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Changes coming for Serious Eats

There are changes afoot over at SE. Kenji promises more signal and less noise. They are getting rid of Talk and Photograzing, and will connect with their audience through social media.

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  1. "More signal and less noise".... I presume that means no more dogs?

    1 Reply
    1. re: drongo

      I am a dog lover, but admit that I was a bit uninterested in the pics of his dogs on the sidewalk during a recent NYC pizza tour/review post. An occasional really good dog pic is fine by me, but this is the problem with social media…everything is important to post, no matter if it’s interesting to look at or not.

    2. I guess those of us that don't use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram will find other sites to read.

      1. Well, their Talk was never much of a draw, not even close to being as robust as here on Chowhound, and personally I found Photograzing more of an annoyance than a feature. It will be interesting to see where they take this.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mcsheridan

          The Talk forum was anemic, so no big loss, and Photograzing never interested me. From the comments, it seems that they just shut down the Talk forum today, and the people are upset. Maybe we will see a small surge in CH members as a result.

        2. As a regular both here and there I was a bit miffed by the following comment:

          "Chowhound is pretty much a joke, and it would be good to have a cooking and eating forum for people who are 'serious eaters'. [sic--punctuation!]"

          1 Reply
          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Someone takes them self a little too seriously as a serious eater. That is an example of the nonsense I have seen on the the SE Talk forum, and why I much prefer CH and Reddit for food and cooking chat.

          2. I never knew Talk existed so I guess I missed out. I do comment on recipes (mostly to ask questions) and commenting is still an option. I don't Facebook or tweet so these changes to Serious Eats basically make no difference to me.

            1. Since the changes were made, I've been rather disappointed. There's too much of an emphasis on sponsored posts, cookbooks and liquors.

              Every now and then there's a decent backgrounder on specific foods - e.g. one about Korean stews - but now I'm looking for alternative sites. Any suggestions?

              12 Replies
              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                Yeah, it's definitely lost some charm. No other decent one-stop-shop kind of sites that I'm aware of. The only real option is to subscribe to a bunch of blogs.

                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                  If all you really want from a food forum is the give and take over recipes and food related resourcing, Food52 stays on topic. I read SE like a magazine. I have never registered with SE to communicate. Eater.com added a forum recently but so far it's lacking community interest.

                  Chowhound seems to have the broadest definition for a food forum I've come across so far. Even without the other social media accounts like Twitter, FB, Pin, tied to it, the Chowhound community is very large through the website alone and the Boards cover a great deal of topics...and clearly not all of the topics are about food. Chowhound is a lively place! Makes for a fun read.

                  1. re: eatingjoy

                    in part Eater isn't attracting users because their remake made the site borderline unreadable

                    1. re: weedy

                      I did see that. The few days I spent reading stories it was hard not to notice a few comments about the changes over at Eater.com. There were regulars disappointed by the decision to change the layout.

                      1. re: weedy

                        I use eater.com/archives. Much easier to read but I still miss their old format.

                      2. re: eatingjoy

                        Indeed, Eater is painful to try to navigate since their redo, but I find that it's rather snobbish anyway.

                        Thanks for the recommendation about Food52.

                        1. re: BuildingMyBento

                          That's a shame. Eater pre-forum changes had some value. I hope you enjoy Food52. I find the recipe sharing to be consistently reliable and valued by the community.

                          1. re: eatingjoy

                            Because I travel a good bit (touring musician) I found Eater to be really useful, when I could actually READ it!

                            But they've made it actually difficult to get through.
                            And for what?
                            so it "looks nice" for a distance??

                            1. re: weedy

                              The trend these days is to reformat websites so they look better on mobile devices, unfortunately the end result is usually something that looks nice but is a PITA to navigate through and actually use. Yahoo recently did the same thing and their new format is atrocious.

                              1. re: Coogles

                                You might have a point because social media has changed content. Should we blame it on the food porn lovers and Instagram-ers out there who convinced the publishing world that we crave pictures over words? Photos taking up 3/4 of a page and no writers to be seen...

                                I like a 50/50 balance of words & visuals but that point of view seems to be disappearing.

                              2. re: weedy

                                Bet they paid a ton for a disasterous redo of the site.

                                Looks pretty ...can't use it

                        2. re: BuildingMyBento

                          I want them to add a way for me to search for recipes & cooking. I don't really care about Pizza or Hamburger joints.

                        3. I am very unhappy with the direction Serious Eats has gone in the past several years.

                          I used to enjoy the site because it had an engaging mix of restaurant reviews (both "fancy" and dive-type), other food product reviews, some recipes, and newsy type stories. Plus, I enjoyed the thematic subsections, whether they related to pizza, burgers, local food scenes, etc.

