Thursday, February 2, 2012

Time to reflect and notable links

Since January 6th 2012, when we launched our new site, we have seen just shy of 30,000 edits (about 10,000 edits per week) and about 1,000 new pages (new persons, new companies or new topics). Needless to say that all those edits went through our moderation system and we have been able to fairly quickly understand what people do and don’t do on the site. With three weeks gone by, it is time to start drawing some early conclusions. We have some good news and, of course, we still have things we need to work on.

On the good news side, we are getting more edits than we thought we would get. Even in our wildest dreams, we didn’t think we would have that much to start with.

Our moderation system is handling the load very well with less than 3 hours per day spent on it. About 2/3 of anonymous edits and 90% of the one contributed by registered users are being accepted. This is higher than what we expected and spam is reasonable even though we are seeing it on the rise. We have let few issues pass by but those were caught very quickly by the community and we were able to correct the mistakes very quickly so the feedback loop is also working very well. We have now a lot of great ideas on how to make the moderation system even more efficient and we will let you know about those ideas as we are implementing them.

On what we need to work on, even though people get it, we still have more work to do to get to the 95% accuracy that we want to have for both anonymous and registered users’ contributions:

1) We are going to provide guidelines on each page to let you know what you should or shouldn’t do at each page.

2) We are also going to make enhancements to the UI to make things even more intuitive than they are now.

As part of this blog, I want to reemphasize the notable links/achievement/milestone feature. I really enjoyed this feature when we built it because it enables to create free space for people to come up with creative ideas. So let me answer very quickly few questions about notable links:

What are notable links? Notable links are links that you deem relevant to a profile and you feel are going to enrich user understanding of the profile he is viewing. For a sales person, it could be a deal that has been closed, for an investment banker, it could be a press announcement on a deal he has worked on. For a real estate agent, a listing that he is currently working on, for a recruiter, a press announcement on a successful search or a search he is working on.

What is the difference between notable links and milestones/achievements? At the base level, these are sections that allow you to add a link that points to something else on the internet. To add a level of specificity, Milestones/activities are links that point to a news article about a major event in the history of a company. For example, if a company partners with another company and this comprises significant milestone for the company, a member would want to point to an article that talks about the partnership, and use the drop-down box to note that this is a 'Partnership' Milestone.
In contrast, a Notable Link is more flexible. It can be a news article link that provides interesting context to the profile page, but it could also be something other than a news link, for example a profile on another site, or another website altogether,….

Why are there already links on the page which are not accurate? The links that show on a page you are editing may not be accurate. They are in fact the results of a search made using Microsoft Bing on the title of the page so some links may be correct but others won’t be as is the case for results of a regular search. Within Spoke, you can remove the links that are not yours and keep the ones that are yours so that you show only the curated results for a specific page. You can also add links with the link finder or copy paste links that you found on the Internet.

Social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Wikipedia by extension) should not be part of notable links as they have their own place in the general info section. YouTube, Quora, Google+ etc.. are all acceptable.

What should I do if the page is not the main subject of the link or press release but I do deem the link relevant to the page? Should I still link to the profile? Yes, you can… I can link Matt Maurer (our community manager)’s page to his favorite rock band but, if I do that, I need to give some context in the title and let people know why I added this link. When you attach a link, Spoke is going to automatically prefill the header with the description of the URL and you can edit the title to tailor to the page you are editing. So in our prior example, the link title would be “Matt’s favorite rock band” posted by “Philippe Cases”. See on my profile how I customize the links on achievement and recognition or notable links (

What should I do if I don’t have any notable links about the page I am editing? This sometimes happens especially for small companies or people with a smaller web presence but it should not deter you to find interesting content related to the page you are writing about: a product that the company is working, a technology that they have worked on and, if it is a person, some information about his hobbies…..

Why should I bother? Adding links is important because it enables you to customize the page, this is really where you can make your pages shine and show narratives for the pages you are working on. The richer the links, the more information people will get from the page. Our best pages have time spent on page above 5 minutes so the more quality content you provide, the more people will spend time on your pages.

Adding a link to a page is also important because it is an easy place where you can store and organize all the links about a topic and keep coming back to find the links that were meaningful to you.

If you need more help, please check our video: or contact us at

Philippe Cases, CEO

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