dotTech launches new Rapid Reviews

As I am sure many dotTechies have noticed, I have been writing less and less GOTD/Shareware reviews recently. There are multiple reasons as to why this is happening but by far the biggest reason is lack of time; I am just more busy nowadays than I have been in the past. And now I have to split my time between different sections of dotTech (freebies, freeware reviews, etc.) whereas in the past I would primarily only be doing GOTD/Shareware reviews. At one point I was thinking I will drop GOTD/Shareware reviews altogether, but have come up with an idea that I am sure most people will appreciate: Rapid Reviews.

It takes time to evaluate a software, write the good/bad about it, rate it, provide free alternatives, and give the verdicts but without a doubt the part of GOTD/Shareware reviews that takes the longest is the full review. Depending on the complexity of the program being reviewed, it can take anywhere from one to three hours to write just the full review section (on top of the time it takes to conduct the other activities I just mentioned). This is where Rapid Reviews come in.

Rapid Reviews are reviews on GOTD/Shareware software without the full review section. All software featured in Rapid Reviews are still evaluated fully and graded fairly as they have been in the past; and Rapid Reviews still has the program overview, the good and the bad, ratings, quick verdict, free alternatives, and final verdict. But, Rapid Reviews will no longer have a full review section.

The emergence of Rapid Reviews will help free up time for me and prevent the drop of GOTD/Shareware reviews altogether. Of course, Rapid Reviews are a new thing and they will be carefully monitored to see what dotTechies think about the idea: Do dotTechies like Rapid Reviews, hate them, would like to see something improved, etc. Hopefully, Rapid Reviews will be successfully merged into dotTech’s growing portfolio of techie goodness and help grow this site as opposed to hurt it.

Please provide any thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below. Your feedback will make dotTech better!

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  • Random Thoughts

    # 11 Rob Cr may be on to something

  • Rich

    I have never been able to understand how you could afford to spend so much time reviewing each individual offering.

    Just the time required to type it all up seems staggering.

    Over time I have come to move quickly to “the answer please”.  I have more confidence in your reviews than I would have in my own, and I think that you should absolutely streamline the amount of labor you put into each review.

    We all know that you will provide sound and ethical evaluations, regardless of the format – And please know that they are of great benefit.

    Thank you – Profusely!

  • Ash

    As someone mentioned above:
    “most people are interested in quick pros and cons, scorecard, quick verdict, final verdict and most importantly freeware alternatives.”. This helps us evaluate before downloading.

  • That sounds like a great idea!  But, your first sentence:

    As I am sure many dotTechies have noticed, I have been writing less and less GOTD/Shareware reviews recently.

    Should have been:

    As I am sure many dotTechies have noticed, I have been writing fewer and fewer GOTD/Shareware reviews recently.

    Sorry, I had to to that :D

  • Hi Ashraf-
    I have come to count on your full reviews but I guess until someone puts 28 hours in a day ‘Rapid Reviews’ will be great. You give so much already and have helped so many of your ‘dotTechie’ followers I am amazed you still have a life outside of this website (you do, don’t you?).
    There is alot of information and help available other than your reviews, we just need to ask. Your step-by-step instructions are invalueable but your overall opinion is what I look at first and Rapid Review takes care of that.
    Thanks for all the work, time help, etc. You truly are a man for all seasons!

  • Mr.Dave

    So many positive comments on here already.  I like your full reviews a lot, and appreciate the great effort that goes into them.  The Rapid Reviews will still be very valuable.  I see no reason to repeat information that is already on the publisher’s site or in the program’s help file – just point us in the right direction.  I mostly want to know if you think a program is good or bad and why, a general description of its purpose and any special features that make it stand out.
    Many people like the hand-holding of the full reviews, the detailed description of how to use it.  There’s a simple solution…  if someone needs help with a particular aspect of the program, they can post their questions here.  Then the whole DotTech community can chip in and provide help.  It’s something a lot of us enjoy anyway – helping each other.  It would also be valuable for the publishers to see what kinds of questions are asked.  You might want to end each Rapid Review with a statement about posting questions and inviting everyone to help answer (instead of the “I’ll try to help” kind of statement you wrap them up with now).
    Keep up the great work, your site, helpers, and all the people that visit are a great resource!

  • Ted

    Go for it Ashraf – I’m sure most of us are summary-level types anyway; and your thumbs up/down is about as close as I get to be my last word.

