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Writing To Read You On DooYoo
Helpful Advice for New Members
Member Name: Hishyeness
Helpful Advice for New Members
Date: 24/03/10, updated on 24/03/10 (240 review reads)
Advantages: Preparation, patience and respect will stand you in good stead.
Disadvantages: You have to lie in the bed that you make.
Welcome aboard. Starting out on DooYoo can be a bit daunting. You arrive on the site, scout around to find something you think you can write a review on, open up the review page, type straight into the box provided, hit submit, bag your DooYoo Miles and then wait for the community to pass judgment on your masterpiece.
And you wait.
And you wait some more.
After an initial smattering of rates, there doesn't seem to be much love coming your way. You're confused. Everyone loves a Mars Bar, you've said how absolutely GR8 (great) they are and by including an exhaustive list of ingredients, you made absolutely sure that you reached and even exceeded the minimum 150 word requirement by at least five words. So you go back and have another look, puzzled as to why people think its just "Useful" or even "Somewhat Useful". OK, so you're (sic) punctuation, spelling and Capitalisation Leave a bit to be desired, but who cares about things like that anyway? Honestly, lighten up folks! What's the problem?
Fortunately, not everyone has an experience like this when they first start out. In fact, many new members are able to contribute quality reviews from the off. Unfortunately, the community here is a bit wary of new arrivals who still have the "New Member" blue strip emblazoned on their profile picture, mainly because it seems that a majority of them don't take the time to explore the site and see how things work before they dive in. I've been on DooYoo for almost a year now, so feel able to pass along some tips and tricks to help make those first steps into the community a little easier. Hope it helps.
HAVE A LOOK AROUND
If you were learning how to drive, would you pull out into a three lane motorway the first time you get in a car, or would you stick to your local roads until you get a feel for driving? Writing a first review is your chance to make a good first impression. Be patient. Trawl through some reviews before you metaphorically put pen to paper. Read some crowned reviews in the category you are thinking of posting in to see what quality writing looks like, as well as the type of information expected. There is room for many different writing styles on DooYoo, but all successful writers have similar elements in their reviews - what makes them unique is a combination of personality, personal experience and an ability to convey information in an engaging and informative fashion.
RATE A LITTLE BEFORE YOU WRITE
Contrary to what you may believe, DooYoo's primary purpose is not to make its review writers money. What you write is for consumers who are looking for information on products and services. DooYoo's revenue comes from the sponsors and advertisers whose products appear on its pages. As such, there is no official rule on DooYoo requiring a writer to rate other people's reviews. It's a community convention that makes common sense. If you choose, you can merrily ignore the rest of the community and concentrate on churning out your reviews for the DooYoo Miles. If that's your game, all the power to you. However, in my view, you are missing out on the essence of the site - its community. If you are prepared to invest the time and effort to read other people's stuff, you will find that they (usually) will come and have a read of yours. If you don't, then you can't expect reads "for free". You may get a handful of reads on your work, but unless you start rating back, people will lose interest.
DON'T BE SHY
It surprises me how many members - new and old - don't have a profile picture uploaded. One of the quickest and easiest ways to get yourself recognised is with a unique picture that is instantly recognisable by regular users of the community. Many members, myself included, skim the new reviews page to find submissions from favourite contributors, and by far the quickest way to ID them is by their picture.
WRITE OUTSIDE THE BOX
Presentation, punctuation, spelling and structure do count. How your review looks - how easy it is on the eye - will subconsciously affect how people judge the actual content. Write your review in a word processing application. Spell check it, grammar check it, and read it out loud to yourself to see if it flows well. I often find that I inadvertently repeat the same word over and over between sentences and paragraphs, something you'll only catch when proof-reading. Text speak is irritating and unprofessional - try not to use it - it looks silly in a review. Another bugbear, shared by many others I am sure, is failure to capitalise "I", and random capitalisation throughout a review.
