To Spin or Not to Spin? Spin Rewriter Product Review Part 1

spinning-tops

Lynn Serafinn addresses the ethical and practical issues of the controversial practice of article spinning. Part 1 of Product Review of Spin Rewriter software.

On just about EVERY website I’ve visited lately, I’ve seen Google adverts for a new online software called Spin Rewriter from SmileyTech Solutions. I’m sure the fact I’m seeing it so frequently has to do with Google’s clever analytics (they know I’m a techie…and a blogger), but even so, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a widespread campaign for a single product.

When I first saw adverts for Spin Rewriter, I was sceptical for three reasons:

  1. I had tried spinning software before and was never pleased with the results.
  2. I wasn’t 100% certain how I felt about ‘spinning’ from an ethical perspective.
  3. I pretty much mistrust anything that is advertised in such a ‘mass market’ way.

But in spite of all these mental objections, and probably because I’m just naturally curious about new technological toys, I took Spin Rewriter for a spin (sorry…just too tempting) by signing up for their 5-day trial. At first, I worried that 5 days would not be long enough for me to get a real feel for the programme, but I was wrong. After the first 2 days, I was so pleased with the software that I bought a year’s subscription. In the past two months since I bought it I’ve used it many times and (once I got the hang of it) it has consistently produced excellent results. I find it extremely useful, great fun and geekishly satisfying.

That said, I don’t feel right about giving a glowing review of any spinning software, no matter how good it is, without first addressing the bigger ethical issues around spinning, generic article writing services and spin distribution. So today, I’m going to address these wider issues, with some reference to Spin Rewriter in particular. Then, later this week, I’ll be posting a detailed product review in which I’ll show you how Spin Rewriter works and how to create terrific original variations of your articles with it.

Transparency: Throughout this article I use my affiliate link to Spin Rewriter. That means, if you happen to purchase it, I will make a commission. However, as you will see in this article, I ONLY ever use my affiliate links for products I personally use and would recommend.

spin-rewriter-logo-with-textWhat is ‘spinning’?

‘Spinning’ software allows you to input text (like an article or blog post) and then create randomly generated variations of it by replacing selected words and phrases with synonyms. Some spinning software will also allow you to rearrange parts of a sentence or reorganise the order of sentences within paragraphs. The most sophisticated spinning software programmes also let you ‘spin’ within ‘spins’ (‘multi-level spinning’), meaning you can combine all of these possibilities to create vastly different variations of the same text. Spin Rewriter is capable of doing all of these levels of spinning.

Spinning programmes use a language called ‘spintax’ (spin syntax). To make a spintax, you assign different synonyms to individual words and then separate these synonyms by vertical lines, e.g.: uniquely|exclusively. Then, when you’ve selected all the synonyms you want to use for that word, you enclose them all in curly brackets, e.g.: {uniquely|exclusively}.

To see this in context, here’s an example of the spintax of a single sentence I prepared using Spin Rewriter:

In June 2013, Facebook {announced the introduction of|introduced its users to|announced it now supports} {something|a {techie toy|tool}} that had {up until now|formerly} been {uniquely|exclusively} part of the {Twitter landscape|Twitterverse|Twitter world} — hashtags.

This might look like gobbledygook to you on the screen, but to spinning software it’s a code that can give you a wide selection of variations. Here are three ever-so-subtly different sentences I got from spinning the above spintax in Spin Rewriter:

In June 2013, Facebook introduced its users to a techie toy that had formerly been exclusively part of the Twitter world — hashtags.

In June 2013, Facebook announced the introduction of something that had up until now been exclusively part of the Twitterverse — hashtags.

In June 2013, Facebook announced it now supports something that had formerly been uniquely part of the Twitter landscape — hashtags.

You can see the sentences now make perfect sense. Furthermore, you can see that all three sentences say pretty much say the same thing. That is the sign of a well-spun text: the meaning and grammatical structure of the sentence must both have integrity.

Why should you bother?

‘OK,’ you say, ‘I see what spinning does. But why would I want, or need, software that can do this?’

The answer lies in search engine optimisation (or so the theory goes). If you are an avid blogger or article writer, having unique content across the web–rather than a lot of duplicate content–supposedly makes search engines like your content better.

But if you are in the business of writing GOOD quality content for your readers, you know just how long it can take to write a new, unique article. That’s where article spinners can be useful (again, theoretically) because they can help you make several different versions of a single article, so you can distribute it to different blogs and article directories.

