400 words minimum, I know you'll hate me for this!

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400 words minimum, I know you'll hate me for this!

That is, if you didn't already hated me for another reason, then this will only reinforce your feelings..

But on the other hand, I've put some code that will show you a personalised message, showing you the number of words left to write, with an easy link to the EDIT function, so all you'll have to do is to come up with a few more sentences in order to reach the 400 words minimum requirement on those top lists of yours which are below the new minimum requirement.

I know I'd be mad too reading about some more work to do and in fact I have quite a few top lists myself (on another account) which don't meet this requirement..

You can make a search on google to find all your unpublished pages by asking for results:
- with your username ( +YourUsername )
- on best-reviewer.com only ( site:best-reviewer.com )
- with the error message ( part of the error message is "The total number of words in your top list is less than" )

Here is a link that you can click, then simply change +YourUsername with +YourOwnRealAndTrueUsernameOnBestReviewer.

If you want to see this news in a positive light it is very easy: more words means more content for the search engines to send visitors to. And with the recent event of Google sending about 3 times less visitors, I think this might be one of the many possible reasons, I don't know, but surely it can't hurt to have pages with a minimum of 400 words of original content.. (EDIT: 4 days after implementing this rule, Google started sending the usual amount of visitors again, I don't know for how long, but the penalty lasted exactly 2 weeks)

It's not too hard, let's take a simple example for a top 3:
Introduction: 125 words
Top 1 title + description: 75 words
Top 2 title + description: 75 words
Top 3 title + description: 75 words
Conclusion: 50 words

So, to motivate all members to take a look at their top lists and see if they meet the 400 words requirement, I have sort of unpublished all pages which are below this limit. In fact they are still available for all to see, but they show a big red text about the problem, then I display the introduction and conclusion with no links. The top items are not displayed anymore, so the page look even more empty now.. until everyone does something about it. I mean if your top list had 350 words, then what is it to write 50 more words to have all the links back? Of course if your top list had only 100 words then you have to come up with 300 more.. But hey, it wasn't cool to do a top list with only 100 words to start with. It wasn't wise either regarding search engines and the traffic you could get on a better worded page..

So to sumarize, this is actually a very good news and I'm sure you'll love me for it when Google will have lifted its penalty and will start sending us tens of thousands of visitors a day, you'll see how happy we'll all be soon, so soon!

If you have something to say, please do, let it out, it's not good for your health to keep things inside, express yourself, let's communicate about it if you feel bad about it, I'll try to help you see things in a positive light..

Aaaagh. no James, we don't hate you. But I've just edited all my hubs to change the titles that had html in them. I was in the process of going through them to check the links all work and now I have to amend them again. HubPages have done the same thing to us, so I'm amending hubs too.

I know, don't write on someone else's site, develop your own. But I keep amending my articles on other people's sites and I don't have time to work on my own sites, not to mention the Kindle book that is still half finished.

So here's my question. If someone makes a comment on your top, does it count for the 400 words? If so, we could all make comments on each other's tops and help each other and thus help the site. I notice that tags don't count for the 400 words.

Hello no, the comments don't count, nor the tags, not even the top's title, only:
description, conclusion (many don't write a conclusion, maybe that will change with the new words minimum) and each item's title and description.

I understand you must feel bad about all this mindless work you have to do because someone else is changing stuff on their sites. And yes I recommend you to focus on your own site, imagine if you had spent the time, all the time on your own sites, you would get similar if not more traffic and sales. Sure at first it is easier to use someone else site, but in the long term it is not a good plan, like me focusing on adsense and not developing my affiliate marketing skills, suddenly I regret not having started doing the right thing before.

But, also I recommend that if you feel overwhelmed, you take time to relax, step back, think about stuffs and have a good quiet time, because in one or two months everything will still be here and you'll still be alive, so why always rushing? Enjoy some holidays, even at home, and you'll come back to it when you'll be refreshed in body and mind.
But this is up to you anyway, it is not necessary, but just to remind that it is not necessary that everything needs to be done yesterday! We are earning money online for not having to deal with this kind of articifial pressure and stress of the corporate world.

Note that for instance on best reviewers I'll do the same thing, so don't bother changing anything there if you planned to do it, you can do it in 2 months or more, if you haven't changed your plans for the best by then.

