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Pay it forward...
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pogomom Original Post: Mar 10 '06,  5:41 pm           
Reviews written: 201
Member since: Dec 20, 1999

Post: 48785
Pay it forward...

As I was digging through the threads in this H&G forum, I was reminded that many members give great advice to newer members. Wouldn't it be great if we shared the good advice others gave us when we first joined Epinions?

I remember being especially nervous about writing in categories that weren't in my comfort zone. During my first days of posting reviews on the site I mostly wrote in the computer related categories. Once I braved H&G, I found a couple of real mentors who took the time to make the category more attractive to me by explaining the difference between a decent review and one that truly helps the consumer.

A more seasoned member suggested writing about the product or service as if talking over the phone, telling my best friend all the pros and cons. Every detail I would have shared with my friend I put in my reviews.

I thought about what questions the person on other end of the line might ask and included the answers and sometimes the questions that came to mind in my reviews.

Granted, some or most of my reviews are extremely wordy but, there's an audience for reviews of all lengths, or so it seems.

The details matter most. In addition, it definitely helps to format reviews with paragraph breaks. Epinions makes that easy, a blank space between paragraphs is all that we have to do to make our reviews easier to read.

A quick glance at the spell-checker Epinions provides also saved me from embarrassment more than once. I sure wish they'd implement that application on this message board.

I also learned from a more seasoned member that creating reviews in a word processing program like Word or Works has many benefits. The spell-checking program in most word processors is superior to the Epinions version. The ability to enable a grammar checker helps, too. The main reason I choose to write offline and then copy and paste my review into the "Write a Review" form is that sometimes the site gets a little wonky, I want to be sure all that time I put into creating the review isn't wasted.

The advice I received helped me find my Epinions voice. I tend to use a conversational tone in my reviews because of that "phone call" concept. Let's just say it worked for me.

So, what worked for you?

     
dlstewart Posted: Mar 11 '06,  5:16 am           
Reviews written: 1847
Member since: May 31, 2002

Post: 48805
Words from Dawn

My first review on Epinions was about an iron in the H&G category. Then I bounced all over the site, writing reviews in a lot of areas. Helpful advice I received was that I should consolidate my writing in one or two categories to gain an audience. It worked! Not only did I gain an audience, but I was fortunate to receive Top Reviewer status.

I write reviews filled with detail. Sometimes I worry they are too long. However, I want someone reading my reviews to walk away knowing as much about the product as my experience can provide. That way they can move more confidently into a buying decision.

Even if I have experienced horrible situations with a product, I always make sure to include information about the product and what I expected from it. That way the reader knows the product’s features, how I expected the item to perform, and what actually happened when I used the product.

Here’s my short list of review Don’ts.

1. Please do not write in all capital letters. It makes a review almost impossible to read.

2. Separate paragraphs with a blank line between the paragraphs for easier reading.

3. Spell Check the review to avoid mistakes. Misspellings can become embarrassing gaffs.

4. A personal pet peeve ... when writing a vacuum cleaner review avoid the word "suck". The word is overused and has become cliche.

And don't forget to have fun while writing. Epinions is a great community with sharing people.

Enjoy your day!
Dawn

     
gamblin_man Posted: Mar 11 '06,  8:08 am (Updated: Mar 11 '06,  8:14 am)           
Reviews written: 358
Member since: Apr 8, 2001

moderator in Home & Garden
Post: 48819
How it Happened For Me

I was doing some internet research before buying a new tiller and stumbled on Epinions. Several months after buying a tiller I remembered Epinions, joined, and wrote about it.

A couple of months passed and I came back to look at the review. It had been read and rated! People said it was Helpful. I didn't know the rating system then. There was even a few cents showing in an account they had established for me.

I wrote about a new tool I had acquired and really liked. I went away for awhile and then remembered about Epinions again. That review was Helpful too. The pennies had increased. I wrote a couple of reviews about tools I had and liked and started checking back more regularly. I discovered there was such a thing as Very Helpful.

I wrote some more reviews and added to my first tool review. The rating didn't change so I wondered if it was worth doing. Then I got a comment on one of my later reviews. The IS (I still didn't know that term) was over $1.00 now. I took the advice in the comment and emailed the commenter. I still credit Caprig as the one who got me involved in Epinions. Without that comment I probably would have faded away as so many others do.

