New Membership Levels Proposed

We have outgrown our membership levels and it’s time to add some new levels to differentiate the level of trust and quality that each member represents to us and to others. Here are the new proposed membership levels:

Membership Level Formerly Called Number of Articles Represents
Bronze Basic First 10 Newbie Members
Silver Basic Plus 25 (or more) Probation
Gold Up To 100 Quality Without Volume
Platinum Platinum Unlimited Volume With Less Quality
Diamond 100 to Unlimited Quality With Volume

The tentative plan is to keep Platinum members where they are, and begin the process to define how high the quality must be to be considered a ‘diamond’ level member. Speed of approvals will start at Diamond and work our way down to Bronze in terms of priority. The new Gold level acknowledges high quality articles from authors who have no desire to be high volume, but if they were in Gold status after Silver (previously called Basic), they could move to Diamond after 100 articles are accepted.

What do you think so far?

69 Comments »


1
Thad Ferguson writes:

So when an article is approved will it say congratulations your article has been

-Accepted
-Accepted and Received A Quality Designation
-Something Else

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:23 AM

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2

Hi Chris

I like what you have done here because it

1. reflects the growth of EzineArticles

2. takes care the person at each level

3. gives the person at each level an incentive to move higher

Nicley done!

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:23 AM

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3

THAT would actually do a lot to get me posting articles again regardless of how busy I am! Naturally competitive with myself, I wouldn’t be able to stop until I reached the highest level! Good idea.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:23 AM

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4

Chris,

This is simply quite brilliant! Very well done – this will provide all the incentive any author needs to submit quality work in appropriate volume.

Jonathan

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:25 AM

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5
John Lombaerde writes:

Not a bad idea, but do not implement it for at least one month, so that those who recently joined, in anticipation of moving quickly to platinum based on the current criteria, could still qualify.

This is, after all, a rather large change in the article submission requirements from the previous policy.

Thank you.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:26 AM

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6

I like this idea. It is a big difference to someone who has 100 articles versus someone like me with 20 right now. The different levels would give me new goals to work towards

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:32 AM

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7
Lisa Sparks writes:

Who measures the quality? Your editors or the readers?
If it’s the readers, will there be more of a push for readers to rate the articles?

Thanks.

Lisa

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:34 AM

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8

It may take us some time to debate and attempt to make black and white a very subjective thing that Quality is.

One person’s idea of quality is hiring a ghostwriter whereas another person’s idea of quality is investing 2-3 hours per article and having 2 people edit it before we see it.

Unfortunately, we are waging war here in terms of quality because there are too many authors writing low quality articles in crazy volumes and this makes it hard for us to show a user who is reading the article if they are reading the best our membership can offer or an article that just squeeeeeeked by marginally.

Diamond level represents the utopian ideal EzineArticles expert author to us. Someone who only writes original works, visually presents them in an easy to read format (bullets, numbered lists, and only a tint of bold or italics styles), doesn’t generate user complaints, submits consistently over time, and is easily a genuine certified expert in the topics he or she writes about as evidenced by their website URL’s and bio.

This may be one of the most complex undertakings we do this year because of the processes that must be put in place to automate the management of our editorial review teams, the history flow, email alert messages that must change, up and downgrade email alerts, and so forth.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:36 AM

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9

Lisa,

We very much may use the user rating system closer to the top of the article (instead of the bottom) and leverage the daily visitors to help rank the quality of various articles.

This would also take much of the burden of anger that members feel towards our editors if they don’t like our editors decision because it’s hard to argue with how ‘the market’ feels about a particular article or author, especially if all of our security protocols and anti-gaming software prevents fraud rating.

We can also see using number of comments on an article as another indication of article quality because an article that moves someone to comment usually means it connected with the reader in some way.

Connie,

There are 200 members with 200 or more articles but putting the marker at 100 articles allows more than 300 additional authors to earn the Diamond level.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 11:48 AM

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10
Thad Ferguson writes:

I think that you need to move quickly on it for the simple reason that you believe there are a lot of writers writing simply for volume and if that is indeed the case (which it is) the current system you have up is going to generate more and more of those types of articles. Changing it now can help improve that even if the only thing you do is mark those with high volume and low quality as such (the obvious cases)

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 12:10 PM

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11
Thad Ferguson writes:

The new levels could also solve some of the problems that Jonathon was talking about in an earlier blog.
Diamond level members could be the only ones that are displayed on the front page as well as given the top few spots in all the catagories.
Even though it doesnt really help increase traffic to an individual article many if not most people believe that it does.
It would also eliminate high volome low quality articles from geting in the mix and lowering the perceived quality of your site

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 12:23 PM

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12
Neill Neill writes:

I would like to see a lot more emphasis on quality and less on quantity. The writer of 99 bla articles does not give the reader a better experience than the writer of 9 good articles.