TinaAtHome here from hubby's computer. I wanted to see what the tops looked like if I wasn't logged in. If I click on a top, it gives me the red error message, underneath there is a section that reads "More interesting top lists over here..." but none of the titles are clickable.

I think if the site looks like this and many people don't amend their tops, then it will discourage people browsing the site. If many of the tops can't be read then people won't read the tops that can be read.

Hello Tina, the block more interesting tops has been like that since I created it. None of the titles of the tops are clickable but the top 1, top 2, top 3 are, it's just to add some diversity on the internal linking, all top items link to the top list, it is just weird looking compared to having the link on the top's title, but it works fine.

As for the way the site looks now, with the many "incomplete" top lists, it doesn't matter much because as you can see in the stats, it is the best time to do that with so few visitors, less than 1,000 unique visitors daily.
I think with the way I've put the message across, both in top pages and in list pages, with the exact number of words missing and percentage of completion, members will be motivated to write more to fix the links missing quickly. So many pages will be updated in the following weeks, and let's hope it is what Godgle wants :-)
Also, for future top lists submissions the 400 words minimum rules will be enforced automatically because as soon as the top is submitted, the next page is either the top list or the message depending on the number of words.
Of course those smart members who will want to copy twice or more the same text so that they can bypass the rule will get the boot when I find out, but at least with this system I don't have to worry about checking the number of words myself.

We should all be creating reviews with the intention of them getting ranked well in Google, otherwise we are just wasting our time. I think this restriction is a great idea. If you can't be bothered to write 400 words between the intro, links and conclusion, well you don't deserve to get any traffic. A good move I think James, hoping it helps to make a difference. Now off to check my reviews...

Aggggghhhh!!! I have 14 reviews in RED because I don't have enough words. I checked each one though, and I have between 250 and 350 words in each, but the content has all disappeared except for the Intro and Conclusion. Not sure what happened, but there are now no links. I don't have time to research and to create all the links again, so am I best to just delete these? I assume if all the links disappeared that they are not recoverable? If they are, I have no problem adding more details. Some of these reviews are ones that have given me good traffic in the past as well.

If you click on EDIT you should see everything has before in the form, don't you?

the fact that nothing appears like before with the number green graphics when looking at your top list is just my way of "unpublishing" the top list without actually unpublishing them. It is to motivate members to add the words left to write in order to get back their top list like before but improved.

If when editing your top list you can confirm that indeed something has disappear then let me know one example and I'll investigate. But since I haven't changed anything, not removed anything, I don't think it is happening. Just a confusion when looking at the top list with all the words in one big paragraph instead of like it was before. But it is temporary, when you reach the 400 words then it will look again like before.

Phew! Panic over... The content is there, I just wasn't scrolling down far enough. Brain not working too well today, so I forgot that the links are below the conclusion. Well off to write some more unique content I guess :) Thanks for the prompt response James.

You're welcome! I'm happy to see that many top lists are being updated today, hopefully Google will notice after a week or two, if not I'll send them a reinclusion request by writing a MEA CULPA :-)

I do hope you manage to get Google back soon. The content is at least still appearing in Google, but I for one am missing the revenue from Adsense. I haven't found any other advertising programs that compare on earnings.

Pleased to see that the reviews are gradually getting updated. Hopefully all the good ones will be.

You mean the adsense revenue from best-reviewer.com with the google penalty + the unpublished top lists from your referrals?
As for advertising programs yes, there is no arguiing about that, adsense pays the best. Chitika is paying 7-10 times less per clicks from my experience on best reviewer and also has about 40% less CTR, so the eCPM/RPM is much much lower than adsense for the same ad location and size. And Chitika are the one who have been recommended by yahoo when they closed their adsense-like YPN beta program to their publishers. So Chitika has a lot of publishers and probably advertisers are interested. But despite all this chitika pay very less, perhaps they take a large share of the profit and the bids are not as high as on adwords anyway..

But I have good hopes that the various affiliate programs can generate a similar or even greater income than adsense. But it would require another kind of traffic, much more targeted to people in buying mode or at least desesperate for a solution to whatever problem they have at the moment.

So after years of easy earnings with adsense, it is not easy to have to work/learn new skills and then apply them successfully, but not easy is not the same as impossible :-)

I think you are doing the right thing. Best-Reviewer has a lot of content, now is the time to focus on improving the quality of the content, and with that will hopefully come more followers, Google approval, and higher earnings.

