BloggersBase: A Blogging Community Website

January 19, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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The following is a paid review and is completely of my own opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having me review your site or product, please view my advertising page.

BloggersBase

BloggersBase.com is a community-driven website in which members can submit their own blog posts which are then rated by the community in a Digg-style democratic voting system. There are prizes and perks for members whose posts are rated high including cash and the prestige of having their posts featured on the front page.

There is no doubt that the democratic Digg style of optionally voting submitted stories up or down has proved to be a very simple yet effective system of keeping content relative, high quality, and most importantly: of high interest to the community. Websites from all over have seen the effectiveness of this system and have implemented it into their websites. In fact, CNN and even Google copied this voting system.

BloggersBase effectively marries the Digg voting system with a community of bloggers who submit actual full blog posts instead of news stories or interesting websites from around the web.

How it Works

To actively participate at BloggersBase, including submitting posts or rating them, users will need to be logged in as a member. Membership is free and easy to sign up for, however I had to wait a good 15-20 minutes for my activation number/URL to arrive by e-mail.

Once logged-in, members can go right ahead and submit posts. Currently, there are four main categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle, Technology, and World Affairs, each with 2-3 sub-categories. This makes BloggersBase accessible to pretty much any type of blogger; it’s just as much catered to the technical, business, or professional blogger as it is to the stay-at-home mommy baker blogger.

Members are not limited to writing posts exclusively on BloggersBase. In fact, BloggersBase welcomes (and even encourages) members to publish posts on both their own blog as well as the site. In addition, they even link member’s profiles and posts to their blogs.

At first, I wasn’t too sure if I liked the non-exclusivity of posts. It made me wonder about a duplicate content penalty from search engines such as Google, and as a reader it made me think that the site would simply be regurgitating posts from other blogs.

But after some more thought, I decided that this was actually a good thing and the basis of what the site is all about. Again, it’s a community-based entity in that the community votes on and rates the posts, making popular and highly-ranked submissions climb to the top of the lists and gain more exposure. Essentially it weeds out the poor posts and rewards the good ones.

Making it non-exclusive allows big and popular blogs such as Copyblogger and TechCrunch to submit posts as well.

Once a member submits a post, which is actually labelled a Nugget, it becomes available for other members to rate. Going one step further than the basic Digg style of voting something positively or negatively, BloggersBase actually offers a total of 5 different categories that can be rated on including: Agreement, Presentation, Professionalism, and Value. The more accurately members rate, the higher their influence factors in when rating future posts.

Essentially, the voting system works like filtering water through a sift: the higher quality posts cling to the top while all the low-quality and worthless posts fall to the bottom.

Benefits

The benefit for readers is obvious – it provides related posts from various blogs and uses the community to rate them which in turn creates a platform for viewing high-quality related blog posts from various sources.

The benefit for bloggers, writers, and journalists is simple: exposure. BloggersBase, while still in Beta and new, will undoubtedly grow in readership. Since all members have both their profiles and actual posts linked back to their blog, contributing to BloggersBase works just like guest posting on a big blog. Members get exposure to a new audience and can gain new subscribers and readers to their blog.

Features

BloggersBase works on Timeslots which are essentially epochs of time set in each subcategory. For example, the Travel subcategory currently has its timeslot ending in 4 days, 21 hours and 44 minutes while the Media subcategory’s timeslot ends in 3 days, 15 hours, and 47 minutes.

At the end of each Timeslot, the member with the highest-rated post will be promoted to co-author the main blog. The Timeslot also provides a weekly deadline for the cash competitions which are explained later in this review.

One feature BloggersBase implemented in order to reward and encourage regular use of the site is a ranking system. There are currently two ranking systems: one for posting and one for rating.

The ranking system for posters takes into account numerous factors including: the amount of posts contributed, their score, the amount of conversation the post generated, etc. The ranks, in ascending order, are: Newbie, Scribe, Penman, Composer, Essayist, Columnist, Author, Wordsmith, and Scholar.

The echelon for members who rate, in ascending order, is: Subscriber, Appraiser, Commentator, Reviewer, Critic, Analyst, Trend-Setter, Sage, and Oracle. The more members rate, and the more accurate they are, the more influence they propagate in future votes. 

Perhaps my favourite feature at BloggersBase is the ability to have your posts submitted automatically. The RSS-In feature allows members to optionally add their blog’s RSS feed to their account. The system will then automatically submit the post into the members BloggersBase account whenever it detects a new post in the RSS feed.

Members with the RSS-In feature enabled will be sent a confirmation e-mail with a preview of the post whenever a new post is automatically submitted into BloggersBase from the RSS feed. They can then choose to submit or edit the post by clicking on one of two buttons located within the e-mail.

