Do you guys remember what sparking used to mean? Technically, the word means to produce, or throw off sparks. But in the olden days, it was colloquially meant as cuddlin' up with someone.
Did you know that your blog can spark? Shuuure. It's a site called IZEA, Inc.
Ever heard of PayPerPost? Maybe Zookoda? Or Bloggers Choice Awards? How about RockStartup? That's all IZEA. They're a social media marketing company. SocialSpark is the world's first Social Marketing Network. I know I don't have to explain social networking for you, and you can guess that social marketing is a way to bring advertising dollars into your pocket, as well as extend the reach of those advertisements. Maybe the boss can explain better:
Ted Murphy, founder and CEO of IZEA says of this newest endeavor: "We have taken our highly successful PayPerPost model and flipped it inside out, creating a completely new model for social media advertising that extends beyond sponsored posts and opens up a wealth of new opportunities," adding, "We have created a social network that not only is free for advertisers to join, but also encourages advertisers to reach out to our community and build a network of people to help promote their brand. It's the first social network that is designed from the ground up to be advertiser-centric, while preserving the free, managed flow of user information common within other networks."
How does it work?
Bloggers can register for free at SocialSpark.com to create online, searchable public profiles.
Here's a glimpse of an individual blogger's profile.
This is today's featured blogger, who's a real hot-dog when it comes to presence on the site.
Bloggers can share information, interact with each other, issue ratings, create networks, etc. Like any social network, you've got friend lists, comments, faves, you know the drill.
There's lots to see on the site, like the community Videos section. I've got a cute video for you to watch, featuring the folks behind it all. It's called IZEA Beatbox:
Now for the makin' moolah part (or monetization of your blog, if you prefer). Advertisers are encouraged to provide information about their product or service, and post it in the marketplace. In return for an honest review of said product or service, they offer monetary compensation. These are called "opportunities".
Have a look-see at what an opportunity looks like:
Let's say you feel you can write an honest 200+ word post/review of this product. (And the idea is that it must be honest! You may not love said product, but don't shine on your readers, they trust you.) You'll sign up for it and you usually get about 12 hours to make your post. When you've done that, you let SocialSpark know, and you'll get paid your $12.00. Of course, you have to meet the necessary requirements. (It's gotta be long enough, readable, etc.) If the post is still live after 30 days, there'll be a sweet little addition to your PayPal account.
Er...you don't have a PayPal account? Whyever not? Go get one, silly. It's free! (After you're done reading this of course...)
So easy, so fun. What kind of company will pay you to review their products/or services? Jeez, you're just full of questions aren't you?
You've got everything from DirtDevil to VO5 to Reader's Digest to Criss Angel; (yes, the oddball magician guy.) Reputable companies, every one. They're trying to promote a particular goodie, and they know that your audience is interested in the stuff you like; ('cause well they've agreed to be your audience, see?) knowing all the while that the long reach of the world wide web is a very good thing, as far as advertising via blogs go. Now,may I say, easy-peasy? Oh, good.
I especially like the site's Code Of Ethics. The team behind this hot 'lil meeting place is just not kidding. They want to provide the community with paid post opportunities, but also want to maintain confident relations with the sponsors. To that end, they work very hard to protect everyone involved. Here are the high points:
- 100% Audit-able In-Post Disclosure (lets readers know that the post has been paid for)
- 100% Transparency (no hiding who's working with who, which helps keep people honest)
- 100% Real Opinions (it's that honesty thing again, and I love it)
- 100% Search Engine Friendly (keeps the powers that be from penalizing you)
Isn't that nice? Can you see why I'm so willing to get behind a company like that? Also, I especially like it when there's an obvious sense of humor behind all the techie stuff. For illustration, refer back to the beatbox video.
Last but not least, I must say that even though this is a paid post, I would have rhapsodized over SocialSpark anyway. I'm that excited about the whole thing. So there you have it. Register now and Spark away, people! (I'll be your friend!)