Ben Gillbanks Launches WPVote

Ben Gillbanks also known as Binarymoon on Twitter has relaunched the domain, WPVote.com. The first thing you’ll notice about the site is the colorful design which is better than the previous one. I especially like the use of red to direct attention to the number of votes each article has received. Registering to the site was easy thanks to a quick registration form in lightbox fashion. In the past, digg like websites that were created to center around WordPress content were either built on Pligg or some other system. WPVote is powered by WordPress, which it should be. Starting in late 2009, Ben has shared each step of the rebuilding process of the site. Part one even includes a screenshot of what the site used to look like.

As a registered user, you have limited access to the back-end of the website. Users have the ability to access the tools menu in case they want to install Google Gears. The dashboard shows activity all across the site, including the most recent comments. I have not been keeping tabs on Ben’s posts but I’m intrigued on whether he plans on creating an all new back-end specifically centered around what is happening on the front-end.

The submission process is also in lightbox form with text fields to include an article title, article URL, tags, category, and a description of the article with a captcha field at the bottom. After the article is submitted, you’ll either be told the submission was successful or denied. If the article is successful, you’ll have to click the X to remove the box and then nothing happens. I’d like to be redirected to the part of the site that has my submission just so I can confirm its there and possibly edit it if necessary. I ended up refreshing the page and my article submission appeared in the sidebar on the right under Recent Submissions. However, I still think it shouldn’t need the end user to refresh the site to see it. The page refresh can occur at the same time I am redirected to the page where the article is.

The article page itself is nicely laid out. Breadcrumb navigation, great structure, and links to share the content or subscribe to the Comments Feed for that post.

Will It Succeed?:

That’s the question that only time can answer but based on what I’ve seen in the past, the chances are slim. No other digg like site that has been created with a focus around WordPress only content has become successful to the point where it’s the go to place for social interactivity and link sharing. To a large extent, I’d say it will be even harder to take off thanks to the likes of Twitter and retweeting. Would you rather share a link or retweet a cool WordPress story to people on Twitter, or go through the submission form on a site like WPVote where the site has a lesser chance of being noticed? Digg itself is still chugging along but there are a ton of factors that go into why that is. As for WPVote, it will take a considerable amount of mentions from prominent members of the community as well as continued effort on their part to help turn WPVote into a success. I wish Ben the best of luck on the uphill battle.

Personally, I think it would be cool to see the powers that be of WordPress to take something like WPVote and use the system in place of the entire WordPress Planet. Something like WPVote could become the new WordPress Planet where the community plays a larger role in what gets seen and what doesn’t.

9 Comments


  1. Hmm… what about a plugin (similar to Sociable et al) that allows a reader to submit a post directly to wpvote? That might help the site gain some traction…

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  2. Personally I’d like to be able to edit my entry for a few minutes after submission. Accidentally I put an article into the wrong category, and had to ask the site owner to edit it for me.

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  3. @Chip Bennett – Yep. I know Pligg came with a bookmarklet I think but that idea will definitely help WPVote gain traction. In fact, I wonder if Ben can hack the built in PressThis bookmarklet in WordPress to be the WPVote submission tool bookmarklet.

    Also, the plugin would need to show something like a Digg counter within the article that people could click on to vote or submit. A lot of this stuff accounts for the success Digg has had.

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  4. @Oliver Schlöbe

    Good point.

    Overall, making entries re-editable for a short period of time is a quite useful feature. At least for me, – I am way too sloppy and for some reason, I tend to proof-read what I have written myself not until it is finally there, alive and kicking beyong the point of no return… :=)

    @Jeffro,

    Agree on the slim chances for this kind of site. I just can´t see myself using it and that´s a bad start…

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  5. I would probably suggest Bill talk to Webmasterish (Webmasterish.com). He and I put together Blogrity.com with the same idea in mind, except expanded it to be a simple social bookmark site for bloggers. (It is about to go through a revamp as we put the original site together to at least make sure things were working first.) Webmasterish even developed a plugin specifically for the social bookmarking to prevent duplicate entries. Currently working on a module to be able to bring back to the webmasters website to allow people to vote on or even submit.

    I believe WPVote.com is so far a success, statwise. PR 3, Alexa 370K. The stagnant months did not help, but now that it is up and running, I am pretty sure it will improve.

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  6. The process is functional, although I agree that with a successful submission there should be an auto-refresh to show the new article and/or listing showing the article rather than having to close the “lightbox” and refresh.

    I like what I see and believe WPVote will make for a good feed reader subscription.

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  7. Hey Jeffro thanks for the comments and the “encouragement”. To be honest your optimism is a little off-putting – especially since you have said this to me repeatedly since I started building it. I am still trying to work out how you define success though? By your definition it may never be a success but by my own, I think it’s already a winner.

    It’s a success because I have actually managed to build something that worked and didn’t die on the launch day.

    It’s a success because I made a Digg styled site using WordPress.

    It’s a success because I’ve done no promotion (apart from 1 tweet) and have had over 50 people register in the first day.

    Will it have long term success? No idea, but I guess we’ll see :)

    I do have a number of ideas for both promotion and monetisation so hopefully it will do everything I plan for it to do. Thanks also for the constructive part of the review – there are some points there that make total sense and I will be implementing some changes in the coming days (weeks) to address most of the key problems from the review.

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