There are certain words that are constantly misspelled, making them something of a running joke, however, the undisputed king of typos is definitely "definitely". It also helps if you learn how to use an apostrophe, comma and full stop properly. Such is the irritation this causes amongst some members that there are even crowned DooYoo reviews on grammar usage. Lastly, try to break up your text so it is easier to read - readers are much less likely to persevere with a solid block of text.
In an ideal world, style should not trump substance, but in the real world - the DooYoo world - it makes a significant difference given the reading and reviewing habits of a large part of the community. There is, unfortunately, a bit of a "looks good, must be good" mentality and conversely, if your text is hard to read for any of the reasons mentioned, fewer people may take the effort to work through the bad style to get to the substance.
STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW
The best reviews are written from a position of knowledge. Although some of that can be gleaned from a little internet research and usage of the product, there is no substitute for passion. If you love music, then write about why. If you love make-up and buy it regularly, you are in a great position to assess the merits of a product against its rivals. Personal experience in reviews is vital to make them very useful - otherwise all you are doing is stating the obvious and providing information that the consumer can get for themselves. Try to offer a unique perspective if you can.
THINK UP A CATCHY TITLE
A title draws people in, shows imagination and creativity and is the "shop window" for your review. If you create a favourable first impression with your title, it predisposes the reader to think more positively about your content. The title should be relevant to the review but doesn't necessarily have to repeat the name of the product, as this is shown alongside your title anyway. A little thought expended here will go a long way.
ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT
One of the best aspects of this community is the time and effort taken by total strangers to try and help improve new writers on the site. These are usually genuine and constructive attempts to help you develop your skills, not personal insults, especially if the criticism is levelled at the content rather than style of your review. Take it on board. Someone has read your review and obviously thought well enough of your submission to think about helping you make it even better.
That's not a slight on your ability, its an encouragement. If someone rates you in a way you disagree with: (a) remember that this is an opinion site and others may not have the same high opinion of your work as you do; and (b) if you think the rate is wholly unjustified, ask them for their feedback if it hasn't already been left - you will be surprised at how forthcoming people will be.
RATE FAIRLY & OBJECTIVELY
When you rate a review, you should be rating objectively. If you hated a film, but the reviewer loves it, that doesn't make it Not Useful. If you don't like reading long reviews, but everything it contains is on point, that doesn't make it Not Useful either. Also, if someone rates your review Useful - a positive rate, or either of the two lower rates (Somewhat Useful and Not Useful) - that doesn't justify an automatic reciprocal rate on one of their reviews.
It never ceases to amaze me how many new members shoot themselves in the foot by antagonising established members by behaving in this way. All they have succeeded in doing is ensuring that the person they have rated never rates their stuff again. Not only that, but the practice is transparent and will drive off other potential raters as well. Burying the rate in a long forgotten review a few pages back is silly, but not quite as foolish-looking as reciprocating a negative rate on a crowned review - that just makes you look petty and stupid.
ASK FOR HELP!
We have some pretty useful people on site called "Guides" who are responsible for stewarding various sections of the site (their profile pic has a green band underneath) and recommending outstanding contributions for crowns in the categories they steward. The Guides DO NOT award crowns themselves, their nomination is just as valid as another member's, but instead, try to make the DooYoo Community Team's gargantuan job of sifting through all the reviews in a given week a little easier by highlighting quality submissions. They are also on hand to answer any questions you may have about the site, review topics and writing. Make good use of them, that's what they are there for. There are two or three guides on here who are so knowledgeable in their subject areas that I would not consider buying a product in that category without asking for their view first. Yes, they can be that good.
Welcome to DooYoo. Have fun, rate objectively, write honestly and engage with the community and you'll be racking up the DooYoo Miles in no time. The site seems to be divided into three camps - those here to make money, those here to write for the fun of it, and those who are here for a little of both. Whichever path you choose to follow, it pays to do unto others as you would have done to you.
Thanks for reading. 8^)
© Hishyeness 2010
Summary: A beginners guide to making a splash on DooYoo