                          Nowadays, the scope of the site is much narrower. It seems like the vast majority of posts are recipes. And the quality of writing is much poorer and monochromatic, in my opinion. In the past, there were engaging, slightly edgy pieces on bottom-shelf liquor or offal. Now, posts more often than not adhere to the boring formula, "How to make _____ that will haunt your dreams," or something similar. Give me a break.

                          In isolation, each of the following doesn't bother me much in itself: posts featuring staff members' dogs; posts featuring staff lunches; sponsored posts; the not-particularly-user-friendly and ham-fistedly ugly site design. But as a whole, all of these things are quite irritating when I recall how much I used to enjoy the site.

                          I'm curious to know if people actually prefer the site these days to how it was, say, five years ago. I'm not sure exactly what demographic they're trying to reach, but it certainly doesn't include me.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: Fozzie_Bear

                            I've seen the same written about Eater.com, CHOW, New York Times new recipe section, Yahoo Food, Tastespotting and countless online magazines devoted entirely to food. Funny how design and content changes happen at nearly the same time frame. Mass memo, mass exodus!

                            I agree with you and change is hard when devoted readers come to rely and enjoy content provided a certain way but, I believe that enough professional writers have stated in dozens of articles on this subject how incredibly challenging it has become to get paid for their work when amateur food bloggers and new writers are willing to write for free or for less pay to build their CV. I see the same thing occurring in my profession (illustrator) and no signs of a reversal anytime soon.

                            Readers post complaints but few content managers change revised business plans. And, more times that not, these decisions are out of their hands. As a reader of Serious Eats, I focus on what I enjoy and pass over the rest. You can still "vote" with your participation or lack thereof and see where that leads you.

                            I find the sheer amount of food content out "there" today is entertainment overload and finding a really great read harder than ever. On the other hand, all of these sites are in the business of making money, paying their small office staff and remaining a cog in the food writing wheel. If they go completely dark, how much fun would that be?!

                            1. re: eatingjoy


                              On the other hand, all of these sites are in the business of making money, paying their small office staff and remaining a cog in the food writing wheel. If they go completely dark, how much fun would that be?!


                              Small office staff????????!!!!!!!

                              It's CBS Interactive aka CBSi you typed this into.


                              CBS Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2014 Results

                              SOURCE CBS Corporation

                              Revenues Up 2% to $3.4 Billion

                              Diluted EPS of $3.03 on Gain from CBS Outdoor Split-Off

                              Adjusted Diluted EPS Up 6% to $.74

                              NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) today reported results for the third quarter of 2014, which included higher revenues and adjusted diluted earnings per share compared with the same prior-year period.

                              "CBS continues to succeed on the strength of its tremendous content," said Sumner Redstone, Executive Chairman, CBS Corporation. "Les and his team are optimizing the Company for future growth at every turn, and I have the utmost confidence in their ability to increasingly drive shareholder value in these dynamic times of great opportunity."

                              "Our third quarter growth reflects the success of our efforts to create and monetize our premium content," said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. "I am particularly pleased with the CBS Television Network's encouraging start to the fall season, which has reloaded our owned content pipeline in a big way with Madam Secretary, Scorpion, and NCIS: New Orleans, along with new owned hits from Showtime and The CW. Our local businesses had a strong quarter as well, including increasing political spending and higher retransmission consent fees. Also during the quarter, we renegotiated new station affiliate contracts with LIN Media, Tribune Broadcasting, Media General, and Gray Television with more to come later this year, bringing us that much closer toward our stated goal of $2 billion in retransmission consent and reverse compensation revenues by 2020. We are also capitalizing on growing consumer demand by expanding into emerging platforms. This includes the recent launch of CBS All Access, which allows our "super fans" to watch CBS wherever they are. At the same time, we are returning more value to shareholders than ever before, and we continue to have great confidence in our future as a content company in this ever-expanding marketplace."


                              As for SeriousEats, I love Ed, but the site is conflicted.
                              Just like this one.

                              If you can't make it compatible for both mobile devices and also tablets and desktop devicesyou have a problem.

                              Everyone thinks that I read my WSJ via my tiny tiny cell phone. Uh-NO! But content developers and media types refues to believe that. And continue to not believe that.

                              It's like a doctor. THEY know the best. YOU are just a dumb user and patient. Same rhtoric, diffent folks trying to feed it to you.

                              The facts don't lie. Sorry.

