Archive

7 Essential Resources & Tips to Get Started with Growth Hacking (The future of marketing)

Hey I´m Chris Out, the curator of the ZEEF Growth Hacking page and partner of Rockboost, the Dutch Growth Hacking Agency.

chris out 2

In this blog post I’ve compiled a collection of 7 essential resources & tips (taken from my ZEEF page) to get you started with Growth Hacking. Growth Hacking is becoming coined as the future of marketing as the experimental approach throws away the old marketing textbook ethos and instead focuses on testing everything, basing decisions on data and growing exponentially.

Whether you work for a startup, have your own fashion blog or looking for inspiration, take your time to look through my essential hand-picked resources and tips to make a difference to your future growth strategies.

Resource 1 — What is Growth Hacking?

With all the buzz about growth hacking it is easy to assume it’s a fad, but it is key to the future of marketing. Marketing has been too focused on push means and assumptions, rather than on developing a product customers love and testing what works and doesn’t. As a growth hacker, I base decisions on what the data shows that works and test everything. However, you cannot randomly start testing and measuring a bunch of things; measuring should be done in a structural and focused manner. This is where the so-called ‘One Metric that Matters’ (OMTM) comes in.

Resource 2 — One Metric that Matters

What drives your business? What is key to your business’ growth? This should be your (OMTM): the one specific metric you use to focus the growth of your company. Most companies focus on many, many key performance indicators at the same time. You just need one: OMTM, and all the other KPIs you measure must align with it. This helps you to measure and focus on what you growth needs. In the end it will feel like a blessing: everything you do is focused on what you want to achieve. Your employees should constantly challenge each other as to whether what they are doing will bring them closer to this key goal. This will help you realize how much of what you momentarily do does not contribute to your growth, and thus, is a waste of your time. No idea what your OMTM is or should be? Check out these examples and this explanation of how to define it.

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Resource 3 — Product/Market Fit

Once you know your OMTM, you can focus on another key aspect of growth hacking: Product/Market Fit (PMF). PMF is if 40% of your customers would be very disappointed if they could no longer use your product. To achieve this, you need to constantly improve your product based on your clients’ needs. Your job is not to push a mediocre product with 100% of its features (based on assumptions), but to develop features based on your customers’ feedback and interests. Do this, and you will build a product people want, rather than trying to make people want your product.

(I´ve added a nice gift for you at the bottom on behalf of Rockboost, keep on reading!)

 

Resource 4 — What is all this traction about?

For traction (evidence of market demand) to happen , you need to interact with your customer. You communicate with your customers through your traction channels. The Traction book highlights 19 traction channels. The idea is that you focus on the 3 most important channels for your business based on what works for you, and on the stage your business is in. This should be related to your OMTM: will these channels help you achieve your overarching goal?

Resource 5 — AARRR Metrics

In order to achieve your goal, you need to measure all parts of the funnel. Traditional marketing tends to focus too much on the top of the funnel. In Pirate Metrics (AARRR, get it?) there are five steps that are all key to success: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. Activation and Retention are the result of PMF, whilst Acquisition and Referral are part of your traction channels. Finally, Revenue is most likely to relate to your OMTM, but its end result is fueled by your performance in the 4 previous metrics. So now you know how it all fits together, now it is time to improve it.

Resource 6 — Optimization

Key to growth hacking is continuous improvement. The only way to do this is through testing: seeing what works and what does not. Through A/B Tests you can see how a small change can make a significant improvement. For example, what happens if you send a newsletter in the morning compared to the afternoon? If there is data that can back this hypothesis that morning newsletters perform better, it would be foolish not to test this. If you do not measure and test, you might as well be throwing away your money, because you will have no idea as to where your money is going to.

optimization

Resource 7 — Quick wins

Now the scariest part of course is starting, but it does not have to be. That is why we have included 29 growth hack quick wins as one of our key articles to read. These are easy growth hacks you can start using today to grow your firm and achieve your OMTM.

Conclusion

Don’t make the mistake of not taking the time to learn about growth hacking before your competitors do. These seven resources show you what growth hacking is and how to focus through OMTM. Through applying PMF you can learn who your target market is and how to make a product they love. This beloved product can be communicated to prospects through your traction channels. Look at the AARRR metrics and take time to see how you can optimize your testing. Finally, take a look at some key growth hacks you can easily start implementing today.

