There aren't any guidelines to browse, explore, and search TasteSpotting. Click recklessly! Discover with utter abandon! Be Inspired!
However, when it comes to active TasteSpotting, or spotting taste around the web and sharing it here, we have a few guidelines to help you submit great things and keep this a happy place full of sunshine and marshmallows.
Contribution is open to anyone who registers.
You can submit anything represented by an image — from a recipe to a blog post to a video to a news article to a product in a store — but not everything will get published. TasteSpotting is filtered, which means an Editorial Team of real people review each submission and decide which submissions to publish to the front.
We don't have to tell you that we will always filter out porn, profanity, spam, or anything else that is just not nice (but we just did anyway). So like we said, you can submit that stuff all you want, but it will never get published.
- Register. There are no special requirements or qualifications to contribute; you only have to be registered to submit. (Didn’t you read the first question?)
- Upload an image that is at least 250x250 px. You will be able to crop it to the right size and shape with the site's image tool. It's nothing fancy, so if you need to fix colors, contrast, or resize, please do that before uploading with Photoshop, or a free online program like snipshot.
- Enter a link that goes to a specific blog post (permalink), news article, video or other detail page, not a site’s homepage.
- Write a descriptive caption.
- Assign categories and tags to help other people discover your submissions.
- Submit and wait patiently while we moderate and publish.
It takes more than just a pretty picture. There are three things that make up a submission: image, link, caption. All three have to be "good" in order for a submission to get published to the front: image as close to deliciously gorgeous as it can be, link with additional information, and caption that is smart, witty, and charming.
Quality. TasteSpotting is visually driven, so the quality of the image is important. Images should be well-lit, accurately colored, have good contrast, and of course, be in focus. Nothing hurts our feelings more than a picture that is out of focus. Nothing. Okay, maybe overexposure from the use of flash.
Subject. We are less concerned with what it is, or the subject of the image. We know your great Aunt Madge’s Lasagne (the subject) is God’s gift to Sunday Supper. However, if you took a picture of it in a candlelit room, with the flash, while you were doing the Cabbage Patch on the dancefloor, we’ll bet a small organic farm that the image will be blurred and out-of-focus, thus rendering a low quality image.
On the other hand, cilantro makes our bodies react in Alien vs. Predator ways, but a sharp, beautiful, bright photo of a dollop of cilantro pesto on a spoon is a good quality image. We’ll like the pretty image; we’d just never want to lick it.
(Also, whatever it is, please make sure you have permission to submit the image, either because you own the image, or because the image falls under a license that allows you to share it.)
Though we tout TasteSpotting as a highly visual site, we are not merely a gallery of pretty pictures (that's what Flickr is for). The link is just as important as the image because it leads to additional information in the form of a blog post with original content, a recipe, a news article, a video, a product page in a catalog, or a site’s detail page. SO, even if a photo has won awards and accolades all over the web, but links to nothing more than "I made this!" we'll probably pass on it.
We don’t usually publish submissions that link to a site’s homepage, to Flickr, or “middlemen.”
You don’t have to be a professional writer; simply write a caption that is informative. At the very least, state what is in the picture. If the subject is an ingredient, it is helpful to say in the caption what the ingredient is going to become. For example, if you are submitting a photo of a poblano pepper that became a chile relleno for dinner last night, say “Poblano pepper that became chile relleno for dinner last night.”
We have been known to gently reject submissions with captions that didn’t have any detail about what’s in the image or on the other side of the link. Captions are important because they help people search and find your submissions.
Please do not write anything that sounds like advertising, marketing, PR, or a sales pitch, e.g. “Click here,” “Come check out...” “Learn how to...” We group all of it under SPAM. Leave it up to the reader to base his or her decision to click through on the image, the caption, and their own interests. Oh, and the word "Free!" sets off our spam alarm faster than actual canned spiced ham.
No effin' spam. We said it above. We're saying it again. That's how strongly we feel about it - nothing that feels remotely like spam. Nada. If you're not sure whether it's spammy, either email us or just submit it. If we pass, then there's your answer.
