Previous news story    Next news story

Create your own articles - public beta launched today

By dpreview staff on Sep 28, 2011 at 21:00 GMT

Introducing Articles for Everyone

A few weeks ago we launched our articles section and we promised that you'd soon be able to create your own articles, photo blogs and other personal content using our newly-developed browser-based editor and content manager. We're excited to announce that today we've opened up access to this cool new tool for all registered members. You'll find links to your article manager in your profile (Articles tab) or at the top of the main articles index page.

First, a little background. For the last decade or so the stuff you read on dpreview.com has been produced almost entirely manually, with all our reviewers and editors creating and editing html pages directly in Dreamweaver, resizing images in Photoshop and uploading everything via ftp (this is still the way we produce reviews and previews). As you can imagine, this requires lots of training, and is slow and error-prone. When we decided to expand our content into articles, specifically articles produced by external contributors, we knew we needed an easier to use way of getting content into the dpreview.com style and onto its pages, so we set about creating a true content management system and a simple web-based article creator/editor.

As soon as we started to think about what we could do with such a system we decided we should offer it to all our members, allowing them to create permanent, easily discoverable content directly from their user profile. The forums are full of amazing information, expertise and opinion produced by some highly knowledgeable and talented members, but it can be hard work finding what you're looking for when wading through thousands of posts.

We deployed the CMS and article editor at the same time as the articles section (all the articles are created using it), and after a few weeks of testing we're happy it is robust enough to launch it into a public beta. The best way to discover what it can do is to go to the articles tab of your profile and start playing with it, but you can also read this quick primer if you'd like to get up to speed on the features of this first beta launch.

At launch the system allows you to create single or multi-page articles using text, images, tables and videos. Right now these will be accessed directly from your profile page (and will appear at at the bottom of the main articles index page), but we are working on ways to make your content more discoverable, and systems to ensure the best, most highly rated content bubbles to the surface. You can help this by tagging your articles and by clicking the 'Like' button on articles you find interesting, useful or inspiring.

Click here to jump straight to our primer on using the new article editor

We're launching personal articles today as a public beta, meaning there's almost certainly a few bugs and quirks, which we'll be fixing and fine-tuning over the next few weeks. Please report any bugs you find via the feedback form.

What's next

We need to spend a couple of weeks dealing with the beta feedback, but we're already developing some cool new features for the articles system. Just a taste of of some of the things you're likely to see In future updates includes:

  • Collaborative creation tools (multiple authors, version tracking, wiki tools)
  • More flexible image layout options
  • Better mobile device support
  • Better forum integration
  • Expanded integration with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr
  • More templates
  • More privacy and permission controls (who can view or edit your articles)
  • More control over commenting

FAQ

What can I use the article system for?
Pretty much anything you want as long as you stick to the site rules (see here) - a photo blog, tips, opinions, product reviews - it's totally up to you.

Why should I write your articles for you?
It is, of course, completely up to you. We see a lot of carefully constructed, useful or inspirational posts get lost in the endless flow of the forums, and we thought it would be sensible to offer our members somewhere to archive their contributions, share their thoughts/experiences and pass on their knowledge. We don't expect everyone to create articles, but we just couldn't keep such a cool tool to ourselves and our commissioned contributors.

Who owns the content?
You own all the words and pictures you post, and you can remove them at any time (as per our terms and conditions). The only exception is contracted, commissioned content.

How do I get my content featured on the home page?
At the moment only commissioned content is featured on the home page and in the main articles index, but we will soon offer a way to submit articles for approval by the dpreview.com editorial team, at which point we'll be able to promote them to official endorsed content status. We'll also start promoting popular / highly rated community content. Stay tuned!

Can I use the articles to promote my own product/services/website?
Articles created solely for the purpose of promoting a product, service or website will be considered to be spam and are likely to be deleted and may result in a permanent ban. However, you may include a single link to your personal or commercial website at the end of the article (we still reserve the right to edit or delete articles, at our discretion, that we consider to be spam).