This is a great feature as it eliminates having to copy, paste, and submit posts manually.

Competitions & Prizes

At the end of each week, the 3 highest-rated bloggers in each category earn the privilege of  of co-authoring the main blog for their category, resulting in added exposure as well as cash and special prizes.

Currently, BloggersBase awards $50 each week in prizes. $40 goes to the top blogger co-authoring the surface blog, while second place receives $10. It is not known if this for each category or subcategory or only for the main blog as the FAQ on the site is a bit unclear.

In any case, I personally feel that the prizes are far too small. They need to dramatically increase the prizes if they want to have any real effect or incentive. In fact, even most small blogs these days (in the make money online niche anyway) put up far bigger prizes.

I know that they can afford it. BloggersBase seems to have put a lot of money into this start-up – I can tell just by the quality of the programming. They also attended the LeWeb’08 conference in which they gave out a bunch of free extremely thin credit-card-sized, ultra-lightweight and waterproof 4Gb MP3 players.

And they even bought a review on my blog which isn’t exactly cheap, so I know they can sweeten the prizes. I’m sure they could bring in a lot more active bloggers who contribute content by doing so.

Affiliate Program

BloggersBase offers an affiliate program in which members can refer other bloggers bloggers by using one of the banners or text links available from within their profile page.

For every blogger who is referred and ends up winning a competition in one of the main blogs, an unspecified cash bonus is added to the referrer’s balance. Members can track the number of referred users and their bonuses within the My Account section of their profiles.

Unfortunately, it is unclear exactly how much is paid out per referral. I recommend BloggersBase clearly define the specifics of the affiliate program or most people will not put much faith or determination into it.

Suggestions

In addition to the suggestions I mentioned above including raising the competition prizes and clearly defining their affiliate program, I have a few more ideas:

First, I would recommend replacing the little white 3D men images that seem to be used as placeholders for posts without any images. They are far too vague and generic and don’t capture the reader’s attention or convey any meaning to the blog post. A possible solution would be to make it a prerequisite for the blogger to add a related photo to each Nugget, or else do what Digg does and automatically take one from the actual post.

Secondly, and the suggestion that I think could make BloggersBase take off, would be to change the way the site displays the posts. Currently, it’s laid out in a newspaper or magazine  style of square columns or strips. While this may seem fine at first, the fact is that it is very difficult to read and find a story or headline that interests you. It is also extremely limiting in how much information can be displayed on a given page.

The solution is simple: display the nuggets by headline title in a line-by-line table much like Digg does. To improve on it, and make navigation and use of space even better, add some AJAX so that when a row or headline is clicked, it expands to display the first few paragraphs. I understand that BloggersBase is intentionally trying to go for a magazine-type feel which is most likely why they chose their layout, but as a reader it’s just not logical. It’s just too difficult to skim for headlines.

My last suggestion is security related and is something simple that most sites tend to overlook. Currently, BloggersBase lets members sign up and attach their blog to their account and even automatically submit posts from their blog through the use of their RSS-In feature.

The problem is that there is no authentication done to prove the ownership of the blog, allowing users to misrepresent themselves and even profit off of somebody else’s blog or content.

Take the instance below as an example. I posted one of my blog posts to BloggersBase through the RSS-In feature. Let’s say though that instead of my blog, I registered a new account as Shoemoney and even added his RSS to my fake account. If people rate my (his) posts high, which is likely since he is a well-known name and would probably get good ratings based solely on that fact, I could end up winning some contests and making some money.

Even if I don’t end up making any money, the fact is that it is misrepresentation and a big issue. The solution should be pretty straight-forward: simply make members prove ownership of their blog by uploading a file to their server or adding a special tag to their site if they don’t own a domain. This is what sites such as Google Webmaster Tools does to authenticate ownership. It’s a simple solution that BloggersBase should consider implementing to prove ownership of a blog.

Summary

BloggersBase is a community-driven website in which members can submit their own blog posts which are then rated by the community in a Digg-style democratic voting system. There are prizes and perks for members whose posts are rated high including cash and the prestige of having their posts featured on the front page.

The programming on the site is top-notch and I’ve love to know who they hired for their programming so I could use them myself. The site is very well-thought out and implemented.

The site has enormous potential in my eyes. The idea has been put to life and is executed well – all it needs now is an active community and a few tweaks here and there (as mentioned in my suggestions in this review).

If you’re a blogger, think of BloggersBase as a big blog in which you can guest post on and get automatic approval each time, even if the post originally came from your own blog. It’s an opportunity to gain free readership and exposure, which any blog – big or small – can always use.

