In late 2005, a website named “Squidoo” launched. Squidoo is a way for people to share information with others. Users can create a page, also known as a lens. Each lens has its own topic. A user can create a lens about gardening and another lens about cooking, or whatever topic they choose.

They can fill their lens with their opinions, recommendations, and other information. Other people can view these lenses in order to learn about a subject. Ads are featured on these pages, and if someone clicks an ad on the page, the creator of that page, also known as the lensmaster, will earn a commission.

Users who create lenses are called lensmasters. Squidoo offers lensmasters various tools to create unique and informative lenses. For example, you can add modules that allow you to enter your own text, create a list of other sites you recommend on your lens topic, add your own RSS feed, share photos, and even integrate your lens with services such as Google Blog Search or merchants such as Starbucks and earn more commissions.

As far as commissions go, Squidoo offers 5% of their commission to charity, the site keeps 45%, and the lensmaster receives 50%. Lensmasters can choose to donate their portion to charity as well. The site claims that half of their lensmasters are doing just that. Squidoo has partnered with various non-profits, such as the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Children’s Defense Fund, and more. Squidoo allows other non-profits the chance to be listed as well.

Squidoo allows users to create and join groups on all types of topics. This is a way for you to meet others and promote your lenses. Another feature of the site is “SquidU”. This is where you can go to study up on Squidoo, learn how to make more money, and chat with others via forums.

Squidoo offers a lot of value to those with Internet-based businesses. You can create multiple lenses on various topics that match your website. You can also use Squidoo to “test the waters” on niche topics and see if they are profitable before you take the time to build a whole website around them.

For example, if you have a website with content on parenting, you can create a lens with the same type of content in order to promote your website. Or, you can create a lens on a niche topic within parenting or on a totally different topic just to get a feel for the number of views it receives, the amount of commissions you earn, etc.

You can also use Squidoo to conduct research and get opinions from others. This is especially helpful if you find yourself getting confused at the staggering number of websites you receive in search engine listings. Of course, using Squidoo means you are receiving others’ opinions and recommendations; some of the information you receive may be skewed. Therefore, if you are researching something of a serious nature, you should use reference sites.