Can’t I do it myself?

‘OK,’ you say again, ‘That sounds fine. But why can’t I just make different versions of the same article myself instead of bothering with some fancy software?’

The answer is: you could, but it would take an inordinately long time to create variations that were different enough from each other to make it worth all your effort. When using a programme like Spin Rewriter, after you’ve set up your spintax, all you do is click ‘spin’ and you can download up to 1000 variations of your article, each typically containing between 85% and 94% unique wording (at least that’s what I’ve experienced).

I’d be willing to bet that it would take the better part of a week to make half dozen well-written variations of a single article, and I’m doubtful you’d end up with such a high degree of uniqueness from one to the next. Now that I’m past the learning curve with Spin Rewriter, it takes me roughly 2 hours to set up and refine one 1500 word article to my satisfaction (more on how I do this below).

Related Article:
Do We REALLY Still Need to Talk About Ethical Marketing?

So, if you have a really good article that you want to distribute in different article directories, spinning it (including the title), and then posting a dozen or so variations to high-ranking directories could drive a lot of traffic back to your blog, and give you good quality back-links as well.

Isn’t this cheating?

Let me answer that question by showing an analogous scenario in the music industry.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of musicians who were unfamiliar with sequencing and sampling technologies thought electronic music was ‘cheating’. They imagined you just pushed a button and the music made itself. But as someone who ran an electronic studio for 15 years, I can tell you that nothing good ever came from simply pushing a button. Using technology to craft fine electronic mixes and remixes is a high art.

That said, there are some modern music software programmes, like the very popular Fruity Loops, that I believe seriously delude would-be musicians by giving them libraries of factory-programmed content that they can ‘spin’ and imagine they are creating original tracks. One of the hardest challenges I had as a college lecturer in music technology was weaning young students off this push-button ‘Fruity Loops’ mentality and getting them to love the harder–but more authentic–world of original electronic music composition and production.

In exactly the same way, I don’t think article spinning your OWN original content is cheating or in any way unethical. I see nothing wrong with making variations of your own work, provided it’s done with care and attention. I think it’s perfectly fine to use technology as a means of making the process more efficient, provided a human being is there to ensure the quality of the language and the integrity of the message is maintained.

However, just as electronic music can be used for ‘cheating’, so can spinning software. There are three ways spinning can be used to an extreme where it becomes neither ethical nor even effective:

  • When you purchase generic SEO articles for spinning instead of writing your own
  • When you use mass article distribution
  • When you take too many short-cuts with your spinning

Today, I’ll look at the first two of these. Later this week, when I do my full product review, I’ll talk about the short-cuts and show you some tips for best practice.

Buying generic SEO articles

While I would only ever use spinning software to spin my own content, many people use it to spin articles they have purchased. Spin Rewriter offers one such service, called ‘Pro Article Writing’. This idea of purchased articles is that they will boost your SEO (search engine optimisation) by stuffing your website with targeted keywords. In other words, these purchased articles are NOT written with the intention of providing valuable content for your readers, but rather as ‘bait’ for Google and other search engines. You can then, of course, spin the article and distribute it to article directories.

To me, this practice is no different from the afore-mentioned ‘Fruity Loops’ approach to electronic music composition. Unless there are some original ideas in the work, you’re not the author of the content because it’s not saying anything that comes from your own brain. Using a ghost-writer is different (I often ghost-write for clients) because the client spells out exactly what they want to say in the article. The ghost-writer merely translates the author’s original ideas into a readable format. In short: the ideas and intellectual property are clearly the author’s.

But buying generic keyword articles is just like using a musical software programme filled with loops: you might get instant gratification from it, but how can you say this is your intellectual property when it wasn’t born from your own mind? You cannot. How can this practice possibly be an expression of you, your brand or your business mission? I cannot imagine that any ethical, new-paradigm business owner would think to purchase articles solely to enhance SEO. This practice has no possibility of fostering Connection or Transparency (two of the 7 Graces).

I cannot comment on the quality of Spin Rewriter‘s Pro Article Writing service, because I would never use it. The only thing I can say is that the articles are dirt-cheap at 1.18 cents per word. But no matter how cheap they are, in principle I would hope that anyone who frequents this website, and who is committed to ethical practice, would not seek this as a short-cut to anything particularly useful.

