Ciao: Holy spammer, Batman!

Argentina
January 3, 2009 10:35pm CST
Before I start the discussion, let me say I wont be talking about Ciao exclusively, but since that site was the one who got me pondering about this issue, I used it in the title. And as a side note, I think this is going to be a bit long. But bare with me, because I think this is an interesting discussion for members of Ciao, or similar websites. Now, I have been very inactive in both Ciao and Mylot. Real life, working on a new blog and the new year's celebrations kind of drifted me away from both sites. Today however, I had absolutely nothing to do: Most of my friends have gone on vacation, so my real life commitments have decreased, my site is about celebrities, not many news about them during the weekends, and of course, the holiday celebrations are over. So, I decided to log into Ciao first, and holy molly, I find that after an absence of about a week and a half, I had 45 unread messages in my inbox. One was from a guy saying happy new year, nice gesture. Another was from the same guy, asking politely for me to check out his reviews, pretty normal. But the rest.... All from a second person, every-single-one of them. Every time he finished a review, he sent me a PM asking for me to rate it. So I start deleting them, I browse and rate my friend's reviews anyways. But here comes the kicker, I start finding referral links to PTC sites. At this point, I'm not only deleting his messages, I'm also considering removing him from my friends list, until I saw a link to a site that sounded like Ciao, but that was offering a dollar per review. What a surprise when I got into the site, they canceled payment, they no longer offer a dollar per review, nothing. Why?, well, because of spammers. They were talking about people having posted nearly five thousand reviews in just a couple days. Oh, and the site is still on Beta stage. I'm fairly new to these types of sites, but with people like this? I think I'll be one of the last. Do people actually think that money grows on trees, and that sites - especially new ones- can afford to pay five thousand dollars every two days?. It pisses me off, because they are ruining it for the honest users, who actually collaborate to make these sites grow. Anyways, I'm sorry for the long rant, I guess I'm catching up. What do you guys think about this issue?
3 people like this
5 responses
@mariab (88)
• United States
4 Jan 09
Hi Richard, Thanks for posting this. I myself, have posted a very long rant about how disgusted I am at some people's greed and how this ruins great sites like Ciao and Comparedby.us for honest reviewers. I used to not care about this issue, thinking if I kept quiet, I wouldn't get into trouble. But now I'm so very vocal about this issue, of spammers, cheaters and yes, those who write gibberish or can't put a proper english sentence together. I'm bilingual as well, by the way, but I feel that these sites are there to help people make decisions on buying products. How can a website fulfill its purpose if more than half the people posting can't put a coherent thought together? If, for example, a site that was in Spanish (which I speak a little) offered the same bounty, I wouldn't have the gall to even try to get paid for writing something without practicing my language skills. I once asked a person on Ciao to be my "friend" and she declined, stating that she would first like to see me rate more of OTHER PEOPLE's reviews first. At first, I thought this was weird. But then now I see her wisdom - she wasn't going to let her greed get the best of her. She wanted to keep the integrity of the site, in whatever way she can. It's just too bad there were way too many people who didn't care and were just trying to make a quick buck. I'm very happy at the way comparedby.us is handling this. As soon as they get the site running, for my part, I'm going to try to limit myself to doing a maximum of 3 reviews per day (if at all, since their product list is very limited), and try to read twice as many reviews. I will also try to be vigilant and report any violation of their terms and agreements. I think comparedby.us should implement a similar system to that of reviewstream, where you have to wait a couple of days before they credit your account. I believe this helps in many ways. First, it allows their editors to review anything sent to them. Granted, my reviews here were not masterpieces of any sort, but I wrote long and honest reviews about how I felt about a certain place or service. Anything that's copied IMMEDIATELY gets rejected. Next, it discourages impatient people out to make a quick buck. If I had a dime for every post on mylot I see about people who made reviews and then post a complaint how about long it takes to get their money, I'd be rich by now! I really want to reply and tell them to chill! But then, it just encourages me because I'm a very patient person and I know this keeps the population of Reviewstream smaller, ensuring that they will last longer. I've read a lot of posts from people on mylot who write a couple of reviews, get discouraged and never make payout. This just goes to show that they were never out to make honest reviews in the first place, just get money. I've personally been paid by this site twice and I believe I'm in what they call "highly trusted" reviewer - they pay me instantly, though it takes a few days for them to actually post my review. I'd write more reviews for them, but I prefer doing travel reviews, and since I practically live out of my suitcase these days, I never run out of hotels and travel spots to review! That's my two cents (or more - ha, and you though you had a long rant). Thanks again for writing this, I enjoy discussing this matter or mylot, so that more people are aware of this issue. I wrote a couple of long posts about this matter, but my discussions kept getting buried! And honestly, no one reads long posts (who will, when there's money to be made in beginning discussions?).
