I find it interesting that you are leaving SBI to go to WP.
I in fact left WP for SBI.
My WP site, which was started in 2003 and had new pages added daily and today has 300k+ email subscribers (yes it's still online, see link to visit it), started crashing around 6,000 pages. The only way to keep the site online, was to remove the bulk of the illustrations and reduce the site to a plain, black text on white background, with no template at all. With 6,000 pages, even just adding a template to it was enough to crash the servers. Once it reached 9,000 pages it struggled desperately to stay online AT ALL. October 15, 2017 is crossed 10,000 pages and is desperately overloaded... even though since 2013, I've not posted ANY long pages on it, posting only updates link to my other sites --- a necessity as it crashes every time I try to add a new full length article page to it. I had to do back and do a pot by post edit to strip most of the photos and images out of the posts, just to be able to keep it online in the current, disheveled, shambled state you currently see it in today!
Look around this page you are reading right now. What do you see? Bright colours, lots of images, photos, illustrations, embedded videos, dancing gifs, link lists, ... My Word Press site looked JUST LIKE THIS when I built it back in 2003. Look at it now! It's horrific!
Absolute, ugly nothingness of white, white, and more white.
Like every other dime a dozen, crap site out there, EK's Star Log has had to lose it's psychedelic pink glory, for the sake of bandwidth and hiccuping servers.
And THAT is why I moved to SBI.
I pity you and your move to WP. You say you have 6,000 pages? And you REALLY think you are going to be able to stay online? You'll be stuck with some shitty looking piece of crap carbon copy of every one else white template.
I just want to vomit every time I see those dime a dozen WP templates. No originality or creativity at all.
When I founded Space Dock 13 in 1996 on FreeWebs it was a 1990s nightmare of pneon text on blinking backdrops. When I first learned hoe to make gifs I made those bananas and posted them everywhere. Made the sheep and tossed them everywhere as well. When I moved from FreeWebs to BlogSpot the bright colours and bananas went with me. Soon they made their way to MySpace and then WordPress, and of course Squidoo.
I haven't used MySpace since they tried to be FaceBook and removed the ability to make customized profiles. And we all know what happened to Squidoo.
At first WordPress was great. But the more pages I added the slower page load times got and the more the site crashed. In June 2013 WP crashed and LOST more then a 1,000 of my posts. That was the last straw. I began moving my site to SBI September 2013.
WP does not have the bandwidth or the server capabilities to handle a 10k page, graphic heavy, site with 14,000+ images, and 2,000+ videos, and 300k+ daily traffic.
Since moving to SBI I've not had a single crash, not one second of downtime, no bandwidth issues, no video playback issues, and heck... I've tripled the amount of dancing banana's and glitter sheep gifs my site is known for.
Try doing ^^^THAT^^^ on WordPress and see what happens.
In my case, I'm not using SBI for a business, but rather as a website for my business, so income I make from my SBI site is not a driving force for me.
Yes, WP did have a lot of nice flashy apps and widgets that SBI doesn't offer, but, what good are the apps and widgets when the WP server can't keep my site online long enough for visitors to use said apps and widgets?
WP is good if you want a plain, blank, black text on white background site, with no illustrations, no photos, no moving gifs, and no videos embedded. But I'm an author and an artist, and my site largely is there to showcase my novels, my paintings, and my photography..and WP ain't got the server power to host a site like mine.
That's why I like SBI... it can handle a site like mine. It's had a few hiccups... but in every case, support was right on top of it and had the issue fixed in a few days, sometimes a few hours, and did so without my site going offline. That's a big plus for me after struggling with monthly downtime issues on WP for 9 long years.
But anyways, that's all differences in user goals.
You are using your site as a business. I am using it as a showcase for my business.
As I've said before, SBI is not for everyone. It's intended for people who want to write articles and don't want to submit them to content farms, but want to instead have full control over the publication of their work.
So, for the most part I agree with what you are saying. SBI is great for some, not so great for others. I just think your reasons for going to WP are a bit off... greater stability and fewer crashes? Honey, my WP site is still live and kicking, and still struggling to stay online, 10,000 pages you know... their servers can't handle it. Your other reasons for going to WP make sense, but... don't be fooled... they have NOT fixed their server crashing issues. Not even close.
But that's not I want to focus on...
No... the part of your post I'm wanting to comment on is what you say about Ken's request for the Top 500 to write reviews, specifically to write reviews based off of a template...
Yeah... those posts DO leave the wrong impression... and that wrong impression reflecs back on me more then any other SBI user.
I'm not particularly happy with the spotlight he's put on me.
