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Ciao Ciao is a website very similar to Dooyoo and Epinions.The site can be accessed in several countries including the UK and Italy, and it pays you to submit your opinions on a large variety of items, as long as your reviews and writing skills are of decent standard and get rated helpful or above. Ciao is incredibly easy to use and signing up takes 2 minutes at the most. The home page of Ciao isn't anything special with a simply grey and white colour scheme, but it's easy to navigate and find whatever you are looking for due to the product catergories listed on the right hand side of the homepage. These are listed in alphebetical order and are shown in bold font, with the subcatergories listed underneath.
Site Navigation On the main (centre) part of the page, a range of items are displayed under catergories such as 'The best perfumes' or 'This weeks telephone deals' etc. This is to encourage people to purchase the item or alternatively read a review about it to generate interest and sales. On each item there is an option to go to the website selling it which is a good idea as after reading the review, someone might be under the impression that they've got to have it and a direct link is quicker than googling it and prevents someone from forgetting about it. At the very bottom of the page, the most popular products listed.
At the top of the homepage, the Ciao logo is displayed. This is black with an orange exclamation mark. To the right of the logo the search bar is present. This is quite large and easy to use. Next to this there is small white font which reads Ciao - for people with opinions. There are then a number of small tabs which include: latest reviews, latest questions, video reviews, write a review. Clicking any of these tabs will take you to the page they're labelled as. On the top right corner there are four tabs - join ciao, login, help and mobile. If you are on a mobile, then the 'mobile' tab will instead be 'desktop'. These tabs are easy to navigate and logging in is incredibly easy, as is joining up.
Joining Up The site isn't invitation only and anyone can join. To join up you will need to provide some basic information about yourself including your name, gender and email address. You will also need to choose a username which can be anything of your choice as long as it's not innapropiate. There is an option to sign up to newsletters and you will need to accept the terms and conditions. Once you have signed up you will be recquired to provide additional information including your postcode, first line of your address and your date of birth. You are then able to do all sorts of things including read, rate and post reviews.
Personalisation Once you have joined up, it's a good idea to upload a photo of yourself so that people don't see you as just a 'grey face' (someone who's anonymous) or a newbie, although some people do choose to upload pictures of their children or pets instead. To upload a picture you will need to go onto your account settings, which has a number of options including 'upload a member photo' to upload a photo, click here. Your photo will need to be a JPEG/jpg file and needs to be under 10kb. The photo will take a day or two to be appoved. My photo is simply a photograph of my face.
You can also write a status on your profile page such as 'Hi, I am new here' etc. This can be done by pressing the 'edit' button underneath your member details. There is an option to make a personal homepage, which although I find quite an intresting concept, I haven't used so I can not comment on this. There are options to change your password, update your personal details and so on. There is also the option to unsubscribe to e-mail alerts, which automatically send you an email whenever somebody rates your review or comments on it.
Member Centre The member centre has all the information you could possibly need - community announcements (I will explain this later) review guidelines, contact info, FAQ's, an option to report abuse, etc. There's lots of information on this section of the site and I would reccomend reading it before you post a review to avoid breaking any rules by mistake and it also gives a feel for the site and how it works. There's also the 'review archive' which shows every single review by month and day since the site was launched, and it updates daily at midnight. This is a handy feature as it lists the reviews posted that day in the order of helpfulness. There's also an option to see who are currently the most read authors and there's numerous other tabs including 'most read products'.
Community Announcements This is displayed in a box on your 'My Ciao' tab. The box is quite hard to miss so I am sure anyone who is already a member will know what I mean. This box is updated every couple of days with any improtant announcements, and it also shows any competitions, surverys, products of the weeks (a weekly writing competition) etc. The box is easy to navigate and comes in handy when you're unsure of something - for example my earnings recently went to zero (as did a lot of other peoples) but by reading the community announcements I soon understood why.
Community Points Everytime you post a review, rate a review or comment on a review you will be awarded with a small number of points which have no cash value. As the points build up, you will recieve a coloured 'spot' which appears next to your username. This spot, depending on the colour, shows how experienced on Ciao you are and what level you are at, for example a white spot = level 1 newbie and a black spot = level 10 long timer. The spot colours vary from green to red and I am currently on level 7 - bronze. I have 187738 community points and am 62262 points away from being a level 8 silver member. This has taken me almost a year to achieve and to be honest although it's not important and doesn't effect how much I earn, I am quite proud!! Although a lot of people say that the coloured spots are pointless I find them handy to establish whether someone on the site who I haven't seen before is new or a member who has come back after a while of been away.