And reader experience is the critical piece for long-term success.

Neill

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 1:05 PM

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13
Alan Boyer writes:

So, what defines the quality?

What measurements will be used to define different quality levels?

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 1:25 PM

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14
Edward Weiss writes:

The one thing I can say about this is that too much quantity may not be a good thing. Here’s an example.

I look into internet marketing articles quite frequently. There’s one author there who posts many articles every day.

I get tired of reading this particular author’s articles and wonder why (as a reader) he’s allowed to dominate this topic and thwart the efforts of other authors (although he’s really not – it just appears that way from an anonymous readers perspective.)

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 1:59 PM

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15

Alan,

Your question is fair, but one that is not easy to answer. I’ve given some clues as to how we value quality in a previous comment above and I’ll go back and make the part I’d like you to re-read in BLUE.

Another day in the near future, we will do a blog entry to discuss the metrics used to show our perception in the range from really low quality to really high quality articles & authors.

I can see it’s really going to be important for us to allow our readers to help with the quality ranking component so that we can do the rough quality ranking and our users can do the fine tuning.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 2:03 PM

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16

It looks like me a good step in quality caring. I would like to know more about how it will be used for and publicized.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 2:08 PM

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17

This is a great idea all around. The increased emphasis on quality helps every serious author, it helps weed out those who would simply flood articles only in hopes of improving link popularity, and it is a huge benefit to publishers looking for quality content.

It gives authors incentive to keep writing – good articles.

All of the changes you’ve been making to move EzineArticles toward better quality just keep putting you further ahead of the pack.

Cindy

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 2:16 PM

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18
Alan Boyer writes:

One suggestion for the quality part could also be based on the number of reads.

After all, if something is getting read a lot that indicates that there is a following, and that the content is desirable.

Actually, articles that get onto the top 15 list might get the highest score.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 3:11 PM

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19
Alyssa Johnson writes:

I REALLY like the idea of the pushing more quality. I also agree with letting the readers decide this rather than the editors. We’re writing for the readers and their needs. The editors may know nothing about our field of expertise.

I think making the comments section more accessible to the readers would be great.

I also like the idea of considering the # of views as well, but I wouldn’t solely base quality on that. Some people are good at coming up with really catchy titles that get attention, but that doesn’t mean the quality is there.

Thanks Chris for your continued innovation. It only goes to show why you guys are SO good at what you do.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 3:30 PM

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20

I don’t know that basing quality on number of page views is a good idea. I’m very niche in my writing about writing and editing, because that will highly target who does read my stuff – I’m going to get less page views and reads than someone who writes about a more popular topic – period! But that doesn’t mean my writing is sub par or my quality is poor – it just means I’m defining my niche very carefully an those who DO read are probably more likely to take action.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 3:32 PM

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21

Alan,

I suggest that we accept Lance’s (no need to use a surname here) counsel on this – number of reads has no bearing on quality, as he has pointed out on numerous occasions: For example, a piece (and I use the term with integrity) with the title: ” Extend Your Manhood” by Ivor Bigun, will always attract far more readers than an imaginative miniature essay, on corruption within corporate America.

I moot that we leave the grading to those who conceived this new and imaginative level of differentiation, unless we mistrust their integrity, which clearly, we do not.

Jonathan

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 3:51 PM

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22
Lance Winslow writes:

This sounds like a good idea, actually. Nothing changes for me, I am already a Plat!

It is good to give those authors with quality and quantity an extra boost and kudos, it is hard work writing articles to perfection and sticking with it long enough to reach that 100 article level.

Still that 1,000 barrier is a real tough one too. So, it seems that with so many getting close that some insignia needs to be made for them too? So the 1,000 and quality level, is a huge accomplishment and they should be recognized too with some different type of level?

Although if you make too many levels it becomes too complicated, so maybe the idea of 1,000 article barrier is not such a good idea? Who knows?

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:06 PM

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23
Jan Verhoeff writes:

Is it okay if I step back and watch the fall out?

Actually, I like the idea. It shows continued genius on the part of our fearless leader, and persistent motion toward a top quality site.

I recently wrote some articles (ghosted) for another article writer, and I was astounded at the variance in language. I knew the topic I was writing quite well, and included some of the technical jargon (keywords) requested in the articles. The result was articles I really did like, but… the voice was too “strict” for my liking. Although they work well for the writer they were created for, I can’t see them being effective for MY niches.

Consequently, while I believe the quality of my articles is quite high, I also believe there are times when simply worded information is as important as the technically savvy bologne (sorry, I required the use the technical term – for sake of humor).

Okay – even my attempts at humor are lagging today, must be nap time. ARGH

Jan

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:09 PM

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24

Lance,

Is your spell checker fully functional?

“Nothing changes for me, I am already a Plat!” :)

I am waiting with baited breath to learn of the “super diamond” category for 10K plus – we should call it “Winslow”?