                              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                Wow, that was a mouthful. I am aware that CBS owns this site. Hard not to notice how often that is mentioned. They run dozens of sites. That doesn't mean the budget for CHOW is on par with their sports lineup or other divisions at the network. So assume nothing! Nice marketing piece you cut and pasted though. Ha!

                                I agree, the technical challenges are real and sometimes bothersome. I view the Internet on several different devices and they all behave differently. Keeping up with the latest OS is a real pain in the arse.

                                You have facts? I have no facts. I don't work for CHOW. I have a user experience. No reason to be sorry or to take it personal.

                                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                  I agree compatibility is important. For now. On sites not dedicated to running business applications, the numbers skew much more toward mobile devices, rather than desktops. Be prepared - more social and entertainment sites will be focusing on mobile, not desktop users. This is not just because there are more mobile users, but also because ad blocking is much more difficult on mobile devices.

                                  Pretty soon if a site doesn't work on your desktop, it won't matter to anyone except those few desktop users.

                              2. re: Fozzie_Bear

                                I do miss the restaurant reviews (NYC) SE used to have. Now it does seem that the site is geared towards home cooks.

                                I noticed a shift in the site after Robyn Lee left. Loved her quirkiness and enthusiasm. I miss her.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  Here's the link to restaurant reviews for NY. Just in case you've missed them. Last one was 11/6.

                                  I haven't noticed an uptick in recipes but I do see a good deal more contests to win free books, links to their FB page and product endorsements.

                                  1. re: eatingjoy

                                    Yes, I'm aware of those restaurant reviews. I just don't consider an article talking about one dish at a restaurant a review. It's actually more of a cooking article (Fung Tu).

                                    I only used to read newyork.seriouseats.com. You used to get several posts a day. Now their posts are sporadic at best.

                                    That's probably why I noticed an increase in recipes -- cuz I really never read seriouseats.com until now.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      I see what you mean now about the one dish review.

                                      1. re: eatingjoy

                                        Well, they need to write these new york pieces in a way as to attract all of the readers. At one point their ny articles were about nyc restaurants and stores. Now they're a lot more generic in nature -- the Fung Tu recipe for noodles, the trials and tribulations of opening a BBQ restaurant. Even the articles that seem NYC centric aren't -- they're made to appeal to everybody as they explain what chaat and tarte tatin are.

                                        I understand why they're doing this. As a NYer, the site isn't as relevant to me now as it used to be -- which is probably a good thing. Gives me a chance to catch up on other stuff!

                                        P.S. If SE is reading this, it would be great if Robyn can write a few guest articles from Taiwan.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          You should share your points with SE directly some time. You make a strong argument for readership expectations.

                                          1. re: eatingjoy

                                            I'm pretty sure that all of these editors, writers, reviewers for food magazines/blogs visit Chowhound for research/story ideas. So I think my views will be heard by somebody from SE. Whether or not they will take it into consideration is something else. I'm so old school, not participating in facebook, instagram, twitter, etc (their primary methods of communication). So perhaps my view would not be considered pertinent as I may not be their target audience.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              I hope someone at Serious Eats is reading along then.

                              3. Another change coming to Serious Eats: ZipList is going away December 10th and with it our Recipe Boxes on that site. You can get a Zip file now through early December, or perhaps merge your ZipList data into The Epicurious Recipe Box.


                                Just mentioning it for those who are infrequent visitors to SE but may still have a quite full recipe box.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: mcsheridan

                                  Thank you for the heads up. Annoying!

                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                    But you can save your Serious Eats recipes to Epicurious instead. I really don't get what they are doing anymore.

                                    1. re: OlgaH

                                      Despite e-mailing their support area, I haven't been able to get that to work yet. So, I exported the whole recipe box and spent a couple of hours moving all 245 recipes into Pepperplate.

                                      1. re: mcsheridan

                                        That's what I was trying to do before I came to this forum to bemoan SE's fate. Can't transfer it to Epicurious and I didn't even get the ZIP file emailed to me. I don't have as many recipes as you do, but now I'm realizing I'm going to have to find some other option.

                                        1. re: OlgaH

                                          I don't know why it asks for e-mail address. Go back to the site and it will give you a link for the file. (Well at least it gave me a link, on the second visit after I submitted my address. Spam, here we come.)

                                  2. Why, Serious Eats? Why? It was my favorite blog in any category to check each day, several times. What they've done to it is a crime. I miss all the great sections and reports from different cities. I'm sure they know that they've loused it up for the money. Anything that comes close to what it used to be? Let me know. Sigh...