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I’m seeing an increase in “reviews” of paid or premium products and feeling like I want to add a ban to the news guidelines about these. But then again, there might be good reasons why people want to read reviews of this nature. So, I’m looking for some guidance.
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from dannysullivan 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 2

First, my feeling is that reviews are acceptable if they are substantial or extensive in nature. A three paragraph “this was great – you gotta get it post” doesn’t cut it in my books as news. I want a real dissection of a program. Second, the inclusion of an affiliate link to me especially warrants a harder look at whether something should be allowed. I’m not saying having an affiliate link would rule out including a review in What’s New – but if I see one, coupled with a relatively short review, I feel like someone’s just trying to drum up traffic first and foremost, rather than fully reviewing a product. I especially feel this if it’s not clearly disclosed to me that someone is an affiliate or earning off the link. Third, I feel like the program should be relatively new. Let me take Aaron and his online book. I’ll drop a link to make up for using him as an example: http://www.seobook.com/buy-now.shtml Aaron’s had his book out for some time. I believe he constantly updates parts of it, but the book itself as a concept/product isn’t new. So I wouldn’t want to get flooded with a bunch of reviews of the product as each person has discovered it. Let me be clear that this has NOT happened with Aaron’s book. I’m seeing it happen with some other products that I’m not naming so as not to shower more attention on them. Now if someone came along, just found Aaron’s book and went wow, I’ve gotta review this in-depth, then maybe that’s news. Otherwise, we might as well allow review after review of Google AdWords. At some point, it ain’t new. Rand’s got his own premium content over at SEOmoz, and just after I killed some of the low quality “review” content I’m talking about here, we got a submission of short news that a new part of that content has been released: http://sphinn.com/story/3900 So shouldn’t that come out, if we have these new guidelines? I honestly don’t know. Part of me thinks not, in that this really is something new, and so people might want to know about it. Also, it’s not an affiliate link submission, since it’s pointing at SEOmoz itself. But then again, it’s a short announcement, not even a review that 55 page article. My gut says keep it, especially as I know we have plenty of Mozzers here, as well as the fact that we’ve not been hit with a ton of submissions about SEOmoz’s paid content, just like we haven’t been hit with stuff about Aaron’s book. With other programs, it’s been the opposite. Thoughts welcomed!

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from Eavesy 2562 Days ago #
Votes: -2

Ban em

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from JohnWeb 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m not sure an outright ban is the prudent thing to do, for there are actually NEW things that should be highlighted, and Sphinn would be remiss in ignoring them just because it’s a commercial product. The WHATS NEW category should be reserved for actual NEW items and not "new to me" though, and obvious affiliate link drops should be pulled. Though this is a pretty savvy crowd and I doubt there’s much of a conversion on those types anyway. The truly democratic nature (assuming it stays that way) of Sphinning will keep these off the front page, and there is also the very real threat of the offending party being flamed beyond recognition as a deterrent.

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from dalka 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I hear what you are saying... Though I think you’d want to encourage and reward incremental improvements in products. Something needs to!

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from onreact 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Sphinn needs a product review category :-) Banning too much kills off a social news community. Try to fit it in somehow. If the SEO Book was reviewed once just mark it as duplicate. If it’s just plain advertising put it in a special category. If it contains an affiliate link, do not put it on the front page either. But banning stuff, especially in SEO as most topics are more or less about making money...

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I don’t see an outright ban, and I’d totally make a review category if I thought it would help. It’s just that so far, the majority of "reviews" I see are not actually extensive reviews at all. They’re little quick hits like "try this program, make some money," or "I used this thing, that offers bulletpoints 1-9, so click on my affiliate link and buy it." Hence me wanting to kill stuff that’s not extensive. Of course, most of this stuff doesn’t get Sphinn’s anyway.

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from iszk1 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Hi Danny, Do you remember me, a Japanese guy who sent an email about the submission guideline. I would say "a product review category is welcomed." There are a lot of fascinating products over there I can’t get here in Japan. So, I need info about which product is suitable for me.