In reverence

Jonathan

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:14 PM

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25
Alan Boyer writes:

Regarding whether reads always reflect a quality article:

I agree, that there are articles that fit a niche market that might not get the greatest number of reads.

However, I still say that articles with the greatest number of reads ARE a high quality product. They stand out and, as such, should be considered quality, and high value.

That does not in any way say that all low-read articles are lower quality. I write articles all of the time for low-volume markets. But I also have articles that are in the top 15 reads. Those generate the most web traffic and calls for me of anything I do. That says they have a following, and they are read.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:17 PM

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26
Thad Ferguson writes:

You know maybe it is just me but I dont think that many people who come to EzineArticles looking for information or articles to publish even know or look for platinum level authors over basic.
It is just us authors who get a thrill over it, as for numer of reads that would work if you could get an accurate count but as it is now all you know is the number of times it has been clicked on which can be misleading since many people put a link directly to the articles on their site and elsewhere.
If there was anything that they have now that could be a good indicator I think it would be amount of times published yet given the amount of times you are allowed to publish (25 articles a year) that number isnt accurate either.
In the end, I think the editors should be in control of who does and doesnt get to Platinum level with little or no input from readers because most readers dont give accurate input and if the editors were in control each writer would have the ability to create “quality” articles instead of a popularity contest.
Everyone who writes on EzineArticles should have a way to capture email addresses on their own site that way people who do read your stuff can sign up and go directly to your site for the information you have or receive it by email instead of going through EzineArticles to do it.
I am all for changes in the current system yet no matter what they do short of rejecting my articles there isnt anything that would hurt my current or future traffic with them.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:32 PM

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27

Alan,

As a postscipt: I just read your “most read” article of all time – 355 words and 47% was your bio?

http://ezinearticles.com/?Characteristics-of-a-Good-Leader&id=65036

Reads equal quality? I do not think so. It is not my wish to be unkind, but I do feel it is essential to have a sound base for any arguement.

As I said in my earlier post, let’s leave the grading to those who ornated this excellent new scheme.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 4:46 PM

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28
Thad Ferguson writes:

Hey Jonathan,
His article count was 349 and his bio was about 160 for a total of 509 which is less than a third.
Either way I think that that would be the problem with allowing anyone other than the editors to determine quality.
I read Alan’s article and thought it was quite good even though I am not in that niches so good for me simply meant I read it and got some new information out of it.
Jonathan on the other hand read it or counted it and determined it was not of good quality (that is what I got out of what he wrote about it)
Whose right and whose wrong in the situation?
Who Knows but either way Alan just got 2 more “reads” and me and Jonathan both agree that is by no means a way to tell if that was a quality article or not.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 5:07 PM

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29
Connie Hillman writes:

Hi,

I am new here, so I apologize if my comments or questions somehow show my ignorance. As a new person investigating options for article submissions, I am most interested in finding a service that will be well-regarded by the editors who pick up articles for publication. Therefore, I am dismayed by the membership level proposal’s emphasis on quantity over quality. I understand that you want to encourage more participation, but I respectfully submit that valuing quantity over quality would undermine this service’s reputation and therefore how receptive editors would be to look at and use (my) articles. I would recommend swapping the Gold and Platinum levels so that people with high quality, low volume are just under people who submit high quality, high volume. It is disheartening to me that someone who is churning out mediocre copy for the sake of high volume output would be valued more highly by EzineArticles.com than someone who wants to submit well-written, worthwhile articles at a slower pace.

Additionally, I wonder why the distinction between the Bronze and Silver levels? It seems to be an unnecessary complication of the system.

Again, I apologize if I’m not understanding something because I’m new here. I’m shopping for a worthwhile service to which I can submit articles. Thank you!

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 5:35 PM

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30

Thad,

Clearly, we are looking at a different article?

Follow the link very carefully, EzineArticles assures us that this article has 355 words, and I trust them.

Follow the article down and where you see the word Alan beginning with a capital “A” is where the bio starts – always a clue.

Within the bio are 952 characters and 167 words – from there you divide……… yep it is hard sums time!

My maths are accurate – do speak to your calculater supplier if you are experiencing severe difficulties. Here in France we have 24 hour calculater support, it is such a comfort.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 5:36 PM

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31
Thad Ferguson writes:

Okay you are correct in the numbers but you have to add them first as his bio does not count for the amount of words he has in his article.
Math is really hard when you dont have the right numbers.
Either way lets assume that you are correct in the percentge would that somehow change the fact that it is a good article are not.
If my numbers were correct are closer than yours would that make it a better article.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 5:40 PM

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32

Errrrrrm,

Good night Thad and “Happy Easter” – may the “Easter Bunny” bring you all that you wish for!

