1. They show logs for news sources such as The New York Times, BBC, etc., but they don't actually link to those sites, let alone to articles that actually mention this site.
2. I see click-bait titles like "The top 19 nutrition myths of 2019".
3. Reviews by "professionals" that I can't easily verify. "Mike Hart, MD" is an example. Who is he? How do I know he's a real person? If he is a real person and a real doctor, how do I know he actually recommended this site?
4. The attempts to get me to spend money feels slimy. --This is pretty subjective, I know, but that's how it comes off to me.
So I can understand how this site wouldn't rank high in a search engine. I would need to do a lot of research to decide whether or not to trust it, let alone whether or not they have information that's actually worth spending money on.
If you would've bothered to look under the hood, you would see that they reference tons of scientific sources and provide a level of transparency and knowledge-base to the sports supplement industry that is unrivaled.
To be clear, There is no other site nearly as good as Examine for this subject matter.
I'm not a fan of "don't judge a book by its cover." The purpose of the cover (other than to keep garlic mayo off the pages) is to be judged.
It's at the peril of the website to have such good content diminished by poor window dressing.
The four resources I've used the most when researching supplements are Google Scholar (sorry to say in this context that they are the most helpful and the reason I can't fully quit Google, although Google seems to have finally stopped making me log in to use it), Ray Sahelian's site (I'd avoid his supplements and books but the site has some good info, mostly lists of studies and some first hand reports of negative effects, and he encourages lower doses of many things), Wikipedia (mostly to find references as actual text on the page is too often inaccurate although it varies and some pages are good quality), and Examine. For the few things that the Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon has pages on they seem to have the best quality general summary and some helful references. There is usually surprisingly little overlap of references between these different resources so checking them all for everything seems like the best plan.
The QWEB tool. It might help in comparing the neutrality and quality of different sites. I stumbled upon it when my SO started to study again after so many years in a dreadful job.
When you read an article at Forbes, you are assaulted by scrolling ads, banners and other stuff from every direction. The appearance and experience is chaotic and clingy.
If we are going by appearances, why should Examine.com have worse search indexing than Forbes articles?
Here is an example from both:
I sometimes attempt to surf the web without those extensions just out of curiosity, and I promptly turn them back on in horror. As of today I couldn't imagine living without them; I would rather stay offline than experiencing the awful mess nearly all web pages turned into after the 2K era.
It’s actually a more helpful analysis for this topic to do a cursory, cosmetic look.
I'm a designer as well, not just a developer, and it's layout is really well done: clean, straightforward, clearly presented, and the data is easy to find. They link to studies and always err on the side of caution in their descriptions.
In my experience, this is often the cause of mysterious drops in search ranking. It's very easy to inadvertently introduce changes that negatively impact your ranking without even noticing.
At a quick glance, I noticed that many articles on examine.com link to hundreds of external references (e.g. more than half the page of https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/). In Internet Archive snapshots from before the redesign, these have the rel="nofollow" attribute, but on the current site, they do not. I'm not saying that's the cause, but it might be worth looking into exactly what changed in the redesign.
For me, I've never even heard of the website in question. Why would I, as it's not a field of interest for me. However, if I were to search for it, it would be a search engine result, not a search field on some website I have never knew existed.
Sidebar: examine is one of two sites I regular use the google site filter for: “site:examine.com (supplement name)”. A good search engine would put it first for basically any supplement.
Also, the main page has 2 search boxes if we want to get pedantic about it. Why? I'm assuming as a dev type mindset that they will do the same thing as one is always there while the landing page disappears with use.
And so if you end up on https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/ it pretty much blows away all other pages on creatine.
So at the end of the day, you still end up on useful information.
Hacker News would never be, for me personally, on the top of the list of websites that inspire confidence by its looks, it's only when you delve into it and realise the content is actually great that you can appreciate it.
Such a shallow evaluation is quite strange coming from technical people who are used to mailing lists and all sorts of badly designed (or at least aesthetically unpleasing/neutral) pages...
The more something has been “designed”, the more the sight falls into the untrustworthy category, barring substantial evidence to the contrary.
Other than the whole unchangeable orange theme, I think it's fairly easy to intuit.
“Topcolor” setting on your profile page
But that has no bearing on whether the site is actually presenting comprehensive or accurate information.
If users act as though it's a dodgy site, how is google supposed to know whether it isn't? You could argue that the wrong heuristics are being used, I'm not sure the technology is there to do it any other way though?
If you are actually doing research on some subject and are actually prepared to read and obtain new knowledge then yes, your cursory first look is going to be about the content and sources/references, and if you're still going to bounce on the looks then either you're not really trying or you are still just looking for a simpler bite sized easy answer (which pretty much do not exist in this field of science).
By that logic, Google could penalize every site that has in-depth knowledge about some subject.
And now that I think about it, these are EXACTLY the kinds of websites I've been missing from the Google search results in the past years. Most people first stop for "in-depth" knowledge would be Wikipedia (try defending THAT one, 6 years ago ...) and if you really want to, maybe that PDF of a publication is not behind a paywall. The web used to be full of pages that just were made by people crazy smart about a subject and they wrote about the thing they love ...