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Posted: January 19th, 2009 under Paid Reviews  

16 Responses to “BloggersBase: A Blogging Community Website”

  1. Donny Gamble says:

    I will definitely add this site to my list of social bookmarking sites that I use to submit some of my post to.

  2. Its a nice site fer sure, but I agree with what tyler is saying.

  3. Brian says:

    I am signing up right now. It sounds great. I too believe that the weekly prizes are too small. I am not going to get hung up on the prizes too much since I will never win one anyway.

  4. Work at home says:

    Good post tyler keep them coming in

  5. Mezo says:

    Sounds like a good idea but im still a little bit unsure about the duplicate content issue, the next usual question people will ask is : Do they really pay?

    they really should consider your suggestion about authentication, i hope they do.

    thnx for the great review

  6. This is definitely something I’ll start to use for all my blogs. The RSS-In feature is definitely a helpful addition.

  7. Fun stuff…..I’ve been working on a concept almost identical to this website.

    The only difference is I reward good articles with traffic (paid via PPC , SEO , social bookmarking) and share a % of the website total revenue with those that participate.

    It’s definitely a good idea that websites are doing this, I think it’ll really bring blogging to a whole new level.

  8. Hi there Tyler and Tyler’s readers,

    First of all I wanted to thank Tyler for the in-depth review that he wrote.
    It’s evident he really took the time to understand BloggersBase and cover it so professionally.

    Regarding Tyler’s concern about non-exclusivity (and Mezo’s as well), I wanted to add that we encourage each blogger to put an attribution to his or her original post (if there is one), which we automatically append to the end of the post. This will not only increase access to your own blog and be another valuable link to it, but it’ll also help search engines understand there is no problematic content duplication.

    As Tyler noted, we currently have 10 blogs altogether, arranged in 4 categories. In each of these blogs we award $50 cash prizes EACH week, for a total of $500!!! We chose this rather than revenue sharing at this early stage so our users could earn more than a few cents. Aside from the money prizes, we offer BloggersBase’s large (and growing) audience and exposure (SEO brings our users’ posts to the first search pages of Google time after time).

    Note that we also have a few Special-Events and Partnership blogs that offer special prizes, such as guest post on famous blogs, or one time larger awards.

    I’m also grateful that Tyler has drawn my attention to the missing explanation regarding our affiliate program. The FAQ has been corrected, and here is an update for you:
    Each time a blogger who has registered following your link wins the competition in one of the main blogs and is awarded a prize, a cash bonus will be added to your balance: You will be awarded exactly the same money prizes (100%) as your referred users do, up to 3 wins per user. For example, let’s say you have referred 2 users. The first one wins first place twice in the Internet blog, and the second user wins second place 5 times in the Humor blog. You will be awarded $40 times 2 for the first and $10 times 3 (the maximum) for the second, for a total of $110.
    Special time limited offer
    : you’ll be awarded up to 10 (instead of 3) wins per user you refer. It means you can earn up to $400 per user!!!

    Tyler made some great suggestions as well – I’ll refer to most of them here, and I encourage everybody else to give us feedback and suggestions.
    * The excerpt image is customizable at the moment and we’re currently working on making the process more user-friendly. * Also notice that the magazine style layout is unique to the main page and the category pages – blogs are displayed in the regular chronological blog format.
    * Authentication of RSS-In is under development as well and shall be deployed in the near future. In the meantime we rely on our users to report stolen content, as well as our moderators to catch the culprits.
    * Mezo – as for your question about do we really pay, you can have a look at this review posted by one of our high-end users, in which he actually displays one of his earned payments.

  9. Hmm… seems I’m having problems adding a comment…

  10. Funny Quotes says:

    This seems like a pretty good way of getting your blog out there. Plus the fact that it offers prizes should help this get pretty big pretty quickly. Seems like a great site to help me market mine.

  11. Ryan McLean says:

    This looks awesome. I will definately be getting involved. This is something I think my readers would like too. They are involved in blogging quite a bit.
    Thanks for the awesome review

  12. Very nice idea created for this website. This is just something to add onto the already growing blogosphere, but who knows what will become of BloggerBase.

    -Mike

  13. Jay says:

    It definitely looks good enough to check out. I like how it kind of separates itself from the other social sites a little bit too.

    Jay

  14. Too bad for Technorati. This sort of system could really reenergize that service.

  15. signed up now.. next task is to submit a few of my blogs!!
    have to rush in n check out wat good it does to me!

  16. I have been checking out many of your posts and i can claim pretty good stuff. I will surely bookmark your site.

PeerFly

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