Hungry for more? Explore our ZEEF page (and others on the site), because there are still tonnes of growth hacking information to uncover. For readers of our guest ZEEF post, we are giving away our online growth hacking e-course for free, that will explain how you can use these steps for your company growth in more depth.

Unlock your free e-course here!

 

 

growth hacking up

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Unity and Simplicity

Today we released the latest version of ZEEF. The profile and dashboard are unified and simplified. We also made a major step toward merging our company website and blog with ZEEF itself, removing some confusion. Read on to learn more.

Profile

2015.6-profileAs you hopefully noticed before, in the previous version we introduced our new profile to show off your performance on ZEEF. This version we moved the remaining dashboard to your profile and gave you some extra options while we’re at it. The new profile will be the starting point for your maintenance from now on, a place where you can see your statistics, check out your followers and see everybody’s activity on your timeline. Be sure to check it out!

Chrome Extension

Chrome ExtensionWe gave our Chrome Extension an update adding the possibility to directly move links to your page. Use the extension to easily add links to your ScratchPad and pages.

Other changes

  • Creating a page is even easier
  • Comment on a page via Disqus
  • Settings of a page are simplified
  • New TLDs are now supported, like .tech and .chat
  • Klout score of curators is shown
  • Several additions to the API
  • Lots of bug fixes and small improvements
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3 simple ways to make your page even more beautiful

ZEEF is a platform where you collect, rank and categorize your links, and we work hard to make it nice and simple. However, it is you who make the final visual layout and the design of your page. In this post we would like to show you some simple solutions of how to improve the design of your page and make it even more beautiful.

  1. Shorten the names

First of all, try to put as short names of the links and of the blocks as possible. Leave maximum three words describing the main content of the link. If you see that the names of several links are very similar – use the name of the website instead.

Hint: DO NOT repeat the name of the page in the names of the links.

Look at the example below (don’t focus on content, the main thing here is the difference in visual presentation): we only removed “Dominican Republic” from the names of the links, and it became so much cleaner!

ZEEF page before          ZEEF page after

  1. Think of the structure of the page

When people see the ZEEF page for the first time, first of all they read the title of it, and then – the names of the blocks. The description of the page is needed, however it is not always visible. Therefore, the best way to show what type of content your page has is to create proper blocks. For example, on the JavaScript page there is a clear structure: from the general information and the basics of JavaScript, to advanced libraries and additional information. Thus, try to put the most general and important blocks on top of the page, so the visitors have a clear idea about the topic of your page and its content.

JavaScript

  1. Use non-distracting headers

Flat design is valued for its minimalism, that is why it is especially useful in ZEEF pages. Use monotonous and simple headers for your blocks and avoid too detailed pictures which may outshine the links. If you cannot find such pictures – better leave your blocks without headers at all.

ZEEF page with flat pictures

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zeef research

Top 14 tips for creating best curated page

We succeeded to find the main factors which make people continue using curated content in the future as a result of research project we have recently started.

These factors are:

  1. Agreement with the ranking of the links in the page.
  2. High level of trust in the curator of the page.

We have also developed Guidelines with 14 tips for creating high-quality pages appreciated by people, thus increasing content quality on ZEEF pages, user recognition and traffic.

We thank everyone who participated in the research and took our survey – you helped us a lot, and we’ve got very inspiring results to share with you.

Agreement with the ranking

The criteria taken into account for establishing the ranking are critical. If two persons base their rankings on different criteria (e.g. price of products in the shop and distance of the shop from the customer), they will receive two completely different lists. Therefore, in order to make two parties agree with each other, it is important to use the same ranking criteria. However, the results of our research showed that ranking criteria do not influence the level of agreement of ZEEF visitors, because the visitors come to ZEEF to find the information. Thus, they do not have enough knowledge to judge which link is the best. But this is not a reason to relax! The visitors have their expectations about ranking criteria, and the curator should always take them into account.

