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It's been something that many of us have seen coming for a long time, but social comparison/product review site Ciao has announced that they will stop paying writers for their reviews and rates. The future of the site always seemed bleak since the announcement of sister site Dooyoo announcing that they will cease to pay for reviews in 2015. Yesterday I wrote my 300th and final review for ciao.co.uk. It is an end of the era indeed, but I will never forget the friends and memories that I have made on ciao.co.uk.
Ciao has been on the internet since the dawn of the millennium and is home to millions of product reviews. It is also available in a variety of languages. Ciao is not dead, but it is dying. We are still welcome to write and read reviews, but they will no longer be compensated for them. At least not through Ciao. I know that many people will stop using the site because of the lack of payment, but for many budding writers that have used it as a source of extra income for years, it will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Which is why I felt compelled to write this small tribute to a site I've been following and been a big part of for many years. I've been a member of the site since 2010, and in those years I have learned many things on the site and discovered things that I wouldn't have known if it wasn't for Ciao. I had no idea that there would be so many ingredients in a bottle of vinegar and how big the Polly Pocket toys have grown since I was a child.
But more importantly, I learned how to write for an audience. Ciao had very high standards in their reviews. You couldn't just jumble down a bunch of words quickly like you can on other sites. You had to really think about what you had to write. You had to include a lot of information, and then you have to balance the information with personal opinion. A lot of reviews on there tend to be over 500 words.
I noticed that a lot of my product proposals were being rejected. It gave me the impression that Ciao didn't like indie stuff. Now I realise that they simply don't have enough money to cater for the payments anymore. This is a shame. It's been a great website. By writing product reviews over the years, I've earned at least over £300, and whilst that doesn't seem much for a few years work, it's really made a huge impact on my life. It's made me more self aware about products and has also made me more wiser about buying decisions.
I've only got 19p in my Ciao balance. I don't think it will be missed that much. I don't think I will earn £5 by the time the payments have finished. I am however looking forward to the final premium fund bonus to hit my account. It is a sad day for faithful members of Ciao. They may take away the payment, but I don't think they will ever take away the community spirit.
There will always be plenty of money-making opportunities online. As of now, I'm browsing Wowcher and getting back in Starbucks. With payments for Ciao coming to an end, I will be able to have more time to focus on writing articles for Vocal.Media.
I will forever be proud of all of the reviews I've written for the site. Especially for the review of the game Pokèmon Silver, for which I received my first and only ever diamond from Ciao.