Yes, you read that correctly. My review of ReviewMe is unpaid. I am writing actually to point out two small issues that could potentially create issues for the system in the future.
First of all, what is ReviewMe? It’s a really elegant system created by Aaron Wall and Andy Hagans, both of whom are very well-respected SEO industry leaders. The concept is simple: bloggers get paid to write reviews about products or services. If your site meets certain acceptance criteria, your blog is eligible to partake in the process. Advertisers can contact bloggers asking them to write about specific services, and bloggers can choose whether they want to write about that topic. The blogs must be written within 48 hours of initial contact, can be either positive or negative, and the blogger must disclose that s/he is writing a paid review.
I have already written a paid review of ReviewMe.
I commented on Aaron Wall’s SEOBook announcement almost immediately after I saw it was launched. techipedia didn’t get approved by ReviewMe. Despite two prominent SEO marketing specialists already trying to promote my new voice, I know that blog and site credibility takes time. I’m not upset and I don’t find anything wrong with the rejection. But as I blogged about it for my company’s blog, which was literally unveiled on November 8th (beforehand, the URL was a permanent 301 redirect to our main company website), I had this lingering thought within that it didn’t make much sense.
ReviewMe has many promises for growth, and a lot of bloggers are excited at the possibility for monetizing their blogs, but ReviewMe also has two major flaws within that I’ve discovered at the present time that could potentially be abused and abused rather well. These are outlined below:
- The current ranking algorithm doesn’t consider new blogs on an unrelated old site. My husband has a subway photo gallery. It was registered in October of 2002 and is popular in its own right — but it is not a blog and has never hosted a blog. Despite this fact, it was immediately approved by the ReviewMe system. I could see how this works: some sites might be high on Alexa but low (or have no presence at all) on Technorati. I think there should be more emphasis placed on the latter. The approval process should consider the visibility of the blog as well; if a blog is hidden or is not the main part of a website (in fact, it could be not visited by anyone but the author himself), the author is pocketing money but the review is technically never reaching the desired audience.
- The influx of simultaneous reviews gets old fast. I blogged about how I didn’t really think 30 blogs about the same topic was a good marketing approach — at least not at the same time. I’ve consequently taken a turn and blogged about the lesser known news items unless I am able to put an interesting twist on an existing story. With a 48-hour deadline for a review, advertisers might see 30 different reviews on 30 different sites, but are the readers really going to look beyond the headline? I stop reading when I expect that I know the content, especially regarding a news item. I generally wouldn’t expect 30 different reviews to have such vastly differing opinions, and I likely will ignore the content if I saw something similar on another blog. Truthfully, not every blog reader has the same reading habits as I do (134 blog feeds and climbing), but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I won’t be found reading more than two movie reviews either.
While the ReviewMe system has a lot of potential and a lot of bloggers are already loving the system, I think that a human element needs to be involved more so than a ranking algo — but maybe just putting greater emphasis on Technorati is enough. I also think that advertisers shouldn’t expect a 48-hour turnaround as it is likely unhealthy for their product. ReviewMe’s tactic for reviewing its service is probably the only exception to the rule: it was a great way to bring new bloggers to the service when it launched. But for services that have been offered for years, this is likely not the case and people might be inclined to filter it out.
As I said in my paid review, ReviewMe is a beautiful system because bloggers can be honest and write about what they want to write. I highly recommend it as long as it’s used ethically.