The dangerous lure of mass distribution

SmileyTech Solutions offer another service called ‘Spin Distribute’ that complements Spin Rewriter. You’ll notice I’m not using an affiliate link for Spin Distribute. That’s because I do NOT recommend it.

The idea of Spin Distribute is that it will take your spun text and distribute different versions of your article to hundreds of article directories in one go. It sounds great, but the problem is, it doesn’t seem to work. I gave it a shot back in early July with one article. I got a report back saying the article had been distributed to 480 article directories. The report gave me links to all the directories. About 95% of the directories didn’t even exist. Of the remaining few that were actual directories, I cannot find my name or my article anywhere. As it’s been well over a month since most of these were submitted, I have serious doubts they’ll ever appear.

Additionally, of the few directories that were legitimate, the page rank (PR) was rarely more than PR1, making the back-link (even if it were to appear) pretty useless for me.

Related Article:
Do We REALLY Still Need to Talk About Ethical Marketing?

I had tried a similar service in the past with another company and it only created problems for me. The biggest problem was that it made it difficult if I ever wanted to register independently as an author on a particular site. If my name was already in the system, but had been registered via a mass distribution service, it was difficult (if not impossible) to claim my own name as an author. Not good!

Again, the only thing I’ll say about this service is that it is dirt cheap, costing about $4 to (allegedly) be distributed to 500+ directories. But there’s no such thing as a bargain if something simply doesn’t work.

Service counts

I want to say that the customer service across the board at SmileyTech Solutions is excellent. Any time I’ve had a problem, they replied promptly and with individual attention to my questions. I didn’t feel like I was getting a generic form-letter from them. In some way, I hate to ‘dis’ their services at all, because they’re very supportive.

But I’ll make up for it in my next article, as I have a LOT of nice things to say about Spin Rewriter.

Closing thoughts

In summary:

  • Spinning is wonderful when you use it as a creative tool for your original content rather than as an SEO short-cut.
  • Buying content might seem like a time-saver, but it really gains you nothing in the long-term because it shows the world nothing about you, your mission or your business.
  • I strongly recommend you do NOT consider mass distribution. After trying it with three different services, I’ve never found it to work, and it can make it a nightmare to publish on these sites in the future.

Next time:

In PART 2 of this Product Review I’ll be taking you on an illustrated tour of Spin Rewriter, showing you examples of ‘spins’ I’ve done for my own articles, so you can see the results. I’ll also show you what NOT to do.

To make sure you catch that article, just subscribe to this blog at the top of the page, so you can receive it via email, or get it delivered directly to your Kindle.

I welcome and invite your comments about the ethics and practice of spinning below. What do you think about it? What are your experiences? Has this article been an eye-opener for you? Please let me know.

Lynn Serafinn
13th August, 2013

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Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

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6 Responses to To Spin or Not to Spin? Spin Rewriter Product Review Part 1

  1. Simon says:

    Really useful article on a topic I knew nothing about. Thanks Lynn. I look forward to reading the follow up article. I’d also love to know how to identify places to then post articles, is that something you’ve covered in another article?

  2. Pingback: Getting the Best from Spin Rewriter Ė Product Review Pt 2 | The 7 Graces of Marketing - ethical marketing for social entrepreneurs

  3. Robert says:

    Lynn,

    All of my content is 100 percent original and always will be. For me, my ethics outweigh changing a few words an calling unique.

    I use no special software except for a dictionary program, Word Web.

    To me, unique means each piece of copy means I write each piece as required. I do this for my clients, why wouldn’t I for my own copy?

  4. Rich says:

    I do not recommend Spinrewriter because I found a major flaw. The save feature does not work so that you can finish editing your article at a later time if you choose to. So if you donít finish spinning your article like you want it all in just one sitting, then youíre screwed because when you come back more than likely your work wonít be saved where you left off, so you then have to edit and tweak manually. This is what Iíve experienced time & time again with this flawed software. I contacted spinwriter support about this and they didnít deny the problem or even offer to fix it. This is poor support and obvious that key features such as this do not work as advertised or as presented. Therefore, I DO NOT recommend Spinrewriter.

    • Hmmm…wow, I haven’t had that problem, Rich. That sounds horrible. I’ve always been able to save and come back to it (I think…it’s been a while now since I last used it). I’ve also had good results with their customer support. I am glad you put your comment here to offer information on a different experience. It’s important for people to know both the good and bad side of things.

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