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NPOV :Alabama Cooperative Extension System, written almost entirely by a news and public affairs employee at ACES, so needs some neutral eyes to give it a going-over to check for both neutrality, and layout/content inclusion, etc.
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Provide direct working links to questionable/argumentative text or remove it. The following only places an unfactual "spin" on the article. Evidently, the fomer Epinions "hat" (Category Leed, Advisor) Arthur Rubin and current member (http://www.epinions.com/user-arthur.rubin), and others still active at Epinions, are still trying to improve the so-called "reputation" of the Epinions site. Note, CLs sign a contract with Shopping.com staff - and are employees. The site has been on a definite decline in Internet popularity since September 2006, when rules changes on copied content took effect and the Shopping.com staff began taking a much smaller role in policing the site content - according to their own published site rules. Add to this, the staff also changed the "community" policies in March of 2009 to almost totally eliminate the policing of those rules that was also formerly aided by the membership "block" feature. The popularity of the site is still declining at a steady rate, and an unspecified number of "favored" (click) "hatted" members (members with positions such as "Top Reviewer", Advisor, and CL) rotate there with above average IS (income share) - many making hundreds per month as they work within their circles, and often perfoming their duties in a trollish fashion not unlike Nazi propagandists. I personally have seen "hatted" member checks totaling thousands after only a period of months. The site staff also encourages as many reviews as possible to be written, whether factual or not, and asks they be rated as at least "Somewhat Helpful" which guarantees they will be seen publicly, and that "hatted" members producing them will receive increased income share. Recent changes also mean these "Somewhat Helpful" reviews have placement at the top of topics rankings due only to being "fresh" content, as the better content becomes lost from public view. To help boost site activity numbers in the eyes of their "content partners" the site also runs monthly "contests" to help increase the number of submitted reviews.
All of this doesn't take into fact the continually "broken" inoperative site features such as the search engine catalog, review submission systems, and site email systems - even CL software consoles. The fact The "Epinions" staff is trying to eliminate the "community" as it exists is another point, and they continue working in this direction. Epinions was also due to be included within the Shopping.com site since 2008 - after they used Epinions site information to create duplicate accounts at Shopping.com without asking Epinions members permission. This change-over attempt was abandoned in 2011. It had been intended to shut down the Epinions site along with the "sister" site Pricetool.com. Pricetool was deativated, but has been recently been re-activated to supposedly improve bot searches used by Google - just an attempt at short term increases to Epinions site traffic. You should be able to make up your own mind as to how shady this is - without trying to influence others by hiding the facts.
"Since then, the site's reputation for quality content has been praised multiple times. Epinions was compared favorably with Consumer Reports by a New England newspaper publishing group in 2007.
The site was also recognized in 2007 by the "Internet for Beginners" writer for About.com as one of the web's 10 most valuable web sites. Calling the site "wonderful", "Internet for Beginners" Editor Paul Gil wrote, "This is a truly valuable resource for the smart consumer." . The praise was echoed by a CBS television affiliate in California that named Epinions its "Site of the Day""