Payment Ciao pays their members in cash. To recieve a payment you will need a UK bank account. Under the 'setting' tab, there's the option to enter your bank details which obviously need to be correct. You then need to save them and whenever you request a payment it will be put into your bank the month after, usually on the 15th. For example if you request a payment on the 20th September, the money should be in your account by the 15th of October. Ciao do not offer vouchers as an alternative to cash, unlike a number of other sites. To make a request for a payment your balance needs to be £5 or over.
How much can I earn? The money that Ciao pays doesn't sound a lot, but it soon adds up. Depending on what you review, you can earn anything from 0.5p to 2p per rating. This depends on the amount of ££ signs next to the product name. For example, an iPhone has 2 stars next to it and so if you review it you will earn one penny per rate, which adds up suprisingly quickly. To earn this one pence though the person rating your review needs to rate it as either helpful, very helpful or exceptional. If you post one review a day that has two ££ signs and each gets 80 rates, you will get 80p per day.
If your review is of high quality, with lots of personal opinion and good grammar, some people may rate it as exceptional. An exceptional rating means that this person has nominated your review to recieve a diamond and if Ciao agree that your review is of good quality, it may be awarded with a diamond which equates to £15 - not bad for one review in my opinion! The premium fund is also a good way to earn extra money, although it's a big mystery how it works! Premium fund payments can vary from £2 upto £100, or even more depending on how much you write and how good the quality of your writing is.
Rating options There are currently six rating options. Everyone rates differently, however this is how I rate-
Exceptional This is the highest rating option and should only be used when you feel that a review is very thorough with lots of opinion, well laid out, truthful (eg there are no copied sentences or untrue statements that seem a bit fishy) etc. I only rate a review exceptional when it's clear effort has gone into the review and it is easy to follow (eg no silly language or unncessacary detail). You should not rate someone Exceptional just because they rated your review exceptional, as this is against Ciao's rules, although if you do find a review of theirs genuinely exceptional (well written etc) then it's not against the rules. When leaving an exceptional rating you will need to leave a brief comment explaining why - eg "very thorough and well written."
Very Helpful This should be awarded when you find a review that gives all of the information needed in a clear, thorough way. If a review is short, don't immedietly avoid giving it a 'very helpful' rating - concise, clear reviews are often more helpful than a long, rambling review.
Helpful This should be used when a review has lots of information but you feel that there is something important (eg price) missing, or if there a couple of typo's, spelling mistakes etc that make it hard to follow. I also don't like extremely long reviews that go into unneccesary detail eg 500 words about the packaging, although if there is all of the other information needed I will still rate helpful.
Somewhat Helpful I use this rating option if I feel there is too little information given or if there is only a little personal information written. If a review seems rushed and it lacks enough personal opinion I will likely rate it somewhat helpful. If a review has been bulked out with product specifications etc but there is still atleast 300-500 words of personal opinion then I will likely rate somewhat helpful.
Not Helpful This should only be used for copied reviews or reviews written in poor english (aka nonsense reviews).
Off Topic This should be used for reviews that are reviewing something different to the catergory they are under - eg someone writes a review about chocolate in the catergory for iPhones. Abusive reviews should also be rated off topic.
Comments Comments can be left on all reviews. The comments allow members to socialise and leave their opinion on the item that has been reviewed. Some comments can sometimes be a little strange and off-topic, or at times (very rarely) abusive or un-true, however it is easy to report them and they are often removed within an hour.
My Experience I have been a member of this amazing site for just under a year now and I love it! It took me around 3 months to get the hang of it, but now I log into it pretty much everyday to read and rate any new reviews, message my 'Ciao friends' via the public or private guestbook or alternatively write a review of my own and post it. I find writing extremely relaxing and theraputic, and as I am stuck at home with my baby most days I find that it keeps my brain busy and stops it turning to mush! I love the 'comments' options as I am able to leave my opinions of products etc or my opinion of someones review and I am also able to tell people how good their review is, which may sometimes come across as patronising but I think it's important to let people know how good their reviews are sometimes as it's a nice feeling when someone says that they found your review interesting or well written.
