the keywords with the lowest competition and should rank easily.
        The keyword I attempted on Saturday had a score of 17 in the total column and has ranked straight in on page 1 #8 and I never did the backlinking thing Erica recommended.
        Brilliant!

        Jean

  • Heather426 says:

    I too love Erica Stone, and I have some of her other products and this one too. I have already been doing my keywords the way she teaches in this course for 8 months, and it has increased my earnings x6. She also has several killer html lenses on Squidoo that I use every time I make a lens. So count me as a fan of Erica!

  • Ingrid says:

    I bought this product and am excited, however I have a problem getting the images lined up like your and hers and then placing the wordings below the images. I am tearing my hair out trying to get this done. I wish I had someone I could outsource this to its keeping me back.

  • sam says:

    Hi Tiffany:
    I am really enjoying your Squid Pro Quo review by Erica. Sounds like a fantastic way to make money on Squidoo. Can’t wait to see more. Take care, Sam

  • Tracie says:

    Hello Tiffany,

    I managed to get a review copy of SquidProQuo – guess I was just in the right place at the right time. I loved it and am using it.

    I wanted all the information in one place though so I combined the spreadsheets into one and made a new template. Now I can do the research, list the lenses I’m going to make, and check them off as they are completed all in one spreadsheet.

  • Joey says:

    LOL @ the best black baby doll! For some reason, that sounds weird to me. This course seems like something even a lazy bum like me can do. The fact that Squidoo pays by Paypal is an added bonus. I kind of gave up on Squidoo after 2009, but I think I’m gonna have to get back into it.

    • Tiffany says:

      I know and you know what made me feel awkward? I just went down the list in order and the black baby doll happened to be the one where she say to highlight ONE product – but that made me feel not so PC just putting ONE black one and multiples on all the others. :/

  • Buddy says:

    I never could figure out how to add the “lens workshop”.

    • Tiffany says:

      the lens workshop isn’t something you add. It’s what you see after you register your lens :) It’s where you start building the modules.

  • Kater says:

    Oh lordy. A baby doll that poops?!? Gotta have one of those for sure.

    Hey, I have a client looking for a way to jazz up their links and have totally overlooked the Squid arena. What do you think about using Erica’s methods for NON Amazon offers. His biz is service related.

    • Tiffany says:

      LOL Yes it works great – just make sure it’s okay as far as topics. Remember my ghostwriting services lens earned me over $10,000. It works great for any topic.

  • Mary Kathan says:

    I just bought it. I have been making some Squidoo lenses, so this will be great to increase my sales for Christmas time.

    Thanks Tiffany. I feel that you are honest about products and have actually went through them, so I feel good about making purchases through your reviews. Makes a HUGE difference to me.

  • Great writeup, Tiff. I love that you have issues with things, too. That makes the average person like me feel better when we have them, too.

    I haven’t bought this yet but am really considering it.

    Hugs
    G-Ma

  • LindaP says:

    You convinced me to give Erica a chance. Erica’s materials convinced me to jump in and purchase more. Thanks for this review!

  • Debra says:

    I’ve tried to understand all of the suggestions here about getting the first 3 images to line up straight and mine are all still like stair steps! Since the last part of the code always lines up right, I even tried coping the last 3 html code and replacing the first three and that still didn’t do it. Very frustrating. Guess I’ll just have to learn to like it too. lol

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