Just for illustration, I went through my old bookmarks, the original link was dead but the page still exists: http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/index.html Just browse a few pages and see what a quality site it is. It even has each page in both Germand and English.
This page used to pop up all the time when you searched for spices way back in the first half of the 2000s. Try googling "fenugreek" now and cry ...
And the majority of this quality content is not even ad supported at all. That is the worst part. So many people seriously argue that you need ads to support the internet. Well, THIS is the internet that I want, the good one, the promised internet. And look at that "fenugreek" search result page again, it's being fucking buried by this shitty ad supported internet of hollow articles about "fenugreek health benefits". THAT is the internet you get, you support by supporting ads. For every starving quality journalist at the news websites that argue they have to serve you megabytes of adtech with a two paragraph article, there are a thousand regurgitated content farm bullshit sites, easily consuming the vast majority of this internet advertising pie ... it's like cheering on mass murder because the obituaries make such nice haikus some times.
Measuring engagement is great for shallow content, if you even can call it that. We see that all across the net.
But high-value, in-depth knowledge, is very often relatively boring.
Examine.com is a very trustworthy website with good research, unbiased information and very good citations that are summarized in a scientific way.
Regardless of the heuristics they use to determine misinformation, they definitely messed up here and it should be re-evaluated.
A few years ago some of the mega UK insurance brands got into major trouble with google. I wont mention any names but directly afterwards they started using cute animals - obviously Sergi had being doing some naughty Black Hat SEO
To be clear, no one has presented any actual evidence to back that up yet.
And once you've done this research, will you still believe that Examine's pages rarely deserve to be in the top 10 results on relevant search queries?
It's easy to compare something to abstract perfection, and find it wanting. But if you compare things to actual real alternatives, it's often easier to get a more realistic perspective. (General life principle, in my experience.)
I do happen to think that Examine is the best (usually). But even if you disagreed, probably if you did a thorough bit of research comparing them to alternatives in this important search space, you would agree that they are better than most of what is ranking ahead of them.
And the only people who disagree are people who never done any serious supplement research
If you have a bunch of hockey fans arguing Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time against a bunch of people who've never watched a game and can't name a single hockey player it's pretty obvious who's right.
It's not like some random, sketchy Canadian guy shows up, saying he's not being treated as befits a great hockey player, and when people go, "Uh, are you a great hockey player? I've never heard of you,..", in response, a bunch of randos appear on cure to say, "What?! Prove any better hockey player exists than John Smith in the history of the game in any league!"
Or, put another way, a bunch of angry randos doesn't prove anything. You get those turning up for anything online, from raw food diets to hexagonal water.
I'm not trying to convince you supplements aren't bogus or even that examine is a great resource.
Just that the claim "there exists a better supplement site than examine.com" is a false one. Let me start with why do you believe this claim to be true or at least more likely than the opposing claim.
Your choice of metaphor. But you're clearly not getting the point; what you imagine is "obvious" about your rightness really isn't.
"Just that the claim 'there exists a better supplement site than examine.com'..."
This is not a point I've seen anyone here arguing. It's definitely not a point I'm arguing. However, it's clearly a point you and the otherthe boosters of this site want to argue against - that's what's called a strawmen argument.
It's you boosters of this site who have been making the claim - without offering a bit of evidence or support - that this is the single best supplement site, that it's great and useful, etc. Not even not-terribly-convincing evidence, not even flimsy evidence, no evidence at all. Just your curiously consistent demands that we prove you wrong
It doesn't work that way. If you make a claim, then you back it up. If you try to punt the burden of proof to the people questioning you, it's obvious what you're doing.
Hell, for all I know, no good supplement sites actually exist and every single one on the subject is a crap site that deserves search blacklisting. So, it would be a complete snipe hunt to try to find a "better" site than any random worthless site. This would not prove what you imagine it proves.
I've listed quite a bit of things I would consider to be strong evidence in favor of Examine being a high-quality supplements site deserving of getting high ranks in Google supplement search results. So have numerous other commenters in this comments section. The Examine employee, AhmedF, has as well.
So I'm curious- what would qualify as "evidence" for you? And why do none of the other points mentioned qualify as "evidence"?
I'm pretty baffled at this point as to what it would take. You ask for evidence, I think remarkably strong evidence has been provided by me and numerous others, and then you just seem to ignore it?
BTW, I think our discussion got mentioned on the Nootropics subreddit comments thread about this topic. (Examine's blog post is one of the top 10 posts of all time on that subreddit. People with a big interest in supplements consider this to be a BIG deal).
Our discussion was referenced here- https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/cpg1ha/over_the...
"God those comments represent the worst of hacker news. There is a giant argument about whether examine.com is the best website on supplements. With anyone who's ever looked at a supplement site arguing it's examine.com and people who've never looked at a supplement site in their life arguing that surely a better one must exist."
Charitably, maybe you've done so somewhere else on the internet. Taking a second to look at every post by you on this thread, however, the only thing you've listed are other sites that come up higher on searches. All of your posts have been demanding that other people prove wrong your flat assertions that Examine is awesome.