Others came along with helpful suggestions and my writing got better (in their eyes anyway). And so, five years later, I'm still around, still writing, trying to do for others what Caprig first did for me.

What I Learned

- Write about the things you know and like
- Take the time to think what you wanted to know before you acquired it and tell others so they won't have to ask
- Write the body of the review using a word processor and its grammar and spell check capabilities then transfer it to the review form
- Keep paragraphs short and separate them with a blank line
- Read it through, then read it again
- Write regularly in a single area of the Epinions site. I recommend Home and Garden :)
- Check back for comments or sign up for alerts when comments come in
- Read other reviews of the type of products you like to write about. Emulate the things in them you like
- Make friends through rating, responding to comments, and using the email addresses of those who rate your review if you don't understand the rating
- Come on the site and browse when you are feeling good about life
- Don't rate if you are upset
- Make sure Epinions is fun and not a burden by taking time away when you need to

Larry

     
lorace Posted: Mar 11 '06,  10:31 am (Updated: Mar 11 '06,  11:01 am)           
Reviews written: 277
Member since: Jun 5, 2001

moderator in Home & Garden
Post: 48835
RE: Tips on Writing H&G Reviews

Writing SMALL APPLIANCE Reviews

Small Appliances are those little gems that either make us or break us, mostly in our Kitchens. Epinions is a great place to check and learn what others think of certain Small Appliances (hereafter referred to as SAs).

So you've got an SA that you either love or hate, that is either old or new, and you'd like to tell Consumers about it. Let's start.

1st – Make certain that your product is in the Epinions' Database. Most SAs are listed by Manufacturer and by Model Numbers. In H&G we have what we call the "Series Rule." Say the Model Number is listed as –PX2472 -and your model is PX2465, then it would most likely be all right to use that page for your Review. However, if your model varies, like –DL2465-, or -PJ3572,- it would be rated as an Off Topic Review.

In cases like the latter, check the Category Leader's profile page for a SAP (Suggest A Product) form to fill out and send her – if possible, she will add the product to the Database. Sometimes this takes time, so hold off writing for a while until you hear from the CL, she will let you know or, perhaps, make suggestions for an appropriate spot.

2nd – Preparing to Write
It helps to have the package or box near you, and/or the instruction manual to jog your memory and the correctness of your facts. Sometimes I'll even set the Appliance near me so I can better review it.

3rd – Things you can Tell Consumers
A--. Why you chose this particular Appliance.

B--. DETAILS about the Appliance itself.– Suggestions:Size/weight/controls/special features/how hard/easy to set up and/or Clean/warranty.

C-What this Appliance does – even if you use the toaster oven ONLY for toasting or baking, still let us know if it will broil or do convection baking. We may be looking for just the feature that you may not use.

D. –YOUR EXPERIENCE with the appliance. Here is where you can SHOW us why you love it or why it failed to meet your expectations. Try to avoid smutty, slangy words when reporting your dislike for something. I know the temptation, but let's be professional!

E. Recommendation and Summation.

This is only a general outline for writing a Small Appliance Review. Be creative, we love it, but I hope that this has helped you to see what Raters look for in a Small Appliance Review:

Formatting
Spelling
Details
Personal Experience
Recommendations.

Looking forward to reading your Small Appliance Review, and Have Fun!

Lorace

     
lorace Posted: Mar 12 '06,  9:51 am           
Reviews written: 277
Member since: Jun 5, 2001

moderator in Home & Garden
Post: 48908
RE: Tips on Writing H&G Reviews

PS.s.s.

If you find you're one of those who needs to use the SAP (suggest a Product) form, as mentioned in the above post, please FIRST check out our CL's latest reports on which items they are not able to ADD at this time.

Here's the Link for the March 9th report on this:

http://www.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~17/id_~5235/forum_id_~182/pp_~1#48532

Lorace

     
Steelfan Posted: Mar 13 '06,  6:04 am           
Reviews written: 170
Member since: Feb 13, 2000

Post: 48969
Interesting Post.

