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It's been eight days since the new Sphinn launched. Our mission hasn't changed: to publish the best online marketing content possible. When we made the switch, I asked our readers to give us 2-3 weeks to see how we're doing. But we'd love some early feedback now, even if it is a bit premature.
Comments20 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Behind the scenes, the Editors are asking a lot of questions of one another ("How do you define quality? Why did you think that was unique and exceptional?") and trading a lot of emails in the name of making sure we're meeting our goal of publishing great content.

I feel like we've surfaced articles from a variety of authors and sites that may never have received exposure in our old system. I don't personally agree that everything we've published has been awesome/great/deserving, but we knew (and said) that we'll make some mistakes along the way and try to learn from them.

But how do you, our readers, feel? I'd still ask you to be patient with us since it's as new to us as it is to you. But any constructive feedback would be welcome below. Thanks in advance.

- Matt



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from RossHudgens 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I'm pretty biased because I've been someone lucky enough to have their work featured twice in the new regime, but I think you're doing a good job. I go to SERPd and honestly, it's showing me that I don't want the entire SEO community tracking my reading - because it's more lists and other random stuff that really isn't going to enhance discussion.

SEO is an advanced field and it's worthy of advanced discussion/blog posts - I enjoy the rigorous moderation that makes sure we get that.



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from AlanBleiweiss 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I've been checking it out throughout the past few days.  Providing an unbiased opinion is difficult at best given how much I cared about the one thing that was taken away.  Here's what I'm feeling so far.  Much of what I see here is tweeted directly, and since the only way I can express my opinion on an article here is by going into discussion mode, I'd prefer to do that in the comments directly on that site.   So I don't see that I'll be spending any time here in the long haul.

That might change when it comes to major hot-button issues, only time will tell.



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from davidiwanow 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I would suggest that you could use a platform like wave to discuss content.... but oh wait that closed...

will it start to possibly move to a private vote between moderators/editors?



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from kevgibbo 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I'm actually very impressed with Sphinn so far, the reasons being:

- I used to subscribe to Sphinn via RSS as the main way of keeping up with the top news in the industry. But then unsubscribed as the quality dropped (voting rings clearly didn't help). So while perhaps the idea behind getting a homepage story is now somewhat lost to many, I think the quality of content has already improved greatly.

- previously the best news took too long to hit the homepage - you could read about this on SEL two days before it got on Sphinn. Again, this is much better and far more fresh and up-to-date. So it's now a site which you can visit again to read the latest news.

- as a user, it got to the point that to get on the homepage of Sphinn was all about how many people you could DM on Twitter. To be honest I quickly found that very boring and ended up rarely submitting. Now you know that if you submit quality content there's a good chance it will get promoted by a moderator/editor - which providing you trust the intentions of those doing the approval (which I'm sure people do) - I think this is a good thing for the site long-term.

- it gets rid of all that spam and self-promotional crap in the upcoming lists - that has to be a good thing! :-)



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from lakhyaphukan 1482 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I have been visiting sphinn more in last few days. I have seen a marked improvement in article quality since the change. Also it seems to have got rid of incestuous communities promoting not so worthy news pieces.



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from o3man 1481 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It is so sad, and I am so sorry. Most of my friends are over on SERPd now. I am thinking of joining. It is a bit too quiet in this room.



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from Rhea 1481 Days ago #
Votes: 3

My attention span for Sphinn died back in early 2009. I hadn't given it much of a look since then unless I was stopping by to look at a specific conversation that had spilled over to Twitter or to promote a OSM piece... we ARE marketers.

I really like new Sphinn. One quick scan of the homepage and I immediately found three posts I hadn't seen before and wanted to immediately read. I'm adding Sphinn back to my bookmarks and will be telling our new employees to check it daily for important industry updates/coverage. Sphinn used to be the go-to place for news, I'm happy to see it reclaim that status in my day. Quality is subjective, but I think you're doing a good job of serving up old and new sources with a variety of purposes from industry insight to major news to analysis. Thank you for the change!



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from Ruud 1481 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The news is good. Is it better than what I see in my "People you follow" view in Google Reader? No. Better than a slew of links I see on Twitter? Sometimes.

In other words, it's just another editorial site. When I see a story I really like, I miss it that I can't vote for it.

And frankly, without that community thing of voting up or down, I don't really see myself working for the site. Why would I submit articles to a commercial, editorial site?