  • Sounds good to me :)

  • Ben

    I was very happy to see ALL positive responses so far. Everyone has already said it all… so I will just mention that I’m glad you found a clever way to reduce your work load; so dotTech will still be fun for you in spite of all the hard work you put in to it. Thank you.

  • Rebecca

    I think it is an excellent idea considering the amount of time needed for you to write your full reviews.

  • jumbi

    great idea and ine I had thought also for you. Time is limited and we are humans :-)

  • Maurizio

    Thank you so much for the time you invest to share your knowlegde with the community, we really appreciate it and I am sure your idea of rapid reviews will work as well!

  • NiteOwl

    Ashraf, I can only echo all of the other statements above.  Your time and opinions are greatly valued by all of us.  Sounds like you’ve got a winning idea here!

  • Shueygal

    Works for me.  Go Ashraf……
    Thanks for the time you give to us.

  • Jyo

    Kudos for this great idea. Personally, most times I don’t even read word for word every GAOTD software reviews you write, except for a few ones that really catch my interest. As I’ve voted in a previous current poll of yours, I am more interested in your tips and tricks + freebies section. However, you are right in not completely eliminating GAOTD reviews, because dotTech just wouldn’t be dotTech without them. As always, your time and energy dedicated to this site is greatly appreciated.

  • shyam

    yea i like this idea ashraf.. but one thing that might be better (perhaps) is do a full review for software that you think is the best ever or something.. like for example ur first rapid review ~PCHand Media converter.. for that you said the there  was a free alternative that was much better.. so in this case it would not be wise to do  full review as a better alternative is standing. but say you come across DVDflick premium (this doesnt exist but lets just say it cost 29.99 or something, if it did exist)
    then for this you would do a full review because of the wonderful experience people have had with the company.. like what im saying is do full reviews for companies that give a more excellent software ratings (and GAOTD doesnt really give away that many)
    another example would be the clock review (i dont remember but it was yesterday’s GAOTD.. like for that.. a super simple review would be okay..
    but if intel came out with this new security software that was somehow released on GAOTD then you would do the full review for that. because of how intel is such a reputable company, etc.

  • Trev

    Ditto janet #1.
    This is a good move Ashraf.
    I don’t know how you do all that you do.
    I wiil admit that a concern in the back of my mind has been that you might
    burn yourself out and Dottech might collapse :(  [I don’t even like thinking about it].
    Please don’t let that happen for the good of your own health , and my own selfish addiction your web site. :)
    I myself don’t have to read your full reviews just your valued opinion.
    Maybe or maybe not, throw in a full review now & again when something is new & really interesting.
    As janet said, using an app is something we all could/should do ourselves.
    Then again the stuff you have been doing on visualization has been very good- there you go its something new & really interesting.
    I’m a big help, ha :)
    PS- A example of what I like is you give the GOTD app VERSION, which is often not found elsewhere. I find this very handy.

  • steve

    Makes sense to me–go for it!

  • Student26

    Any advice is helpful, and by what you said, it seems that you be able to give more reviews in differing fields. I wait in anticipation.
    BTW there is still enough information to make an informed decision on the GOTD in the quick pros and cons section. Great work as always :)

  • Mike

    Many thanks for thinking of a good alternative.

    I agree with Janet (#1) above fully.  And actually, I long have felt that TOO MUCH space and time has been spent by you, in trying to be ultra-complete.  For example, detailed instructions, including pictures, in how to install software, when it’s fairly obvious (as distinct from when the offer is in a foreign language)–save the time and spend it on opinion-giving.

    A couple of thoughts:
    —  I still would like to see a quick rundown of what a program offers, so that I have a good idea of what it is.  A bullet list is great for this.  This especially is the case if it is unique/uncommon software, or does some unique things.
    —  From a marketing perspective, I do wonder if you want to use the name “Rapid” Reviews–there’s nothing rapid in what you are doing, and I wonder if you want to give that impression, where you are a comprehensive guy.  Keeping with the alliteration theme, how about “Ready Reviews” (just a quick thought)?  Or you could run a column-naming contest here–

  • John

    Your wish is my command.
    As the wistful pup said, “Half a bone is better than no bone.”
    Good luck

  • ebony

    When I first started on with dottech, I looked forward to your FULL evaluation.
    I have reached a point, (with the help of this site) where I look for the pros cons and recommendations to help make a decision re the SW. I especially pay attention to “warnings” of “sneaky” stuff.
    I vote in favor of the RR. :)
    I appreciate the time you give to this site, but I think “The Boss” needs time for “The Boss”

  • Tom

    I think it is a great idea and welcomed.  You have to take care of yourself first and make sure to keep on making a living.  So this would be a good idea to assist everyone and still not take up as much of your time.  It is always great to have your reviews avaiable.

