A little while back, a few people drew my attention to Scribnia. I glanced at it at the time, but unfortunately I didn't have a chance to dig too deeply. In a way I'm glad that I didn't, as since then I've watched it grow into a very useful tool and I think my opinion is better informed now.
Scribnia describes itself as "a rating and discovery engine for bloggers and columnists" that lets you "find better writers online." For once, a company's description of itself is spot-on.
Scribnia, at its base level, lets you find new blogs and sites to read based on the sites you like. It determines those preferences by letting you rate and review other peoples' sites.
When you rate a site, rather than only giving a grade along a simple scale, Scribnia asks you to rate authors along several criteria. These criteria vary depending on the type of site the author writes for. If you review my site, for example, you will be asked to rate me on:
- Technology - from exclusively e-marketing through to print and billboard
- Approach - from low budget through to high budget
- Radicalness - from mainstream through to maverick
This means that each review gives a good amount of context along consistent criteria, along with the open-ended input that the reviewer also gets. This gives it multiple factors to consider when recommending sites for you, and that's Scribnia really gets interesting.
Right out of the box (or login, I suppose), Scribnia will recommend authors similar to any that you view, based on the reviews other people have given of those sites.
The image on the right, for example, shows the recommendations when you look at my profile. You can see that it recommends Seth Godin, Drew McLellan and Maria Rayez-McDavis - all authors in a similar field to me.
However, Scribnia really begins to shine once you've added a few reviews yourself. At that point, it begins to recommend other sites for you to read based on the reviews you've given - based on the sites you like. In my case it recommends Stuart Foster and Connie Bensen (who I already read - if I like I can note that and it will recommend more) and Ryan Stephens (who is new to me - I'll now check out his site based on this recommendation).
Features that add value
I've only scratched the surface of Scribnia in this post. There are plenty of other features, such as:
- myScribes - which lets you aggregate the content from authors you like in one place and rate individual posts to obtain even better recommendations in future
- In-depth author and publication recommendations - in case you want to dig deep
- Blog widgets - to feature your ranking on your site (see my sidebar)
- Sribup - an odd name for a simple feature which lets you easily tweet about an author you especially like
If I have one quibble about Scribnia it's that it feels like a bit of a hug-fest. No-one seems to write anything but positive reviews (I feel the same pressure on this) in order to avoid offending anyone. Essentially, the universally positive reviews reduce the value of that side of things. One way of solving this might be to add an 'anonymous' review option, but that itself has downsides.
Still, this doesn't reduce the usefulness of the recommendations that you receive, which to me are one of the most useful parts of this service. Even if you only ever write nice things, if you only write reviews about people you genuinely admire then you will receive useful recommendations.
I like Scribnia. I find it useful, and its usefulness is growing over time which is good to see. If you haven't checked it out and you're looking for new inspiration, it's worth a look.
What do you think?
Oh, and if you feel like writing a review of this site, please do. I'd love to know what you think (good or bad)!
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