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 5:49 PM

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33

Looks like a great outline Chris. Feels like a steeper climb for me but it’s not really, that’s just a perception, I look forward to the challenge.

All of my articles have high quality, but then that’s subjective, depends on who’s reading.

Comment provided April 5, 2007 at 6:44 PM

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34

Edward Weiss,

I’m with you and I can’t stand some of the articles we’re accepting by Platinum authors who meet the quantity aspect of their membership, but not the quality.

Charbel,

You asked how it would be publicized? Once we’re set and a whole bunch more programming is done behind the scenes to support the new levels, we’ll announce it here in the blog, then the newsletter and then to each member via their new EzineArticles Inbox.

Alan B,

The number of reads is component that I’m not sure indicates quality because of the fact that a good quality article title with bad content in the body can out-pull traffic than a great content in the body with a poor article title…because the author is riding on the goodwill of our site and shares in our collective credibility to attract traffic vs. having something to do with the quality of their article.

Alyssa J,

Have you seen the comment explosion that is happening this week ever since the new email follow up system per comment went live? It’s crazy good. :)

Uhhm, thanks, but the team deserves more of the praise than I. I’m just the guy asking for the impossible on a daily basis and our developers and editors are the ones in the trenches making it happen.

Jan,

I made the internal statement that I don’t want to see any author who hires ghostwriters to make it into Diamond status. To the trained eye, this is very easy to spot, but most of our editors haven’t logged 10,000+ articles reviewed yet so it doesn’t come easy for them to spot.

Connie H,

The primary purpose of the new membership levels is to differentiate authors who provide QUALITY with or without QUANTITY rather than only giving status to authors who can barely meet our editorial guidelines while providing a lot of QUANTITY.

But now I think I see your plight… your argument is QUALITY is the only thing that matters and QUANTITY is irrelevant. Just like any normal distribution curve in statistics, in every market, there will be the cream of the crop and then all the rest. If we only accepts the cream of the crop, we would not have the explosive growth that benefits everyone involved.

Know that your comments will be debated internally here and are appreciated.

Lastly, Bronze level = we have no trust in the member yet, they are brand new and we’re just getting to know them and what they stand for or are about in terms of integrity. Silver = they have integrity problems (perhaps they submitted PLR crap and didn’t know better or they hired a ghostwriter that fed them crappy content and our system auto-busted them for submitting non-original works, or perhaps English is not their native tongue and the sentence structure quality is just too low to be accepted) and are being given a 2nd chance to submit content that meets our guidelines.

All,

Thank you for your feedback!

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 10:32 AM

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35
Jan Verhoeff writes:

I know I’m not the only copywriter who does ghost writing and/or edits articles for other article marketers, but what is the percentage?

Is that available?

I sometimes struggle with the ethics of selling my work without my name on it, but … I have kids to support and they have expensive hobbies (skiing, motorcross, eating, etc.)

Is there a known percentage of authors who purchase ghosted articles and post them as their own?

This is not a high percentage of my income, although it’s one of the more profitable per time spent things that I do. It’s quick, instant profits, in a few hours I can churn out a ski-trip.

Jan

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 11:11 AM

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36
Thad writes:

Hey Jan,
You probablly already know but a lot of books are written by ghost writers, I may be wrong but I think the type of ghostwriting Chris is talking about is that which is written by someone strictly for the purpose of being sold (lacks real content) and could be done about anything you get a lot of these types of articles in the Dating section of EzineArticles.
they have a great title promising much yet at the end of the day it is a story that is only slightly related to the subject.

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 11:19 AM

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37

To all ghostwriters,

If you are really a good ghostwriter, we should never be able to tell that an article was ghostwritten. :-)

As a follow up to the WORD COUNT issue:

For Alan’s article, we show 355 words. MS Word 2003 shows 349 words. MS Word Vista shows 347 words. Because of how our software counts words, I think we’re always going to be about 1-2% higher or lower than actual and that’s an acceptable margin of error.

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 11:28 AM

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38
Thad writes:

Also, just me thinking out loud but requiring memebers to fill out their extended bio before gaining Diamond status is a good idea as well.
It seems that most of the writers with an extended bio write higher quality (in my opinion) articles than those without.
With that being said you might also want to take away the ability for everyone to see how many views certain articles received in the extended bio as I know that migh be a reason some people do not write an extended bio (When people know which article titles are getting the greatest number of hits they tend to write articles with similar titles)

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 11:28 AM

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39
Edward Weiss writes:

I thought platinum was more valuable than diamonds.

Maybe you should have a gold-pressed latinum level. It’s way out there! :)

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 2:13 PM

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40

Edward,

I DID in fact mention “Gold Pressed Latinum” internally, but they all laughed at me!

Oddly enough, Latinum is a *Silver* liquid that is suspended in gold to become “Gold Pressed Latinum.”

