Currently there are three levels in the eHow point system, Novice (0-299 points), Enthusiast (300-2,000 points), Authority (2,000+ points). These points are based on the number of articles and photos you have published as a contributor.
Each article by it self is worth 100 points. Each photo is worth 10 additional points. For example, if you write one article (100 points), add the main photo (10 points), and have three steps with one photo each (30 points), this particular article will add 140 points to your profile once it goes live.
Many contributors will argue points, stars, recommendations, ratings and such do absolutely nothing for your earnings. I agree that these statuses don't do anything to increase or decrease earnings directly. I emphasize the word directly because in my experience these items do influence these things indirectly.
Long before I was an eHow contributor I was an avid eHow user. I have been a member since 2007, but only published my first article in September 2009. Not knowing anything about eHow points, ratings, recommendations or comments, I used these things to determine if an article I clicked on was worth my time. If the person was recommended highly and if they had a lot of points, then of course I would read their article over someone who did not have these mile markers. These items consistently influenced my decision about an article long before I would read the lead.
Of course now I know better, but it is something to keep in mind. After all your target audience isn't other contributors but the average Joe.
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