And I'm not feeling charitable at this point. I don't believe you're communicating in good faith. That you can dig up other woo-pushers on reddit (of course there's a nootropics subreddit...) doesn't impress me one bit. You said you were dropping it before, but I'm telling you I'm done with you now.
No, I mentioned things in this thread. And of course, so have many other people.
To copy and paste the simplest excerpt, and ignore a few minor additional bits:
>that they cite massive amounts of scientific papers, that they've been cited by the NYTimes and other media news outlets, the fact the post got hundreds of upvotes is its own evidence, the fact they don't sell supplements or make money from advertising, etc."
Examine, to the best of my knowledge, has:
The most social proof
Cites the most scientific papers
Has been cited by a number of neutral and relatively authoritative media outlets
Has the best incentive structure (just making money from selling guides)
Every competitor links to fewer scientific papers for the user to do their own digging, and appears to be less neutral in what they cite.
Every other competitor is ad-funded and assaults the user with ads. Examine does not.
Many other competitors also sell their own supplements. Examine does not.
Most of the competitors are backed by powerful corporations with a history of bad behavior in multiple domains (pharma companies, etc). Examine doesn't have this issue.
I'm also amazed that you have so far discounted the personal experiences of other people, involving a great deal of research and personal experimentation. That is normally considered valuable in most domains, especially something as personal as health.
I also consider it to be valuable that the company (via its employee AhmedF at least) is willing to participate in discussions. There is some degree of visibility and accountability there. I am not aware of any other informational websites which do this.
And previously before he left Examine, the redditor silverhydra was very active and accountable (and transparent, as far as I could see), on numerous subreddits, participating in ways which often had nothing to do with his business.
Anyway :). Hopefully this discussion ends up serving you in the long run, one way or another.
And if you're done, then have a wonderful time in this magical chemical world, however that works for you ~~.
So I think you might be mistaken about making a clear argument against examine. Most of the arguments you've made have been about what the appropriate burden of proof in an internet argument. But I wasn't able to find where you shed light on what your counter argument is or engage with any of the arguments the "boosters" have made.
Some people in the thread have engaged with the evidence arguing they aren't an authoritative source but most have them had misconceptions that were corrected.
The quality is high by any standards but particularly stands out relative to other supplement which is littered with fraud and ignorance.
If Examine wasn't great, it should be quite easy for you to find literally just one source that was consistently and objectively better.
The task of the skeptic is quite a lot easier. For the the fan, it's a lot harder- a fan like me would have to literally track down EVERY single alternative and show it was not as good as the thing we admire.
All you have to do, as a skeptic, is find a single better source. Much easier to do.
But I'm willing to do some of your work for you.
Here is a list of the websites which usually rank above Examine:
WebMD (which openly partners with pharmaceutical companies)
Healthline (originally launched in 1999, it owns Drugs.com, Livestrong, Greatist, MedicalNewsToday)
VerywellHealth (partners with the Cleveland Clinic, started as an About.com company)
Hospital websites (such as UMMC, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering, NYU, etc.)
Governmental institutions (NIH/Pubmed, CDC, ODS, FDA, etc.)
Other medical news sites (which are almost always owned by WebMD or Healthline)
Is any single one of those more credible and neutral than Examine, typically? Are their sources as comprehensive, and do they summarize things as cleanly and neutrally?
Does any one of them even have better moral incentives? Examine only makes money from selling informational guides, apparently. That sounds the best to me.
Because there are an endless number of fools, liars, and lunatics demanding that we do their work for them.
Me and other satisfied readers of a free website, claiming Examine is a great resource, and usually the best single resource.
And many of us have provided evidence- that they cite massive amounts of scientific papers, that they've been cited by the NYTimes and other media news outlets, the fact the post got hundreds of upvotes is its own evidence, the fact they don't sell supplements or make money from advertising, etc.
You (or other skeptics), saying it's not a great resource (while ignoring all evidence already provided).
And you are also providing zero evidence, despite the supporters of Examine providing a ton of evidence for why it is a high-quality and credible site.
By being skeptical, you are claiming something, right?
The claim you are making is much easier to back up. You literally just have to find ONE source which is usually better. We already did a lot of work, why can't you do some work?
And yet, you refuse to do that. You're being much more lazy than me. I've already tried things partly due to Examine's research, and I was satisfied with the results. And I paid nothing for those great benefits.
And then I shared my experience, for free, because I appreciate the help I was given.
All you have to do is find a single objectively superior source than Examine. (Or 10, if you want to actually address the original post).
I am not asking you to do "my work", which I have already done, I am asking you to do work to back up YOUR assertion.
Hell, I even provided you with some likely candidates to start your research, if you actually care to not be lazy.
No, simply pointing out that it's your job in this discussion to present that evidence, not to try the frequently disingenuous tactics of "Oh, if you knew anything about this subject you'd know this is the greatest site EVAR" or "I'm saying this site is great. You have to do the legwork to dare to doubt me!".