Original content. Unless there is very good commentary or fairly tight theme, we usually pass on submissions that are a list of links collected from the web. We also try to avoid posts that simply re-blog content from somewhere else or are just "check out this cool link" posts.
No duplicate submissions. If you are submitting a not-as-recent blog post, please search the site to make sure you are not wasting your time (and ours!) submitting a duplicate.
Multiple images. You are welcome to submit more than one image for a given link, e.g. multiple photos from a blog post or multiple shots of a product from a catalog. However, in keeping with "no duplicates," we only publish one image for a given link, even if the photos are for different recipes on the same post. (We realize that people submit multiple images to give the Editorial Team "options," in which case, thank you.)
(Image) size matters. Images have to be larger than 250 px tall and wide otherwise they will be too small to fill in the entire square on the post. We can crop and shrink, but we haven't figured out how to stretch. We will some day.
No text or graphics. Unless it is absolutely essential to the image, we prefer that there is no text or graphical elements added to the image. This includes borders, text, and watermarks.
Weird is good. Be brave and submit things that might not be conventionally considered “delicious.” There is a reason so many people like Anthony Bourdain and the weird, cobra heart-ish stuff he eats.
Finished dish is (usually) better than ingredients. If your submission is about food, it is usually better to submit an image of a final dish. There is nothing wrong with ingredients, but readers just seem to respond better to an end product.
Create variety. Think about what everyone else might be submitting, then try to submit images that will be different. This helps your submission stand out from the queue and contribute to the variety that makes TasteSpotting interesting. Guess how many pictures of fresh tomatoes we get in August? A freakin' lot. No matter how gorgeously glittering red and ripe yours is, if there are 19 other pictures of tomatoes...you get the idea. But the picture of your particular tomato galette? We love that. (See note above about finished products versus ingredients.)
People. Images of people are fine, especially if they are well-known or famous, but we very rarely publish pictures of you, your kids, or pictures that link to blog posts with a lot of personal photos.
Categories and tags. Categories and tags are not required for submissions, but they are required for publication to the front page (it helps readers find your posts). This means if you don't categorize, the editors have to spend more time on the editorial process and it will take even longer to get through the queue of submissions. We don't want to say it, but we will: help us help you. (By the way, if we find that a submitters are consistently being lazy about tagging, we just might get lazy about reviewing their stuff, too.)
After you make a submission, it may take anywhere from right now to 24 hours for it to appear on the front page of TasteSpotting. (Very rarely, it takes a little longer. There really are people who do this, and they need a break every once in a while.)
We say it could appear “right now” because there have been those rare occasions when all of the moving parts of the moderation process — an image, a link, an editor’s eye, and the stars — are perfectly aligned at just the right time. It happens, but not often. But it happens.
Most of the time though, it takes about a day. Not only do we get a lot of submissions — and by “a lot” we mean “a lot” — but we also review every single submission, which includes clicking on the link regardless of what the image looks like. We never know if a so-so image might link to the world’s greatest post of all time about Cheerios; we wouldn’t want to miss out.
If you clicked the “Notify me” box during the Submission process, you will get an email when there has been some hot editor-on-post action. Right now, we can’t be specific about why we passed on a particular submission because we don’t have the resources (but we will! we promise!). If your submission was gently rejected and you do want to know the specific reason, there are instructions in the notification email of whom you can contact.
TasteSpotting is only as beautifully delicious as the submissions that you, the community makes. However, not everything has to be a photo of a decadent, deep-fried Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake that links to a recipe. People come to the site to be inspired by interesting, delicious, unique, cool, new things of any kind (but related to food, drink and good taste of course). We like to see the latest news, emerging trends, cool new products for the kitchen, restaurant reviews, tv and movie recaps, interviews, taste tests, and opinions about just about anything as long as it is interesting.
This is a simple (but sometimes forgotten) question you can ask yourself when submitting: Will it be interesting to at least, oh, say, five other people? Something might be unbelievably interesting to you, especially if it's a post from your own blog, but we're pretty sure that a picture of your cat that links to a story about how Meow Tse Tung ate your pancakes this morning will be interesting only to you. When you submit, keep the community in mind, and use your best judgment. We will, too.