Simonseeks Blog

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New Community Manager

Hello! I thought it was about time that I introduced myself to you all, my name is Sally Rowland and I am your new Community Manager! I will be helping and guiding the community by creating better avenues for you all to interact. We already have loads of exciting ideas in the thinking pot, which includes.....

• A Q&A section
• Forums
• Guest bloggers
• Competitions

And I will be keeping you up to date with the progress on each. But I also want your feedback on new ideas and anything you think we should be looking at to help you all. As Community Manager I will be your voice so I want to hear from you! If you have any ideas or questions about the community then get in contact with me through:

• Simonseeks - Twitter
• Simonseeks – Facebook
• My personal Twitter account: Sals2
• Or you can leave your questions/ideas in the comments below

Looking forward to speaking with you all!

Community comments (19)

Better communication between Simonseeks and writers is at the top of my list. I have been writing professionally for many years, and response to queries here is dire in my experience.

Example: An offer to write a blog on travel photography (I am a press & travel photographer by profession, and tutor in photography at quite a high level) - not even acknowledged, which is rude and unprofessional.

Example: An observation that, on the `Destinations` page (, the map places Japan and Mongolia in Europe - ignored, still unchanged many months later.

Example: A recent question about why a blog was published when the editor clearly thought it sub-standard ( was met with a petulant accusation about my `bad journalism,` followed by (petulant?) silence. My question still stands, still remains unanswered.

And I, clearly in common with many others, am frustrated about the way in which questions about how the ranking system operates are fobbed off. Yes,yes, obviously some of the determinants need to remain secret to prevent manipulation (although this rather begs the question of why Simonseeks think it's contributors are likely to defraud the system: can we not to be trusted?), but can't we at least know the basics?

Pure coincidence I'm sure, but the day after I enquired about the inclusion of the piece mentioned above, my ranking dropped from 13th to 39th...

Why not just dump the whole ranking system? What point does it serve?

Happy Easter!

Jon Ryan

Thanks for all your comments on this post! Its obvious that a writer's forum is needed, so I've started a new blog post on just that!

If you've got any more ideas about the type of features you'd like to see in the writer's forum then let me know in the new post.

Thanks again, Sally

Welcome Sally!

I agree with Joan - it shouldn't make much difference if a writer is pro or am. There's always the danger if you split up pro and am, readers may only look at the pro stuff, mistakenly thinking they write any better than the rest of us. In a way, we're all pros on here now anyway!

Hi and welcome Sally

Just wanted to say I don't see why professional writers should be separated from us amateurs. We can all learn from each other...and surely the place we are writing about is what really matters. Anyone agree?

Hi Sally,
I have another suggestion to make !
Under the present system, if an author at a later stage updates his/her guide and adds some useful information and deletes some obsolete ones, the guide still remains at the same place and doesnt move to the top on the homepage. In this way an updated guide has little chance of being viewed again as it is buried deep under the tons of freshly added ones!!
I suggest one more Tab "Recently Updated/Edited Guide" can be introduced in the homepage apart from the existing three tabs(Latest, Most Viewed, Top rated). The updated guide will then have a much better chance of being viewed again.


Hi Arif,

I think this is a really good idea. We are currently in the process of re-designing parts of the site so I will add this to our discussion list! Thanks for your suggestion.

Hi Sally and wellcome!
Quess what! I am in a coach in Athens with my laptop trying to write this message to you...the laptop bounces up and down,my hands are trembling and people are watching me, but I will try to send it.
I am also one of those who are looking forward when writers can interact with each other and send private messages. I also believe that what bothers more is not the fact that professionals and amatures are together but it is the Celebrities! Yes, I think they should be put seperately, and I wonder how many of the non celebrities can afford to go to these hotels the celebrities suggest. There is so much unemployment worldwide, and families struggling for a week's holiday. I am sorry to say that they have so much traffic and this is just out of curiosity, but I am not sure of how many they check them again.
I don't want to sound cruel but I think it is the truth.
(I cannot even check what I have written)....cross my fingers that the message reaches you.

Hi Popi,

Thanks for your message. It seems that a number of users would like to see amateurs, professionals and celebrities in separate sections of the site so I will look into this in more detail. I also agree with you that one of the first things we need to bring in is a forum so writers can interact with each other – this is something that I am currently looking at so I will keep you updated on its progress.

Have fun in Athens!

Great idea to have a dedicated Community Manager; the social networking side of things is vital to the publishing industry these days. Good luck with your new role, Sally!

Thanks Jo!

Hello Sally and welcome! I like Arif's idea of an inbox although I would hope that the planned forum will serve just as well. I feel that occasionally the comments at the end of a guide going back and forth between writer/editor/guide reader spoil the look of and detract from the guide itself so another way of corresponding is welcomed. I'm still using and enjoying Simonseeks enormously and am looking forward to all the new features. Suzanne.

Hi Suzanne,

I agree. The comment sections at the end of the guides are great to find out about other people’s views on the particular guide; however they are not suitable for discussing topics at any length. Hopefully the new writer forum will solve these problems and give the community another way to interact. I will keep you updated on the progress!

Welcome Sally !!!
I am following both you and 'Simonseeks' on Twitter to get the latest updates. I simply love the site, getting to read so many quality guides and getting a chance to contribute myself. Can we have an "Inbox" type facility under "My Simonseeks" where writers can interact with each other by virtue of private messages.


Hi Arif,

Thanks for the follows on Twitter – I hope you like our travel tweets! With regards to developing an ‘inbox’ we are looking at setting up a forum for the writers which will give you a chance to interact with other members and possibly send private messages.

Welcome Sally! It's always good to meet new faces and see new developments on the website.

There seems to be an increasing number of 'professionals' adding to the postings of we 'amateurs'. I think there's a place for both BUT I believe there should be a separation between the two so everyone knows from the start where each 'guide' is coming from. We can all read the opinions of the professionals in guide-books and magazines, but the amateur opinions on Simon Seeks are something special. Professionals often have a team behind them, have their expenses paid, and have time to experience far more than the amateur tourist - fine, good reading, but not necessarily in the same world as we tourists. What makes Simon Seeks special is that amateur travellers can advise each other and talk about experiences seen through the eyes of other amateur travellers. So separate the TWO into PROF and AM sections. It's not fair that amateurs' earnings are in competition against the paid professionals who do it for a living! I can find profs everywhere but I come to Simon Seeks for the opinions of the ams.

Thanks for your attention. Mike

Sorry, Mike, just had to reply to this. 'Professionals often have a team behind them, have their expenses paid, and have time to experience far more than the amateur tourist' - I wish! Wrong on all counts, I'm afraid.

I do agree that it should be possible to search on the two seperately, though, and I think Arif and Suzanne's comments are spot on too. And last, but not least, welcome Sally!

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comments. Maybe we could look at separating certain sections of the site? For example when we introduce the forum we could possibly look at having separate groups, one for the professionals and one for the enthusiasts. It’s definitely something to look at in more detail. Thanks again for your comments.

Hi Sally,

Just a brief message to welcome you.

Cheers Tim

Thanks Tim. I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback on new ideas soon!