SYNND can perhaps be described as a “collaborative social promotion” tool. It’s purpose is to drive traffic and (allegedly) increase your search engine rankings, but the way it achieves this is quite different from the way many of the well-known automated link building tools go about it.
Does SYNND really help you get more traffic to your site and is it worth the investment? Read the review to find out.
||Social Media Science LLC
||Social Sharing Engine
||Free Lite, $97/month Pro
Synnd is software combined with a collaborative network of people sharing and upvoting each other’s content. You can set up campaigns to have content of yours distributed, bookmarked, shared and upvoted on social sites. All of the SYNND members participate in this social promotion of your content and in turn, you contribute to the social promotion of other SYNND members’ content. Thanks to the software, this mostly happens automatically, so you don’t have to spend all day sharing other people’s stuff manually to get shares in return.
Another way of describing what SYNND does is to say that it attempts to automate and give you control over what tends to happen with popular pieces of content on the Internet: people tweet about it and those tweets get re-tweeted, people share it on social sites like Digg and it gets upvoted by other Digg members, people click on the facebook “Like” button and so on. These are all potentially powerful, traffic-driving mechanisms and any webmaster would love to get some of that social sharing action. With SYNND, you can theoretically make that kind of thing happen, for your content.
Synnd comes in two parts: the first one is an online application that you log into, to create and keep track of your promotional campaigns. The second is a small application called the “remote automator”, that you download and install. The remote automator will automatically create accounts and do promotions for other SYNND members, in the background. At the same time, all the other member’s remote automators will be doing promotions for you. At least, in theory.
SYNND’s interface is not the most user-friendly I’ve ever encountered and you’ll find that almost any action requires opening new tabs and generally clicking your way through more windows and prompts than you’d expect. On the plus side, parts of the program really are completely automated, as in: you never have to touch them. SYNND will automatcially create email accounts and accounts on the 15 different social sites it submits to. It will also automatically do the promotions for other members, without you ever having to lift a finger.
For setting up your own campaigns, you’ll have to create an author profile, set up profiles for each website you want to promote and create campaigns and campaign content.
SYNND Campaign Types
You can run different campaigns using SYNND and all of them are social in nature. As you can imagine, not every kind of content will fly in a social environment, even if you help it along with some automated upvoting. The SYNND creators are very aware of this and emphasize the need for promoting the right kind of content in the extensive training provided with the service. You can’t expect the link to a vacuum-cleaner review on a simple affiliate niche-site to go viral, just because you used SYNND. You can, however, stack the odds in your favour and give an interesting/controversial/entertaining piece of content the initial boost on social networks before a real viral effect (hopefully) takes over.
Here’s a list of the types of promotions you can run with SYNND and my thoughts on each of them:
Article Submission Campaigns
These are exactly what you’d expect them to be: campaigns to submit your articles to various article directories. This promotion type is completely uninteresting to me, as there are better, less expensive ways to do mass article submissions.
Blog Commenting Campaigns
This campaign type might just be the opposite of what you expect, because it’s not about automatically submitting comments to blogs, in order to gain backlinks. Instead, it’s about receiving comments to your blog. You can either “invite” other SYNND members to leave their own comments on your blog or you can pre-write comments that you want published on your blog (which is just a little bit sad) and have them submitted automatically. The point of this would be to increase social proof on your site. Many comments = popular site (or deactivated spam filter, as the case may be).
Personally, this campaign type is nothing for me. I’m either truly involved in a website and build a real community, or I turn off comments all together. I really don’t see the point in inflating the comment count, when you can get genuine comments relatively easily.
Social Bookmarking Campaigns
Using this campaign type, you can submit a URL and have it bookmarked through other SYNND members’ accounts, on various social bookmarking sites. I don’t have the same objection to these campaigns that I had to the article submission campaigns, despite there being no shortage of cheap bookmark submitters available. The crucial difference here is that you get your site bookmarked by other people, from different IP addresses all over the world. Plus, you can get multiple submissions on each bookmarking site. This is an important factor as it makes the bookmarking appear like the real thing, rather than just automated spamming.
I still have an objection, though: SocialAdr does the same thing, incorporating more sites, at a lower price and with a nicer user interface.