I find that posting reviews is a quick and easy process and the layout options etc when writing the review are brilliant - there's the option to spell check the review, add bold or italic font, add bullett points and so on. Rates soon come flooding in on my reviews, mainly because I rate other people a lot and people know that they can trust me to rate them back. It is important to rate others, because the site is all about rating everyone and rating fairly. I love getting feedback on my reviews and whenever I get an exceptional rating or a nice comment, I feel so proud that go over to my mum or boyfriend (if they're at home) with my laptop and show them - they don't really understand why i'm so over the moon, but non the less they know how happy it makes me feel.
Although I am intelligent (without sounding snobby!), I didn't do well at school. I loved English but I was badly bullied and developed Anorexia, and had family issues. As a result I left school early, and my work went down hill and my writing skills slipped. Since then I have become a university student and study psychology, which doesn't particullary involve much writing (apart from notes and case studies), and I have found that writing reviews really helps raise my confidence in getting my spelling, grammar and writing style back on track. It also allows the subject of what I am writing about change regulary and as a result I feel comfortable writing reviews of anything from cardigans, crisps and coke, to iPhones, laptops and bath bombs. Writing is theraputic and I love sitting at the laptop and just typing away - the great thing with Ciao is that they encourage lots of personal opinion, so I often just type whatever comes into my head (as long as it makes sense) - it's like thoughts spilling onto paper (well, the laptop screen) which I find theraputic - maybe that's weird, but I really enjoy it.
Most of the people on Ciao are lovely - I especially love talking to Nic, Lee, Daniel and Simon, who are all lovely. Laura (Angel!) is also lovely and so are Alyson, Elizabeth and various other people (but I don't know their real names - sorry!), from what I know of them all anyway and I love reading about what they've been upto in their reviews - I always find my self smiling and everyone is so supportive - I am always open to making new friends and appreciate every single person who rates my reviews, I always recognise someone who i'm familiar with when they post a review and read it straight away. Yes I have 'real' friends in the real world but it's nice to get to know people from all over the country with different views etc and it's interesting seeing all of the different stuff that people own - i've made so many purchases because of positive Ciao reviews and am happy with all of them. Of course like all websites there are the occasional trolls that get jealous and decide to attempt to give people abuse or make up lies about them, and there are also people who make quite offensive comments about people's spelling or writing abilities, but remember everyone - "success is the best revenge!"
The money that I earn from Ciao comes in extremely handy. I am currently living at home with my Mum (which is a little embarrising to say as i'm twenty!) because I have just had a beautiful baby, and although I have savings I often give my mum a chunk of money from my Ciao earnings to go on the food shop etc and I still have plenty left over for my self. I also managed to buy my daughters car seat, baby bath and a ginormous box of nappies all at once solely from the money I had earned from Ciao, which as you can imagine was very handy and it allowed us to buy her an amazing pram and cot etc with 'our' (not Ciao) money - does that make sense? Basically, Ciao money helps take the strain off slightly and allows me to treat myself and my child a lot more often to luxuries I wouldn't be able to justify otherwise - so thankyou for all of your rates! I think it's a little tasteless to state how much I earn a month, but with the premium fund included it is usually above the £100 mark - providing I write atleast one review everyday. When I first joined I think I made around £15 in a month, but that is because I wasn't rating other people and my reviews weren't of a high standard. The money is always in my bank by the 18th at the latest of each month and I have never had issues with a payment being cancelled etc.
I like how fast Ciao are to accept product suggestions too, and I like that they allow you to submit pretty much any item you want. Contacting them has always been easy and I usually recieve a reply the same day that I send the e-mail. The only downside is that they don't monitor the website over weekends, which can be a huge disadvantage. I do not expect them to not have a weekend off but perhaps they could provide an emergency number to ring if slanderous or abusive messages etc are posted on a weekend? Apart from that though, I absolutely love Ciao and am well and truly hooked!!
Overall I highly reccomend Ciao, it is a friendly, welcoming site and gives the oppurtunity to earn lots of extra cash without an enormous amount of time or effort. It is not a get rich quick scheme, but it certianly is a way to up your income!