I'm not claiming anything about the site that you're stanning for. I'm simply doubting the tales of rainbow unicorn farts and victimization by Google that people like you are pushing here.
But then, you are a very easy person to doubt. Your knee-jerk hostility to "skeptics" makes me think you push a lot of woo to anyone who has the misfortune to be stuck listening to you.
I have provided evidence. (I've even included the unique evidence of personal experience. Hundreds of hours of research & experimentation- research on multiple websites- from someone with no vested financial interest, should count for something.)
I am also asserting that skeptics should also provide evidence. It's like in a courtroom- both the prosecution and the defense should provide evidence.
And again, the task for the skeptic is far easier- they only have to find a single superior resource, among thousands of possible contenders.
And if you want to be an effective skeptic, you should probably try to add some compelling evidence to your skepticism. It's in your interest to add evidence, if you are really such a big believer in your skepticism.
(I don't hate skepticism btw- normally I am a skeptic, that's why my nickname is "data_required"- I just dislike the lazy reflexive style of skepticism on display in this thread.)
And if I knew of other evidence to add besides what was in the comments section so far (having read all of the comments), I would add it.
The only other thing I can think of is that I know that the user "silverhydra" posts a lot on reddit, and is heavily involved with Examine. So I guess you can see a track record of how an employee of theirs behaves in an online forum.
"I'm simply doubting the tales of rainbow unicorn farts and victimization by Google that people like you are pushing here."
Why do you feel the need to exaggerate? How do you go from reading a claim of "great resource for information!" to "rainbow unicorn farts"?
Nobody has even asserted that Examine is the only site people should use, or that it is absolutely authoritative.
HN is filled with skeptics (compared to the general population), and Examine is clearly popular among skeptics. Maybe that should count for something?
It's not like anybody has claimed they used the site to figure out how to cure their own cancer. You know what I mean?
Also, nobody from Examine asserted that Google is trying to deliberately harm the company. (Nor am I asserting it.)
The blog post was a rather polite complaint, with evidence attached, that they had mystifyingly lost the prominence in search results which they once had.
And numerous people have documented that other search engines (Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.) have much more respect for Examine. It's a Google-specific complaint, and appears to be due to a generic update to their algorithm.
> It's like in a courtroom- both the prosecution and the defense should provide evidence.
You're mistaken. In criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecution to establish their case beyond all reasonable doubt. The defence does not have to prove innocence; it merely has to establish there is insufficient evidence for a guilty verdict.
The skeptic is really more in the position of the prosecution. The fans are really more in the position of the defense.
The skeptic is basically saying the fans have committed a crime against truth. They are saying that the fans have something to DEFEND. (Hence, the fans are the defendants.)
And the skeptics claim is much easier to prove. It is far easier for the prosecution to prove that a crime has been committed (if it has been committed), than it is for the defense to prove that a crime wasn't committed (assuming no crime was committed).
The skeptics in this position SHOULD have the easier case to prove, which is why the burden should be on them.
Like I've repeated endlessly, and I even furnished the main competitors, if there are websites that are clearly better than Examine, that should be pretty easy to show.
Literally no human on the planet is capable of proving that Examine is better than every single competitor, though. There are thousands of other supplement websites.
You can't support the position that skeptics are allowed to show up everywhere, and voice skepticism of literally everything, and then suddenly that means that people who appreciate things must then be forced to prove things which in some cases are nearly impossible to prove. That is utterly ridiculous.
Skeptics should at least participate a little bit, if they actually give a shit.
I agree, allowing "skeptics" to make you prove everything is a waste of time.
I agree, examine.com is great because for everything I could find on it contained backed up statements on a single page. It is a great resource. I use it mostly for nutritional supplements.
But both sides are making assertions. The appreciators of Examine and other resources, are not the only people making assertions.
And the assertion that Examine isn't the best- the skeptics position- should be far easier to prove.
For some reason, that one guy will go to great lengths to make the general case for skepticism, when the specific case for skepticism- that there are sufficient websites objectively better than Examine such that Examine shouldn't be ranked near the top- should in theory be much easier to establish.
But he avoids that at every turn.
"In criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecution to establish their case beyond all reasonable doubt. The defence does not have to prove innocence; it merely has to establish there is insufficient evidence for a guilty verdict."
Lol. As though the defense never provides evidence boosting their client. But thanks for telling me what anybody could ever tell you who has served on a jury, or had a class in basic civics.
Look, skeptics need to furnish evidence, too. The people who appreciate Examine have provided a ton of evidence. It is LAZY LAZY LAZY that every skeptic wants to avoid digging deep.
I've already DONE immense research on supplements and the websites providing information about them. So have many others.
None of the skeptics in this thread are people who claim to be familiar with this domain. They just want to act like they are superior know-it-alls because they can lazily tout the general merits of skepticism.
Just like the defense will eagerly provide any evidence of innocence that they can muster, it is in the interests of skeptics to furnish evidence that the skeptical position is warranted. But few skeptics in this thread seem to want to do that.
If they think there is something better, they should let the rest of us know. Or they should build it themselves.
Also "supplements work really well" is a very different argument than this is the best website on supplement research.