2 people like this
• Argentina
4 Jan 09
I agree with every single word in your post. I have to admit, I was one of the people whining when Ciao removed the twenty five cents incentive, but to be honest, it wasn't really because of the money. It was because I felt honest reviewers were getting screwed by a certain group of people who didn't even put a little effort in their writing. My main reason for joining the site was to improve my English, and if you comprare the first reviews I made with the last ones, I think the practice is really working. I chose Ciao instead of other sites because it felt like the site was meant for the average Joe to talk about their experiences. About the people accepting, or rejecting friends. I wish more people were like you. I've seen quite a lot of hate and punishment ratings because of people rejecting an invitation. Which is why I accept everyone, but, I do know which ones are worth it, so I follow them closely. Anyways, thanks for your response. I better stop typing, because if we merge our posts here, we'd be reaching the amount of words necessary to publish a small novel. ;) Rich
1 person likes this
@mariab (88)
• United States
5 Jan 09
I think your english is very good and I, myself make mistakes now and then when writing reviews - I really should proofread before I submit them. Thanks for the reply!
1 person likes this
• India
4 Jan 09
Hi Richard, Firstly thanks for starting this discussion and I was about to do the same myself because frankly I am disgusted with the amount of spamming that is going on at all these sites. People just trying to earn a quick buck and in turn they lead to the downfall of the company
1 person likes this
@rberon1985 (5394)
• Philippines
4 Jan 09
I have experienced that as well. everytime i log in to my account in ciao, i recieved a lot of messages saying that you have to visit his new review or promote other sites. as what as strawberry says, you don't have to worry about the paymenyt since what they have only cancelled is the ratings for review not totally the payments.
• Argentina
4 Jan 09
I'm not worried, I didn't even register in the site -I might in the future though. It's just that I'm seeing these type of sites (Ciao and in this case ComparedBy) having issues because people are abusing their rating system. Rich
• Canada
4 Jan 09
In every new site people try to abuse the system and probably always will try. They just have to be weeded out and because of them it is making it harder on us but eventually they will see that it wil not help them either because look they are not getting paid the probably hundreds of dollars they thought they would be paid. It sux yes but not much we can do.
@anonymili (3140)
6 Jan 09
Firstly let me say that from having read your discussion and your comments on other responses here I would say your English seems to be really good - if you joined sites to improve your English - you are definitely a success story. I am seeing people on a regular basis on sites like Ciao who've been writing (and apparently reading and rating) for several years and their English has not improved one iota - I know it's easy for me to say that as English is my first language but I wouldn't think of going to say a Spanish or French site and try to write reviews that make sense as my skills in those languages are extremely basic and until I felt confident that my reviews were of real use I would work on improving my literacy in other ways - not expect people to put up with my poor literacy in that language and then get upset when I didn't get good ratings - this might seem beside the point but it's really to do with people on places like Ciao publishing really poorly written reviews and then spamming others to come and read them. Even if I were to take the bait and go check out their latest reviews, talk about adding insult to injury when the review doesn't make any sense! Notwithstanding the poorly written reviews, you would not believe how many spammers are actually stupid enough to come begging for reads and what do I find? Copied reviews which I then report straight away. This makes me laugh as it's like a bank robber walking into a police station and asking to be arrested! DUHHH! There are also the people who spam you with friend requests with a message like "you rate 5 of mine and I'll rate 10 of yours" which is hilarious - all you need to do with jokers like this (if you can be bothered) is check out their stats on their home page and see that they are not even rating as people as are rating them never mind double the ratings they receive. As for friends who do the spamming - in some cases I've just deleted the member from my friends list and sent them a message explaning why - genuine ones who really thought they were helping by sending messages about other sites where you can make money generally apologise but I don't put them back on. Online life is too short for me to fiddle around with deleting people (for a valid reason according to me) from a friends list and they reinstate them. As for others, some really get upset being removed as it's one less person they can spam. Oh well, I'm not there to massage people's ego - I'm there to do what I enjoy - write reviews as well as I personally can and do my fair share of reading and rating of others' reviews :)
@mariab (88)
• United States
6 Jan 09
I totally agree with you, especially with the English part. I really don't want to say it sometimes, but those who cannot put one complete english sentence together can be just as bad as spammers - you know they're just in it for the money. I immediately mark these as "not helpful", and I'm almost tempted to mark "abuse" as well, but if it's not copied anywhere, then I don't know if that falls under "abuse".
• Canada
4 Jan 09
I know exactly which site you are talkin about I joined 2 days ago and they aren't cancelling payment. They cancelled the rating of reviews payment because people were not reading the reviews before rating them. They put a stop on doing all reviews until monday at which time they will implement a new system for rating but we will still be paid $1 for every extended review (1000 or more characters) and 25 cents for a quick review(under 1000 characters). I myself am very disappointed that they took our earnings for the ratings as I did read and report quite a few reviews but at this point I don't see how we can change that. i am giving them til monday to figure out this mess and let us start making money again.
• Argentina
4 Jan 09
Yeah, I was a bit vague in my description. Probably the rush of typing so much without knowing if people would actually read such a long post. You are right, they only canceled payment for ratings, but they also disabled the submit review feature. So pretty much, nobody is getting anything this weekend. That's what I meant by "there's nothing". I'll just use the fact that English is my second language as an excuse. Rich