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Thread: Review Ratings on TDP

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Review Ratings on TDP

    I personally don't care much for the review ratings, I found the reviews as they were helpful for my purchasing decisions. What do you all think?

    Bryan wrote here
    "With great reluctance, I have succumbed to external pressures ... ."


    I wonder what the external pressures are, and who is behind them. Is there a chance for disclosure?


    Last edited by ahab1372; 05-31-2013 at 11:37 PM. Reason: link added
    Arnt

  2. #2
    Administrator Bryan Carnathan's Avatar
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    Hi Arnt,

    Let me shed a little light on that "external pressures" issue for you. To be brief, this site relies on search engine referral traffic rather significantly. Search engine changes over the last 7+ months have resulted in reduced site traffic. The results of an audit have strongly recommended the implementation of these ratings (along with a huge amount of under-the-covers changes). So, in hopes of helping to recover at least some of that lost traffic, we now have ratings.

    Please simply ignore the ratings if they are not useful to you.

    Best regards,

    Bryan

  3. #3
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    Could I make a comment regarding the ratings? In general I think the ratings of all the equipment is too high. I think 5 star ratings should have gone only to true super amazing equipment, such as the Canon 200 f/2, the Canon TS-E 24 ii and the Canon 1D X. I don't think the Canon 100 f2.8 (non L) macro is as good as the 200 f/2 lens. Instead, I would suggest dropping all the ratings 1 star except for the true standouts, that way they line up more with the text of your reviews.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    First off, I am both sorry and somewhat surprised to hear that traffic is down. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised as traffic of new members asking "new member questions" in the forums is also down. This is by far my favorite photography site and you and your team have done a great job with it.

    I can understand the reluctance to use review ratings as many users will shoot straight to the rating and ignore the detail and nuances in the write up, which you seem to have always strived for. My thought would be to try to carry some of those nuances over to the ratings. The way I could see doing that is to have more than a single rating for each product, but also allow for a summary description. If increasing traffic is your goal, I would put the summary description at the start of the review with perhaps a few references to the detail in the text below.

    A few thoughts:

    Starred or numeric rating topics for lenses:
    • Optical quality-sharpness
    • Optical quality-distortions, abarration, flare, etc
    • Build quality
    • AF Speed
    • Overall


    Starred or numeric ratings for cameras:
    • Image Quality
    • ISO performance
    • Color Rendition
    • User Interface
    • User Experience
    • Overall


    Then provide three written sections in each summary, which you typically already include at the end of each review:
    1. Compared to....
    2. Special features
    3. Overall summary


    As a quick example, I saw you gave the EFS 15-85 5 stars. While I love that lens, the build quality isn't 5 stars, but the IQ is close AND it has the very special feature of having a FF equivalent focal length range of 24-136 mm!! Which makes it an amazing walk around lens on an APS-C body. So, I get while overall it it 5 star (I'd probably do 4-4.5), I'd be concerned about communicating too much with a single rating as, in this example, the build quality isn't as good as other canon lenses.

    Just some thoughts, I've always enjoyed your reviews, but understand that you need traffic flowing through the website.

  5. #5
    Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Speaking from the point of view of someone still trying to figure this wonderful hobby out, I find the data available on TDP invaluable. The ratings won't mean much to me, but the reviews, sample photos, opinions and other data mean a great deal. This site cleared the fog. Having said that, if the ratings increase search engine hits, then they serve a purpose.

  6. #6
    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    This is by far my favorite photography site and you and your team have done a great job with it.
    I may not post much but I actually have this set up as my home page on Firefox.
    Mark

  7. #7
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    Re: Review Ratings on TDP

    I like Kayaker72's thoughts. It'd be even better if you could do searches off of it like a specific focal length and a certain aperture with "five star" sharpness, or in case of a body, the ability to have 6400iso with at least a "three star" image quality in a Rebel former factor. That's seems like a lot of work and would have to be revised almost every year as our standards increase and only have five stars to play with.
    Words get in the way of what I meant to say.

  8. #8
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    I certainly concur that Bryan and his staff do an amazing job with this site. It is also my favorite photography site. I see no issue with the ratings if it serves to restore or boost traffic. Actually Bryan has been giving us his personal "ratings" for a long time. He always summarizes his review with his overall opinion about the quality, usefulness and value of each piece of gear. So adding some stars is another way of communicating that information and could be used to quickly "focus" in on the best gear prior to reading the details (no pun intended)

  9. #9
    Administrator Bryan Carnathan's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions. They are much appreciated. And we are definitely listening.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
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    I regard this as the best Photography site. Its not inhabited by trolls, the users are always willing to provide constructive criticism. The technical help on this site is second to none, although I miss having Daniel's input. When it comes to tests, wherever possible it uses objective rather than subjective testing (Tools menu).

    I once posted a link to this site on DPR showing the flare on a lens that was not reported in their tests, my post was deleted as Flaming! I think there are sites that find what you have created as intimidating, you should take that as a complement.

    Being a nerd I always find the idea of stars strange. If you give the EF 70-200L f2.8 IS II 5 stars, what do you give the next version? The next version of this lens will be better so do you move all the old lines down 1/2 a star?

    Unfortunately I have no answers.
    Canon EOS 7D, EF-S 10-22, EF 24-105L, EF 50 f1.2L, EF 70-300L, 430EX.

    "Criticism is something you can easily avoid, by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing." -
    Tara Moss

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