There is not a single person in this thread of 100's who can name a single source of better information on supplements.
How would you prove that a psychology text book was the best even if it was so obviously the case that anyone who had ever read multiple psychology textbooks agreed with you. And everyone who disagreed with you had never more than a skimmed one?
Just change your scope to something provable if you want your claims to be believed by sceptics. For example "[X] is the best that I know." would work.
There are two competing claims "examine is the best supplement website online"(examiners) vs "there exists a better supplement supplement website online".(otherers) One of these is true and the other is false.
While lots of "examiners" have argued and provided evidence, but the only argument brought by the "otherers" is they they don't need to bring any evidence.
Stop being so petty.
That's other people doing that. When enough people downvote your posts, that's when they start turning lighter and lighter gray.
I've "haunted" this place since the first day it existed (though with other nicknames), and will doubtless haunt it for years to come. I just normally lurk, not comment.
This was just a topic important enough to bring me out of the woodwork.
"posters here can't downvote direct responses to their posts."
I did not know this, thank you for explaining. Apparently someone is following our discussion and almost instantly downvoting me each time (I guess...)
I never experienced that before, so I thought it was you. My apologies, apparently you are not rude like I thought.
Resources like Examine are amazing for lots of people. And the fact that they are free and credible, is incredible.
So I hate it when people like you are incredibly lazy, only doing cursory looks at things, and then pretend that those of us who have done hundreds of hours of research are the lazy ones.
Not only that, but people like you are probably scaring off lots of people who need help, from one of the few credible resources in the online space.
To me, you are not only lazy, your lazy skepticism is the sort of thing which will hurt lots of people. (Maybe you don't do so much damage by yourself, but people like you absolutely do damage sometimes. Sometimes your skepticism helps people. But sometimes your lazy skepticism hurts people, too.)
Then maybe look into how to present yourself as something other than a wide-eyed lunatic.
To me, if not mindlessly taking the word of an online hype squad sets them off, that's a big, red flag.
Hell, I'm not even as passionate as the typical sports fan.
And this is true, despite my not having to pay any money for information which has helped my sleep, concentration, athletic performance, social comfortability, empathy for others, etc.
Most people would pay tens of thousands of dollars for the benefits I've received. And I got those benefits with some free info, and a few hundred dollars worth of supplements.
So don't feel so shocked if someone has a positive opinion about the company which provided a lot of the "free information" part of that equation.
Anyway, thank you for the interesting discussion. One thing I've learned from supplement experimentation is that biochemistry heavily dictates the kinds of feelings and thoughts people are capable of. It's entirely possible we will be unable to persuade each other of much of anything, if our biochemistry doesn't make it salient to do so :).
Have a great day, wherever you are!!
1. No one links to them. You are welcome to google. Eg here: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-... - you'll see their entire supplement section is from our site
2. That is our one, and it's more of a play on 2019 and 19. If you read the article, you'll see it's no-nosense.
3. How exactly do I prove someone is real?
A quick google search shows this guy: https://twitter.com/drmikehart - you are welcome to tweet at him. Or at the others.
4. We analyze information and sell that for revenue. We are a business - alas, we have no tree that grows money in our backyard.
A link to his biography at his alma-mater, doctor profile at
the hospital or clinic where he works, his personal web-site. There are a few things that would inspire confidence.
Why don't you just provide a link and save the user from having to google? I'd trust a link to a medical practice looking business website much more than to a twitter account.
Here's Kamal's thorough bio page: https://examine.com/user/kamalpatel/
Here's Kamal verified on twitter: https://twitter.com/zenkamal
Here's him on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamal_Patel_(researcher)
Here's Examine.com on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examine.com
Aside: the Creatine page links to https://examine.com/about/#researchers which is below where Kamal Patel appears on that page, so I scanned down the page and he wasn't mentioned (he's at the top, but I had to search to find him).
That page is long, and linking to generic prose about researchers from a named link made me think there was no information on that person.
That could be a one-off error, of course.
2. The item below that is '4 science-based “superfoods” you should consider eating'. That's pretty much just as much click-bait as the other.
3. You link to the person providing the review, preferably to a page where they actually say that they're recommending your site. Why are you making it my - or anyone else's - job to figure out who is endorsing you and to verify that they really have?
4. Yes, you are a business, and you really make it clear on your main page. Like it or not, people don't put blind faith in companies trying to sell them stuff. That makes your job harder, sure, but that's life.
Look, at the end of the day you can ignore what I've written. I'm not claiming to be anyone or have any sort of following. I'm not a developer, I work in support, and I deal with customers, so I spend a lot of time trying to see things from their perspective.
You've lost a lot of potential business from Google de-emphasizing your site in their results. I don't claim to know why they've done this, I'm just giving my impressions when I look at things from the perspective of the average user (insomuch as there is an "average user", of course).
Looking deeper, I tried to checkout some backlinks to your site. From news sites, I see a couple of trends, some good, some not so good. The Washington Post article you link to is actually one of the better ones - it's not an actual endorsement from WaPo, but it is a 3rd party recommending your site. The article you link to from The New York Times, and another one from The Sydney Morning Herald, aren't really good links - they're quoting Kamal Patel as the director of Examine.com. The NYT at least does provide a few deep links, but still, I doubt it comes off as a real endorsement to the average reader.