Trust in ZEEF

Because ZEEF is a curated platform, the level of trust in ZEEF mainly depends on the level of trust in a curator of a particular page. Interesting that such aspects as how and why a curator makes up the lists do not influence the perception of the quality by the visitors. In any case, majority of them tend to see what they want to see: a high-quality, recently updated page with ranked lists of links which is made by a professional for the sake of helping people to find the best and most relevant sources of information. This can be explained by trustful and high quality design of the pages created in ZEEF. However, personal information about the curator, profile picture, structure of the page and quality of the content in general are very important for establishing trust level of the visitors.

Guidelines

In total, there were no problems with the visitors’ perception of ZEEF pages, but we would like to show our curators what their expectations are, and how they think ZEEF pages are created. In a new Guidelines page you will see 14 tips on where to find the links, how to maintain the page after it is published, what information to include about yourself, how to rank the links, etc. We recommend to read these guidelines to all our old and new curators, regardless how many pages you have already published.

Read top 14 tips for createng best page

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Golden ZEEF Award

Golden ZEEF Award 2015

We believe we can advance where algorithmic search seems to have reached its limits by using human knowledge to sift through the overload of information. Participate in the Golden ZEEF Award contest to help us create a human page quality score and get rewarded for your help and knowledge!

Why

Through means of this contest we want to pilot our quality score model based on human interaction. After transparently testing and improving the page quality model during the contest, our goal is to accurately define the quality of all ZEEF pages in the future. This way you’ll be able to find best information on the web in a heartbeat. As such, we would like to ask for your help by participating in the Golden ZEEF Award of 2015!

Quality Score

With your input, we would like to create a “human page quality score” based on engagement indicators, but most importantly, humans. With your input and during a fun, interactive contest, we want to determine the best page quality indicators and see if we’re on the right track.

We’re currently looking into the following mix of human engagement indicators for our human page quality score (we’re of course open for other suggestions!). An overview of the metrics we believe define a quality page can be found on our dedicated Page Quality Score page.

screenshot-golden-zeef-award.zeef.com 2015-03-09 10-46-45

Contest

Throughout the contest we’ll be testing our “human page quality score” against an actual human ranking of pages. This way we validate if we’re on the right track so you will always find the best information. At the end of the contest there will be two winners:

  1. Human choice: hand-picked by participating curators
  2. Human page quality score: picked by our new page quality score model

We’ll also give you a sneak preview of our new badges feature by allowing contest participants to collect some of the first exclusive ZEEF page badges! Everybody is allowed to participate and has an equal chance of winning the following rewards:

  1. The exclusive Golden ZEEF Award badge on your winning page!
  2. € 300,- cash, an iPad or a Chromebook
  3. € 500,- worth of SEO consultancy and ZEEF page promotion

There will of course also be rewards for the runner ups!

Participate!

  1. Create a new subject page. Participate with a new subject page or a page you haven’t published yet. This way everyone has an equal chance to win!
  2. Confirm your participation. Submit the link to your unpublished page to the participants block on the dedicated Golden ZEEF Award 2015 page or reach out to me personally.
  3. Promote your page. On March 31st at 11:59pm GMT we will publish all participating pages at the same time. You’ll have the entire month of April to promote your page and win!

Check out Golden-ZEEF-Award.ZEEF.com for more information about the contest and the other great prizes you can win. All participants will be rewarded with a Golden ZEEF 2015 participant badge on their page!

The team at ZEEF is looking forward to receiving your applications! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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Link Directory: the history and future

Link Directory: The History and Future

“Quality information can be found through people, not machines.”

The link directory was the forerunner of search. But yesterday’s announcement about the shutdown of the Yahoo! Directory marks the end of an era. Why did the link directory become so popular in the first place? How did it evolve? And is there any future for a new link directory?

When the Internet was young, and there were fewer websites, it was easy for people to keep track of information. As a hobby project, Jerry Yang and David Filo started categorizing websites. They called it ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’. In 1994, they officially launched Yahoo! (‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle’). This might feel out-dated, but back then, this personally curated approach was very important. It stood out among the inferior search engines of the time. Due to the success of Yahoo!, other directories soon followed, such as DMOZ.org.