Did you read all of his posts requesting reviews? Have you ever seen how he keeps referancing "Wendy" and "her RV".
I'm the Wendy he's talking about.
I'm the one he's shining that review request post on.
And I didn't ask for that.
I didn't even know he did it.
"Wendy and her RV"... that's me... here... here's Wendy and her RV that he can't stop talking about in those 500 review posts...
So there's "Wendy and her RV" that Ken keeps talking about in his posts requesting 500 reviews...
if you want to read the article he's been copying pieces of in his posts, IT"S THIS ONE.
sadly a template I wrote and ... well, he just grabbed it out of my post and ran off with it and said in his request for review posts: "Look at this review, here write one like this"... but... it wasn't a review! I did NOT write a review! He only took a small piece of what I wrote, took it out of the rest, thus taking it out of context, and them used it to say: Here, Wendy wrote this review about SBI and why don't we find 500 more people to do the same thing.
See, he's not just sending out the wrong impression in general, he's also sending out the wrong impression about me in particular!
Thing is, he then used it in his 'Here's all the things wrong with Wealthy Affiliates' look at this review from a real SBI user....
...and I found out about it a month later when suddenly I got 400 page views an hour (when normally I only get that many views a day) and I looked to see what link was sending me traffic and found it was Ken's blog post on SBI, AND also 2 different ones of his forum posts!
Okay, sure, the extra traffic is great, but if it's not meaningful traffic (as in people ACTUALLY interested in my topic) then it's pointless waste of my time traffic. I don't need or want people trafficing my site, that have no interest in my topic. There's no point in sending the general population to my site, when the general population is offended by gay men fuck not gay men, and unicorns fucking Elves and half-elves fucking sheep... I an author and I write Yaoi.
Monster Porn Yaoi. CBT (Cock and ball torture) Yaoi. Not a lot of people interested in fetishes that focus on mutilating an Elf's testicles, and that's what I write.
The average American is a white power, straight Christian with their heads up their ass and their Bibles where a brain should be. They are vicious, violent, brutal cat murdering, house bombing bastards who blew my house up with a bomb and cut my cats heads off, because they had to teach little gay-supporter me a lesson.
THAT is the thing that comes from large amounts of general population traffic to a niche topic site that general population people are shocked, horrified, and repulsed by.
So NO, I DO NOT want droves of general population hate monger prone American traffic going to my site.
The only traffic my site needs is from people interested in the topic I write, so when someone starts driving a bunch of offtopic traffic my way, that's not a good thing for me.. or my family.
So I'm suddenly getting lots of traffic, because not only did he tell people he wanted 500 more reviews like this one that I wrote, but he linked to my site in his post as well! Okay, sure, linking to my site, when pulling part of it off and reposting it elsewhere is the proper thing to do (and at least he created my work and didn't claim it was his template for writing reviews, but still...)
...but still, he's making out like I wrote that as a review (when I did not) and making it sound like I was endorsing SBI (again, I wasn't) and as I said in my response to his forum post, (I responded in the thread he posted this request for reviews in) nothing good can come from this bold and brash request for members to write reviews.
Yes... it bothered you... but think of how much it bothered me? I'm the one who's aricle he was quoting (and misquoting) in his request for SBI members to write reviews!!!!!
That sort of thing reflects back on me, with him making it sound like it was my idea and it was not!
Yes... this was the thing I had mentioned on the request for reviews thread a few months back... the fact that I had NOT written a review and couldn't see any reason to do so, specifically BECAUSE the request to do so was posted on the forum.
If I had written a review BEFORE the request (which I in fact had done a few years back) then that is one thing, because it was me writing a review of my own free will. But I've seen the Wealthy Affiliate reviews... not just about SBI either... WA reviews every web host in a bad light making it bluntly obvious that the reviews are fake.
If you go through the About pages on my site, you fins in addition to the typical FTC compliance, ToS, disclaimers, etc, there are 2 other pages not commonly used by others: "Media Statements" and "Endorsements". As a public figure (I'm am author) I am often approached by companies ask me to make endorsements for them. This is something I have long refused to do. Sure others can make more money by smiling and holding a product for 5 seconds and be in some ad. But what happens when that product goes south for whatever reason?
In the 1970s every actor wanted to be on Camel or Virginia Slims ads. Tobacco got a bad rap in the 1980s and suddenly every actor who ever endorsed those products was without a job. No one would hire them. They endorsed the "in" product when it was "in" and went that product got a bad rap, they got dragged down with it.
