A Potentially Viable Money Earning Opportunity

The Squidoo platform offers authors a revenue sharing opportunity. Their articles, (called "lenses" on Squidoo), earn money each month for the author. This is achieved through a revenue sharing formula and through affiliate sales on various supported networks. Experienced authors also use the site to promote their own affiliate links, personal web sites or as a back link source to their other published content. Squidoo can be quite effective for each of the regular uses.

Squidoo Tier Structure
Each lens on Squidoo is ranked against all others. The best lens is number 1. The newest lens is the highest number, currently about 3 million, (July 2012). All other lenses rank somewhere between. The site separates the lenses into blocks, or tiers, based on position. The first 2000 are in tier 1. The next 6000 are in tier 2. The next 70,000+ thousand are in tier 3. Additional tiers effectively cover the rest of the lenses. Only the top 400,000 are indexed in the site's category listings. Previously, all site lenses were included but adjustments were made to strengthen the importance of better rankings. The lenses in tier 1 earn an amount significantly higher than the other tiers. While the amounts vary considerably, the top payout per lens has been well over $50 for a month. The tier 2 amount is 20-25% of that and tier 3 is perhaps 1% as much.

Additional Earnings
Because lenses can include Amazon, and other, sales modules, they each have the opportunity to earn additional revenue for the lensmaster. Sales made through the Amazon module result in an affiliate payment to the lens. The rate varies depending on the product but it can be as high as 4% of the sale. Luckily, when a viewer clicks on an Amazon item highlighted in a lens, all subsequent sales activity results in commissions to the lensmaster. For example, a visitor to a lens may see an interesting product within an Amazon sales module. After they click on the item, they may buy it, resulting in a 4% commission for the lens. If the viewer then buys additional products from Amazon, these also net commissions for the lens. Through the use of cookies, the commission can be earned days after the viewer visits the lens. It is for this reason that all Squidoo lenses should include an Amazon module.

There are other similar modules which can earn commissions for the lensmaster. The revenue model works the same as it does for Amazon. All such amounts are earned by the lensmaster directly and are not shared with others. The Squidoo operators do get a portion of the commissions, of course. Some lensmasters, in fact, earn significantly more through sales commissions than they do through tier payments.

First Month Penalty
All published lenses on Squidoo can earn money for each full month that they are published. This means that a lens published early in a month is not going to earn money for quite some time. In the worst case, an article published on the first of a month will not earn funds for at least 31 days. Beginning in the second month, money will accrue. Since lenses typically receive a relatively low ranking in their first days on the site, the non-monetary aspect is not a big concern. It does result in some site traffic patterns. Typically, many lensmasters will publish lenses late in a month. The theory is that the lens will begin earning money after only a few days. Some lensmasters will even publish articles that are not fully ready in order to have the lens active before the first of the month.

Other Affiliate Links
Lensmasters can include their own affiliate links in lenses. Each lens may have up to 9 links to another Internet site. This means that a lensmaster might place 9 products from a sales site within a lens. Money earned through purchases of these products will accrue to the lensmaster entirely, with no revenue sharing with Squidoo or other lensmasters. This is acceptable but caution is advised. If a lens is determined to be spam in nature, there is a chance that it could be removed. As well, such sales lenses tend to perform worse in the Squidoo rankings. Extreme cases will result in the lens being removed from the site index due to low rank. A balanced approach is recommended. Lensmasters can include their own affiliate links, in moderation, with no ill effects. These can accompany the Squidoo Amazon module, of course.

Lensmaster Strategy
Unlike many other Internet content sites, Squidoo promotes active, (rather than passive), income earning. This means that a published lens will not earn significant money without help from the lensmaster. Basic search engine optimization techniques are necessary for the content but beyond that, an active lensmaster role is required. The lens ranking algorithm depends on viewer statistics, and lensmaster actions. To whit, a lens that is ignored by a lensmaster will not increase in rank, generally. Content must be added or freshened regularly. Many lensmasters do precisely this. Each day they visit the site, edit their lenses, adding additional content, moving components or updating pictures. Passive income is not usually possible with Squidoo. This is a big contrast with other sites. There, authors publish their work which often earns significant money with no further effort. Viewers are attracted to the content by search engines. They visit the article and interact. Such actions accrue funds to the author for weeks, months or years with no activity necessary on the part of the author. Perhaps author activity would improve the earning of non-Squidoo articles, but it is not required, as it obviously is on Squidoo.

Is Squidoo Worth It?
As a potential Squidoo lensmaster, you may well consider if the investment in time is apt to be fruitful. Done right, each lens will require a lot of time. Proper SEO research should be done, which might take an hour per lens. The actual lens construction might take between 1 and 3 hours, (or more), depending on the topic. A further 5 minutes per day of stewardship should be anticipated. With a small portfolio of 12 lenses, this would represent an hour of activity per day. Add the usual back link creation time and the time requirement for Squidoo becomes significant quickly. It is necessary for best performance. A study of the top Squidoo lenses shows that each receives content updating practically everyday. They also have significant amounts of traffic and are well written from both a viewer and SEO prospective. Squidoo can be useful for online earnings but it is not a perfect site for everyone. It certainly is not a question of publishing a few lenses, multiplying by the desired tier payout and collecting the profits. No, the effort is much more than that, for success.