In 1999, Yahoo! reached its peak, becoming the number one destination to start searching for information. But as the number of websites grew, it became impossible for Yahoo! to keep the directory up to date. And site owners would get frustrated that submissions sometimes seemed to go into a black hole, never to appear. Or, if they were listed, a Yahoo! editor might alter their carefully worded description — which caused them not to show up at all in response to some keyword searches. There were a number of other complications with the ‘old’ link directory systems:

  • Spam
    • Link directories were spammed because back linking resulted in higher search engine rankings.
  • Speed of search
    • Finding a website on a directory took many clicks, in comparison with search engines.
  • Paid listing
    • The link directory required you to pay in order to be listed. That made it impossible to provide a complete (and fair) overview of quality websites about a certain topic.
  • Ranking
    • The listings were unranked. The first website in the link directory listing was not necessarily the best, most viewed etc.
  • One editor per topic
    • Most directories only had a single curator who was responsible for listing all the websites, which made it a daunting task to keep the listing up to date. Additionally, the identity of the curator was not displayed, making it hard to verify his credibility.
  • Broken links / Outdated
    • Single curators, now overwhelmed by the task at hand, caused the listings to become outdated and the links to become broken.

As a result, the people-curated link directory was replaced by an algorithm. It became the fastest way to search for an overview of sites on a specific subject. It became the age of search engines.

The Present of the Link Directory

But everyone knows the limits of algorithms. Smart SEO specialists can bring a site to the top of a search engine result in no time. And that doesn’t say anything about the quality of the information that you’ll find on the sites. Today, there’s no way to tell the quality difference between the #1 search result, and the #3. Or the #20. Even Google admits that search is far from solved:

“You often hear people talk about search as a solved problem. But we are nowhere near close.”

Eric Schmidt, Google

And, despite the advent of the algorithm-based search engine, the act of categorizing and ranking websites (content curation) still remains popular. People like lists of links. In fact, 30% of all blog posts are ‘Top 10 lists’. So it is no surprise that the link directory as an information source is still operational.

The modern day link directory still faces the same challenges challenges that Yahoo! did: objectivity of listings, paying for ranking, spam and broken links. A problem that the modern day link directory can’t seem to solve.. Only multiple curators can reduce complications, and help avoid manipulation, monopolies, and missed opportunities.

Multi human curation is needed if you look at the three major problems on the Internet today:

  • Information overload and the search for quality information
  • Trustworthiness of online information
  • Inability to qualitatively rank search engine results

As often is the case, content curation finds strength in numbers. Multiple curators share responsibility for finding the latest, best and most reliable information available online. And if one curator fails, another curator can pick up the slack.

And  The Future of the Link Directory

Does the link directory have any future? Yes… if they learn from the past. The basic idea of finding information through people instead of machines is still important. It’s human nature to categorize and rank information. And, when it comes to topics they know little or nothing about, people still refer to the expertise of those in their network who know more. The guys at Facebook are well aware of this.

So, how do we provide a platform for the next (r)evolution in search? Is it possible to restore the former glory of the link directory? Is there a future beyond the search engine? Of course there is. And it’s a future that combines the power of the algorithm with the necessary human touch.

Of course, the search still begins with search engines. But then, with human curation, an actual person sifts through those search results, filters out the best content, and ranks it according to quality. To be successful, a future link directory should be:

  • Maintained by active human editors with verifiable credentials – manipulation and fraud may still occur, but everyone will know who the ‘bad guys’ are
  • Categorized and ranked by knowledgeable people (curator and crowd)
  • Searchable and easy to use
  • Equipped with a social review ranking system
  • Open (to suggestions) and freely accessible to edits and suggestions of links
  • Extensive and broad-scope to provide complete information
  • Localized for relevance to specific communities
  • Listings can be distributed via widgets on other websites

Building this kind of a link directory takes time. But by learning from the past, we will be able to build a next generation of directories that will help us navigate through the world wide web. And by working together, we can achieve maximum results from combining algorithm speed with human sensibility.

We are ready to take on this challenge!

Frido

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Lilach Bullock - Social Media Influencer

Interview with Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers. On the ZEEF platform she created her own company page and I have decided to interview asking about her user experience and opinion about ZEEF.

What was your initial reaction to ZEEF?