Look at Marion Zimmer Bradley. Biggest name in Fantasy fiction. She supported a man in his endeavors. Then he goes to prison for child rape. And what happened to her career? No publisher would touch her manuscripts after that.
Sure, writing a review for a company may not seem like a big deal... but it is. It really is.
You want a comparision closer to home... how about another webhost then:
Who here remembers Squidoo?
Do you know what happened to Squidoo?
Fastest rising webhost out there. King of web hosting for nearly a decade... then POOF... gone over night... do you know why?
Squidoo ran on a pay-share system. They added AdSense ads to all the sites, they kept 50% of the revenue and you kept 50% of it. Traffic to your site, you got 50% of
Seth Godin sold the company in 2012. The new owners, 2 women, decided they wanted to keep more then 50%, so they changed the system... only the top 100 most trafficed pages, would recieve pay... and only 10%. ALL the ad revenue from ALL 2million+ pages was pooled together... those 2 women kept 90% and the remaining 10% was divided to the top 100 pages.
Very few people had pages in the Top 100. 20 of the Top 100 pages were mine. I suddenly overnight was getting 1/5th of the 10% of Squidoo.
That last exactly one month... when one day I woke up to find ALL of my top 100 pages DELETED off of Squidoo....
or so I thought...
until a week later... one of my fans sent me an emaill, asking:
"Bonny claims she built this car, but I'm pretty sure this is your car, did she just steal your content?"
Sure enough, ALL 20 of my deleted top 100 pages, were now moved to Bonnie's account. Bonnie, owner of Squidoo... STOLE my top money making Squidoo pages. The Lord Sesshomaru CosPlay, Amphibious Aliens, On Being Homeless, On Being An Adult With Autism. The Dazzling Razzberry aka The Autism Awareness Car (see above), and Publishing Methods... the articles that EVERYONE knew were mine, heavily illustrated with my own art, and photos of me, my cas, and the tarp I lived under for 9 years, details of my personal life... STOLEN and the new owner of Squidoo claiming was hers!
I checked with Fluffernutter, Jaguar Julie, Squid Pirate and the other top 100s... all their pages had been deleted as well, and when they checked, they'd all been moved to Bonnie's account as well! We were stunned! ALL top 100 pages were stolen from ALL their creators and were now ALL displaying on Bonnie's account... meaning Bonnie was now earning the full 100% of all income from Squidoo.
Squidoo's top 100, banded together in a lawsuit against Bonnie and Dawn, owners of Squido... 4 months later Squidoo was gone. They deleted the ENTIRE website, to avoid going to court on plagerisim charges.
That's what happened to Squidoo.
Squidoo... the company you used to see me promoting from the rooftops, because Squidoo is the webhost that took me from a hobby webbuilder to being able to live full time off my online income.
I wrote tons of reviews glorifying Squido in it's heydays when Seth Godin ran it. I drove thousands of people to join Squidoo.
And then Seth Godin retired and sold the company... and the new owners were scam artists who stole other's people's content and drove it to the ground.
THAT, is why I don't write reviews for companies anymore. THAT is why I no longer do endorsements and media statements. I used to. And I promoted Squidoo more then any other company. I loved Squidoo. I loved it so much I became one of it's forum moderators. Even those of us who worked for Squidoo were shocked and horrified with what the new owners did, and how quickly it destroyed the company.
I don't want to get tangled up in a mess like that again.
Yes, I love SBI. But I also loved Squidoo... and look what happened there. I trust Ken Evoy and SBI, but I also trusted Seth Godin and Squidoo.
It's a case of once bitten, twice shy.
I have my own career to look out for. My own family. And I can't put them at risk, for the sake of reviews for a company, that I have no control over and therefor can not guarantee something will not happen to in the future.
Now take all of that and combine it with this point here:
Yes, the public can see that Ken is actively recruiting people asking for reviews...
And the public can see that.
So how does that reflect on us... those of us who had previously written reviews before this request went out?
It comes off looking like we only wrote those reviews because we were told to do so.
And that gives off a bad vibe...
people who want to take SBI down (which WA obviously does and are making no secret about that fact) now have added fuel to their fire. They can now head to the forums and say: "See? Look that that! SBI reviews are fake! See? They only write reviews because that's what they are told to do. Being good little sheeples writing reviews for SBI"
Keep in mind here, that I am an author and reviews are part of my career. We authors RELY on reviews from readers to help sell our books.
And then people like John Locke come along.