Begs the question if “Pure Latinum” is worth more than “Gold Pressed Latinum”?

We may never know, but Tuvok is directing the next series that begins April 15th: http://www.startrekofgodsandmen.com/

Live Long and Submit Your Articles
-Chris

Comment provided April 6, 2007 at 2:40 PM

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41
Herman writes:

Good idea Chris, however the levels definitely require some deeper thought as to how they should be implemented. ie

1. Platinum level will approve high vol with less quality than Gold. This seems back to front.

2. How will you determine what is a quality article? ie
no of visits, punctuation, grammer, sentence structure, layout, length, no of points made etc

3. Here’s an idea – have your editors review all the articles they have written (not including their own) and sort them according to the new membership levels, then allow us to see how they did it and be able to receive feedback.

4. Can you outline the benefits (perks) of attaining any of the top levels ie more exposure, free copy writing lessons from top copy writers, new mercedes etc

Thanks for the new ideas…I’m going for 100.

Comment provided April 7, 2007 at 8:12 AM

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42
Lance Winslow writes:

A Mercedes? HA HA HA That’s great “Give me a Mercedes Now!” For writing articles, yah, cool! Give everyone two Mercedes unless they live in Germany, give them a Corvette.

Comment provided April 7, 2007 at 3:25 PM

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43

Forget the Benz and ‘Vette Lance, gimme a ’68 Stang any day – rag top please……….

Comment provided April 7, 2007 at 9:13 PM

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44
Jan Verhoeff writes:

I just want one with a working tranni! I don’t even care what it is.

Okay – that was childish…

I’m going back to article writing – I need to EARN myself a new vehicle to replace the lovely yard ornament now attached at the tranni to my driveway.

Jan

Comment provided April 7, 2007 at 10:20 PM

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45
Lance Winslow writes:

Jeff with this Mustang do instead?

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/04/09/sports/09carts.3371.jpg

Tiger has one!

Comment provided April 9, 2007 at 1:10 AM

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46

Lance – in the words of my 12 year old son

“Oh, that’s just wrong!”

Comment provided April 9, 2007 at 6:09 AM

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47
Dan Goodwin writes:

Just to agree with the comments about quality being more important than quantity.

I don’t think the high quality article writers have anything to fear, and there are many, many great articles on EzineArticles.

I do find it quite depressing how much drivel there is too though. Probably at least a quarter of what I read on EzineArticles falls in this category.

Poorly constructed and thought out “articles” with little apparent expertise or authority demonstrated. These read more like the author’s just thinking out loud and are the sort of content that wouldn’t get past being simply the idle thoughts of most people.

I believe you can offer quality and quantity, but quality should always be the priority, for the sake of the reputation of EzineArticles and all of it’s authors.

So any steps taken to raise the quality, or rather to reduce the high number of poor quality articles that are allowed to be published, has got to be strongly encouraged.

Dan Goodwin.

Comment provided April 9, 2007 at 10:01 AM

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48
Anne Hickley writes:

Hi Chris

Please accept my apologies if someone’s already come up with this comment. I’ve been away and haven’t been following it and just don’t have time to read it all right now! I did a ‘skim’ and couldn’t find mention of this though:

Gold Up To 100 Quality Without Volume
Platinum Unlimited Volume With Less Quality

This seems to suggest that Gold is better than Platinum – if you have 99 articles and you’re Platinum rated you might rather be Gold (a ‘downgrade’ apparently) as Gold suggests quality and Platinum just suggests volume.

It won’t be an issue for me for quite some time as I’m currently Platinum but only have 13 live articles, but it is a concern in general and for the future.

I also agree that number of reads isn’t really ‚¬fair’. I’m sure people writing about ‚¬how to earn $1 million a month from home’ probably get more reads (if only for people to have a good laugh) than those writing quality articles for a niche market.

Comment provided April 10, 2007 at 8:39 AM

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49
Susan Scharfman writes:

This is an interesting if confusing concept. When I first read this blog I was in a hurry, scanned it briefly, thought I’d misread it and tucked it away for a quieter time, which is now. After re-rereading it and seeing Ann Hickley’s comments I know I did not misread it.

I’m of the generation that still believes that Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, a guy’s best gift and should be EzineArticle writers’ ultimate goal because Diamonds are not and cannot be of lesser value than Gold, not anywhere in any shape or form. But I think that quality and quantity are of equal importance here. Quantity brings in money and quality lends prestige and EzineArticles needs both for success, which is what we all want.

This is a conundrum that Chris and the team will eventually solve because it’s one of the things they do so well.

Comment provided April 21, 2007 at 4:56 PM

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50

All,

Interesting dilemmas…

We must balance the desire for high quality with the needs for high volume.

Lately, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the link quality that a member wants to use in their resource box. Even after they have written a high quality original article, if the link they use is what’s considered by others as a *bad neighborhood* link, that becomes a very credibility-destroying article for our reputation.

