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Well, you have snake_plissken to thank for me doing this one...and as the guy called me a diamond geezer I couldn't really let him down now could I?!
1 What first made you join Ciao and how has that changed throughout your membership?
I can't remember exactly how I found out about Ciao, but it was about 3 years ago… I think it was through a website called freeukstuff.com - you know the sort of thing…how to get stuff for nowt by filling in surveys, entering prize draws etc etc…. I was attracted by the catch line of "Make Money through paid surveys" or similar. Obviously I fancied a bit of that and signed up then and there. After I registered I discovered that it was also possible to earn a few quid by writing opinions…"Easy" I thought and immediately typed up my first review…to a few mixed responses! I've been a member for a fair few years now, although I do tend to lapse every now and then - consistency is not one of my strong points! - and I have since found out that I'm not going to make big money on here, but it was too late by then, I was hooked! I now enjoy the community side of the site much more… I enjoy reading and rating other peoples work - whether it is of personal interest to me or not… it is also very rewarding to see a new member progressing through the site…sometimes at a phenomenal speed!
2 What did you write your first review about and what made you choose it?
My first review was on a Playstation game called The Getaway - I had just received it as a Christmas present and was so impressed with it I had to share my thoughts! As a first review, it wasn't too bad, but it was a little lacking in some areas… I remember waiting in trepidation for the feedback of other site members… of course, I needn't have worried… the comments I received were friendly, welcoming and above all full of constructive feedback! Someone (I think it was Justine [are you still around btw??]) left a message in my guestbook offering further advice, which I duly took note of and applied to my work… then it was just a matter of watching the VH's roll in!
3 What do you enjoy most about Ciao and why?
Hmm… tricky question… I like a lot of things about the site… but my * favourite * thing? I guess I would have to say sharing my experiences with you folks! It's cool to be able to tell a bunch of unbiased people all about my pride and joy, or my parents new kettle, or a tube of Bonjela and get all excited about said items, and then find out some people share my enthusiasm, some share my view if not my passion and some just plain don't care! But it's good to see people responding to my work…and most of the time it is a positive response! That is probably quite a selfish answer…but you did ask! Obviously I like a lot of other things on the site…I don't write anywhere near enough on here for that to be my only raison d'etre… but getting creative and writing a review that other people appreciate and fund useful is a real kick.
4 Go to your "My Ciao" and click on the "sort by usefulness" button on your reviews. See what comes up on top as your highest rated review. Do you think that this is your best review?
"What are you doing with one of those?!" My Mercedes review is my most useful piece of work to date…it was the first review I received a Diamond for and I was most surprised… I found it very difficult to write and was expecting a lot of "constructive" feedback. However, all I got was congratulations and praise, which was very rewarding! I'm still not convinced it's that "useful" it's not full of technical information, or lots of information about handling, practicality and performance… I personally think Richada's motoring reviews are much more "useful" from a consumer point of view… but I tried to convey how much I liked the car in my review, there's a lot of emotion in there which I guess can make for somewhat more entertaining reading than a totally unbiased "road test".
5 Click on that button again and see what your lowest rated review is. Do you think it is your worst and why?
It comes as no surprise at all that "Whats in Your Wallet" my Capital One op, is my least useful review. It was written very much as a rant… I had recently had a bad experience with the company in question and decided to vent my frustration by writing a vengeful review. I only received a couple of "somewhat helpful" ratings surprisingly enough… the majority of comments I received were of the "sounds like one to avoid" variety, which is fine but I think people were just being kind! I do intend to re-write it at some stage as I have continued to use the company and have had no major problems since.
6 What do you think of the comments you receive? Is there a running theme or any that really stand out in your memory?
I get my fair share of "good review" comments left by people chasing community points, but I don't mind that too much, I just hope that they have actually read the review… Can't say I've noticed a theme, but the majority seem to at least refer to my review in one way or another… one that stands out was left by Bubblepack... it was on my PNY Attaché review, and he wrote a short essay on how I could improve my review! It was a really comprehensive comment, and I appreciate the effort he put into helping me…not that I took any of it on board J
7 Have you ever written something, a review, comment or guestbook entry, that you regretted later and wanted to delete?
No not at all… a couple of my reviews are in desperate need of a re-write, but I wouldn't want them deleted! As to comments / guestbook entries, I never say anything offensive or nasty, or at least I don't think I do! Although I have made the odd typo in a comment which really annoys me, as I'm pretty meticulous about my spelling (cue comments pointing out all my oversights!!)
8 Which section of Ciao do you have to read all the time, your favourite section?
I don't read any one section of Ciao more than another, nor would I say that I have a favourite section…when I'm online for a long time I tend to read all the new / latest reviews… unfortunately a lot of these seem to be copies these days….
9 Do you think you are hard to please or easy to impress? E.g. do you give many Exceptionals away?
I don't just throw away "E" ratings willy-nilly, but I'm not really tight with them either… I've rated 209 reviews as Exceptional, which I guess is quite a lot, although they only account for 3.6% of my total ratings given. I will rate a review as Exceptional if I feel that the writer has put in a lot of effort… for example, I recently read a review by a new Ciao member - Jatzia - that was not particularly amazing, but it was very clearly written and well structured…pretty rare for a first review… this one merited an "E" though as Jatzia was / still is German and that review was the first piece of writing in English she had done! I will also award E ratings to reviews that make me laugh so much I nearly wet myself…as a result Robbo2000 tends to pick up a lot of E's from me!
10 Do you think you've made friends through Ciao or does that not matter to you, and if not, what have you gotten out of Ciao?
I'd say I've definitely made a few friends on here, and more than a few friendly acquaintances! I really like the community aspect of Ciao, which sets it apart from other opinion sites.
11 If there was one thing you could change about Ciao what would it be?
I think that new members should be given some official guidance, maybe an introduction email explaining what is required when writing a review, and some of the FAQ's… I think this would stop a lot of new members writing a 250 word review, receiving negative feedback for it and getting dispirited and giving up.
12 Name 5 other members you would like to see complete this survey?
I've so far managed to avoid having to nominate anyone to do a challenge, but it looks as though the time is now upon me! Apologies if anyone nominated has already completed it…
First up would have to be Richada… he has been working far too hard on his superstore wars of late!
Next up is Heatherrr13 'cos I know she can't resist a challenge ;-)
Third… Deru…he's not done a challenge in ages (at all??) and appears to have removed me from his CoT… tss ;-P
Fourth… Nar. This would be his cup of tea I think as he leaves some really good, constructive comments.
Last, but by no means least is millieroy! She always has something to say for herself… I mean that in the nicest possible way of course!
Well there you have it….congratulations if you made it this far, certainly this is not one of my better offerings to the Ciao God!