Squidoo has a special designation for some community members called "Squid Angels". This refers to a person who has been given the duty, for a month, to "bless" articles, (lenses), that are deemed to be superior. There is no official criteria so the Squid Angel uses their judgment to find worthy lenses. Each blessed lens receives a boost in the pagerank. This can translate into a higher profile for both the lens and the author, or lensmaster. (Squidoo is full of their own terms for things, as you may notice.) As lenses gain in pagerank, they have better a better opportunity to be elevated into the better payment tiers and they are featured more prominently. InfoBarrel has a similar concept with the "thumbs up/thumbs down" article feature. This has not proven to be very useful to boost articles or to build community activities. The feature is largely ignored on InfoBarrel. Squidoo community members on Squidoo appreciate the Squid Angel blessings very much. While the program is designed to be quirky and cute, it does seem to be effective. There is a noticeable jump in the pagerank of blessed lenses. With well over a million lenses on Squidoo, there is a great deal of competition in each of the categories. The Squid Angels help to elevate those lenses that are well done rather than those that are stuffed with keywords.
The December 2010 Squid Angel Announcement was published as a first action by a Squid Angel. Squidoo members can provide comments to current Squid Angels who often review, and even bless, the material published by those who provide comments. In addition to the lens pagerank boost, each lensmaster receives a significant number of merit points for each blessing. This speeds the lensmaster's rise through the Squidoo levels. There are 80 possible levels. Each increase boosts the prominence of the lensmaster. At certain levels, additional abilities are bestowed or new quests are revealed. These usually allow the lensmaster to gain even more merit points.
The various Squidoo features such as achievement levels, Squid Angels, quests and more, do a lot to keep people interested. There is a satisfaction that is felt when an award is won or a new level is attained. InfoBarrel has a similar points system and ranking of authors but the concept is less developed than on Squidoo. This may be an area that is to be addressed with InfoBarrel 2.0.
There are some useful benefits for you if you are interested in joining Squidoo. The site has a very high Alexa and Google pagerank. As such, it is a highly respected site on which to establish your backlinks. You may put up to 9 backlinks to InfoBarrel articles in a single lens. You may also put links to other articles in the same lens. All of the backlinks are "dofollow" for maximum benefit in the Search Engine Optimization, (SEO), arena. Squidoo also allows you to specify up to 40 tags for each lens. As with InfoBarrel, the tags are most effective if they are used in the media file names, section headings and within the body of the lens. When you explore Squidoo, you will find that the site is generally complimentary to your InfoBarrel articles. There are more categories on Squidoo so it should be easy to find a place to establish your backlinking lens.