Squidoo uses a system of levels for the "squids". All new users are in Level 1. By participating in various activities, users earn achievement points. With enough points, a user will advance to the next level towards the current peak, 81. In the low levels, few points are required for advancement. Later, 1000, 2000 or 4000 points are required before the user can advance.
Achievement points are earned for activities on the Squidoo site, as noted earlier. There are many activities that earn these points. Different numbers of points are earned for different activities. For example, writing a new article, (or "lens" as Squidoo calls it), will earn as many as 200 points for a user at the lowest level. High level squids might only earn 70 points for the same activity. When traffic is received on a lens, and the viewer interacts with the site by leaving a comment, additional points are earned.
Squidoo maintains many counts of the particular activities that may be done by a user. For example, bonus points and trophies are awarded for significant achievements., such as when a user publishes a large number of lenses. There are awards given when 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and more lenses are published. This allows the user to increase in levels quickly. Since more site features are available to high level squids, it is useful to publish many lenses quickly. After publishing 25 lenses, a user will be of sufficient status that most all of the site features are available.
When a user has published their 50th lens, they are eligible to apply to be a Giant Squid. This status unlocks some significant site features. It also gives a boost to the page rank of the user's lenses. This may improve the ranking of the lenses in the site's top 100 lists. Promotion to Giant Squid status is not automatic, however. There is a judging procedure and applications are taken only 4 times a year. The status is very useful so every effort should be made to publish at least 50 quality lenses before the next quarterly admission deadline.
Squidoo is a very highly ranked site with search engines such as Google. There are well over 1 million articles on the site. The site allows up to 9 backlinks from Squidoo to pages on other domains. As well, there is a revenue model for the authors. This pays 50% of the advertising revenue to the community of members. Payment is given to those members whose lenses rank well on Squidoo. All lenses are given a position in the master list of all lenses. Those in the top 2000 are in "Tier 1". They each receive a monthly cash award of perhaps $25 or more. The next 6000 lenses are in "Tier 2". They each receive a monthly cash award of perhaps $5 or more. The next 72,000 lenses are in "Tier 3" which is worth 20 cents or so each month.
In addition to the payments that Squidoo users receive based on lens ranking, the site allows affiliate linking to Amazon, eBay and more ecommerce sites. Standard modules for these programs can be added to lenses and populated with available products. Sales from the modules result in affiliate commission amounts being credited to the Squidoo user. The sales commissions are not shared from a pool, however. The commission from a particular lens is earned by the author of that lens only. Many Squidoo users focus on the affiliate commission aspect of Squidoo and essentially ignore the cash amounts that might be earned by the monthly page rank calculation.
Squidoo is quite easy to use, especially for those Infobarrel users who have a number of articles to their credit. By linking articles and lenses together, users are able to boost traffic in each direction. This may result in improved Squidoo page rank and affiliate revenue as well as shared Adsense revenue from Infobarrel articles. Users may join Squidoo for free, of course.