So, yes, good work -- but no, I wasn't waiting for this; I wasn't experiencing any lack of a site that does what you want to do.



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1481 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Ruud, when you see something you like here, you can still "vote" for it by leaving a comment. Not technically the same, but saying "this is a great article because of blah blah blah" is essentially the same as a vote, imo.



Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 1481 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thank you all for the feedback so far. Looking forward to more thoughts from anyone who hasn't spoken up yet but has something to share.

Alan, thanks for mentioning what you said about commenting. Perhaps we can work on ideas to make commenting here easier or more enticing.

Ruud, sorry to hear you don't have any interest in contributing to the overall knowledge of the search marketing community by submitting good stuff you find. Certainly your prerogative. Guess we'll cross you off our list of people to approach when we expand our Editorial staff. :-)

Ross, Kevin, Lakhya, Rhea - thank you for the kind words.



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from seobro 1480 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well, here is what I see. Sphinn now reminds me of an Edsel car. It is a major blunder like new coke except worse. Voting gave me a feel for what people want to view. It reminds me of school where we had our voting on who would be cheerleaders taken away. Teachers said they could be a better judge than us. What we got was girls who were ugly and could not dance to the music. It is all about power. Here is my vision. http://seobro.blogspot.com/2010/10/sphinn-30.html



Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 1479 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I read your two paragraph post. We did ask our customers what they wanted, as we've explained many times before. Voting was clearly not want of their top priorities. And our traffic is not down -- after a week, it's the same as it has been.

I'm sorry you miss voting, and I get that, as you appear to be one of the incredibly tiny few who actually voted and for stories that weren't your own. But honestly, voting was like us trying to sell and Edsel car that no one wanted or drove, so we needed a new model.



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from mikemurray 1479 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I'm just glad people with sense are reviewing submissions and deciding what's worthy of promoting. Sphinn is like an aspect of a newspaper. I don't care about some announcements, developments. I get to choose from what interests me. The headers are clear enough to quickly sort through. Thanks for doing a great job.



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from jasonm 1479 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I'm actually a little loathe to respond to this thread because I have never been a huge follower of Sphinn, also because I wanted to avoid being mistaken as 'knocking' the efforts of admins and editors.

That said, here goes.

So far, I have to say I have been pretty apathetic towards Sphinn since it switched from community-moderation to editor-moderation, but I'm not excited or positive about Sphinn's future.

The problem I see here is that, if the site content is going to be driven by editors, it needs have a clear vision and stringent editorial guidelines. So far, I haven't seen either, nor have I really seen anything to suggest those things in place.

If I am going to visit Sphinn and see blogs with spelling and grammar mistakes, or posts that make conclusions on faulty or unpublished data, then what's the point in taking the power from the community?

I think there needs to be a high standard for articles to appear on an editor-powered Sphinn - without them,  I don't think the site can avoid the perception that people can promote their sites/blogs by 'gaming' the editors, or that the site is just an echo-chamber for the 'cult of celebrity' that pervades so many SEO blogs and their authors



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from markbaa 1478 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I give it a thumbs up. Main reason is that I see more diversity on the homepage than I ever saw under the old system, which personally I like.



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from KristiHines 1476 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I find what is missing on this site now is new stories.  Used to be, I could count on coming here on any given day to find a lots of new posts.  Maybe not on the front page, but definitely on the upcoming.  Even if they didn't go hot, they were great reads and new content.

Now, let's look at the last week.

  • Today, nothing new.
  • Yesterday, 5 new published items, 2 of which were just discussions.
  • Nothing Monday.
  • 1 over the weekend.
  • 5 from last Friday.
  • 10 last Thursday, one of which was this discussion.
  • 13 last Wednesday.
Last Wednesday and Thursday were great, but it's been dwindling since.  Is it because of lack of submissions, or the moderators are busy at conferences?  Either way, in the previous version, there would at least be new things to read anytime I dropped by.



Avatar Moderator
from kerimorgret 1476 Days ago #
Votes: 0

A good number of the moderators were attending SMX (if not putting on the conference itself), so stuff was a bit light this week.



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from clickfire 1475 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I miss the community driven moderation as well, voting, seeing what my friends and others I respect voted for, friending, the "getting hot" stories--basically, the social stuff.



Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 1475 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Clickfire, one thing you can do now is tweet or like any story. I've been watching that as a sense of how the community feels about the editor picks, in lieu of actual voting. it gives you a proxy you might try.



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