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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.