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from randfish 2562 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Wow... And we didn’t even submit it. I guess I’m of two minds here - first off, I feel like us releasing a new guide as part of premium membership isn’t really "news" so it doesn’t quite fit into Sphinn. However, if we released a new tool that was free, like the popular searches tool, or the toolset/library that’s launching this week (that’s free), I do think that would be more "news-worthy." Maybe the rule should have something to do with accessibility? If it’s a product that you have to pay for or has restricted access, then ban it?

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from flyingrose 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Most people are not on top of everything and cannot easily determine whether something they just discovered is new or has been around the block many times - not to mention that if whatever is being reviewed is still valuable being new isn’t necessarily most important in my book. Onreact and Iszk1 have the same idea I do: have a separate reviews category with a searchable index or some other mechanism to allow reviews of a particular product or service to be organized together. I believe it would be far more useful to have a consistent place to look for reviews and locate potentially useful products/services and not have those necessarily end up in news. There could be either a manual (moderator or other member designation - those who know what is new and what isn’t) or a voting mechanism that allowed those reading the reviews to designate some as also belonging in a "What’s New" sub-category in the reviews section. I personally do not believe there is anything wrong with allowing those who write QUALITY reviews that are either first or include new insights and/or new ways to use the product/service to include an affiliate link with the disclosure that it IS an affiliate link. (Anyone have a Best Practices idea for how best to do that?) If it were easy to check for previous reviews, and reviews that don’t add value could be voted down/hidden or even automatically deleted when x minus votes are given, that would provide quality control and minimize load on the moderators.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Don’t take it personally Rand -- nope, you didn’t submit it. It’s just an example I used as trying to figure out what, if anything, to do. I can’t say enough that quality reviews aren’t the problem -- and nor is it that much of an issue from the submitter’s perspective of knowing something is new. If you’ve seen the type of reviews coming in, those submitting know the products aren’t new. For the moment, it probably makes sense to leave it up to the Sphinns to decide.

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from DanThies 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny, at this point I haven’t even noticed any product reviews on Sphinn and I am getting a summary on your content daily and reading quite often. You’re going to run into the same problem that every social networking site does - bands of roving dickheads who pump each other’s stuff up... but until it becomes a real problem, I’d say that any review that’s getting Sphunded enough times to get seen is probably real content.

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from AndyBeard 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I am someone who writes reviews for products, though I haven’t done that many in the last few weeks. Sometimes I do include affiliate links, and sometimes I accept paid reviews for relevant services. I think some of my paid reviews would actually be suitable for submission to Sphinn, I disclose any financial relationship, and I look on any links I give as editorial (thus no nofollow) - plus I give money away to plugin developers from the income. As an example one of my most recent reviews I combined into some ideas for SEO linking structure. I think a wider SEO audience would benefit from it, and I would benefit from feedback, but I have hesitated to submit it as it is a couple of months old now. What are the view of the community and admin on such submissions?

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Andy, I guess I should have just listed some of the "reviews" I object to. They are typically two to four paragraphs long and giving you no really knowledge of a product rather than a "i made money using this" spiel. I doubt you’re doing anything like that. I wanted a feel if I was the only one noticing/annoyed by this, and I guess most people aren’t, at the moment. So I’ll leave it to the sphinns :)

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from DanThies 2561 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny, you’re going to have all kinds of fun with this thing. Wankers begging for Sphinns, "Sphinn rings," and worse. Maybe it goes against the "principles" of social networking, but why not just delete ’em if they’re utterly worthless?

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from AndyBeard 2560 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That is the wonderful thing about avatars, if I recognise who submitted something I will always take a look because I know it will be worthwhile. Friends voting habits can very easily look like an organised ring, which is something Digg has problems adjusting to. Unless something has already received a few votes, if I don’t recognise the avatar I don’t even give it a second glance. Credibilty from other social networks does cover over, I just know Tamar, Lyndon and DoshDosh will only submit really interesting stuff.

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from ckata 2549 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with Dan - evaluate each one individually and if it’s truly a worthless submission just delete it.

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