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11/12/2017

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Points and ranking - raising your profile
 

Way back in 2001 the idea of a database for trainers was considered and a variety of similar 'lists' and 'directories' were reviewed. Few existed, most of these required registration to view and most listed users by name (alphabetically) or by date of registration. The question then was; how will the TrainerBase display (in Search results) its registered users/members in a more equitable manner? The answer was by ranking a user's position based on their contribution to the site. This means that in the Find a Trainer search facility; users are positioned on the results based on points and ranking.

Points:

Each registered user on the site has a points score attribute (a field called Score in their record which says how many points they have). Currently a new users starts with 1,000 but as will become evident later, the actual score is not important (so we don't show what your score is).

In order to reduce the advantage of longevity on the site we have implemented a system that subtracts points on a daily basis. So, to maintain and increase your score you need to contribute to the site. This contribution can be via a number of means and include:

  • upload resources
  • refer a friend
  • buy points
  • contribute to the discussion forums
  • mention TrainerBase in other channels
  • contribute material or expertise for use on the site

The first 4 of the above methods of gaining points are automated and are specific to your engagement with the TrainerBase via its sites; when you do this on the site your score is increased by the system. The remaining options are more general and can be part of your engagement with the wider learning and development community.

A number of members of the TrainerBase have gained significant points (and position) by mentioning TrainerBase on other forums. If there is a request for information about resources or finding trainers then these members have said something along the lines "Have you been to www.trainerbase.co.uk " or "Take a look at my profile on TrainerBase". Please do let us at the office have a copy of your contribution as we do not always see what is posted on the Web.

Contributing in other ways to the site could include letting the TrainerBase have some materials for the Useful Stuff section; a book review or perhaps an article on a topic of interest. Other projects that have resulted in users gaining points have been the development of the Standard and participating in conferences and exhibitions.

The points is a form of reward for you putting something into the site. How this input manifests itself is in the positioning and ranking of users in the search listing on the Find a Trainer page.

Rankings

A weakness discovered in the points system was that some users ticked dozens (and dozens) of subjects. This resulted in those users being at the top of many of the search rankings. Interestingly it was purchasers of training that brought this to our attention, commenting that the same people were always listed at the top regardless of the subject being searched for. This got us thinking. Purchasers seem to want to see specialists first; how can we advance people with fewer subjects up the search results? The answer was to add a new field to a user profile: SubjectNumber. The system now knows how many subjects trainers have ticked. A users 'Score' is divided by the 'SubjectNumber' and the result is what is used to position a user in the search results. This is how it works:

  • User Albert has a score of 2,000 and has ticked 50 subjects. This means that his relative score is 40.
  • User Bernice has a score of 1,500 and has ticked 20 subjects. This means that her relative score is 75

If a search is done for a subject that both Albert and Bernice have ticked; Bernice will appear above (have a 'relative' higher ranking) Albert in the results.

If Albert wanted to appear above Bernice, he has 2 options:

  • Keep his subjects (associated disciplines) at 50 and increase his score to more than 3,750 or
  • Reduce his subjects to 26 (Click on the 'Manage your Associated Disciplines' in Edit profile).

And where can you figure all this out? In Edit Profile. Click on the 'View your Profile Position and purchase points.' link. In this part of the site you will see something like the following:

Your Profile POSITION based on your

  • score alone is: 416 (This is your absolute position in the list)
  • score divided by the number of associated disciplines you have is: 144 (This is your relative position when returning search results)

The numbers here are your POSITION not your score. The first number is your 'absolute' position based on your score. In this example there are 415 users on the site that have more points than this user. The second number is your relative position. In this example the user probably has only ticked a small number of subjects resulting in there only being 143 other users above them in the search results. If this user increased their score then both these numbers would get smaller (moved toward the top position of 1). If the user reduced the number of subjects (below 10 does not make any difference) then only the second number would reduce.

There are two points to note. First is that not all of the 143 other users above this individual will have ticked the same subjects. If the user has ticked 'Management Development' then there will potentially be at least 100 other users above them on the search results and they could appear on page 7 or 8. If the user had also ticked 'Captivate (Adobe)' then they will be on the first page of this search as there are only 9 other users who have ticked this subject. Second point of note is that members of the Associations (users that have paid a subscription) appear before those users who have not paid a subscription. In the above scenario of the 143 users ranked higher than this individual probably 70% of them will not be members. In reality this will mean that this user will possibly be on page 3 or 4 even if they had ticked one of the more popular subjects.

The best way to see what your position is is to do some searches on the subjects you have ticked and see where you have come. You will then be able to manage your position and appear higher in the search rankings on the Find a Trainer page and increase your chances of being contacted by the hundreds of visitors using the search facility to find a trainer.

And for those of you who want to see how your position might change based on the 'acquisition' of additional points, might I suggest you click on the 'View your Profile Position and purchase points' link. In this window click on the '>> Purchase points for a higher rank (100 points for just £7.50)' link. The 'Buy Points' facility allows you to enter a number for the block of 100 points (10 = 1,000 points) and see how your position might change. The following is an example:

 

You are interested in 1000 (10 * 100) points. This will cost you: £75.00 + 11.25 VAT

Your current Profile POSITION based on your

  • score alone is: 416 (This is your absolute position in the list)
  • score divided by the number of associated disciplines you have is: 144 (This is your relative position when returning search results)

If you purchase these points, your Profile POSITION based on your

  • score alone will be: 198 (This will be your absolute position in the list)
  • score divided by the number of associated disciplines you have will be: 57 (This is your relative position when returning search results)

So how are you going to earn these points; writing an article, uploading a few resources or perhaps buying some points. All are contributions to the site and benefit your ranking in the search facility.

We hope the above has given you an insight into how users are rewarded for the contribution to the site by being placed higher up the search rankings.

In future postings we will explain some of the intricacies of the TrainerBase web site and how to raise your profile including:

  • Activating and populating a Full enhanced profile (and how to help your own web site)
  • Sharing resources (without giving away your stock in trade)
  • Who been looking at your profile (how popular are you)
  • Networking (making contacts in a virtual world)
  • Applying for opportunities (how not to get yourself eliminated before you start)

Please do visit the AV help file that is hosted on YouTube to hear about the Points and Ranking facility.

Understanding the importance of Points and Ranking

If there is anything else you would like to know about what TrainerBase is doing to benefit its members please feel free to contact us.

Contributor Profile

Peter Mayes

Peter Mayes. Peter Mayes is the founder and editor of TrainerBase; dedicated to helping business and other organisations find trainers and trainers find business. Contact details: Tel 01239 711544


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Contributor: Peter J Mayes
 

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