The challenge of course is that the powers that be in the search engine world will never share links they consider to be ‘bad neighborhoods’ and therefore it becomes gray rather than an easy black & white yes or no type acceptance or rejection decision.

Goes back to the old saying about how you’re doomed or delighted to be judged by the company that you keep.

Using our normal viewpoint of the world, if a link in a members resource box would be perceived as valuable to the majority of our user base, then it just added value and made us look good and made whoever referred the traffic to look good.

——

One of the reasons we’ve been slow to take next steps on the various expansion of membership levels is because it complicates things and requires a campaign to educate everyone over a large period of time.

Anne,

Platinum is more dense (it’s heavier) than gold and Platinum is more expensive than gold…therefore, technically, we’ll consider it better than gold.

To make matters even more confusing, “WHITE GOLD” is technically an alloy of Gold and Platinum (plus some Palladium, Nickel and/or Zinc).

Perhaps the confusion is that we’ve long heard that ‘the gold standard’ is the best that one can strive for in life and even our monetary currency is or was backed by gold bars.

If we take a look at what the CREDIT CARD companies are doing, the “gold card” is not worth as much as the “Platinum” card…and above the “Platinum card” is the elite “black card”.

Check out this quote from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platinum

“Platinum awards” are the second highest possible, ranking above gold, silver and bronze, but below “Diamond”.

About the only change I think we need to make here is to make sure that the gold bar icons are smaller or the same size as the Platinum star icon.

In the near future, we’ll be taking next steps to implement the new membership levels, but this may take a month or more to roll out.

Comment provided April 23, 2007 at 1:52 PM

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51
Anne Hickley writes:

Hi Chris

Interesting points about the resource box, but I think you’ve rather missed my point about platinum and gold.

As a geologist (amongst other things) I wouldn’t dispute for a moment that platinum is more valuable than gold. What I am disputing is that quantity lacking quality is more valuable than quality lacking quantity, which, as I understand it, is what you mean by platinum and gold, respectively.

Going back to the resource box issue I’m right with you on ‘bad neighbourhood’ links but you’re once again penalising niche articles if you only think links valuable to the majority of the user base. I publish what I hope are quality articles … on transcription. The majority of your user base will have no interest whatsoever in transcription. (Believe me, I see their point some days!) BUT those that do will hopefully find, for instance, the link to people selling transcription equipment in my article about transcription equipment, rather useful!

Best wishes,

Anne

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 2:54 AM

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Ann,

I see your point.

Let me ask you this question as a reader:

What is more valuable to the reader and his or her market?

An expert author with 10-20 articles listed on transcription equipment and services

– or –
An expert author with 100-200 articles listed on transcription equipment and services?

Assuming the quality is high enough to meet min. standards, the author who went deep most likely delivers a more comprehensive value for the reader, especially if the author wants to build a loyal following from the reader beyond the first article that was read. This isn’t to say that the author who only delivered 10-20 articles isn’t valuable because he or she did deliver valuable content.

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 6:18 AM

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Dan Goodwin writes:

Chris,

To answer your question if I may, as a reader the most valuable to me of those two would be the one who I most connected with and I felt offered me most relevant, useful info.

I read a lot on EzineArticles on the topics that interest me, and after reading 2 or 3 articles of a particular author I make a decision to either carry on reading their articles, and sing up the ezine, course, or to stop reading their articles because they’re not for me.

If I’m not connecting with their articles or they’re not relevant to me, even if they’re in the right niche, it doesn’t matter if they’ve written 5 or 5000 articles.

The relationship between reader and article and therefore between reader and the AUTHOR of the article is a huge factor in whether the reader explores the author’s material any further.

I think the quantity factor is far more important to the author ie more articles = more exposure, readers, sign ups, sales and so on, than the reader.

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 6:34 AM

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Lance Winslow writes:

I know this is off subject but I am not very smart and so I hope someone can answer this question for me. You see I am writing another article on Computers and Technology and can anyone answer this question for me;

Who sold more computers, was it Apple or Microsoft.

Oh and thank all you’all in advance, because I am on a deadline. So do let me know on that okay doakey?

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 7:29 AM

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Anne Hickley writes:

Hi again all,

When I chose where to post my articles (and EzineArticles is one of only two or three that I post to) I based that decision on the quality of other articles I found there, not the quantity.

I’d far rather read 5 quality articles by an author on a topic, all different and relevant, than 200 that are rehashed based on an original 5 or 10 quality articles. I’m with Dan on this one. No, of course I’m not suggesting everyone with quantity just rehashes their first five articles; there are many people out there with a mass of real quality work ‚¬€ but there are certainly those that do. And your suggestion of Platinum (quantity with less quality), being better than quality with less quantity will, to my mind, encourage those re-hashers.