I like ZEEF as a content curation tool because it is very easy to use. I like the way I can add the links to my own page. When creating my company profile, I liked a possibility to search for the websites directly by simply typing the keywords into the search box provided in the platform. It is a very cool little feature. I think ZEEF is more than a content curation tool. I like that it offered so many other things to do as well. For example, you can add widgets to your site. Personally I am a huge fan of lists. When I write blogposts about lists and provide recommendations which tools to use, these writings are the most successful ones. So I can see why ZEEF is doing the lists. There are lots of different content curation tools out there but ZEEF is very intuitive and different because of the way it is presented and how easy it was to set up my own page.

Why do you think ZEEF is gaining popularity?

There are few reasons. First of all, content curation is becoming more and more popular. There’s so much information available online and it is time consuming to find it. Not everyone has the time to research and build fresh content lists. There is so much noise online and content curation does simplify the process, filters the data. It does offer a lot of value to the people. By the way, affiliate programme is one of additional values of ZEEF as well. That is something that obviously other content curation tools do not have.

How often do you use ZEEF and why?

In various occasions. At the moment I have only one page but whenever I get notifications, I come over and look for the updates. So I could say that I am using ZEEF platform on a weekly basis.

What improvements would you like to see on ZEEF?

More education for the people who are not familiar with the content curation. Just to open it up. Content curation is getting very popular and the users are the ones that see the value in it. Although it is new and not everyone understands it. I think education is very important so the new users could also find and use the platform.

Do you understand what ZEEF is aiming to achieve?

I like it. It is different. I find it very easy to use. I love lists. I dont think people realize the power of lists. They’re very useful. People compare and want to know what is the best information to use so this is why I think ZEEF has a lot of potential. People like choices and guidance, for instance, which content curation or which twitter tools to use. ZEEF provides answers in one place. Other people have already done the hard work of selecting the data and listed it for you so you can just bookmark the page, click on all the links and choose which Twitter tools to use. I love it. Also the people behind the brand.

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Olivier iTW

Interview with top curator Olivier Ozinga

Olivier Ozinga is a 18 year old entrepreneur whose company (ORO Projects) aims to help develop websites from any market. Olivier is also one of our top curators who has curated content for over 20 ZEEF pages including Google, Olympic Games and Volvo Ocean Race. Maud Sztern recently contacted Olivier to ask him few questions about his experience with ZEEF.

How did you find out about ZEEF.com?

I am friends with one of the founders who told me about ZEEF. I was curious to see what it was all about and now I use it very often to share my personal passions and knowledge.

What was your initial reaction to ZEEF?

I was a bit skeptical at first. Then I learned how the platform worked and I really liked it. However I still believe there are not enough pages on ZEEF, that is why I have asked all my friends to create their own ZEEF pages. The more pages there are, the more people will use ZEEF as a beneficial link directory. More exposure to the site may make them willing to create pages about their passion too. It’s a virtuous circle.

What are the benefits of using ZEEF.com for you?

Using ZEEF has a lot of benefits. The coolest part for me is that you can share your knowledge. Everybody loves talking about something they are really knowledgeable on and a platform like ZEEF is the ideal way to express this online. The second thing is that you have access to the knowledge of other people.This allows me to discover valuable information about topics I’m not an expert in. It is a sharing community, a win-win situation where everybody has something to give and to receive.

How was the process of creating a ZEEF page?

Creating a ZEEF page is easy and fun and the steps to follow are clear. Also with the suggested links option and the curate tool you might even learn something new about a subject you are passionate about.

What improvements would you like to see?

It would be interesting to have the possibility to set ZEEF as default search engine in your browser. It will give you the possibility to use ZEEF for some of your researches instead of Google.

Was it clear what all the products of ZEEF were?

I have to admit that I only focus on one of your products. I haven’t explored all you have to offer yet.

Is it clear that you are rewarded for your curation efforts?

It is crystal clear that people get rewarded by affiliate links. But beside that, the enthusiastic response of the ZEEF team is one of the biggest rewards a curator can get (For example, all the pages you create are shared on their social media and they even invite people to their office for a chat and a coffee which is great). I’m glad to see that the company keeps on growing

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portrait_isabelle

Interview with the curator Isabelle Dremeau

Isabelle Dremeau is an independent consultant-tutor in e-learning, monitoring and digital culture domains. Her current mission concerns the editorial animation of the Portal SKODEN of the Regional Council of Brittany. It is a website about the using of digital technology in training and this is why she created a subject page about French Web Tools. Maud Sztern contacted Isabelle and asked her to share her experience about ZEEF.

