Sunday, March 04, 2012

Outbrain, I give you zero stars

Earlier this week, my mom wrote me an email with the subject "Starstruck," asking where the star ratings at the bottom of my columns went. Indeed, they were missing.  Sometimes, they'd do that, then come back in a few hours.

Turns out, the company that provided the ratings widget (Outbrain) just decided that they weren't going to support it anymore, so all the star ratings that ever got posted to this site over the past few years just got deleted at the beginning of the month. I'm annoyed.

 I sent their customer support an email with the subject "My ratings are gone, along with my fondness for your company," (snap!), but I can't imagine that's going to do any good.

Anyway, I may look around for another easy way to drop some feedback on the columns here without having to write an entire comment with actual words in it. In the meantime, my buddy Chunks (a.k.a. Jered Four-Star) is going to have to find someone else whose averages he can bring down.

Update: Blogger offers a ratings widget now, which might explain why Outbrain stopped making theirs.  In any event, I've added Blogger's ratings widget to the site now, so Chunks, four-star me to your heart's content!

Addition to the update:  Also, I need to get a life.


  1. But, but -- no! I liked my position as No. 1 five-star giver -- first one after midnight. There are darn few things in this world that deserve 5 stars and your column is one of them, so tell these goofballs to reinstate the system. I mean, really.
    Fan in Germantown, MD

  2. Well, that was quick. I'm used to having people take my complaints seriously, but five seconds is a record. Hope it works. Thanks.
    Germantown, MD fan

  3. Well then, I guess I'll just have to make up my own star system. *****

    Fan in Chadds Ford, PA

  4. Thanks for sharing your feedback.

    The rating system was initially designed to help direct readers to discover new content by encouraging other readers to rate that piece of content.

    However, over time, we made advancements with our content recommendations system. It turned out to be far more effective at determining the most interesting content for readers and helped to drive increased reader engagement compared with the rating system.

    As we are all about helping readers discover and engage with the most interesting content, we are moving to use the new system.

    If you decide to keep using our recommendations widget, it will still remain the same - you will just see the star ratings disappear.

    Thanks again for supporting Outbrain and our rating system in the past.

  5. This is crap! I used the Outbrain star rating feature for YEARS on my cartoon blog, and now all that feedback (which was hard to come by in the first place) is gone.