Development on Squidoo started in 2005, launching a beta testing period in October of that year.The launch team consisted of Seth Godin, 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.
Squidoo is a user-generated website 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 and Ebay.
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 and Jane Goodall’s lenses did not receive large amounts of traffic, whereas lenses on MySpace and the online game Line Rider 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.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 links to create revenue.Nearly half of lensmasters donate their royalties to any of 65 featured charities, ranging from NPR and the American Heart Association to smaller organizations like Chimp Haven 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