How did you find out about ZEEF.com?

Simply by surfing the web looking for a bookmarking tool which was not like the others!!!

What was your initial reaction to ZEEF?

I was positively surprised ! I immediately felt connected with the ZEEF tool. I put it aside to test it and I came back to it very quickly : it was the perfect tool for what I wanted to offer for the SKODEN website.

What are the benefits of using ZEEF.com for you?

They are a lot more benefits than I expected ! I can easily order and find relevant information thanks to the block ordering. Also, I can use each block as a widget and place it on different websites. Everyday I receive suggested links about e-learning tools. This is the proof that people are really interested in recommending links etc. (which is ZEEF’s main service!).

ZEEF manages to create a dynamic of sharing too. The diffusion to social medias also helps a lot for creating a links visibility. And, last but not least, I can work on my page and keep it updated really easily and quickly, thanks to the fluidity of the interface.

How was the process of creating a ZEEF page?

It fits with what we expect from the new web tools : it’s easy to sign-in, the using is intuitive and results are immediately visible. What I especially like on ZEEF is all the small but necessary practical details : automatic propositions of titles, research of associate links, direct curation. And I also like the uncluttered style of the website!

What improvements would you like to see?

Maybe offer templates of page layouts and the possibility to put a link on a picture.

Was it clear what all the products of ZEEF were?

I have to admit that I only focus on one of your products. I haven’t explored all you have to offer yet.

Is it clear that you are rewarded for your curation efforts?

Yes, but for us it is not the priority.

Do you have any questions?

Only one : when will you release a French version …?

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interview Philip Sonneveldt

Interview With ¨Men´s clothing¨ Curator : Phillip Sonneveldt

Philip Sonneveldt is a SEA/SEM Consultant at Traffic Builders B.V. – one of the Dutch leading online marketing agencies. He created on ZEEF a page about ‘Men’s Clothing‘. Maud Sztern contacted Philip and asked him to share his experience about ZEEF.

How did you find out about ZEEF.com?

One of my best friends is a close friend to Frido van Driem and told me about ZEEF. I was interested to get to know the platform and thought it would be nice to create my own page.

What was your initial reaction to ZEEF?

I immediately thought about Startpagina.nl. Which was very popular in the Netherlands in the early days of the internet. I quickly learned that ZEEF is very different.

What are the benefits of using ZEEF.com for you?

Well it’s a combination between my own bookmark-page and the fun to share it with others. A lot of friends always said that I should start my own blog about wearable men’s fashion and I thought ZEEF was the perfect platform to start with. Oh, and soon I’m launching a new ZEEF page about Search Engine Advertising.

How was the process of creating a ZEEF page?

I thought It was very easy to start. I immediately thought about the blocks I wanted to create. Next minute I was starting to fill the blocks with content I liked. Although, sometimes I struggle in which block certain content suits more. I mean, a sneaker webshop also fits the blocks webshops and sneakers.

What improvements would you like to see?

Sometimes you feel the platform is fairly new. For example: I get the same e-mail every week that tells me that some links are broken. I always check, but they just work correctly. Although I don’t mind, maybe some people will. And last week I was checking my overall statistics and the website was loading for quite some while and eventually crashed. I tried it several times, but I didn’t got it working. Once again: I don’t mind but those are little improvements that could satisfy users even more. Overall I think the UI is quite okay.

Was it clear what all the products of ZEEF were?

Yes, very!

Is it clear that you are rewarded for your curation efforts?

Yes, but I find that a bit contradictory. I mean ZEEF is, well… a little bit (or the alternative) against overpowered ads/serp’s that you see on Google/Bing now-a-days (guilty, I’m sorry). And with this basic affiliate/commission structure, curators will place links where they are getting paid for maybe higher in blocks then they would without. This is in fact also the basic with SEO now-a-days: the more you pay an agency, the faster (or more likely) you will rank. Once again: I don’t mind, but maybe links with the highest commissions are getting placed higher in blocks then people would without this payment-system. And I thought ZEEF was about relevance without interfering with commercial purposes!

Do you have any questions?

Not for now, keep up the good work guys (and girls)!

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