Facebook campaigns are used to generate “likes” for your pages. In theory, facebook likes are very valuable in several ways. On the one hand, they generate social proof and if you already have a number of likes, it’s much more likely that you’ll receive additional ones than if you have 0 likes. On the other hand, likes have a viral effect, because whenever a facebook user likes something, this shows up on their activity wall, where their friends might see it and then go check out the thing that was liked.
Unfortunately, there are two problems with Facebook campaigns in SYNND. The first one is that most of the likes you will be getting are probably from “fake” accounts, automatically generated by SYNND. These are accounts with zero friends, so there’s no viral effect. Still leaves the social proof factor, though. The bigger problem is that SYNND automatically creates a facebook account to be used for your promotions and there’s no way to opt out of it. It’s against the facebook TOS to have more than one account and to me, it’s highly problematic that I can’t opt out of SYNND setting up a facebook account for me. I can deactivate that account, but can’t prevent it from being created. I just don’t like that. I like facebook as a marketing platform and don’t want to give them any reason to ban me.
With SYNND twitter campaigns, you can have your message, including your URL, automatically retweeted by other twitter accounts plugged into SYNND. This brings three advantages with it. First up, we once again have social proof, provided by an increasing tweet count on your page’s tweet counter (if you have one of those). Second, there’s potential traffic coming in through the tweets directly and third, there’s the proven SEO value of tweets. Google takes the number of tweets a page gets into account and treats them similarly to regular backlinks.
You can plug in an existing twitter account, but I doubt many members do that, since SYNND automatically creates a new twitter account for the promotions. The problem with this is that twitter is fairly good at detecting spam, so the new accounts are bound to get banned. During my membership, SYNND created two accounts and both got banned after a few days. This makes me conclude that most of the twitter promotions you get are going to be from accounts that have no followers and are about to get banned, which negates all of the potential advantages of running twitter campaigns.
Social News Campaigns
This type of promotion is for setting up campaigns that will promote a certain piece of content on various social networks, such as StumbleUpon, Digg or redditt. These social sites are based on voting systems and the more votes a submission gets, the more visibility it gains, which in turn increases the likelihood of it getting more votes. A submission that reaches the top spots of trending submissions in Digg or redditt can get a staggering amount of traffic, so this should be interesting.
As stated before, SYNND won’t help you automatically reach those top spots, but it can give your content some initial momentum. A few dozen votes will get your content seen by a lot of people on these networks and if your content is a good match for social promotion, that can be all it takes to make it go viral in a small or big way. You have to be aware that you still need to do 90% of the work, though. Your content needs to be the right kind of content for a social network. Ideally, it should be funny, cute, shocking (or a combination of those) and very easy to digest. The downside of this is that it’s rather difficult to make this work with your average affiliate/niche site.
I’m sure you detected a trend, reading through the list above: the concept is usually interesting, but there are always issues with the actual execution. To add to that, there’s one final issue with this system. SYNND is based on a credit system. You automatically earn credits through the promotions done through your remote automator and you spend those credits on promotions done for you. You can also buy additional credits to speed things up.
The problem is that there’s an imbalance between spending and earning credits. I assume it’s because there are a few members paying for extra credits and paying for the “Enterprise” level SYNND service (which doesn’t require promotions to earn credits) and the result of this is that people subscribed to the Pro account are essentially promotion-mules for the customers paying more. And it costs $97/month for the privilege to be a promotion mule. In the 30 days I was a SYNND member, my most successful campaign was a twitter promotion that got 40 tweets. The slowest one was a StumbleUpon campaign that got 21 promotions. I started with 250 credits and ended with close to 900. Clearly, my remote automator was doing far more work for others than I was getting work done for my sites, in return.
The concept of SYNND is very promising, but I’m sorry to report that the system simply doesn’t deliver. At least not in it’s current state. There are inherent issues with almost all of the campaign types you can run and there’s a far bigger issue with the imbalance in the credit system. For $97/month, I expect a lot more.
Bottom line: your money is better spent on a SocialAdr subscription.
Do you have any questions or want to share your thoughts about this review? Let me know by leaving a comment!