Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

How does the search box work?

At its simplest, you just enter text and fiends.io will look for reviews that contain this text.

That being said, if you're familiar with the more advanced options of other search engines (Google, really), you can do similar things here. For instance:

  • A simple text search will look for reviews that contain all words. E.g. wacky experiment.
  • Words inside quotes will be matched together, in sequence in the reviews. E.g. "wacky experiment".
  • The "or" word is recognized and changes the behaviour of the search so that it returns reviews that match either one or the other. E.g. wacky OR experiment (it's not necessary to make "or" uppercase, that's just to highlight it in the example).
  • A dash "-" before a word means that this word must NOT be present. E.g. Iron Maiden -Book. It can also negate a quoted sentence, e.g. Slayer -"haunting the chapel".

In addition to this, you can search only in the artist name or album title, using the form artist:... and album:... (if you prefer, you can use "band:" and "name:" for the artist, and "title:" for the album, those are equivalent). E.g. artist:Tyrant, album:"Book of Souls".

How are results ranked?

This is a question I cannot answer in much details here, not because result ranking is a multi-billion bu$ine$$ on fiends.io, but because this is an area of constant experimentation and fine-tuning. What I can say, though, is that the following criteria affect the rank:

  • If the artist name or album title contains the text
  • If the title of the review page contains the text
  • The frequency of the searched words in the review
  • The proximity of the searched words in the review
  • The recency of the review and/or the album release

Of course, some of those criteria may not apply depending on the type of query (e.g. if searching only in the artist's name or searching a quoted sentence, see this question for details).

Exactly how those criteria affect the ranking is part of the ongoing experiment/fine-tuning I mentioned above.

Why can't I find reviews from [my favorite site]?

Reviews from new websites are regularly (albeit sparingly) added, but they must meet a number of criteria:

  • The website must be specialized in metal music (it is fine to have the odd non-metal review from time to time, not the other way around).
  • It must've been around for a while - I have no interest in adding a new website only to see it disappear in a few months. "A while" probably means at least a year of regular reviews.
  • It must be in English. Would be cool to support other languages, but that's a lot of work and I only speak two of them myself, so that's unlikely to happen.

In addition to this, some more technical requirements must be met:

  • The reviews must be publicly available (i.e. it must not require a login to view them).
  • Each review should have a dedicated URL (aka link, address), or in other words, each page should have a single album review. It's fine if there are some exceptions, but that's what they should be. This is a constraint of how fiends.io is currently implemented, and one that could be removed in the future (but not now).
  • It should be reasonably easy to identify the band/artist and album title of the review, either because there are specific HTML tags that identify them, or it can be extracted with good-enough accuracy by some heuristics (e.g. the header of the page always uses the pattern "Artist -dash- Album Title" or something). The rest of the metadata is optional (rating, label, release year, etc.), but the artist and album are required.

If you think your favorite website meets those requirements, maybe I just haven't found it yet, feel free to tell me about it!

I'm a webmaster/website owner, how can I add my site to fiends.io?

Glad you're interested! See this question.

I'm a webmaster/website owner, how will fiends.io affect my site?

Fiends.io visits your site, indexes the text of the album reviews and retrieves some images related to the reviews. This data is then made available via the search engine to users and is presented in search results when it matches a query. The search results are links to your website, only a short excerpt matching the query terms is presented on fiends.io. Ultimately, the goal is to drive users to your website, possibly helping more people find out about your work.

On the technical side, I take great care in how the websites are crawled - the whole system is optimized so that your servers are hit as infrequently as possible. If you have a robots.txt file for your domain, the Crawl-delay directive is respected (and an even more relaxed crawl frequency is often used). Typically the bots will never crawl at more than one request per 10 seconds (and up to 60 seconds), and only the reviews pages (and related images) are visited.

Once all reviews have been visited once (typically done within a few days of adding the site to fiends.io), only a few of the most recent pages will be re-visited semi-regularly (along with newly-added ones, of course), so the traffic dies down to become barely noticeable.

Images associated with the reviews are never hot-linked, and whenever they are displayed, a link to the page where it was found is always present so that its source is clear.

Older reviews will still get re-visited from time to time on a random basis, to look for any possible dead links and such, but again, this is barely noticeable.

Warning: content may be offensive!

This is not really a question, but it is important to point out: art in general, and metal is no different, can be offensive. Some artists go out of their way to be as offensive as possible to as many people as possible on purpose. Offensive content may be in the images (logos, album covers, band pictures, etc.), the bands' names, the albums' titles, the lyrics, the album reviews' text, etc. The nature of the offensive content could be extremely varied, be it religion, violence, horror, gore, social, political, etc.

The search results are extracted automatically from the source websites, and the images on this website may be selected randomly. If you are concerned that you might be presented such offensive content, please do not use the site. See also the terms of service.

What personal information do you store about me?

The short answer: none.

The slightly longer answer that still pretty much amounts to none: if you did deliberately register your email address before the official launch so that you would be notified of the launch, then I did store that email address (and have only used it to notify you of the launch, so welcome back!).

Otherwise, I use a single, anonymous session cookie to store the current background image. This cookie does not persist beyond your current browser session, and does not contain any personal information. I do use web analytics software, but not the Google one, I use a privacy-focused analytics platform from Cloudflare. You can check out their privacy claims here.