My earnings have been down in the last 6 months too on most sites. Adsense clicks seem to pay less in the summer, but traffic has been down too, as well as sales on Amazon etc. I am hoping it will start to pick up this month.

It always picks up in the end of the year.. It depends on what content you have of course, but generally the autumn and winter are nice for earnings. There is also the month of may which usually can be profitable if you have content dedicated to mother day, but yes every year there is more and more competition and not easy as before to enjoy the traffic picks..

About Google and traffic, well that we have no power over, so it's up to it really.. But yes I think google could do better than the few hundreds it sends our way daily since 2 weeks now.. But for me even at 3,000 a day it was too low compared to the amount of content there is, no matter if it is not a lot of words..
But what is true is about the people who post top lists with amazon products, soon after launching the site in 2010 I noticed this happening and instead of banning it I filled in the top lists with amazon ads with my own affiliate id in the thinking that it will annoy the members and they will not go on, it worked quite well I thought, but then I forgot about it, in my own amazon account it doesn't generate much sales so I thought that's fine they either don't get many traffic or there isn't that many pages with amazon links..
But a few months ago I saw more and more of members doing it, I thought again of setting a new rule forbidding it, but instead I put my own affiliate id 50% of the time, greedyness or stupidity or lazyness, don't know..
So I'm not accusing those pages with lot of amazon links, because I have no proof at all that it hurts the site when mixed with even more top lists without amazon.. But if that was the problem? Don't know.. I could also ban from display any link with amazon.com inside, but then it is easily bypassed by using url redirects.. I could make a rule that if I find out I delete the member and all his tops, but I think it is not fair that this rule come after 2 years, some members have been working on the site and then suddenly they should be banned for a new rule?
I have hard time about this, but mostly it is that I'm not sure, there is no proof, no message from google about it. If they would tell me the reason for penalising the site, then yes I can change my rules to comply and then everybody would understand my decision because they would take the same one. But there is no explanation at all from google.

I have quite a few reviews with Amazon links, and really that's because a light came on one day and I saw the potential there. Yes I have had sales on them too, not a lot but enough to make a difference. While I started creating reviews with a lot of unique content on each link, I do have some that have little or no link content, and these don't perform well, however some reviews like the War Movie ones do get a lot of clickouts on Amazon. I am in the process of adding more details to all of these, in the hope that they will generate further traffic due to better content. Let's see what happens in the next few weeks, as the key buying season approaches, and hopefully Gooogle gives B-R some good rankings.

Thanks for the info! :-)

I really, really wish it would show up on our list of tops rather than having to click on the top to see that it needs editing. I went through a struggle last year with Hubpages editing things all to no avail. I wasted 6 months editing, re-editing, and re-editing again. I'm not sure I'm up to it. I don't blame you for the new standard but I may let them stay unpublished. I will keep the 400 words in mind for new tops.

I understand, since you have over 100 tops. I just had an idea of using Google for that since it is its fault if I had to implement this new rule :-)
I have added author's username in the error message, so you can make a search on google for all your unpublished pages by asking for results:
- with your username ( +YourUsername )
- on best-reviewer.com only ( site:best-reviewer.com )
- with the error message ( part of the error message is "The total number of words in your top list is less than" )

Here is a link that you can click, then simply change +YourUsername with +mulberry.

Other members reading this can do the same, unfortunately since I added the username to the page just now, it will take some time before Google will have indexed the new version of the pages and so can show them to you. Perhaps in a few days you'll have results already.

Quantity of text content, and not just quality has always been important, and I think being strict about having a minimum of 400 words is a good move. Well done. I am, however, concerned about all the other types of ads I see on the same pages as Adsense ads - some slightly resemble Adsense ads, which is usually a no-no with Google Adsense. I hope your and all the members Adsense accounts are not at risk of being shut down. I assume, however, that all must be fine and that Adsense is also fine with you and this site. I hope it stays that way - for all our sakes.

From what I've read over the years, now adsense just want the other ads to look different from adsense, but since they don't have patents on title/description/url format, changing the colors is fine.

But those ads you see are from a test I started at the beginning of september for a semi-contextual widget showing clickbank products.. The problem is that it simply doesn't work, clickbank products need to be sold in order to generate money, and it is just not happening with general traffic like I have on best reviewer.
So those ads will go away, and they will be replaced by timeshare ads I plan on reserving for premium members, which will be ads from premium members shown sitewide, on all pages.

