The Squidoo social media web site contains a collection of articles which are called "lenses". There is a weekly awarding of "Purple Stars" to those lenses which have been designated as the best on Squidoo. The award is added to the author's list of Squidoo trophies. Since it is awarded based on merit and is granted to only a few lenses each week, there is a certain amount of importance given to the Purple Star winners. Along with the trophy, the lens is given a boost in the page rank. This may translate into additional importance to search engines such as Google. An added benefit is the notoriety that the lens receives. This often translates into a significant increase in the amount of traffic for the lens. The effect on traffic is long term as well. The Purple Star remains with the lens forever. Lists of award winners are published on Squidoo. For months and years afterward, people can find the lens via searches for Purple Star, via achievement lists and by the Squidoo user forum. Each lens with the award is highlighted by a small Purple Star on the displayed page. The graphic is not especially prominent, but it is present on all Purple Star award winning lenses.
The Squidoo web site benefits from site enhancements such as the Purple Star award. While not directly affecting the authors in a monetary way, these features increase the involvement of the Squidoo community. The Purple Star trophy is one of about 70 that may be earned by authors. Each of the trophies conveys prestige to the author, some more than others. Some trophies are trivially easy to earn. In fact, each new member of Squidoo is awarded the "Newbie" trophy upon successful registration. Another trophy is earned when the member's first lens is published and still another is earned for 5 lenses. While these trophies are easy to earn, others, such as the Purple Star, are obviously not. Merit based trophies are earned through significant activity or contributions to the site. For example, an easy trophy is earned for providing 10 comments to lenses. Another is given for providing 1000 comments. This is relatively difficult to earn. Trophies are available for many activities on Squidoo. The organizers have tried to boost Squidoo spirit by introducing new trophies at various times. Some of these have been easy to earn, like logging in for 30 days in a row. Others have been more difficult such as participating in a newly devised challenge to authors. Generally, the trophies have been received favorably and have worked to increase Squidoo involvement as planned.
Some authors are recognized for having produced 50 or more excellent lenses. These authors are given the Giant Squid trophy which conveys certain additional benefits to the author. Squidoo tries to emphasize terms related to the word squid throughout the site. This takes a little getting used to when people first start using the site. New members are "squids". As a squid earns points and moves up to advanced levels, they become "High Level Squids". "Giant Squids" are appointed after they publish 50 lenses and they apply for the honor. In addition, there are "Squid Greeters", "Squid Angels", "Squid Volunteers" and other invented terms related to the word Squidoo. A cute concept, people either love or hate the Squidoo language. Infantile and inventive have both been used to describe the squid terms.
Squidoo squids earn merit points through various activities on the site. When they read a lens that they find enjoyable, they may "Squidlike" it. This gives a couple of squid points to the author and the reader. If they wish, the reader can comment on the lens. This also gives points to the author and the reader. There are trophies awarded for having liked a lot of lenses, commented on a lot. If your lenses receive a lot of likes and comments, you can be awarded trophies for this attention as well. New Squidoo users are ranked at level 1. After earning 500 points, they "level up" to the next level. Publishing a lens gives the new squid 50 points. Just starting the lens is good for 20 points. If an introduction photo is added, the squid gets 20 points. Since each published lens is worth 90 points, it is clear that it is easy to advance to higher Squidoo levels with a little effort. When the squid reaches level 25, they become a "High Level Squid". This changes some of the site features. Providing a comment becomes worth points but bestows higher points on those lenses that receive your comments. Higher levels require more points until it takes 10,000 points to move from level 79 to 80. Currently there are 80 levels in Squidoo. It is widely believed that this upper level will be increased as more people attain it.
Whatever the feeling you have toward Squidoo's squid terms, you should explore the site with the thought of becoming a member. There are a great many members and a large cache of articles, (lenses). The community is quite active. There is a revenue model in place. While significant sums of money can be earned by Squidoo members, (lensmasters), the site is also highly effective as a backlinking site. It has a high pagerank and a high Alexa ranking. This makes it great for providing links to your articles on Infobarrel, Hubpages or anywhere else. Squidoo is also a "dofollow" site which is even better for your backlinks.
Check out the Squidoo membership process and explore the site a little. You may find that the site is a great complement to your other article hosting sites. You may even enjoy winning trophies and earn your own Purple Star someday. The site contains quite a few helpful tips that show how to improve your Squidoo lenses as well as your general articles and blogs where ever they are hosted. Certain web sites have been established that specialize in the advancement of Squidoo lenses, like lensroll.com. All of it works together to give you a beneficial experience writing for fun and personal profit. Good luck to all of you on Squidoo and everywhere else on the Internet!