I originally find Epinions in Feb. 2000. I found it doing a search for a specific product. A few years later, I rediscovered Epinions while searching for a Pressure Washer. After buying the Pressure Washer, I decided to do a detailed review of it as I was using it. From day one to present day this review is probably my best, and definitely is my most viewed. The irony of the whole thing is that I put it originally under the wrong product heading. After receiving Off-Topic ratings, I send Ladysmom, and Guisbuild email. Both were very kind and helpful, and Gusbuild even sent me a "blueprint" that he used to write great reviews. I still use this format and it kind of goes like this:

1. Personal story or explain need for the product.

2. Product information. The more the merrier without boring the reader.

3. Explain how it works.

4. Likes.

5. Dislikes.

6. Warnings if there are any.

7. Sum up your review. Recommending it or not.

Break these subjects into paragraph with bold titles. I also use italics for any information from websites or quotes. Always find the proper product heading.

Their have been several other people who are important to my success here and for my writing. I'm not going to name names, but I will say that there is not one Advisor or Top Reviewer in Home and Garden that I would not recommend people to for help. I have also met many people from other areas of Epinions and have found the same to be true in almost all cases. Remembering that this is a hobby and is supposed to be fun is the most important thing of all.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Let's hope that we can help others like we were helped when we first got here. Heck, I'm still learning.

Kent

     
gamblin_man Posted: Mar 20 '06,  10:16 am           
Reviews written: 358
Member since: Apr 8, 2001

moderator in Home & Garden
Post: 49836
A Challenge to the Fairer Sex

Women and tools – do the two not mix? This poster believes they do. It seems that most of the writers on Epinions are of the fairer sex and that most of them, based on the number of tools they write about, aren’t tool users. Yet some of the top tool reviews in Shop Tools are written by, gasp, women. Some aren’t tool users but they have significant others who are. They can write and they can talk to their “other” to get the information to write a top tool review.

One I remember fondly was done in the form of an interview. It was fun and a quality piece with all the details to make any tool lover happy. Another was by a lady who had actually used the tool. She researched, asked others about the tool, took a deep breath and wrote it up. Not only did it get top ratings, but the manufacturer was so impressed it sent her a sampling of their other tools in appreciation.

I know lots of guys who write great tool reviews but would never consider writing on household cleaning products. Why; those that do try it have reviews that stand out as being a little different and get lots of reads, maybe even some income.

Look at this post as a challenge. Find a tool you have used or talk to the guy in your life about the ones he uses. Gather your things around you that put you in your comfort zone and write one of those great reviews you normally write in Health and Beauty, except write it for Shop Tools or for Lawn and Garden. We will be there to help if you need some and to applaud your bravery in any case.

We’re waiting.

Larry

     
pvreditor Posted: Mar 20 '06,  12:38 pm           
Reviews written: 427
Member since: May 31, 2002

moderator in Cars, Home & Garden, Musical Equipment
Post: 49853
RE: A Challenge to the Fairer Sex

A woman who knows her way around tools definitely gets my notice. I think it's very appealing when a woman can hoist a drill, saber saw or even a circular saw and get the job done. Despite her fear of heights, my wife went on the roof with me and happily hammered away to install new shingles. She also has no problem using a drill or chop saw, but is uncomfortable with a circular saw. Still, it's a pretty good show, tool-wise, for a woman.

--Bob

     
mssnow55 Posted: Feb 02 '07,  12:43 pm           
Reviews written: 1
Member since: Feb 2, 2007

Post: 106189
I am new here

I am new to the site and still learning how to write. Some of these suggestions were great. Thanks for all your help. I would love it if you guys would read my first review and tell me what it needs. What did I forget? Maybe i just need to garnish it with more flair. lol Thanks for any help. Since there is only one review just click on my name and you should be able to read it.

     
lorace Posted: Feb 21 '07,  9:44 am           
Reviews written: 277
Member since: Jun 5, 2001

moderator in Home & Garden
Post: 111237
RE: I'm disappointed

Quote: mssnow55
I am new to the site and still learning how to write. Some of these suggestions were great. Thanks for all your help. I would love it if you guys would read my first review and tell me what it needs. What did I forget? Maybe i just need to garnish it with more flair. lol Thanks for any help. Since there is only one review just click on my name and you should be able to read it.


I just found this thread, and checked your review and I see that, in the comments, Bob and others have offered you extensive help. Yet I'm disappointed for your review has not been revised at all.

Are you having problems figuring out how to edit it? We're always ready to assist new members. I hope it's not that you're discouraged. Don't feel bad about the so-called "pimping." It happens to others, too, until someone tells them. So let's hear from you, please.

Lorace
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