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Thank You + More MSA Updates

Simran @MSA
BySimran @MSANov 24, 2021 | 25 comments

Hand putting smile emotion face to above normal and sadness mood for customer satisfaction and evaluation after service or marketing survey.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us in the last post. We learned a ton about what broke trust and what was just frustrating. Thank you for your responses, your candor, and your support. 

We have work to do to deliver an experience you really love. Some of these things will take time to fix. Some of these things we are going to try to reinvent and do differently. Some of these things we can change today…

From our last post, we learned that you want to see more reviews and more reviews from the community. So let’s get moving on that now. If you’re interested in writing a review with MSA, please reply in the comments with the brand you’d love to review with one of our writers. We’ll reach out to you on next steps based on your feedback in the comments! 

Change is on the horizon for MSA. This is just a starting point. Over the last few days, I tried to reply to all comments, but also want to summarize what I heard.

What We Heard

There are distinct themes and areas to improve upon.  

Reviews: Bring more reviews to the site, including bead box reviews. Cover new subscription brands. Do more MSA community reviews and use more reviewer photos.

Trust: Provide more information when there is change, such as when a writer departs or a new one joins. Explain why something is the way it is, such as old comments on articles and why comments don’t appear immediately. Provide information to help learn, remove promotional tone, and make it clear when something is sponsored.

New Ideas: Revisit brands and products that were discovered in boxes and provide an update on whether or not they have withstood the test of time. 

Diversity: Bring greater diversity to the site in those who write and provide a point of view, as well to the subscriptions that are covered. 

Timely and Accurate: Get the right things right about brands, ranging from their essential pricing information to making sure the community is aware of the latest spoilers on time. 

MSA Features: Give the Swaps site more love, specifically by removing outdated swaps and swappers. Improve the Search experience so all reviews appear for the brand, and fix the broken RSS feed. Also, folks really miss the forum. 

What’s in the Works

More reviews: As mentioned above, we would love to do more community reviews! Please reply in the comments with a brand you’d like to review with us. We will follow-up with next steps. (Thanks for the feedback on bead boxes and hope to see you sign up in the comments, Lauren, Crafter, Alice, and Alice a Rachal!)

Reviewer photos: More writers started taking photos of their own this month. For example, Lindsey took the photos in her Vine Oh! Box review, and Naomi took the photos in her most recent November Birchbox review. It was great to read that you wanted more of the same! You can expect to see more of this in the future. 

All brand reviews: Search results are not serving you as well as they should be today. We will update the search results to address your feedback, and I will post an update once that’s live. Until then, the best way to get all reviews by brand is by searching for and then selecting the brand name. This will take you to the brand page. On the brand page, you can see all the reviews, including reader feedback too. Below are screenshots in case that helps! 

Censoring Comments: There is a lag in your comment appearing on the site from when you submit the comment, and if the comment is at risk of offending anyone in the community, it doesn’t appear on the site. Someone on our team scans comments every hour during business hours and tries to minimize the time lag from when you post a comment to when it appears onsite. However, I hear your frustration loud and clear and it makes sense – why can’t you real time chat and react to comments, especially when you can do that on other sites? We are testing new ways to do real time interactions on MSA and will have an update next month. 

Lists and Old Comments: There are some articles that summarize the best brands based on a category (“Best Subscription Boxes for Kids”). We strive to make these lists your single best resource for that particular type of subscription. The Directory is now the most up-to-date way to get this information. We are working on a way to compare and contrast subscriptions in The Directory, and we will also see if we can add something similar to lists (Thanks for the feedback, Sarah and Lauren!). Also, lists have old comments to reference what was said in the past, but we will rethink how to do this better too (thanks, CDG!).

Timeliness and Accuracy: We are working on getting subscription details and timely spoilers consistent, and it is humbling. No one did this better than Liz. We are brainstorming ways to improve this. In the meantime, please keep doing what you’re doing – let us know in the comments if something is not working right. It’s helpful to figure out where we are tripping up. 

What to Expect Next

Year In Review: All next month we will be featuring segments of “Year In Review,” which is a look back at some of your favorite subscription brands. It’s the subscription box version of Spotify’s Wrapped, where we do a review of what subscriptions did for its biggest fans this year. 

Follow-up Product Reviews: Christen’s November monthly favorites roundup (here’s one from October favorites) will feature a new product MSA writers are loving and one that is withstanding the test of time that was discovered in a subscription box. We will also launch a new series next month to highlight products that are still favorites after living them for months. (Thanks for the ideas, Carol!)

Secret Santa: We are working on getting Secret Santa ready for next week on the Swap site, which Lindsey will post about on December 1st. 

Next Update: I’ll provide another update before the end of the year to share what’s new or fixed based on your feedback. Right now we are working on improving comments, fixing Search results, making it easier to find There’s a Subscription for That, reaching out to old writers for an update and improving tagging onsite. I will also share more about what to expect in the new year from MSA. We are excited to bring new brands, features and experiences to the site! 

