On Web Page Reviewing, etc

 |  Review

Jessica popped up in my referrals this week because she’s going to start reviewing, and several of her visitors nominated me. I quite look forward to the prospect; it’s hard to get a decent review these days.

Anyway, it got me thinking about my reviewing and I couldn’t believe that my last (unrequested) review was February this year. I remember back in the day, when I was reviewing at least one a month… a look at the Way Back Machine’s record of Review You’s archive shows that much (and a look at the queue tells you why I gave it all up!)

I opened “jemjabella reviews” only to close the whole thing down a month later, because I suddenly had a queue of about 30 people all wanting reviews and pronto. I didn’t have the time to dedicate then, and I sure as hell don’t now. Doesn’t stop me missing the whole thing though.

I started doing unrequested reviews (not the same as the Pants Awards) because I thought it’d give me a chance to continue reviewing without the pressure of a queue, but instead I just have to deal with the influx of whiny babies instead. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy that too, mind :P So anyway… I’m thinking, what should I do? Is the WPR game long dead? Where do you guys go for reviews these days?

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

33 comments so far

  1. Vera said:

    *looks around sheepishly* We-ell I’m supposed to still be reviewing at Truculent Reviews with Briana, but… meh! These days sites either amaze me, or completely disgust me, so I’m rather forcing myself to do it.

    I think Rhiannon’s decent… but she’s going soft as of later. Well, I’m actually curious about Jessica’s review, but frankly I don’t really have much hope. But then let’s see…

    Speaking of reviews: remember Ashley? She’s an avid fan of my site ever since you wrote that post about her WPR.

  2. Jem said:

    There’s no questioning Rhiannon’s dedicated to reviewing and the way her skills have improved over the years. However, I won’t ask Rhiannon for a review for two reasons: 1) she’s reviewed me before and not a lot has changed about my site since then, and 2) she’d be heavily biased, because she’s my biggest fan ;) *ducks*

  3. Hev said:

    Personally, I rarely ask for a review. I know that my coding isn’t up to par, but that is ok with me. My site looks the way I want it to & it normally behaves correctly. If I want a review then I may ask one or two people for a review, but they usually just piss me off so I don’t normally do it anymore. Now if you, Jem, want to review Amarantine then go for it. I won’t mind. Don’t expect me to rush around making changes, but you can review it. Though since I know you know what you are talking about I would probably make the changes, lol.

    Oh, BTW I am using your image rotation take 2 from Tutorialtastic on Hev’s Stitches. Since, I believe, you said at one time you didn’t know if that site did any good. It does me a world of good.

  4. Shannon said:

    If I ever do anything for my blog, I’d ask for reviews, but the real problem is that there are rarely any good review sites now. Though, there weren’t many good ones before, there were at least some mediocre ones. And they were easy to find.

  5. Erica said:

    Yeah, I’m finding that review sites lately don’t have too much to tell me to improve upon. Rhiannon did a review for me most recently, and the only thing she had to say was to fix some broken links. :/

    I really want someone to nitpick!

  6. Amanda said:

    Wouldn’t you say that WPRs are kind of past their prime? Maybe it’s just cause I’m not ‘in the scene’, but I’d be willing to swear that there’s only about half the WPRs there used to be…and of the ones still existing, we’ve either: a) already been reviewed by them so there’s no point asking for another one (e.g. Rhiannon), or b) they’re not worth the trouble (e.g. crap teenybopper WPRs).

    You’ve kind of the got the double problem of course, of being the person that people learn from, which makes it hard for them to actually critique you. (Though I like to think I did it well way back in…what, 2005, 2006? :P)

  7. Maria said:

    I’ll agree a little with Vixx. I haven’t really submitted myself to get reviewed by one person because I know it’s just one person’s view on it. If I want comments on my own, then I leave it up to the readers because that’s the audience I’m trying to work with, right?

    However, unrequested reviews can be helpful if the person writing said review criticizes constructively.

    For you, I’d say continue on with your unrequested reviews so you don’t feel obligated to review all the sites that would be submitted to you.

  8. Brenda said:

    I’ve totally stopped seeking reviews altogether and it seems like the WPR scene has more or less died down. (i.e. meaning, a lack of a good reviewers who focus on web standards, has good knowledge of coding and general web design.)

    And I noticed that you’ve put up all your past reviews from review-me on this site as well! (I got a referral from there this morning, and reading through your review brought back memories. Gee, it’s been a long time since … 2005! Time indeed flies.)

  9. Jem said:

    @all who think the time of the WPR is dead:

    Is that because they’ve done their time and should BE dead, or is it because there just aren’t really any good ones left?

  10. Jenny said:

    When WPRs used to be in their “prime”, there used to be content/designs made by the individual &c. I think now that we’re (at least our circle) is going through the simple design/premade and lack of content just the blog, there’s not MUCH to critique/comment on. With your last comment, Jem, I suppose it’s a bit of both? Although the concepts are absolute… Personally, I think it’s because there aren’t really any good ones left, and because everyone is kind of going one route. There’s only so much to say. :x

  11. Jem said:

    ^ You’ve hit on something I decided not to bring up in the original entry… as it stands, those that were in the reviewing game way back when (reviewers and “reviewees”) have all gone the same way pretty much. We’re all running WordPress, and a lot of the work that was there for critiquing just isn’t, any more. Basically we’re left with blogs, and I never could review those anyway.