I could go on, but I'm not an SEO expert, and your reply doesn't really make it seem like you're open to feedback.
1. It's standard MO not to. We never even claimed outright endorsements...
2. Did you click on the link? We immediately say how superfoods do not exist.
As I said - just trying to fight it.
3. Anahand literally decided to quote the entire supplement section of his strength building guide (which was a section in the published newspaper) to us. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.
Or you can go ahead and tweet at him.
There isn't a conspiracy around every corner.
4. Yes, and we appreciate that. We also note we do not sell supplements. We have no ads. We sell information.
Here's an example: https://a99d9b858c7df59c454c-96c6baa7fa2a34c80f17051de799bc8... - I wonder how you'll find ways to nitpick at that.
> open to feedback
This isn't feedback. This is you trying to find reasons to dismiss the website. There is no good faith here.
Take for example their page on Creatine. Summarizes and links 746 references. Their chart goes over "What do people claim this does" "How much of an effect does it have on that thing" "How sure are we about that"
Shear numbers is not really a good metric a paper from a renal specialist like, say the main doctor I saw for years and set up the renal unit at Lister has say a different value to some other citations/
Our HEM specifically mentions kidney function and links to studies that looked at creatine and kidney function.
Almost everything you listed is pretty standard landing page web design. Its only a problem if it was actually fake, which it's not. That type of thing aways requires effort on your part. At least read the about page.
But here's the thing, I also did look at the About page, or part of it. The top of the page is a video (blocked by Privacy Badger), and then they're saying that they are funded by selling things.
The New York Times quoted someone from Examine.com, but that was at the very bottom of the article. They do link to a few pages, but I'd definitely not argue that this is a ringing endorsement. The Washington Post article is similar. They don't link to any BBC or The Guardian article, so I don't know how those sites come into play. I'm not familiar with Medpage Today, and Men's Health isn't a source I turn to for hard research. Let's not even go into Forbes.
At that point I gave up on the About page.
Now, more specific pages do a better job, and do cite actual studies. But even then there are confusing areas. Consider the "Human Effect Matrix" - something that should be making things clear as to what their meta analysis has found: I see the section "Magnitude of Effect", and I see values such as "Minor" with a blue arrow pointing up, or "Minor" with a red arrow pointing down. Now, yes, I can read the tool tip at the top of the section and infer that blue probably means increasing effect and red means decreasing effect, but for many people this isn't going to be clear at all. It's also not always clear if these are positive or negative effects without digging much deeper.
So when we get into parts of the site that are more detailed, they're not clear enough for the average person on the internet, and could easily cause confusion. --That's actually a very good reason for Google to not surface them. Which sucks, because I think people are right that they do have good information, they're just not presenting it well.
It's 2019. EVERYONE does this to get attention from people.
> 3. Reviews by "professionals" that I can't easily verify. "Mike Hart, MD" is an example. Who is he? How do I know he's a real person? If he is a real person and a real doctor, how do I know he actually recommended this site?
They actually cite sources. You really need to look at particular topics on the website.
> 4. The attempts to get me to spend money feels slimy. --This is pretty subjective, I know, but that's how it comes off to me.
As you point out, this is really subjective. And I don't spend money on the website.
You are basically saying that they don't do SEO well, not actually critiquing their work. You would not need a lot of research to decide if their page on any supplement, e.g. , is reputable, cause they cite sources.
> It's 2019. EVERYONE does this to get attention from people.
Nobody that successfully gets my attention does that.
And no, this isn't a "gummint news bad" opinion. Commercial is frequently vastly worse, and the travails of the industry have long been evident. But overt pandering is a brand-killer.
A much more explicit and uncut explanation is available at my comment below: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20680657
> It's 2019. EVERYONE does this to get attention from people
Even Google themselves
I don't. Nobody I respect does. None of the scientific papers they cite do. Nobody in my friends list on Fecebutt does. Nobody I follow on Twitter does, to my knowledge. Slatestarcodex doesn't. HN doesn't. Wikipedia doesn't. Library Genesis doesn't. The Pirate Bay doesn't. JSTOR doesn't. Sam Zeloof doesn't. Ken Shirriff doesn't. The only sites I've visited in the last couple of days that pull that kind of bullshit are the Daily Beast, Vice, and Bloomberg, neither of which is to the trustworthiness standards of the sites and people listed above, and examine.com.
It seems that you have imprisoned yourself in a sort of filter bubble of dishonest hustlers. You might want to rethink your life decisions.
The filter bubble based on headlines is your own, where you might actually be missing out on useful content, just because they used a particular headline to grab eyeballs.
The blog post example is designed to attract a specific audience. Clearly, you are not a member of that audience. However, that does not prevent them from writing articles which would be of interest to you. It also does not mean that the audience doesn't exist, however small you believe it to be.
