There is this great film database that invites visitors to leave reviews, but on their terms and using their interface. There are also several book databases that invite you, again, to review books at their site (, , , and , for example), but with similar problems, and with the added complication that the conscientious reviewer (that would be me) needs to keep track of what he posted where, and make sure he posted it everywhere (assuming that not one of the sites claim an exclusive license).
So I decided to start posting my reviews here. Advantages as I see them:
- I can license the reviews the way I want to.
- I can edit a review if I like.
- I can prevent a review from being edited if I like.
- I am no longer restrained by silly rules such as IMDB’s “ten lines minimum” (for any given definition of “line”).
This blog’s software may not be eminently suited for handling reviews, but as it happens it is a damn sight better than the aforementioned “specialized” sites, and what I don’t like I can change. (In all honesty, I am sorta chummy with the developers of at least two of those sites, so I could probably help change things over there too.)
Now if only Technorati allowed one to search for a movie title with the tag “review”. Does it?
Been doing bookreviews on my own site since 2001, without all this fancy blog software, just pure handrolled html.
For some books or authors, I’m now first ranked in google…
Thanks, Cloggie: now I suddenly feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. Or is that the responsibility of weight? Do you think I should have mentioned that Nicki Clyne is a hottie in the Battlestar Galactica review?
Hey Branko, you’ve got some good points there — I’d welcome ideas on how reviews ought to work on a book site. Some sort of reviewer identity system for starters (email address?) and an “edit” button? CC license? Reviewer tracking? Geesh, it can get out of hand, feature wise, pretty quick. What would be the one thing that would make putting your reviews on another’s site appealing?
Maybe that’s the ticket – make it possible to point to reviews on other sites…
Matthew, the one thing that initially made it appealing for me to post reviews on IMDB was that IMDB was _the_ site to post one’s reviews, the way Google is _the_ site if one wants to search the web (at least, over here it is).
Unless you push all other book sites out of the pond, that is not a status that Manybooks is going to acquire. The problem with my book reviews is simply that I want them to appear on everywhere, or at least sites 1, 2 and 3 (I am not a customer at 4, so I expect they would not take them anyway).
How about if I clicked somewhere stating that Manybooks.net can publish all blog entries that have the tags “books”, “review” and “cc-by”; and at the same time your site subscribed to Technorati or some other services that would allow you to keep your eye out for these keys. Then I would need to “subscribe” only once.
You could even have it so that sites with user-submitted book reviews would gang together and create a page were one click would “subscribe” to all of them.
Or, radically different, you could subscribe to a user book review service. Have one website that collects reviews, and have all other sites copy those reviews.
Hey I was just surfing around and decided to post a short comment here. I run a movie review message board and am looking for people to write reviews and contribute at my forum. You can even post a link to your blog on your signature file at my forum. It’s all good! Take care.
[…] See also the earlier On reviews, which deals with why I review books here instead of at Amazon, and why I review movies here instead of at the IMDB. […]
[…] Edit: when I wrote this review I used to publish my book reviews on third party websites. Later, I decided I would keep all my reviews under my own control. In August 2006 I added this entry to the books and review categories, and removed the phrase “(book review)” from the title. […]