For a very long time, I was an absolute die-hard fan of a top article submission, revenue sharing, website platform entitled Squidoo. As one of the first websites to enter the revenue sharing scene, what Squidoo had offered was clearly innovative and unprecedented, and, as an avid writer, I was admittedly sucked in to it's platform. With a wealth of features, great search engine authority, and highly participative community that interacts quite well to this day, it was easy to see that Squidoo would eventually emerge as a top-ranked website in the world.
Unfortunately, for as much as I love Squidoo and greatly appreciate the marketing genius behind it's founder, Seth Godin, I truly believe that Info Barrel addresses many of their website platform's flaws and deficiencies in quite an awesome, innovative, way. Rather than come off as simply a disgruntled Squidoo user (I'm not), as I have done with many other website platforms, I have really tried to analyze and scrutinize everything from their respective Terms of Service (TOS), Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), to their general platform functionality, management, and offerings.
I generally have a very upbeat outlook on life, but, while much of what I researched is fact, other things are purely subjective, based upon feedback and concerns I have seen vocalized by Squidoo users. Whether you are a die-hard fan of the Squidoo website platform, or are completely unfamiliar with it, I do ask that you approach this article with an open mind.
The results of some things I found were very staggering.
1) Revenue Share Arrangement and Payment Scheme. Both Info Barrel and Squidoo have different revenue share arrangements that I will mention first because, clearly, this is the topic I believe most, who are attempting to earn online from one of these websites, will be most interested in. Unfortunately, I have found that many individuals who join websites, like Info Barrel or Squidoo (or others), do so with very little consideration or understanding how revenue share is distributed to writers.
No matter which way you cut it, Info Barrel's revenue share arrangement is just simply better, and more generous than Squidoos. Bear in mind, I AM sensitive to the fact that these websites are businesses, in themselves, and, thus, have a vested interest in maximizing profits. With emerging competition that simply offers more, I do predict that Squidoo will be forced to innovate, and offer writers even more, if they are to expect to remain competitive in the revenue sharing industry.
- Squidoo -- Squidoo's revenue share and payment distribution scheme can really become rather complex for the new Squidoo user. Even though Squidoo management has gone to great lengths to explain this revenue share, it's complexity, I truly believe, is something that a large percentage of Squidoo users most likely don't even understand in it's entirety. Unlike some other websites, it is, at the very least, refreshing that Squidoo maintains a very transparent stance when it comes to how exactly their revenue is shared. On Squidoo, writer's earnings, from Squidoo's hosted advertisements (Adsense/affiliate modules/etc), are essentially pooled and distributed based on individual's performance on the site. This performance is directly measurable by an individual's 'lensrank'. Many factors determine whether or not a writer will have a higher lensrank for any particular one of their lenses.
- On Squidoo, writers have many means of monetization, ranging from affiliations provided in Squidoo's own modules that writers can place in their own lenses, to the application of one's own affiliate links (some more advanced writers do this there). While emplacing your own affiliate links is allowed, there is great indication that purchases made through affiliations in Squidoo's own modules (Cafepress, Amazon, etc: that EARN them a commission, as well), actually have a direct impact on lensrank--which, ultimately, could affect your tiered payment.
- With Squidoo, dependent on where each one of your lenses falls on an ever-fluctuating lensrank scale, that will determine how much you earn as an ever-fluctuating tiered payment. With many new members, and content, the tiered payment IS becoming increasingly higher for each tier, year after year, which is a very good thing, and it does show growth.
- Unfortunately, maintaining a consistent lensrank can be very very difficult, on a platform with quite a bit of competition all vying for the narrow spread that would qualify a writer's lens for the top tiered payment. The theory behind this is that, the more writers contribute and update their lenses, with fresh content, the more of an incentive there is for them to stay and reamin in the top tier. Unfortunately, like I had said before, lensrank is notorious for fluctuating by thousands of places each day--which could inherently lend to motivational issues that keep writers from becoming entirely passionate, and create more content day-after-day. It can be VERY frustrating to work so hard, but only see your lensrank tank by 1,000+ places with each day that you don't update it
- Info Barrel -- Compared to research that I did regarding up to 18 other current revenue sharing websites, Info Barrel's revenue share distribution framework, and payment scheme, were flat-out superior.
- On Info Barrel, writers earn a flat 75% on all the advertisements (except Kontera), that Info Barrel hosts on all your articles. An element of "performance" is injected, similar to Squidoo, however, the 'performance' of a writer is directly related to earning an even greater advertisement revenue share (up to 90%), as opposed to maintaining an ever fluctuating lensrank that determines how much you actually make in a tiered payment distribution scheme.
- On Info Barrel, you revenue share will go up to 90% dependent on how many 'points' you have, that are directly related to the length of your articles. You will earn 15% extra advertisement revenue share (taking your share up to 85%) based on strictly the points you receive, and you will receive an extra 1% revenue share for each article you write with a particular staff article suggestion theme (like an article about St. Patty's Day, or Christmas, around those particular holidays). Doing this would escalate your revenue share to 90%!
2) Complexity and Difficulty of Publishing Systems.
- Squidoo -- After having used Squidoo's publishing system for a good 2+ years of my submitting fairly regular content to their platform, I do have to say that great strides were made in developing and making their publishing system alot more user friendly. Unfortunately, I have heard people consistently talk about how difficult it can be to understand and master. Personally, I do actually tend to like it, and can assemble a lens quite expeditiously, however, I'm not entirely sure that Squidoo has the most user-friendly publishing system. If my Grandmother had difficulty using it, I can't help but think that others may have difficulty using it.
- Info Barrel -- Compared to many other websites, my personal opinion is that Info Barrel has a very straitforward and user-friendly publishing system interface. Users can select to publish their content in a variety of formatted templates which, essentially, only really requires one click to bring up. Whether you are interested in writing an article with a blank template (as I am doing now), or you would like to write a review or a how-to article, you can do those as well with ease.
3) Interactive and Engaging Communities. When it comes to the forum and interaction elements of both Squidoo and Info Barrel, I actually find them to be quite similar in nature.
- Squidoo -- In this respect, I do believe that Squidoo's community is quite interesting with regards to how things are actually set up, and the freedom and control that they afford writers. It is quite revealing that they have really fostered a culture there that keeps people coming back, even in lieu of the deficiencies that I perceive in revenue share generosity and distribution.
- Info Barrel -- Since Info Barrel is a fairly new revenue sharing site, and actually just released a user forum not to long ago (at the time of this writing), it is to be expected that, as they continually develop and nurture their community and culture, that they would have some flaws. Fortunately, it is refreshing that with Info Barrel, like Squidoo, that their management are so actively engaged in conversation and the want, needs, and desires of their community. When people make recommendations, or suggestions, I can tell that they are being taken seriously because of how the staff here respond. One thing I think may be a good idea here at Info Barrel, like Squidoo has, is to afford writers with the opportunity to post a 'signature' link under all their posts, as has become a commonplace allowance on most message board communities and forums.
What has YOUR experience been like with Info Barrel and/or Squidoo? What things do you like most about Info Barrel? How do Info Barrel and Squidoo compare, in your honest opinion? I'd LOVE to hear what you have to say in the comments section of this article!
Learn, based on what I reveal in my Info Barrel Experience (Squidoo Lens), why I love this website so much and strongly believe that it will be among one of the highest ranked websites in the world shortly.