  • foolofgrace

    Like the idea very much.  As long as it’s fully evaluated, just give me the bottom line.  I trust your judgment.  Thanks!

  • RobCr

    Hi Ashraf,
    I agree, you should try to limit the time spent.
    What say, you have a companion web page for those products.
    The main page would have your mini review, and posts from us on –
    – usage of the program
    – feedback on the Pros
    – feedback on the Cons

    The companion page, would consist of Posts about alternative programs.
    There would be a bold link to the companion page, on the main page.

    By removing the discussions for alternatives, the main page will end up being as informative as your previous full reviews. Except in this case it consists of some time from you, and extra info from us.

    Those interested in alternatives (which includes me), can just follow the link.
    PS You don’t have to limit your mini Reviews to GOTD programs.
    There probably will be other programs that catch your eye, that you could ‘mini review’ as well.

  • Bruce Fraser

    Rapid Reviews sound like a much better use of your time. Why? The software being considered is available for free for only 24 hours. After that, who cares?
    It takes 3 hours to write a full review. Let’s say that’s 1/5th of your life while awake. And the next day it’s virtually worthless. (Kind of like the artists who create incredible sand sculptures at the beach or chalk drawings on the sidewalk, but artitsts are a special breed.)
    As for reviews on software which are perennially free — now that’s something else altogether.

  • karen

    Like Janet, I think that it sounds like a great idea.  A review and opinion on whether the software is worthwhile is much more important to me than a step by step overview of every feature or instructions on how to use the software.  I can figure that part out myself.

  • PSK

    a good move!
    honestly speaking most people are interested in quick pros and cons, scorecard, quick verdict, final verdict and most importantly freeware alternatives.
    i do think that you should include full reviews now and then for programs which deserve to be mentioned.
    but otherwise, quick reviews is a great idea.
    keep up the good work man.
    and dont drop gotd reviews, its how you get traffic .
    i know because that is how i came across this site.

  • Davee

    Hi Ashraf
    First of all thanks for all your work on GOTD releases to date. Your considered opinion is the one I wait for and I very rarely download a program until I have read your review.
    The main thing, however, is the in-depth explanation of how the programs work – often the programs’ help is difficult to follow (sometimes, and this is by no means a criticism, because the writer does not have English as a first language and sometimes the help section is too technical) whereas your reviews are always easy to understand.
    I do appreciate the amount of time and effort you put into the GOTD releases and accept the fact that you have other things to do (eat, sleep, relax, etc) but I hope that in the future you will find the time to write full reviews again.

  • chinaguy

    I totally agree with your idea Ashraf. Although you know we love your reviews and the full reviews for GOTD software. But you do need to look after yourself and time is precious. I usually do not have time to wade through some of the full reviews anyway.

  • thebluejay

    Something is better than nothing. Your reviews are super and greatly appreciated but obviously time consuming. Rapid Review sounds like a wonderful compromise to me!
    Thanks again so much for all the work you do for us.

  • Sputnik

    I agree with janet’s comment.
    Thank you Ashraf for all your good work.

  • Good move.
    Users need to learn to experiment for themselves and I think enough info will still be had in the Rapid Reviews for me to decide if I want to experiment.

  • Mark

    Rapid review of GOTD offers is welcome, insofar as full review would follow. It will help one decide whether to take up GOTD offer within the 24-hour period

  • janet

    I think it is a great idea! It’s obviously very nice being hand-led through how to use the program, but that is something we all could/should do ourselves…

    I think what most of us really want is 1) your opinion of the program and 2) how it compares to similar programs–especially to ones which dotTechies probably already have since they were GAOTD or dotTech freebies. (And to know the exact version # to see if we already have it.) In many cases, these points can save us unnecessary downloading and testing. I have often passed up even looking at a program on the basis of these poionts.