If you are anyone who reads a lot, or watches Survivor, or is in the publishing industry, you know who John Locke is and what he did... for the rest of you... here's what he did:
He was a struggling author. Self-published. Couldn't sell many books. Ended up on a reality TV show. Survivor... and WON. Now... he didn't need the money, so he decided instead of spending it, he was going to invest it in his failing writing career.
In less then a month, he was New York Times #1 bestseller.
On the heels of Amanda Hocking he stunned the publishing world, by being the 2nd person to become "A Kindle Millionaire".
He didn't sell a single book.
He hired a man. A computer hacker. To write 1 million fake reviews, and post them all on Amazon on his books.
That's what he did with the money he won on the Survivor reality show. He paid a hacker, to hack Amazon, create 1 million FAKE Amazon accounts, and post 1 million FAKE reviews on his books.
For a few months, he was on every TV talk show. Because NO ONE in self-publishing history had ever sold a million copies of their book. NO ONE. EVER. And he did it, in one week.
And then, BECAUSE of the 1 million FAKE reviews, suddenly he had sales. A lot of them. Within 30 days of posting those 1 million fake reviews, he earned $3million dollars.
And set of every Amazon red flag... Amazon started researching... and they saw it.
Amazon sued John Locke, and New York Times sued the hacker and John Locke. The hacker went to prison and John Locke had to pay insane amounts of fines.
And then, in June 2015 Amazon did the unthinkable... because of what John Locke did, Amazon rewrote their algorithm, to track author's ispns, match it to FB, and then... DELETE every review on every book, written by anyone on their FaceBook account.
In the blink of an eye, books that had thousands of REAL, HONEST reviews from fans who followed the author on FaceBook... vanished. Millions of book reviews were deleted off of millions of self-pubbed books, June 2015. In some cases the books themselves and or the author's accounts were deleted.
Self published authors, promote their books on FaceBook to their fans who follow their FaceBook pages... but thanks to scam artist John Locke, today, Amazon tracks the authors' ispns, matches to their FB accounts, cross references it with the ispn of their followers, and deletes any review that authors fans wrote, because according to Amazon, if they follow you on FB they are relatives.
THAT's the power of a fake review. The long term side effects we are now seeing because one author decided to game the system.
In 2010 to 2013, it was easy to sell self-pubbed books, because it was easy to get reviews. But since John Locke's fake review scam and Amazon's 2015 response to it, now ALL self published authors struggle to get book sales, because it's next to impossible for any book review to get approved by Amazon, due to so many self pubbed authors relying on their FB fans to buy their books.
Which again, brings us back to this...
As per Amazon's very detailed blog post on the matter of fake reviews... if the author ASKS the reader for a review and Amazon can prove it, the review is classified as fake.
And so, by Amazon's standards on reviews, if Ken asks for a review,, any review resulting from that, no matter how honest, is still deemed as fake, because the reviewer wrote it by request instead of deciding of their own volition to do so.
As Dee and Eric state, no, it's not bad that Ken asked for reviews, no it's not bad that people are writing reviews at his request, but in the long run, I can't see how it'll be anything but bad, because people like WA are going to use that as fuel...
The issue here is, yes, WA is writing fake reviews, HOWEVER... they are NOT publicly asking people to do so!
And so when people search for info on WA, they are not going to find any posts made by WA asking for members to write reviews.
On the other hand, when people search for SBI, they can, do, will, and are finding Ken's posts asking members to write reviews, and so, while his intentions are good, they will be used against him, and in fact, they already are!
Which is why, as I had said before on one of the review request threads... I don't feel comfortable, writing a review when I'm approached by the person seeking said review. Not SBI or any one else.
I used to be one of Amazon's top reviews. I used to have a review blog that I reviewed, books, movies, and products on. And I stopped doing it because people started coming to me asking for reviews. I did it with books I had read, movies I had watched, products I had used... no one was asking for those reviews. I don't mind writing reviews for things I've used and they helped me... but when people say: "Here's I'll give you a free bottle of my product if you give me a 5 star review on Amazon"... I'm not comfortable with that. I am not comfortable with someone asking me to give them a review. It makes me feel like I'm being pushed into a corner and forced to give a good review. Maybe I like their product and would in fact want to give it a good review, but what if I don't? How can I write a poor or even a bad review of their product, when they came to me requesting a review? It puts me in an uncomfortable position and doesn't allow me to write a fully unbiased review, knowing that they are expecting the review.
So, in the end, while I love SBI, and I do actually talk about it quite a lot on my site, (I've over 100 pages in my series on "Web Building For Authors Using SBI"), but still I do shy away from writing an actual review and I worry about WA's long term backlash that will no doubt come as a result of the request for 500 reviews to be written.