Dec 112008

It’s not exactly news that I’ve been far from happy with Izea, PayPerPost and SocialSpark for some time now. I actually abandoned writing for them for about two months, but have returned as they’re still one of the most consistent money makers available to me on the web. Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse over at Izea.

The last time I wrote about PPP was back in August related to Izea’s love of PageRank and how they’ve further embraced it instead of abandoning it as they had promised when Google attacked the bulk of their bloggers.  It seems good old Ted Murphy has decided that PayPerPost’s original critics were right and it really is all about selling PageRank and text links and actually has nothing to do with quality bloggers writing thoughtful and detailed reviews about products and services.  Why would I say this?  Well, according to Carri Bright (Izea’s Communications Diva)

The good news, though is that as of tomorrow (12.11.08), Tack Rating is no longer going to be a segmentation factor for Opps in PPP. So, while you may still receive a ban (deserved or otherwise) this will no longer affect your ability to take Opps from OTHER advertisers or lower your Tack score.

If you’re unfamiliar with PPPs workings, a ‘tack’ is the rating system advertiser’s have to give feedback on how well the blogger performed their duty when taking the advertiser’s opp (opportunity / sponsored post). Up until now, advertiser’s have been able to require a minimum average tack rating before a blogger could take one of their opps. This system allowed better blogs to (theoretically) rise to the top as an advertiser could require a 4 or 5 tack rating, leaving out all of those who previous advertisers have rated one or two tacks for poor English skills, outright lies, or rule bending.

The system was far from perfect, but was at least based on advertiser input and not the conflicted interest of PPP’s “reviewers” who (according to this ongoing thread) don’t seem very interested in disqualifying low quality blogs or even outright frauds and cheats.  In the past advertisers could allow even the one tack rated sploggers take their opps of they so chose, but now every PPP advertiser is required to let anyone and everyone who manages to game the (seriously broken) PageRank and RealRank systems get paid for linking to their website despite the quality of their writing or ability to follow simple instructions.

Sep 032008

Join Associated Content

Despite my early excitement about earning opportunities at Associated Content, I hadn’t actually submitted anything to them since February until a a slight variant of my recent RideMax review.  That article was rejected because “[c]ontent submitted as Non-Exclusive must be published on AC before it is published elsewhere.”  I’m not sure when that rule went into effect, but it certainly wasn’t there in February.  My guess is that it is a result of the more stringent anti-plagiarism efforts created in the wake of the fiasco that occured last December.

While this doesn’t prevent the “double dipping” I proposed for monetizing blog posts last November it does make it somewhat more difficult.  Now, instead of simply submitting any post that you feel AC would be interested in, such posts must be submitted to AC prior to being published on your blog.  This isn’t a huge stumbling block, but can be a pain in the ass considering AC takes up to two weeks to approve/reject and finally publish submissions.

So, whenever I write an entertainment review I originally write it up for Associated Content.  Once it’s been accepted there I publish it on one of my blogs and then, finally, submit it to (when appropriate) as they still have no requirement that reviews be unpublished.  Of course, a wise blogger always changes things up a bit when publishing the same info at multiple sites.  Not only does each site have a different audience, but no one wants to be tagged by the Big G for hosting duplicate content either.

Aug 282008

The question I am most often asked here at Philaahzophy is – “How do we make money blogging?”  Not only do I get this question from commenters, but also from other friends (of both the online and offline varieties).  In fact I’ve begun fielding it from my 12 year old daughter Z quite a bit as well.  So, when she went looking for pictures to add to her latest blog post about teen blogging she sent me the cartoon to the left.

It’s by Hugh MacLeod and was originally posted to his blog,

Aug 182008

As parents, there are millions of things we want to teach our children in a relatively short period of time.  As a divorced father who missed the first 9 years of his daughters life there are just as many things, but a much more compressed time frame.  Not only have I missed many, many years all together, but even the time I have is limited by visitation.  So it amazes me a bit that it took me so long  to start combining these lessons.

Some of the biggest parenting goals I’ve had are to teach Z personal responsibility, economic sense, personal worth, and that work will eventually pay off.  Last month I finally figured out a way to bring these goals together.  Instead of giving Z an allowance simply because she’s managed to keep breathing for another week I’ve instead decided to pay her to blog.

I’m finally starting to make some decent monthly cash through blogging and I thought it was time to share the wealth a bit.  Instead of simply thrusting her into the world of blog monetization, I’m actually paying her for every post she makes (based on a minimum of four posts per week).  So far it seems to be working fairly well.  She has earned around $50 in the last four weeks writing primarily on her personal blog she’s dubbed the Butterfly Diaries.  More importantly, as a result of her consistent posting she’s getting indexed almost immediately by Google and starting to generate revenue through Adsense and a few affiliate programs as well.

Actually, let me withdraw the qualifier on that last sentence and try again.  Most importantly she’s learning to earn her own money (if at a slightly inflated scale), learning how to communicate better, and developing critical thinking skills at the same time.  Meanwhile it helps us grow closer as she better understands the trials, tribulations and victories that I experience on a daily basis while trying to eek out a living online.

Jul 092008

SocialSpark, the latest paid to blog service from Izea, still has some pretty serious bugs to work out. After writing more than 40 posts for them in the first six weeks they were open I’ve been away from the site for over a month. Upon returning today I found little has changed. While this would normally be a good thing, SocialSpark is still in Beta and hasn’t worked out the vast majority of the flaws that I, and many other bloggers, pointed out in the first few weeks.

Here’s some images to show the latest slap in the face Izea and SocialSpark are delivering to aspiring bloggers-

The first screenshot shows the main page bloggers see once they’re logged in to SocialSpark. I circled the “opportunity Spotlight” which is a $12.oo paid post for the new Dirt Devil AccuCharge cordless vacuum. The second screenshot shows what happens when a blogger clicks over to the opportunity. Here they learn that the opportunity is “closed”. In other words, they’re spotlighting an earning opportunity that is no longer valid. Seriously, how difficult would it be to have the randomizer that determines the “Opportunity Spotlight” check to make sure the opportunity was still open?