Blogging for Books Newsletter
 

May 2, 2011


Dear Bloggers...

(Just a heads up...this is a fairly lengthy email, but if you care about how your reviews are being ranked, you'll want to read through this.)

Four months ago we set out to launch the best book blogger program on the web. We poured hundreds of hours into dreaming up and eventually launching the Blogging for Books program that more than 6,300 bloggers have grown to love.

One of the features we wanted to offer was giving out prizes for the highest ranked and highest quality reviews on a monthly and annual basis. We determined that we would let people rank your reviews and create a system that would keep track of your review’s score.

As we talked through the best way to do this, we decided we would allow people to rank a review only once. We planned to control this through a series of back-end, cookie-based restrictions. Like many web-based programs, we studied, polled, and interviewed bloggers before launching the Blogging for Books program. And like many web launches, knew that adjustments would need to be made...especially in the beginning.

Long story short: Some bloggers found a way to game the review ranking system and falsely run up their score. This caused many of you to argue that the system we set up was not allowing for a level playing field for all bloggers. Some bloggers, it appeared, were getting an unusually high amount of people to rank their reviews. You asked us to change the system by which reviews are ranked and that's exactly what we've done.

One of the things that Ashley and I are most proud of when it comes to Blogging for Books is the fact that we see you as friends and partners. When you contact us, we take your concerns, suggestions and advice to heart. And that's what prompts us to come to you today. We're announcing a new change to the Blogging for Books program.

As of today a review can only be ranked by entering a valid email address.

Also as of today, all review rankings have been cleared out. This means that all bloggers have a score of zero for their reviews. For some of you this will be frustrating, and we feel your frustration. You worked hard to get your reviews ranked and you did so honestly.

For many of you this is good news. You now have a fresh start and a level playing field by which to compete for some great prizes, which still include the two grand prizes of $1,500 cash.

So what does this change mean? What will things look like moving forward?

Let's address the change to the review ranking system first.

Moving forward, in order for folks to rank your review, they must enter a valid email address. Each review can be ranked only one time based on a unique and valid email address.

In order to help make this clear, imagine this scenario. I go to the Blogging for Books site to rank my friend Paul's review of Radical by David Platt. I find his review and enter my email address - BookBlogger17@gmail.com to rank Paul's review of Radical. In order for my ranking to go through, an email will be sent to BookBlogger17@gmail.com. Before my score will count, I must first validate my email address by clicking on a validation link. I only need to do this the first time I rank a review and won't be required to enter my email address when I rank future reviews.

Ultimately, you can rank as many reviews as you want. That said, you can only rank an individual review one time. If we find that any bloggers are trying to game this new system, they will be permanently banned from the Blogging for Books program.

Now, let’s address the prizes.

When we launched Blogging for Books we said we would give out a host of prizes including two $1,500 cash prizes. We still intend to give these prizes away based on the new ranking system. Instead of giving out these prizes in February, 2012, we will be awarding these prizes in May, 2012 based on reviews posted between May 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012 under the new email-based review ranking system.

We know many of you have worked hard to post quality reviews and to get those reviews ranked by as many people as possible.

So we are going to add a special contest in lieu of the changes we’re rolling out. We are giving away five $250 Visa Gift cards to bloggers with the highest quality reviews posted from November, 2010 through April 30th, 2011. In order to be considered for this contest you must choose one blog review and fill out the form at www.WaterBrookMultnomah.com/BookContests. Please enter your first name, last name and email address along with the contest code “BLOGGING2011” in the contest code section. You'll also need to remember to add the link to your review in the “notes” section.

We will choose five winners and award them a $250 Visa Gift card in the month of May, 2011.


Take our poll: What do you think of the new review ranking system?


Now, we figure you have some questions. So…here is a quick Q&A:

Q: Can't people just enter as many fake email addresses as they want and thus game the system just like they did before?

A: No. In order for a review to be ranked a valid email address must be entered. Our system checks the email address to ensure it is valid before the review can be successfully ranked.

Q: What are you going to do with the email addresses?

A: We will only use the email addresses to record the scoring of your blog review. We will not sell, distribute or spam folks who enter their email address..

Q: When will the $1,500 prizes be awarded?

A: We are moving back the $1,500 prizes to May 1, 2012. We will award the top ranked review posted between now and April 30th, 2012 a $1,500 cash prize. We will also award the highest quality review (as determined by WaterBrook Multnomah staff) posted between now and April 30th, 2012 with a $1,500 cash prize.

Q: Will you continue to offer monthly prizes?

A: Yes. We will continue to offer monthly prizes for the highest ranked review, highest quality review and other category-based or book-based reviews.

Q: What about the get code feature? Is that still available?

A: Yes. The get code feature will still be available. That said, you’ll need to grab the new get code for each of your reviews. The old get code “code” will not work any longer.


We want to personally thank each and everyone of you being a Blogging for Books blogger. We know your time is valuable and appreciate your thoughtful and honest reviews of all WaterBrook Multnomah titles. We’re proud to consider you partners and friends.

Take our poll: What do you think of the new review ranking system?

As always if you ever have any further questions, please reach out to us at BloggingForBooks@WaterBrookMultnomah.com or via Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BloggingForBooks

Ashley's Signature

Ashley Boyer
Publicist
WaterBrook Multnomah

Chris' Signature

Chris Sigfrids
Online Marketing Manager
WaterBrook Multnomah