    However, the audience that need the reviews are the ones that are now at where we started, and they’re the people that don’t use WordPress, that do have zillions of pages of “really cool content” (in their opinion) etc etc.

    I wonder if the WPR world wouldn’t be so dead if we stepped out of our circle, and outside of our comfort zone a little.

  12. Stephanie said:

    So… we restart a WPR reviewing the new slew of teenage web designers? I mean… we were all there… 15 years old with a site. And now, we’re old and grey in the web world… all mature and whatnot. Perhaps we should attempt to be a guiding light or something for them.

    *snort* I sound like a christian parenting book.

  13. Anita said:

    Hardly anybody who writes reviews knows what to look for in a website!
    Although with the poeple who aren’t very expierienced yet it’s nice if they have a review site and then you can see what a “real visitor” has to say…
    Some poeple suggested for me to make a review site, but I wouldn’t be very good because..well I’m too nice :P

  14. Sarah said:

    Having tried several times to run a review site, I know how hard it is to keep up with a job that pays nothing and takes a good amount of time. I don’t really expect review sites to last, and I never look for them anymore.

  15. Jem said:

    @Sarah: well yeah, time is – was – a major factor in me giving up reviewing. In fact, even someone who barely knows me could figure out the rough date I got my first full time job just by looking at the dates of my reviews from Review You. However, who’s to say we (me) have to stick to the age old WPR setup woth queue / review / queue / review? We’re older and wiser, as Stephanie said, so why can’t we revolutionise things? :D

    OK, I’m sounding like I have miracle ideas for making the WPR world perfect when in fact, I don’t. That doesn’t mean I can’t try though :)

  16. Christina said:

    Jessica reviewing you? You’ve got to be kidding me.
    Her site is horrible! I’m picturing this when I think of her reviewing


  17. Margot said:

    I used to own Aria Reviews a few years ago and I loved reviewing but the same thing happened with me: the queue grew too long and with the reviews that I wrote it became too much to handle by myself, and I didn’t want to bring in other reviewers. I’ve since thought a lot of opening up another review site, especially when I see crappy websites or webdesigners that do everything wrong when they think they’re right, but I still don’t know if I could dedicate the same amount of time to it as I used to. I don’t really read reviews any more either, I don’t even know of any other review sites out there any more.

  18. Vitalis said:

    @Christina: I could not agree with you more. Twenty bucks says that somewhere in that review she says something along the lines of, “A layout isn’t a layout without some sort of celebrity photo in its header.” Headers with celebrity images be damned.

  19. kensie said:

    yeah it would be very interesting to see what she says.
    But just to let you guys know her last layout didn’t have a celebrity banner in it it also quite a few others so don’t assume she just uses ‘celeb’ layouts’ ;)

  20. Meggan said:

    I actually really enjoy reviewing people and offering suggestions, so I’ve considered running a review site from time to time, but I can’t even handle keeping up my blog on a regular basis so I’d never commit to an official WPR. Submitting site reviews on Perfection is about all I can manage.

    I’ve toyed around with doing unofficial or unrequested reviews, though, mostly because I wouldn’t have a queue and I could review whatever sites I want.

    I’m in total agreement that we’re all sort of just running WordPress without a lot of fancy bits so there’s not much “extra” stuff to wow the reviewer.

  21. Chans said:

    I don’t ask for reviews anymore, although unrequested once are usually very welcome. These days I tend to be my own reviewer, I have critique on everything I do to my site and nothing is ever good enough, I just don’t have the time to changes things.

  22. Melissa said:

    Weirdly enough, the other tab I have open in Firefox just now is searching Google for WPR sites. I can’t seem to find any decent sites anymore, aside from Rhiannon.

    Yes, we all run WordPress these days but we all, mostly, customize the life out of it – even if I use a theme made by somebody else I make it more ‘me’. And with the addition of plugins, all our sites are different… I know the reviews of the past seemed to lay heavy on the ‘layout’ and content side of things, but does that have to be the way now?

    I would love to start reviewing websites properly again, I really would. But as a group effort rather than by myself since I don’t have time to commit to a solo project, as is the case with a lot of people I guess.

  23. Jenny said:

    Jem, yeah.

    I suppose if we did step out of comfort zone to head over to the pastures of the WPR sites now (which, I’ll admit, thought didn’t actually exist; mainly because of my disinterest in that area :P), then I, for one, would be too for drastic change to either suit my own needs or something that might perhaps take away the “youth” of said websites. You know, I’m too used to talking to an audience who KNOW what I’m talking about. I’m having difficulty imagining myself attempting to explain the difference between x and y to someone who’s just stepped in the paddling pool.

    But then I can see some who might go a little over the top and do the whole suggesting-Wordpress-simple-theme &c. in an attempt to divert the newbie into coming “our path” because it’s, well, what we know?

    I feel that the majority of things that SHOULD be said, have been said already in terms of our WPR-ing. If someone opened up U-R and asked for a review, I’d most likely be tempted to take a few excerpts from old reviews, and put it in the new review; giving personalised comments (which wouldn’t be that long, heh) at the end. :P