The ones who are publishing 200 different relevant articles will be diamonds (hey, they are already really!) but will the people re-hashing the same stuff again and again really be worth calling Platinum? Isn’t that what ‚¬quantity without such high quality’ is really going to end up meaning?

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on, Chris, since your point of view is bound to be slightly different as your priorities must be different. If EzineArticles is judged against other article sites on quantity, then obviously quantity rules.

p.s. I still think EzineArticles is the best out there, and will continue to be so! ;o)

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 8:11 AM

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Lance Winslow writes:

Boy, I agree on the rehashing concept and yet realize that eventually articles drop off ranking in the search engines and thus it might be good to right on the same subject again. Today however, I am trying to write on a different subject than the same old thing on TV which seems to be what people are searching for these days. So, I decided to write on VCRs since everyone has one. I hope someone can assist me on this.

First, I realize the Beta is better in quality than VHS? But most people use VHS (90%+) and even though it is lesser quality, your home VCR. Do you ever use it? And do you enjoy watching movies on it? If you have upgraded to DVD, did you enjoy watching movies on your VCR for 10 or 15 years? This is the information I need to complete my article and thank you so much for helping me.

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:00 PM

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Dan Goodwin writes:

Lance,

I enjoy your humorous take on things, always makes me smile…

To answer your “Who sold most computers – Microsoft or Apple?” question, of course there are far far more PCs in the world than Macs.

But I wonder what the overall level of satisfaction of PC users is compared to that of Mac users..?

Best wishes,

Dan.

PS – yeh I’m a Mac user who also has to often use one of those other delightful machines too…

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:11 PM

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Lance Winslow writes:

Indeed, well since Apple used a cult-following marketing motif, they apple users would believe they are the best to the point of making it a religion. Just like article authors who say that quality is the most important religiously.

But I ask you today to answer yet another question and that is how many article authors compose their articles using Microsoft Word like mr. Lance?

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:27 PM

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Dan Goodwin writes:

Lance,

Yep gotta hold my hand up, guilty of that one!

Sometimes I use MS Excel too. But don’t tell my Apple Mac worshipping friends or they may disown me… : )

It’s great these debates prompt so many comments, shows what a committed and passionate lot the EzineArticle Authors are…

Dan.

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:31 PM

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Jan Verhoeff writes:

Lance,

The boys are sitting here, so I asked them about the VHS vs Beta thingie and they said, “Huh?” Then about ten minutes laer, one of them asked if I was talking about those clunky tape thingies that used to record movies.

So, to answer your question — or not? I think you might want to move forward a bit to DVD’s and forget those other thingies (where the heck did that word come from?).

Jan

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:41 PM

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Lance Winslow writes:

The point about Apple Lovers making it a religion is interesting isn’t it? My thoughts are this;

Many writers treat quality as a religion. In a way that is good because quality is good. But they should never use that as an excuse for low output or lack of quantity, you need both to succeed completely. You can have some success with one or the other, but you need both to blow the doors off.

I would advise online article authors to step back from the “quality religion” and consider the realities of the market place. Be careful not to take the quality issue of this debate to the level of sound and fury common witnessed with religion and politics. Because in the end it is not an either or question but a both and all answer.

My MS Word works fine, I like it and use it. Microsoft wins. So did VHS. So, will you if you concentrate on one, rather than making a religion out of the other. That is the thought.

Comment provided April 24, 2007 at 3:50 PM

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Rebecca writes:

Hi Chris

My only concern about using reader feedback to determine quality is that it may not really be an accurate measure for the following reasons:

* topic may be controversial or present a strong (yet well researched) editorial viewpoint that elicits a strong negative response from the reader – and hence a low rating – that does not reflect on the article at all.

* there may be few people responding to it

* the vocal ones that actually rate or comment on it may represent a skewed minority of opinion (again, goes back to the point that any reader could be reacting to anything, or may simply be looking for something else, or disagree, and give a negative comment/rating to an otherwise good/informative article).

* authors themselves could rate their own articles and try and manipulate the system – or those with big lists could generate a lot of feedback that others with good articles who don’t have a big list or promote their article listings can’t.

I think the traffic is a start, but I would certainly feel more comfortable with editors determining quality ratings.

Thanks
Rebecca

(I do think the whole thing is a good idea though)

Comment provided May 17, 2007 at 1:20 PM

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Thank you very much Chris!

When I wrote my idea yesterday I didn’t expect you would take it seriously.

I really didn’t have time yet to read all this thread, but this classification is really wonderful!
(I’m going to read everything later).

I hope I’ll be one of the best examples of this Ezine!
I learned a lot with you, that’s why I’m following your articles and participating of your blog constantly.

In the beginning I didn’t realize how helpful it could be but when I started to participate of the discussions I understood how much I’m learning with you and the members that discuss with us!
And I always know what is happening in the Ezine. This is very nice! Thank you again, Chris!

