Applying to IMDb‘s NewsDesk can be an exercise in futility if the articles in your RSS Feed are not up to their requirements. Their requirements aren’t challenging but are rigorous and with good reason. IMDb is one of the top tier movie websites on the Internet. I spoke earlier of all the requirements here: Movie Website Traffic: IMDB NewsDesk.
Three Reasons why being a NewsDesk Partner is Advantageous
1.) Becoming one of IMDb’s NewsDesk Partners (their official designation for it) and getting in on even a minuscule percentage of IMDb traffic could mean a sizeable bump in your website traffic.
2.) It gives your movie website exposure to a greater audience. Millions of people from around the world visit IMDb pages daily. Now some of those people will be seeing your content and clicking through to it.
3.) Its a form of validation and legitimacy. It says your content is good enough to be represented here.
The Story Begins
We have applied to IMDb’s NewsDesk multiple times and been rejected multiple times. (Violins playing, no one cares) The last time we applied was different. We had learned from the past and applied that knowledge to the next time we sought admission.
We looked at the stories we were posting and made adjustments. We made adjustments by looking at what the NewsDesk was currently printing and added such stories to our movie website’s repertoire and weekly postings. We added film castings, movie industry news, and film festival news in my feed instead of just movie trailers and film reviews. “Give the people what they want.” It paid off.
We received an email telling us that IMDb wanted to add our movie website to the NewsDesk but that our articles were too short, that they had to be at least 150 words long.
Thank you for contacting us about becoming a news partner.
We’d like to consider your application to NewsDesk, but the word count in your RSS feed’s summary text is too short. We require an average of 100 words for each article’s summary text that appears within your RSS feed itself. If you are able to comply we’ll certainly reconsider.
For more information regarding our feed requirements, please check out our NewDesk Partner FAQ here:
If, after reading through the requirements, you think that you can alter your feed or plan on lengthening your articles, please resubmit your site for consideration as a partner.
The IMDb Help Desk
Since our articles were more than 100 words we knew there had to be another culprit. We looked at our feed. Sure enough our RSS Feed in Firefox was showing only a summary even though we had Full selected for our feed in WordPress. We checked other WordPress websites in Firefox and found the same thing.
I looked on a Blogger powered website in Firefox, a site included in the IMDb’s NewsDesk and what do you know? The full article, not a summary, was displayed in both Firefox and Safari.
With Blogger it is easier. You hit Full in the Feed settings and it displays the full feed in both Safari and Firefox. With WordPress, the full feed displays in Safari (we didn’t check Internet Explorer but a RSS Feed in Chromo looks like code) but only a summary displays in Firefox.
Path to Acceptance
And I said before: We made sure our stories were at least 150 words long and that we began covering stories that IMDb displayed on their NewsDesk.
In our reply, we sent IMDb our Feedburner RSS Feed URL, which displayed our full RSS Feed in Firefox for our WordPress site.
In response, they sent us back their standard rejection email:
Thank you for your interest in becoming a News Partner.
We regret to inform you that your site does not meet our requirements for NewsDesk. Some typical reasons that we decline submissions include:
1) the content/coverage too closely parallels the content of an existing partner
2) the content failed to meet our technical standards
3) the content failed to meet our editorial standards
4) the content provides more reviews than film coverage
Again, we truly appreciate your submission.
The IMDb Help Desk
Then, five days later, we recieved this from IMDb:
We’re writing to let you know that we’ve received your site’s application information, have tested it to see if it meets our data feed requirements, and it has done so.
In order to activate your feed, we need a logo for your site. Please send your logo to [email protected] The image should be either a .jpg or .gif file and should be no larger than 300 pixels wide. After we receive your logo, your feed will go live on our site.
Again, thanks for your interest in joining us in this new venture! Please let us know if you have any questions.
The IMDb Help Desk
Out of left field we were accepted. Of course we sent them our logo as quickly as humanly possible.
Make sure you select Full for your RSS Feed in the dashboard of whatever publishing platform (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) you choose to use, and then check that the Full Feed is dispalying in different web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.). Use your own eye balls and look at your RSS Feed. You want full stories, not summaries.
Make sure you are posting movie news stories of at least 150 words, not just trailers and movie reviews. IMDb’s NewsDesk wants movie news, i.e. casting news, movie industry news, movie development frivolities, etc. Give it to them.
Have a large amount of posts in your RSS Feed so IMDb can review the post output of your site in great detail. We went with fifteen posts the last time we applied but ten may be enough.
Use Feedburner to display the full RSS feed in Firefox for a WordPress site and submit the URL for that feed to IMDb.
Have a semi-professional looking website. You wouldn’t go to an interview wearing a T-Shirt would you? Buy a professional theme for your site or have one built and installed before applying. Every little bit helps.
Four rejections later we were finally accepted. We never gave up, we adapted (Marine Corp, Marine Corp) and so should you. It ‘s worth it.