Comments

Total comments: 144
12
R Valentino
By R Valentino (Sep 28, 2011)

Nice to see the b!tchers out in full force and so early too. Already whining about someone possibly making money off of someone else. Ya know it's a free market, don't like it, don't use it. Simple.

Now you can go away.

2 upvotes
RaptorUK
By RaptorUK (Sep 28, 2011)

Can I create an article about how DPReview refuses to enforce it's own published rules ?

For example:

Images of children - We absolutely do not allow any nude / semi-nude / voyeuristic pictures of children or links to such galleries

You must only submit images that are safe for general public viewing, e.g. no nudity.

How do these rules allow this Challenge and it's Entries to remain: http://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Challenge.aspx?ID=5270

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 28, 2011)

yes you can. In fact you can write a whole series of articles about our shortcomings.

4 upvotes
RaptorUK
By RaptorUK (Sep 28, 2011)

OK, I'll make a start tomorrow. Before I do, any chance of an explanation about that particular Challenge ? via PM if you like . .

0 upvotes
lamah
By lamah (Sep 28, 2011)

Presumably this rule exists so that they can remove any images of naked people that they find offensive, without actually needing to give a rigid definition of what an offensive image is, which is pretty difficult.

0 upvotes
jenbenn
By jenbenn (Sep 29, 2011)

How can a few nude butts not be save for general public viewing? Doesnt everyone have one? After all we are not talking porn here. Its wise to have a rule, but its even wiser to enforce it only when it makes sense.

2 upvotes
RaptorUK
By RaptorUK (Sep 29, 2011)

It's not about what is safe or not safe . . . it's about adherence and enforcement of published rules.

"Images of children - We absolutely do not allow any nude / semi-nude / voyeuristic pictures of children or links to such galleries"

0 upvotes
Rriley
By Rriley (Sep 29, 2011)

LOL i dont believe it,
he's even from Birmingham ;)

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Sep 28, 2011)

I think a better analogy is photo.net. Both sites feature great information by members. We will now be able to access it. And this format may lead some on the way to writing. Great idea to try out.

1 upvote
lewynn
By lewynn (Sep 28, 2011)

What's with the "I do this, you cash in" stuff??? You use this site, they make money. You do a Google search, Google makes money. You drive a Ford, Ford has a driving billboard. You shop at Target and walk away with a big old red circle on your shopping bag and you think people are going to think you went to Wal-Mart????

Anything you do while on the internet someone else is going to make money off it. Regardless of what it is. As soon as you log on someone just got a little richer.

If you don't want them to make money don't look around.

8 upvotes
Whois
By Whois (Sep 28, 2011)

Not exactly. You can look around but "If you don't want them to make money don't consume." But if you weren't a consumer in some way you probably would not come to Dpreview in the first place :-)

0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Sep 28, 2011)

Great idea... I create article and you cash in. Fabulous.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 28, 2011)

We designed it with you specifically in mind, actually.

6 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 28, 2011)

You write an article that actually generates more than a few dollars in ad revenue (meaning it gets more views than any article we've posted yet) and I'll pay you myself! This will not, nor was it designed to, make make money.

8 upvotes
zoomring
By zoomring (Sep 28, 2011)

@ Simon Johnson: While you claim that you did not design this feature to "make money" , it will drive "traffic", which you will include in your web traffic reports, to pitch to potential advertising clients how your site gets so much traffic, which equals more exposure for them which equals you charging them more money and thus profiting from free articles.

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 28, 2011)

You don't know a lot about how online advertising actually works do you?

4 upvotes
zoomring
By zoomring (Sep 29, 2011)

So you chose not to answer the question? No worries, I will respectfully answer yours, yes I do know the workings of the machine, I used to enjoy reading reports as much as you.

0 upvotes
yslee1
By yslee1 (Sep 29, 2011)

Hmm, wait, so people write articles, other visitors stay longer on DPReview site, and have a greater chance of clicking on an ad, and you say it doesn't help you?

Look, I'm all for user content in drivnig further traffic to the site. The contributor swaps money for an established platform that has significant traffic. Which I'm perfectly fine with, unlike some posters moaning here. But saying that it doesn't help DPReview is taking the mickey out of us users, isn't it?

