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Alleged random feature "Featured Pro"
Thread poster: Erik Hansson

Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Jun 14, 2009

Dear fellow ProZians and ProZ staff,

I wonder if this "Featured Pro" feature is truly random. In the last 5 months, I have been featured five times - which I of course don't mind - but every time without exception this has been either in the middle of the night or during a weekend. This can't be random.

As I understand this, being featured should be a "marketing tool" to attract new clients, but what's the use in it if I'm featured when the potential clients in Europe are not at work at 3 a.m.? At different occasions during the last couple of years I have suggested Staff to offer some kind of calendar where the members could indicate what time they would like to be featured, either time of the day or simply Monday-Friday, or simply don't indicated any preferences at all. It would have been fine to get a reply from Staff about this, but I'm still waiting for any reaction.

Erik


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:31
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting posting Jun 14, 2009

Since I'm logged in most of time while working (for long hours every day), and without paying too much attention to who is fatured or not, sometimes I have noticed that during short periods (within a few days), some profiles are featured repeatedly. This may be randomly but if so there appears to be something wrong.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My stats Jun 14, 2009

Erik Hansson wrote:
I wonder if this "Featured Pro" feature is truly random. In the last 5 months, I have been featured five times - which I of course don't mind - but every time without exception this has been either in the middle of the night or during a weekend. This can't be random.


I have been featured 14 times so far. Here are my dates and times:

061102 01:02 (asleep)
061104 22:32 (asleep)
061205 07:17 (...awake!)
061215 22:32 (asleep)
070420 05:02 (asleep)
070916 10:32 (...awake!)
070926 02:47 (asleep)
071105 01:47 (asleep)
071228 18:02 (...awake!)
080215 16:47 (...awake!)
080307 01:17 (asleep)
080329 13:02 (...awake!)
080819 03:47 (asleep)
090325 02:47 (asleep)

The above are GMT but my time zone is GMT+2, so take that into account.


[Edited at 2009-06-14 16:46 GMT]


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 19:31
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
Non-random, really Jun 14, 2009

Yes, I agree that this is no way truly random. In the first months after my subscription, I was featured a few times. But then no more! And, yes, I also have seen the same people over and over again being featured within a small time span.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:31
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Not very good as a marketing tool Jun 14, 2009

I think it is fairly useless as a marketing tool.

Since I started to keep track (October 2007), I have been featured:

once in October 2007
once in November 2007
twice in December 2007
twice in February 2008 (only four days apart)
once in January 2009
once in April 2009

Out of these 8 occasions, four times were in the middle of the night, twice in the middle of the day (on a Monday and Friday respectively), once on a Saturday evening and once on a Sunday evening.

The exposure to potential clients has therefore been very limited (twice in 3 years).


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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:31
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Apparently I'm not as "lucky" Jun 14, 2009

I've been a ProZ. com member since Dec 2007 (18 months) and I've only been featured four times, none of which were this year and every single time was in the middle of the night.
However, I do agree that being featured is useless as a marketing tool, so I have no qualms about not being featured.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 18:31
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
what if it's a marketing gag? Jun 14, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

I have been featured 14 times so far. Here are my dates and times:

...

Hi Samuel:

what if the intention is to open up new markets for Afrikaans? Australia, Asia, West Coast USA. make my day - oops, sorry, make my night:x...

As for me, I am still waiting to get the promised "additional exposure" for the ProZ localization done. I offered to pay extra for it with the BrownieZ earned and got a hearty laugh back.

Regards

Vito

[Edited at 2009-06-14 19:32 GMT]


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:31
English to German
+ ...
Fairly useless as a marketing tool. Jun 14, 2009

Are you aware that being featured for 15 minutes (!) only "twice in a lifetime" is close to nothing?
Exposure? What exposure?


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Boris Rogowski  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:31
English to German
Word Jun 14, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:

Are you aware that being featured for 15 minutes (!) only "twice in a lifetime" is close to nothing?
Exposure? What exposure?


Aniello's completely right. Has anyone ever really considered this feature to be anything but a gimmick? I'd be quite surprised...


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:31
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Random Jun 14, 2009

A local fellow translator (with an entirely different language combo) had once seen me “featured”, read my profile, offered me his hardly used kayak, and we’ve been paddling buddies ever since. Random, eh?

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David Earl  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member (2007)
German to English
Definitely a gimmick Jun 14, 2009

Not sure if the technical helps, but:

Most computer languages use a random function which generates a number between 0 and 1. The programmer then multiplies that by some factor (in this case, probably the current number of ProZ members) to produce an ID number. There's ?probably? a check to make sure that the ProZ member selected is still active, and skip to the next one, if the selected member has deleted their account (for example).

That is, of course, generalization. I don't know which language is used (an SQL language from the database backend, a Java-based language if done by the front-end, who knows?). The randomness is affected by the language, with certain algorithms favoring certain values (aka "sweet spots" or sometimes "magic numbers", terminology may have changed...). The default random function(s) provided with a given language may not be the most random possible routines. Increasing the randomness would mean dedicating someone to testing the randomness of the existing routine and/or diverting a programmer to implement a function with the highest possible randomness factor (along with the associated research, which I did...some 20 years ago...nope, don't want the job again, even if I remembered where to find the resulting function).

I suppose one could ask the staff to modify the search so that the featuring action occurs during the day according to the members indicated time zone. Of course, that would disadvantage those members who might choose not to provide that info.

Is it worth applying someone's time to the problem, or could that programmer be better employed working on other features for the ProZ website? I'd vote for "focus on something else".


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Kristina Radziulyte  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 19:31
Member (2006)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...

MODERATOR
it's Ok Jun 14, 2009

Last dates I was featured:
2009-03-21 11:02 AM (Saturday)
2009-03-22 12:17 PM (Sunday)

What can I say... It is not the most useful Proz feature for me as a service provider, but I still like it, because it gives me opportunity to see and discover profiles of those ‘invisible’ colleagues who are not active on discussion boards or elsewhere.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:31
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Exposure Jun 14, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:
Exposure? What exposure?


It might be more useful to strip down, put on a long trenchcoat and visit a public park. Then while members of the public stand aghast, pass out your business cards. It'll certainly get 'em talking, and with a laptop you can conceivably work from anywhere - even your local jail

Seriously, folks, we've got bigger fish to fry. I personally find the 5 am features amusing, but since my customers are scattered across the world's time zones (though admittedly concentrated in Europe where the real money is) I really don't care when I get flashed across the screen. If I had to depend on such little things for business and were not capable of taking actions on my own to land aforementioned fish, I would be very hungry indeed.

Those who are really steamed about it all could demand a customizable time range or ranges for these "random" endorsement to be displayed, but I'd rather see Henry & Co. focused on more useful things as they usually are (with the occasional spectacular exception ).


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casey
United States
Local time: 12:31
Member
Japanese to English
Different featured pros depending on geographic location Jun 15, 2009

It would be interesting if they could have different pros featured depending on where the visitor is coming from. Granted, many visitors are going to be looking for translators in language pairs that do not include the one(s) spoken in their geographic location, but the majority will be looking for translators in pairs that do. Just a thought. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons not to do this as well.

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Diarmuid Kennan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 17:31
Member (2006)
Danish to English
+ ...
Check for visitors Jun 15, 2009

I have been featured 4-5 times I think over the past couple of years. The first couple of times I checked to see if there was a surge in visits to my profile while I was featured. There wasn't.

Conclusion: it's not very useful as a marketing tool, but then, why would it be?


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