We may stumble a bit as we keep improving, but we want this to be a place that you love again. No one here can build or deliver exactly what Liz did. However, I’m hoping you will see that there are folks here, both new and old, who care about the community, want you to have a fun experience on MSA, and also happen to love subscriptions. Our goals are to get the basics right, like a familiar tone in the writing, and to evolve MSA with new features and experiences, like community reviews, Mary’s What I’m Wearing This Week series, and a new comments experience. I also want to share more about how I ended up at MSA after meeting Liz, but let’s fix some things first – more on that in the next update! Thanks for giving us another chance.

Simran @MSA
Simran @MSA
Simran joined the team in 2020. She ensures our community and team are connected with the brands they care about most with education and enjoyment in mind. In her spare time, she loves sending homemade cards to loved ones, getting outside, and does volunteer work as a public speaking coach at a nonprofit.

Simran @MSA
Simran @MSA
Simran joined the team in 2020. She ensures our community and team are connected with the brands they care about most with education and enjoyment in mind. In her spare time, she loves sending homemade cards to loved ones, getting outside, and does volunteer work as a public speaking coach at a nonprofit.
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25 comments

Danielle

I have been reviewing subscription boxes since 2011 on my own blog and would love to collaborate on any kind of skincare review, especially Korean skincare (I’m a Korean-American adoptee). I appreciate the time MSA is taking to listen to readers, the connection to the community is what I’ve always loved about this site!

Lauren

I’m really happy to hear this. Obviously, we all still care about and have an attachment to MSA. Since the redesign, it’s been like fighting for a relationship with a partner who doesn’t care if you stay together or break-up. It seems like maybe that changing and MSA does want the relationship to succeed after all. If you are sincere in these changes and they come to fruition, I can say, for me, it won’t be too little, too late. I miss MSA as source of excitement for new sub boxes and I want to reconnect with the writers and community who have the same interests: more subscriptions!!

I commented on the last post with a list of boxes and I wanted to repost that here and add to it. I’m not interested in reviewing these boxes myself, but I believe the reviewers on the team and many in the community would be excellent choices for these boxes. The best ad is an honest and accurate review, and with these changes, I can see myself subscribing to more boxes — and using MSA’s links and codes to do so.

I would like to see the following categories and/or boxes reviewed. Some of these boxes I already have and your reviews would provide community and a place to chat with others who get the box. Some are boxes I’ve been interested in for a while and MSA’s reviews would help me decide if I should subscribe.

BEAUTY: The Detox Box, Beauty Heroes Box (I love the work Megan does on the box, btw. Please don’t end that review, ever), Boxwalla

ARTS & CRAFTS: The Crafter’s Box, Adults & Crafts, Craftee DIY Box, ArtSnacks, Paletteful Packs, SketchBox, The Inky Box, Potomac Bead Box, any others I don’t yet know about

HOME & FOOD: The Plant Club, The Sill, PostBox by Postmark’d, Nicely Noted, Snailbox, Shaker and Spoon, Red Velvet NYC, Bake Eat Love (BEL), Marshmallow of the Month, any others I don’t yet know about

KIDS: Sensory Theraplay, Crate Expectations, Raddish Kids, KiwiCo Yummy Crate, Pipsticks, Outside the Box Creation, and any non-clothing kid subscriptions

Looking forward to seeing the changes on MSA, and to getting my “sub box partners” back through sincere reviews and open, honest comments.

Alexandra

I’m glad you’re listening and taking notes 🙂 it has felt a little different since Liz left. Its colder in some ways. But I still love this site none the less, I just feel less at home whenever I visit. Sort of like if your grandma changed the whole house upside down haha. I think for me it’s especially since there is so much less comments. I always scroll down to the comments to get the true pulse of a box. I would love to review any Canadian box for you! hint hint wink wink Frank and oak 😉 Or any box that also ships to Canada! What I thought was always lacking over here is a section specially designated to Canadian shipped box. It would be easier for the Canucks 🙂 Thanks and keep up the good work!

Simran @MSA

Thanks for the note, Alexandra! We are very much listening, and we want the same too. For the Canada boxes, this exists! You can filter based on shipping location in the directory. Here’s a pre-filtered link – https://www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com/directory/subscription-box/canada

Carol

Awesome! Thanks for the update!

Sara

I was just wondering if LIz was ever going to come back or if she still has anything to do with MSA? There was never really any info if she has departed for good or just taking a long break.

Simran @MSA

My life policy is never say never. Liz took a step back from the day to day operations. I still connect with her to brainstorm new ideas, get advice, share updates. In my very humble opinion, I think it’s brave to take a break. I feel honored that she trusted us to continue to be here for her and the community. I love getting to chat with her, and I hope she does come back in some way at some point. I don’t want to make false promises, and I also don’t want her to feel any pressure. She built MSA pretty much around the clock for nine years so for now I hope she is soaking up a much deserved break.

Sara

I hope she is enjoying her break as well. I also think she deserves it and I am glad she didn’t close MSA. I was just curious as if she was still apart or will be apart of MSA. Thanks for answering!