0 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Sep 29, 2011)

Honestly, if I were managing a free website, I would be very frustrated if I added a free feature that doesn't affect anything else on the site and users responded to it by accusing me of looking to earn money off it.

If you think dpreview (or any internet-based entity) will steal your content, don't put it online! In an ideal world, people would be less selfish and would freely share their knowledge. If you don't want to share and make the world a better place, no one is forcing you to.

Try looking at it this way: Dpreview is giving you a bit of free web hosting space on a reliable server (hopefully), complete with server-side code for displaying photos and photo articles.

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 29, 2011)

i said we didn't design this with the intention of making money (in fact all our community features carry very little advertising and are subsidized by the homepage and reviews). But yes, of course we hope to attract and retain more visitors. Without that we eventually go out of business. But if our only aim was to increase revenue there'd be a LOT of things we could do that would be guaranteed to work a lot better this, and I'm sure you'd like them a lot less!

2 upvotes
zoomring
By zoomring (Sep 28, 2011)

So the people who contribute articles will receieve a portion of the advertising dollars you collect from Amazon and all the different marketing banners you collect money from?

Why would anyone write an article here and drive traffic to your site and increase your profits without getting anything in return?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 28, 2011)

Why would anyone post in the forums? Because they have opinions, expertise, things to say.

This system simply raises the signal/noise ratio - if you don't like it, don't use it.

12 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Sep 28, 2011)

Well, you do get a plug for your website. I guess that something.

1 upvote
Whois
By Whois (Sep 28, 2011)

DPreview is not a bad way to get exposure IF you can write good articles and know your stuff (whatever that may be). I don't think that you should see every word you write as something that needs to be monetized right away.

4 upvotes
Rajeshb
By Rajeshb (Sep 28, 2011)

Dpr should put a dislike button also for cynical like you

1 upvote
ChipTz
By ChipTz (Sep 28, 2011)

To contribute to a community or to users visiting this website by sharing knowledge that can be helpful to someone else. If this doesn't make sense to you then you don't neet to contribute, but then again, maybe dpreview can close also the forums, and maybe wikipedia can also be shut down, after all for sure someone is also making money with it...

5 upvotes
zoomring
By zoomring (Sep 28, 2011)

Wikipedia does not have advertising, DPREVIEW is owned by the largest retailer in the world AMAZON which makes profits in the BILLIONS

I am not saying people should not write articles and contribute, but to receive zero compensation for intellectual content while helping AMAZON make more BILLIONS of profit?

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Sep 28, 2011)

It all comes down to how much you have to lose. If you're just an enthusiast with knowledge to contribute, and no one was going to pay you for it anyway, this is a great place to do it, it will probably get read, everybody wins...especially Amazon. It'll be like writing reviews on Amazon.com itself, the same type of free corporate outsourcing that the public seems quite comfortable with.

But if you promote your own business on your own blog and social media outlets, you have to make a decision as to whether the content you can post here can drive more hits to your site than the hits you're going to lose by not simply posting the same content within your site and letting Google drive people to you directly.

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 29, 2011)

Zoomring, do you really think Amazon makes 'BILLIONS of profit'?

0 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Sep 29, 2011)

zoomring - Wikipedia still needs money to keep the servers running. Sometimes, you see them running fundraising campaigns to keep everything going.
About dpreview being owned by a large corporation - if the end result is a site that allows users to share knowledge (like wikipedia), then I don't have a problem with it as long as amazon respects dpreview users (which they are doing, from what I'm reading in the FAQs). In my opinion, the ends justify the means in this case.

0 upvotes
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Sep 28, 2011)

This is great, I can't wait to start contributing.

2 upvotes
johnduncan
By johnduncan (Sep 28, 2011)

You prompted me to log in just to leave a comment. Which is...

Genius. Genius. Genius.

2 upvotes
sony1799
By sony1799 (Sep 28, 2011)

Awesome idea.

2 upvotes
MichaelSpotts
By MichaelSpotts (Sep 28, 2011)

Excellent idea. This is the future.

13 upvotes
Total comments: 144
12