However, I'm unsure why clickbait has to be dishonest. In the example the headline was clearly written to attract people with (or susceptible to) a preconceived belief (which the article argues against). Those people are probably more susceptible to the clickbait.
Could you elaborate on the dishonesty?
I say “beliefs” rather than “misconceptions” because in fact many of them are true under some circumstances, or still under active scientific debate.
Belief #1, that protein is bad for your kidneys and bones, is true of kidneys in people who are prone to certain kinds of kidney stones https://kidneystones.uchicago.edu/does-too-much-protein-incr... and the debate about bones seems to still be open. Also, excess protein is definitely very bad for you if you have kidney dysfunction, but the danger isn't always specifically to your kidneys in that case. Probably these should have been mentioned in the article, as similar caveats are in items #4 and #6.
Beliefs #2 and #3 are broadly false but an important caveat is that a diet that contains high levels of macronutrients necessarily contains a lot of calories, which are bad for you. There's still a scientific consensus that high-caloric-density foods—things like bread, mayonnaise, butter, and ice cream, as opposed to lean meat and cabbage, increase your risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. (Presumably this is because their lower sensation of satiety per calorie results in overeating, but such explanations are still not scientifically solid.)
Belief #6 is correct for people with salt-sensitive hypertension, as the article notes.
And so on. Most of the “myths” are more accurately “oversimplifications” or “overgeneralizations” or just “debatable”, although a few are really without foundation. But telling that truth in the headline wouldn't attract as many readers, so they packed two or three lies into a seven-word headline. They should get some kind of prize for data compression algorithms or something!
As for the myths themselves - we've received over 50,000 emails from our users over the past 8 years. I'm pretty confident we can state those as myths that remain persistent in the nutrition space.
I did not accuse you of being oversimplified, and I'm sorry that wasn't clear. I said that beliefs like “salt is bad for you” are not so much myths as they are oversimplified, since indeed there is (for example) a very significant population with salt-sensitive hypertension. The thing that is oversimplified is the (broadly incorrect) belief held by many people, the belief you are arguing against. Since it contains an important element of truth, it is dishonest to simply call it a “myth”.
I have little doubt that these beliefs remain persistent. My thesis there is not that they aren't persistent; it is that they probably aren't the “top 19”, as the headline claims, presumably falsely.
I don't expect you to change your headline-writing practices, since clearly the dishonest strategy that produced that headline was chosen intentionally, but I do want to make sure that you don't misunderstand my critique. I think it's kind of a shame that you're throwing away credibility with dishonest headlines, intrusive interstitial newsletter ads, and so on, when the articles themselves are so valuable. But I'm fighting my own battles, not yours.
> since clearly the dishonest strategy that produced that headline was chosen intentionally, but I do want to make sure that you don't misunderstand my critique.
It's people like you that put a bad name on engineers.
> The thing that is oversimplified is the (broadly incorrect) belief held by many people, the belief you are arguing against. Since it contains an important element of truth, it is dishonest to simply call it a “myth”.
It's a myth if it's preached when it does not apply to a majority.
Yikes. I wonder how fresh and clear the air is up there on your high horse.
Unlike you, I try to separate my opinions from facts.
Seriously? This is worse than people still including $ in Microsoft.
On the other hand, 'skinnymuch' is right that there are a lot of people who unconsciously subvert their own messages by using similar childish insults based creative spellings. You are obviously aware of this likely misreading, but chose to make the bad joke anyway. I quite likely would have done the same, but why did you do it this time?
@skinnymuch: Accept that it was a joke. You are right that it was indistinguishable from a non-joke, but this is part of the joke. It's hard to account for people's taste in humor.
It's true that there are people out there who aren't capable of understanding a serious point if it has jokes in it, but I'm not interested in taking responsibility for their cognitive limitations. I'm more interested in amusing other people who would like to childishly ridicule Fecebutt!
The truth of the (non-Fecebutt-related) point I was making is adequately clear to anyone who stops to think about it a moment. It's not some kind of abstruse theorem about linear-time sorting algorithms, or advocacy of some kind of
controversial economic policy or something.
> I'm not interested in taking responsibility for their cognitive limitations.
But seeing the next reply. Continuously merging supposedly serious content with jokes in a format like digital text on a forum. There are numerous issues with that.
> that is, that I honestly think the company is called that by, for example, its employees
So this is a joke too? Or the bit of not being interested in people’s cognitive limitations?
You may be confused about what site you're on. This is “Hacker News”, not “Insecure Banker Desperate To Appear Respectable News”. Hacking is the playful application of ingenuity.
@kragen: I think there's an interesting parallel between "jokes" of this form and intentional errors in Nigerian spam. Both serve to focus on the small portion of the audience most likely to be receptive, at the cost of eliminating some larger percentage who would otherwise be receptive. Whether this is a win depends on your goals.
> It seems that you have imprisoned yourself in a sort of filter bubble of dishonest hustlers. You might want to rethink your life decisions.
I’d think someone writing that to end their comment would be writing fecebutt [semi]-seriously. Especially when you don’t do that with any other site. And Facebook is a commonly uber hated company by certain people on the web.
