the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Sam & Dean in Impala)
I'm sure most of you have heard about Hey! Nielsen by now. According to its own site, Hey! Nielsen is "the place to make a name for yourself while trading opinions on TV, movies, music, personalities, web sites and more." Not the clearest mission statement ever. Supposedly, the Nielsen ratings people were looking for a way to measure "buzz" about a show to supplement their ratings data. In reality, the Supernatural fans found it first and left a lot of positive feedback about the show, fans of other shows considered it "spamming" and started leaving negative feedback about Supernatural out of spite, and the Hey! Nielsen site rapidly degenerated into a kindergarten recess hair-pulling free-for-all.

In my opinion, what happened on Hey! Nielsen followed the pattern of every Internet poll I've ever seen, which usually goes something like this:

1. Entertainment site puts up poll asking visitors to choose their favorite show or actor

2. Regular visitors to the site vote

3. Fan visits site and sees her favorite isn't in first place

4. Fan spreads URL all over her fandom to drum up votes

5. Fans of that favorite go to site and vote, causing huge surge in votes in short span of time

6. Fan from another fandom sees surge in votes and spreads URL of poll all over her fandom to drum up votes for her favorite, causing huge surge in votes in short span of time

7. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. At some point, someone will set up an automatic voting bot and the poll will lose all meaning

So, yeah, that's what happened at Hey! Nielsen, except the forums gave fans an opportunity to make the battle more personal.

Anyway, Myles McNutt over at Cultural Learnings decided to write a series of articles analyzing Hey! Nielsen, which is still in the beta phase. He analyzed the site itself, as well as posting a questionnaire at various social networking sites to collect input from fans. The articles will be posted over the course of the next week and indexed on this page.

Even if you don't care about Supernatural, please stop by Cultural Learnings and leave feedback in the comments. Hey! Nielsen could be a place to make our opinions count even though we aren't ratings households, but only if the site has a format that works. The beta phase isn't over yet, so there's still time to make the Hey! Nielsen site into something useful.

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