The risk of having adsense account shut down is ALWAYS there. I know because it can happen to you at anytime and for a nonsense reason, with no possibility to do a proper appeal or even communicate with anyone at adsense team.. We need to be aware of that because it is a fact, don't hope that it only happens to people who actually did something wrong.. Don't overestimate the professionalism of adsense employees, because what do we know exactly about the actual persons pushing the BAN ACCOUNT button? Nothing.

And once it happens, communication is null, like talking to a wall, except this wall sends you an irrelevant copy and paste text once or twice, but that's the only difference.

Thanks for the reply - yes, having one's Adsense account shut down with no reason or explanation is always a worry, since I hear that people are pretty much unable to get their account back again when that happens. To me the ClickBank ads do look a little similar to the Adsense text ad content blocks ads but it was the Chitika ads I was referring to, but yes, hopefully different coloring in them is fine. Ps, I previously thought that the Adsense ad allocated to members is the one that appears between the introduction and the first top - but I have no Adsense ads for myself there at the moment on some of my tops. CB ads are appearing there instead. My latest post posted earlier today doesn't even have an ad there at all, just a blank space just to the right of my first top, as if an ad is supposed to go in there, but there's nothing displaying - although two Adsense ads are displaying further down. I accept it may be because you're trying different ads etc and I guess it will all come right once you're done experimenting.

That's because I have changed the ad placement several times before and now I have settled to a simple way:
the adsense unit will be of size 300x250 (I still allow for size choosing but will probably remove it) and one in each TOP item, on the right side of the content.
Since the minimum TOP is 3 it is ideal for adsense and the 3 ad units maximum limit.
When you're loggued in I don't display any ad, only for visitors.

All those ads you see now on best reviewer will be cleaned up before I release the membership. Those were trials, amazon, chitika, clickbank, etc.
They will go because they don't earn much and when I open the membership I'll replace all those small earnings by the goodwill of members who want to pay for the memberships. So the site will look less ad cluttered, so that it will have more value for the ads that do show.

I wouldn't evaluate the site right now, let's say it is a beta version, if you want to make a judgement, better wait until the memberships are open/live and I've done all the changes I want to do.

I know it will still be ugly, but less than now for sure! :-)

No judgement - was just concerned I had no Adsense ad when I was not logged in, next to my first top of my latest post, while other Adsense ads were showing further down. I know it will all settle down once you're done preparing and implementing the new parts of the site. I like the 250 x 300 Adsense unit - nice choice for going next to the tops.

The ad on the first item will be reserved for the timeshare for premium members.
The ad on the second item is for the author
The ad on the third item is for the author's referrer if any, otherwise it will be put to use depending on the membership level.
The additional items for top > 3 will be used also for membership levels.

This latest reply of yours clears so much up for me - thanks! It's good to know that the second ad, next to top no. 2 (that was visible) is "mine."

By "timeshare", I presume you mean that once you are done upgrading the site/the membership options, that the space next to the no.1 top will no longer appear blank as it does now on my latest top list - it would instead have an ad, but an ad that only premuium members can earn from in one way or another, even if that ad is on a page they didn't author - or if that's not an option (to avoid having a blank space there) then at least you could earn from the top-most ad if one is placed there. The blank space wouldn't/doesn't look good - so I do hope an ad is placed in there no matter who in the end earns from it, even if I, as a basic member, don't earn from it. Plenty of tech stuff you have to consider and I take my hat off to you for getting all this planned and done!

Yes, everything will be fixed don't worry, if there are still things to improve I count on you and others to tell me about it, but first I need to fix the obvious things because at the moment there's just too many things to say, let me first clean up to my ability and then I can improve upon with your advice.

One thing I've taken on board from your other messages is that the naming of the membership levels was not good. Calling the first level paid membership "basic" is not clever. I'll change it to PRO, while keeping the name PREMIUM for the highest level, so that there will be: FREE, PRO, PREMIUM..
Or some other order.. If I look at Windows 7 they had:
Home Premium
in that order, they don't have free version, so they don't use BASIC :-)

Well I could indeed replace FREE by BASIC, so there would be BASIC, PREMIUM, PRO so as to make the first, free membership not so attractive.. :-)

Anyway, that's not the most exciting part this naming, the fun will be in the benefits, since I suspect the highest membership will be taken only by a limited number of members, so they'll benefit the most from the activity / traffic of others on the site.

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