It is, however, clearly not the same A/B-tested genre as This one weird trick will put an end to your perverse-incentive problems! and Top 7 myths of socialist politics, which are designed to offer a quick, tempting info-snack that you must click through to consume, or be consumed by. In fact, if we were arranging titles by literary quality, I think a more explicit title like How coordination problems result in profoundly suboptimal but very stable Nash equilibria would be closer to the revolting filth above than to the more lapidary title Meditations on Moloch.
Perhaps, though, there is the occasional archæologist specializing in Semitic prehistory who does click on that title and experience a profound disappointment.
That's a great title, actually.
One of the reviews by professionals is John Berardi of Precision Nutrition if you're into nutritional research and can't verify him. Then, in my opinion, this site is not for you. You'll need something simplier.
Now, for the first one, why should I trust him? He apparently earned a PhD, but his research credits seem to be minimal, at least in terms of what he lists on his own website. Second, he seems to be a co-founder of Precision Nutrition, which suffers from a lot of the same problems as Examine.com. Seriously, let's look at the first entries in their "Free Articles" section:
"How do you rank as a health, fitness, and nutrition coach?"
"Opening October 2019:
The Brand-New Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification"
"Opening October 2019:
The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class.
"FREE 5-day course: Fitness and Nutrition Coaching Breakthroughs"
"How to answer the most common nutrition questions like a boss."
Click-bait and attempts to sell things.
And then there's the second part of the question - how do I know John Berardi actually recommends this site? I don't without taking the site at their word.
JB used to do the nutrition for guys like GSP (the MMA fighter).
JB is an advisor to Nike, Apple, Equinox, and more.
It's literally the least of his problems that you don't know who he is.
> Second, he seems to be a co-founder of Precision Nutrition, which suffers from a lot of the same problems as Examine.com. Seriously, let's look at the first entries in their "Free Articles" section:
Firstly, you don't do a lot of nutritional research, do you? Or research on fitness and health? There was a reason why I wrote what I did. This company is one of the major players in that sector. Hence why if you can't verify that he endorses this website you should be looking for an easier to digest source that comes from one of your favourite publishing houses.
When you do research on a website do you just look at that website? If so, I have bad news for you. You are doing a terrible job of researching. And most likely will result in getting yourself scammed by thinking you can spot a scam website when you can't.
Step 1. Google the site. - It's quite a comprehensive result page including multiple related searches.
Step 2. Look at what other orgnisations trust this one. If you look at the courses they sell, you'll see they're accepted by multiple groups. (Again, if you want to be save you do separate research on them)
Step 3. Look at their social media. Their social media seems to be rather good. Not every post is selling something. First 4 I seen, not a single "buy this" or anythig. Just standard fitness stuff I would expect.
> Click-bait and attempts to sell things.
Business tries to sell things. The fact you've stated this multiple times tells me you are far too into the tech culture of VCs paying for your toys. In the business world without VCs paying for growth these companies need to sell you stuff. The sales tactics are well sales tactics. But just because someone is trying to sell you something doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. Since every expert in any field is selling you stuff.
Now let's look at these clickbait things. Ok two of them aren't clickbait at all. They are very clear on what is going on. It's alerting you that the new round of courses that they do and have been doing for years are starting. In my experience, any company selling you a course that you can just sign up and start straight away is selling you a course not worth a penny. (Disclaimer I've done their PN1 course and let me say it's worth every penny). So firstly, we've got something to give me confidence about the course. It has a start date. This also tells me who they're targetting. They are targetting professional coaches. So that means stuff like how do you rank as a coach is something they're going to want to read and get an idea to see how they are.
Realistically, I find these hard to classify as clickbait since when you click on it. You get what you expect. Are they written with the intention to help sell you stuff? Yes. Just like nearly everything else you read on a company website. I just think you're just far too used to the tech approach that you think it should apply to everything else even though the customers are different.
> And then there's the second part of the question - how do I know John Berardi actually recommends this site? I don't without taking the site at their word.
You use Google. I instantly found the below post. So these two are friends who visit each others houses it seems. Friends giving friends quotes, pretty much how all quotes on these websites are created in my experience.
If you listen to the guys podcasts, etc. You'll all certainly hear him talking about them. If you're on his newsletter you'll read about them at some point.
Anytime you want to know if a quote is real, you're going to need to do research. But if you were into this subject you would probably hear 4-5 respected people telling you about how awesome examine is. Which comes back to my original point of if you can't verify that quote, it's not for you. The guy's reputation in the field is so high and he's repeatedly publically suggested their services.
Examine is definitely my favorite site to use when researching Nootropics.
They have accepted that examine.com must have some of these "red flag" features, else it will never be able to do the good that it was created to do.
Just look at all the products that Dr Oz has on his national show and how many times he and those like him get prime news coverage from these so called news sites.
>But for some people, there are certain supplements that can be worth taking, said Kamal Patel, a nutrition researcher and the director of Examine.com, a large and independent database of supplement research. Here are two of them.
>To learn more about which supplements you might be beneficial, take a look at the following resources from Examine.com.
TLDR: it's legit