We started out doing a new full length review each week here and we've fallen recently to less than one a month.
I thought I would address that and start a conversation on how we might be able to improve that.
The first thing to acknowledge is that the scope, depth, and length of the reviews has grown tremendously since we started.
If you go to the review archive: http://www.donationcoder....eviews/Archive/index.html
and compare the first with the last review it's laughable that we thought that first review was "comprehensive"
so we've gotten to the point where our reviews are pretty big undertakings.
The second reason for the decrease in reviews is that I have focused more and more on improving the software here - ScreenshotCaptor has turned into a very popular program and has had tons of work done on it, and Find+Run, while not as popular, has improved steadily, requiring a lot of attention from me. As much as I like doing the reviews, my main feeling is that I should probably focus on the things I can do best, and thats coding not reviewing.
I think we need to get back to more frequent reviews though - they are an important part of the site. And the solution to that is to have members here write reviews.
So some concrete ideas to encourage that:
We now have an easy way of generating some ad revenue from reviews with the google ads, and it's extremely easy to get a report of all ad revenue from specific pages. The main motivation on this site is not money, and you're not going to make that much, but a popular review could earn some money, and guest reviewers would get all ad revenue from their review pages. How much - i really don't know, we need someone to be the first guinea pig to find out. Zaine's archive review was extremely widely read and it's a shame we didn't have the ads set up then.
We now have a two-stage review process, where part 1 is just an overview of the category and a list of the main programs in the category along with screenshots and some info. If you don't feel like you are ready to do a full review - what about just doing the part one summary of apps in the category? This is a bit of work but it's not work that requires a lot of experience - you just search the web for related programs and take screenshots (official or your own), and add them to a table in a template we already have written, along with links to their homepage, the price, shareware/freeware etc. It seems to me we could have several people building these part 1 summaries simultaneously - and that having them written would make life a LOT easier for a final review. It gets the ball rolling and would go along way to getting reviews written.
Maybe we can find someone here at our forum to sort of spearhead the review writing process, to try to organize new reviews getting written?
Our poll here http://www.donationcoder....rum/index.php?topic=482.0
has a list of top reviews wanted.
What I'd like to do is get some volunteers to start creating part 1 overviews of these reviews; when we have a few of those we can start filling in the details.
Maybe we can make some concessions to the difficulty in having our reviews focus on one best winner - and play off more of the strengths of our community here, in putting more focus on a comprehensive review of the various programs in a category; and while still choosing a best commercial app and best freeware app, shift a bit of the emphasis from focusing on the one winner, which would make it easier for us to write the reviews as a group effort.
Let's not underestimate the positive effect of a couple of people volunteering and spearheading a few reviews... the mini review section was pretty quiet until recently when nighted and a few others started posting and now its a wonderfull part of the forum.
So let's see if we can figure out a way to take advantage of the brains of the people here and find a way to still do those big category-winning reviews, but in a way that's sustainable here on a regular basis. And my suggestion is we break up the job into a format that is more amenable to some team work and piecewise construction.
So to recap:
1) let's get some volunteers to write some PART1 review overviews; this requires real work searching the web for the good programs in a category and collecting information about them, but has no deadline, and doesn't require you to form opinions about the programs.
2) let's have our reviews focus more on a broader review of the various programs, comparing them, etc., which can take advantage of input from forum members about different features in each.
3) let's try to reward guest reviewers who put a lot of work in on reviews; one way to do that is to more formally make clear some rewards. guest reviewers will get the ad revenue from the web page (we'll have to figure out a good way to divide and share if it's a team effort); plus reviewers will be garanteed some free software from donated copies.
OK, who wants to volunteer to take on which of the PART1 overviews? see the poll for a list of what people want to see reviewed.