Comment provided September 7, 2007 at 10:36 AM

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Nancy Chadwick writes:

Chris,

I agree with Rebecca — the editors should be determining quality ratings and not pin in on feedback (or lack thereof). The content & amount of feedback are, as Rebecca points out, too easily manipulated. This manipulation can also be accomplished through “straw” readers (i.e., people with some sort of business/personal relationship to the stated author) who may be willing to produce “feedback on demand” to boost an author’s ratings or taint the ratings of another author.

As to what to call the various levels, I don’t know if somebody else mentioned this, but why not use a symbol insteadl of brone, gold, platinum, etc? Suppose the symbol were an * (star), then authors in each level up would **, ***, etc. I find it difficult to establish a “totem pole” of precious metals and stones, and I would suspect many readers do as well. I would suggest an “A” instead of a star or another symbol, but a scarlet “A” has, well, different connotations!

Nancy

Comment provided September 7, 2007 at 4:06 PM

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Hi Nancy! Hi again Chris!

I read all this thread! When did you wrote this entire thing?? I’m always the first one to see Chris’ new article in the blog. I even said to my self that I won’t be again the first one to leave a comment! Chris writes, Christina comments. (!?)
But you wrote this huge thread during this morning for me here in Greece! I don’t know when.

I adore this blog, I adore EzineArticles and I adore article writing!
I even want to write an article about ‚¬“writing‚¬ to give some essential lessons to all writers in the Internet.
We see everywhere people giving ‚¬“article writing‚¬ lessons, but not Writing lessons.
There are basic rules every author must know! Nobody talks about them. Nobody gives lessons of creativity in your writing, on how you can be original and etc! There are so many things you can do to write whatever you wish very well!
You only need organization in your thoughts.

Now, concerning the topic of this thread perhaps Nancy is right. I don’t know!
When I read what everyone said here I even thought that I didn’t know if Platinum should be first or if Golden is really in the right place. Never mind, I think it doesn’t matter. But I like very much the word Diamond. My biography’s title (written in Greek) is ‚¬“Diamonds‚¬, exactly because I found diamonds in the dreams we see when we sleep. They are pure psychotherapy, and the safest one. Anyhow, I’m sure I’m going to be one of the diamonds of this Ezine and I’m going to help everyone here be a diamond too! The majority of the writers of this Ezine will be diamonds with my writing lessons!

I’m writing now for many categories. I’m going to entertain and help my visitors with Writing lessons.
Everyone needs writing lessons in the Internet. This is a good idea!
I’m going to entertain myself too because I love writing! Even though I need a revision in English, my thoughts are so clear that I can write in English so easily! If you knew for how long I had abandoned completely the English language and how many mistakes I made when I started writing English again thanks to the Internet, you wouldn’t believe I am able to write what I write now, without any English lessons because I don’t have time to study that too! But I am a writer.

Thank you so much Chris for this blog and this Super Ezine!

Comment provided September 7, 2007 at 5:05 PM

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Anne Hickley writes:

Well I’ve already posted on this thread but I just wanted to say same old in support of Nancy! I think that reader feedback and number of times published are both open to almost infinite manipulation. Not that it makes any more sense to say someone is platinum just because they’ve published a lot, with no qulaity reference … I’m not pretending to know ‘the answer’; I’m just not sure this is it.

Comment provided September 8, 2007 at 3:03 AM

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Elisabeth Kuhn writes:

When I first started reading this set of comments, I didn’t realize they were from 2007!

But then people did still post WAY after the fact, so I figured, why not me too.

About the number of views as a measure of quality: I agree with those who argued that it’s highly problematic. For starters, people won’t actually SEE the article until they’ve opened it….so how can the open rate correlate with quality?

And then, Ive also noticed something fascinating about those numbers. I submit to a couple of other directories as well (less verbatim these days — I try to send alternative versions and sometimes entirely different articles on the same topic now.

But when I first started I didn’t change them around. And at that time, I discovered that my lowest scoring article at EzineArticles ever was the highest scoring article to date at a different directory (Amazines). And one that got really high numbers at EzineArticles only scored average at Amazines. I thought that was ascinating! So it seems that it’ has more to do with the audience than with the quality of the article.

Elisabeth

Comment provided April 16, 2008 at 1:32 AM

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Lance Winslow writes:

Elisabeth, I find the entire issue of article views to click returns interesting and even more ironic is exactly the kind of experiences that you comment about above.

Comment provided April 16, 2008 at 2:03 AM

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69

2 years later, from this original post… Diamond Membership is born:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/03/why-diamond-level-membership.html

(Except, we only require 10 articles and not 100 as originally thought would be needed to determine Diamond level quality)

Comment provided March 23, 2011 at 9:28 AM

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