Yesterday, I posted "My First 'Sphinn' Submission" on Search Marketing Gurus and received some interesting feedback. What I find interesting is that Debra and Lyndon seem to agree on the the idea that one has to game the Sphinn system in order to be successful - or in this case generate a large number of "spins". I have a few thoughts that I'd like to share in regards to that.
Yesterday, I posted "My First 'Sphinn' Submission" on Search Marketing Gurus, which featured a few notes on my recent experience with the Sphinn platform, and I received the following interesting comments:
"Karl - I've found you need to get a submission "hot" so it's taken to the first page of the site where it has potential to take off. Giving it a little push by contacting friends to Sphinn helps get that process going. Good content should take it from there." -- Debra Mastaler
"Sphinn is interesting because I think people use it in different ways. As a way to drive targeted traffic and raise profile in the industry I think it's very useful. However, there is a bit of manipulation going on with friends voting each other up, which is fine and dandy. But when it pushes sub standard content to the fore it reduces the quality of the whole site." -- Lyndon Antcliff
What I find interesting is that Debra and Lyndon seem to agree on the the idea that one has to game the Sphinn system in order to be successful - or in this case generate a large number of "spins". I have a few thoughts that I'd like to share in regards to that.
First of all, Sphinn, as most of you know, is a pretty big deal for us in the search marketing community. While the idea of submitting a story and having a community vote on its worthiness is not exactly an original concept - need I mention Digg or Slashdot - Sphinn is unique in that it is a social community specifically for search marketers.
With that said, my question is this: Why would there be a need to "game" Sphinn for votes? For the sake of a little extra traffic... a few extra spikes in one's Google Analytics report? It just doesn't make sense. Granted, Sphinn traffic is indeed targeted, no doubts there, but in the end it doesn't lead to any sort of monetary conversions. Well, that is unless stroking one's ego is some how profitable.
Sphinn is our community, and while the fact remains that we are a community of marketers and have a natural desire to leverage such social mediums to gain maximum exposure, doing so in a community filled with other marketers just doesn't seem necessary. For search engine marketers, attaining traffic from Sphinn is the equivalent of buying booth space at SMX. Sure you're probably going to have a lot of visitors stop by and shoot the breeze, but at the end of the day you're not going to sell search marketing services to a group of search marketers. My point being... there is no really benefit for getting one's stories spun, other than to contribute to community, so there shouldn't be a need to "fix" the voting. It should be understood that if a story merits a "spin", than the community will provide it.
I think Lyndon was dead on when he said a community where friends voting each other up pushes sub standard content to the front and reduces the quality of the whole site. That maybe ok for Digg and other social communities, but not for our own. Sphinn is a relevant resource... we should do our best to keep it that way.