Alex

very good question!

Melissa Z

I’d love to review a plus size sub box as someone with more of a preppy/classic style. I think it would be helpful for people to see how the same subscription box handles different tastes.

Em

The forum was my favorite place on the internet back in 2015. I think it was a huge mistake to close it. I hope there will be some discussion about bringing it back.

Sherri

Looking forward to seeing how the changes unfold. Would really like to see the sense of community come back to this site.

Simran @MSA

Thanks, Sherri! I’m hoping for the same. This community helped me discover my first subscription years ago.

Jody E

Glad to see things slowly getting better. I would love to give my opinions on VineOh, Paper Source Lifestyle box, Pura Vida Bracelets, Any coffee subs, beer subs, Therabox, and Beachly Mens box. Thank you.

Simran @MSA

Fun! Thanks for submitting. I was also super curious about Paper Source too; I love my crafting and stationary time. We will keep you posted. Thanks for writing in, Jody E!

Jasmine

Unrelated, I didn’t know what “see new” was, and just saw from this post that it is skincare, from the brand review explanation. That yellow jar intrigued me. I caved to a mystery box, eek!

Sami

Ooh, I would love to review the Boxwalla Beauty Box! They come up with the most unique, luxurious items!

melissa

I’d love to see more book box reviews. A friend just gifted me BookBrews Box and I can’t really find any reviews or anything. Also, would love to see reviews on Just The Right Book.

Steph

Can there also bit a bit more honesty in the reviews? Every product seems to be amazing when reviewed. Also, please remove all the non sub ads, I know this has been a complaint for a long time. Lastly, stop monitoring the comments and refusing to post negative feedback. I came back to msa a week ago and my first comment never appeared. Your readers DO want to hear if there’s an issue with the box or product. I know you get a commission and that’s why you want everything merry but it always isn’t so. I’ll probably leave if my comments get filtered again.

Snow

I agree, Steph! Reviews done with rose colored glasses on are almost painful to read. If the box had been paid for by the reviewer, would the tone and verdict change? Probably. Then again, everyone has their own tastes, so it’s unfair to judge a box solely on one’s personal preferences.
In regards to comments, I have had a few not show up, and unless the commentator is being downright rude or completely irrelevant, I enjoy hearing what people have to say, both positive and negative.
I think MSA also needs to make sure the majority of the posts stay true to the mission of this site (and that would be subscriptions, not items like expensive mirrors).
Lastly, 😋 more editorial type pieces should be spotlighted better. I actually really liked the format before this one because it gave that option, but I realize there are bigger fish to fry.
I definitely appreciate the willingness and effort to make things better. ☺️

Lauren

Steph and Snow, I feel like the rose-colored glasses is happening more frequently with the new reviewers. I’ve really been trying to give them some grace while they get established, but I agree that it’s getting a bit tired. Megan just did a review on Beauty Heroes’ November box and straight up said one of the products did nothing, and I was so thrilled to hear her admit it because I felt the exact same way but was half-way expecting a glowing review. Brandi did the “Dough Box” from Bespoke Post and admitted that though she really enjoyed the box, the value wasn’t really there but she framed that “negative” in an optimistic way that felt sincere by basically saying, “No, I’m don’t know if the value is there at all but I had such a great time with it, I’m not sure I care”.

I am not regularly seeing the same kind of honesty in reviews from the newer writers. Naomi’s latest review of Birchbox is kind of an example. The review was posted in November, but the box was from summer, and the brand is undergoing massive changes. She got a box of repeats (which might have been great since she loved those products) but nothing was really addressed about the June orJuly being reviewed in November, the changes in the company, or how someone could be disappointed that they got a lot of old samples. Her main criticism was “it didn’t feel as cohesively curated as other boxes”. That might be a legitimate criticism, but… I feel like it avoids the massive elephant(s) in the room: what the heck is going on with Birchbox?!

Just my two sense, if this gets posted… lol

Rosemary

I’ll second that (if this comment is allowed).

Rosemary

I got to admit that you guys are trying after that disastrous redesign of the site. Best of luck with cleaning up the non-active swapper accounts. That has needed to be done for so many years. I r got an old account that I even contacted you about to try and get rid of it (it stopped getting email notifications).
I don’t like what you are doing with the comments… I’m more interested in what people have to say than what you write (I usually go straight to the comments).

Doreen

Is there a way to combine all the spoilers to one post as you get to know them? I really like all the comments like others have said but hate having to scroll through 5 different pages to remember what was said about the spoilers. For example, if allure puts out one spoiler and there are 20 comments on there, I think it would be nice if that post was just updated to include any of the subsequent spoilers so all of the comments stay in one post rather than scrambled throughout multiple posts.

Amy

Thank you for the update and listening to us! One more thing about swap site- can you explain why some boxes are not allowed? For example, this site posts spoilers and reviews of the shape beauty lab box and yet despite my multiple requests to get that box listed so I can put items up, never get a response aside from that box is not allowed on the swap

Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.