Squidoo is a community website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

 that allows users to create pages (called lenses) for subjects of interest. Squidoo had 1.5 million hand-built lenses .


Development on Squidoo started in 2005, launching a beta testing period in October of that year. The launch team consisted of Seth Godin
Seth Godin
Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker. Godin popularized the topic of permission marketing.-Background:...

, his book editor Megan Casey, former Fast Company employee Heath Row, Corey Brown, and Gil Hildebrand, Jr.

The site came out of beta testing two months later and reached 100,000 lenses within the first six months.

Site structure

Squidoo is a user-generated website
User-generated content
User generated content covers a range of media content available in a range of modern communications technologies. It entered mainstream usage during 2005 having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles...

 which uses the concept of a lens as its primary feature. In his ebook "Everyone's an Expert," Godin describes a lens as "[focusing] light and [showing] us what we need to see." Lenses are much like blog posts, except they're on a single subject. The site also allows content creators to earn revenue from referral links to sites like Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

 and Ebay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...


The users who create lenses are called "lensmasters". A lensmaster can be anyone with an interest in a specific subject; they do not necessarily have to be externally-recognized experts. In Squidoo's early stages, Godin noted that Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising...

 and Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE , is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National...

's lenses did not receive large amounts of traffic, whereas lenses on MySpace
Myspace is a social networking service owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake. Myspace launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In August 2011, Myspace had 33.1 million unique U.S. visitors....

 and the online game Line Rider
Line Rider
Line Rider is an internet game. Versions are available for Microsoft Silverlight and for Flash. It was originally created in September 2006 by Boštjan Čadež , a Slovenian student...

 were among the site's most successful. Squidoo contains lenses on 35 different topics, including Food & Cooking, Green Living, About Me and Business.

Squidoo is notable in that it allows users to create multimedia pages without learning HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

. These pages often achieve built-in popularity due to their association with thousands of other Squidoo pages.

The site introduced the use of 'SquidMonsters', along with SquidTrophies and an experience points system.

The site also employs a unique revenue share: 50% of all revenue goes to the lensmasters. Squidoo and its lenses rely on advertising and affiliate
An affiliate is a commercial entity with a relationship with a peer or a larger entity.- Corporate structure :A corporation may be referred to as an affiliate of another when it is related to it but not strictly controlled by it, as with a subsidiary relationship, or when it is desired to avoid...

 links to create revenue. Nearly half of lensmasters donate their royalties to any of 65 featured charities, ranging from NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 and the American Heart Association
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas...

 to smaller organizations like Chimp Haven
Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a species-specific facility designed to provide a home for chimpanzee that offers an environment that stimulates behaviors similar to those in the wild. Initial residents will be individuals former medical research subjects with future plans to...

 and Planet Gumbo. In October 2008, Squidoo donated $80,000 to charity. As of October 2010, Squidoo's list of supported charities exceeds 200. On October 13, 2010, the company donated an additional $275,000 to charity to celebrate their 5th anniversary.


Since its debut, Squidoo has been profiled in CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

, and The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

. The site was given top prize in SXSW's community/wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

 category. Squidoo has challenged established information websites like About
About.com is an online source for original information and advice. It is written in English, and is aimed primarily at North Americans. It is owned by The New York Times Company....

 and eHow
eHow is an online how-to guide with more than 1 million articles and 170,000 videos offering step-by-step instructions. eHow articles and videos are created by freelancers and cover a wide variety of topics organized into a hierarchy of categories. Any eHow user can leave comments or responses, but...

 for traffic, while staying very close in unique visitors to newer models like Mahalo
Mahalo.com is a web directory and Internet-based knowledge exchange launched in alpha test in May 2007 by Jason Calacanis...

 and HubPages
HubPages is a website designed around sharing advertising revenue for user-generated articles and other content on specific subjects.- History :...



  • HubPages
    HubPages is a website designed around sharing advertising revenue for user-generated articles and other content on specific subjects.- History :...

     is a web publishing company with a similar business model
  • Knol
    Knol is a Google project that aims to include user-written articles on a range of topics. The project was led by Udi Manber of Google, announced December 13, 2007, and was opened in beta to the public on July 23, 2008 with a few hundred articles mostly in the health and medical field.Knol has no...

    , a competitor run by Google
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