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How do you know if what you’re receiving for feedback on your page 99 is any good? That question was virtually impossible to answer up until about a week ago, when we began including “Average in this genre is X%” on the writer’s upload page – and on the page where readers get to see all the ratings for a specific page 99.

We added this data point to the site so that writers can quickly get a sense for how their page is performing relative to others:

Prior to making this small improvement, we’d heard from several concerned writers… about their disappointment in the reader feedback – specifically in their page 99 ‘thumbs-up’ ratings of only 65%, or 58%, or 53%. For anyone who considers himself an effective writer, these ratings would appear to be low indeed. But without context, it’s difficult to say for sure. And since ratings like what we’re providing on Page99Test.com don’t exist anywhere else on the Web, there is no context.

So we simply wanted to provide a benchmark for writers to measure against. And that’s why we decided to include the average rating for each genre on the site.

One of the things we’ll soon be adding is a series of awards (or badges), which will serve to shine a nice, bright spotlight the page 99s receiving outstanding feedback. The badges, in conjunction with a Top 99s page, will give the outstanding page 99 submissions the recognition they deserve.

Here are the badges: (actual percentages are not yet finalized)

In order to determine the percentage thresholds for each of the badges, we’re waiting and watching to see how the average ratings pan out across the site. If we choose cut-off points too high, then it’ll be nearly impossible for a writer to achieve the recognition. If, on the other hand, we choose cut-off points that are too low, then the badges will be too easy to attain and result in nothing meaningful.

Stay tuned for this as well as some other features that have been suggested by the readers and writers of our growing community, such as a way to follow writers on Twitter or buy their books, and a way to go back any time to review the page 99s you’ve read!

By the way, we’re working hard to bring traffic to the site – to ensure writers get plenty of great feedback in a timely manner (the quicker, the better). But as a boot-strapped start-up, we could definitely use some help spreading the word. For example, if you happen to frequent writer forums such as:

… or any other related online communities, please consider sharing your experience on Page99Test.com with others.

Many thanks,

Lance, Joanna, and Steven

My frazzled brain can barely wrap around the fact that this day, the first official day of Page99Test.com, is now drawing to a close. Isn’t it odd that people in startups get this insane thrill – this rush – at the idea of staying up late to work on our little websites? Anybody out there who’s bootstrapping it works almost nonstop… and we love it.

The day you launch is pretty serious chaos. The emails sent through MailChimp. The help requests managed through Zendesk. The press release (eek! going out first thing Tuesday AM) sent through PRWeb. The pre-launch podcast on FoundersTalk. The custom emails to the many PR contacts your contacts hooked you up with. Tweeting and following tweets. Facebook updates. Checking in on the site repeatedly and facilitating that community. Dashing off page meta descriptions ‘cos you weren’t thinking about SEO quite enough, I guess. All while holding down your day job? Love it.

Even now, tired, head pounding from staring at these screens all day and night, I’m totally jazzed by it all. In fact, here is my haiku in place of an ode to being a bootstrapped-and-proud-of-it company called Page99Test.com:

Even now, tired
Head thumping, thumping, eyes strained
I love this startup

~joanna