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.

May 152008

Since I didn’t sleep last night I was refreshing the SocialSpark marketplace with some regularity this morning as the IZEA staff started releasing opportunities. An excellent opp titled “$15,000 Online Video Contest” appeared that seemed perfect for Philaahzophy, so I clicked over to take it only to find that the slots for today had already been taken in the three minutes it took for me to see the listing.

Curious who was so quick on the draw I clicked over to the profiles of the six bloggers who had looked at the opp before me as clearly they were the ones who got the available slots. After looking at their blog demographics I can’t imagine the advertiser, Pandemic Labs, is going to be happy with the results of their first day’s spending. Here are the requirements for the opp-

Min. Words 100

Language English Only

You must also meet at least one of the following: ITK Installed, Top RealRank, Highest Monthly Pageviews, Highest Monthly Visitors, Most Posts Per Day, Most Props, Most Male Traffic, Most Female Traffic, Most U.S. Traffic

The opportunity is to promote a contest on that is only open to U.S. Residents. Let’s take a look at the segmentation created by the advertiser and how those six blogs measure up-

ITK Installed – since this is a requirement to take any sponsored posts at Social Spark I assume that all six blogs have it installed (as do all of the hundreds (if not thousands) of other blogs in the system)

Top RealRank – The RealRank of the six blogs are as follows: 5,288; 5,304; 1,410; 1,524; 525; 671. Two are in the Top 10%, two in the Top 20% and two are not even in the Top 50%

Highest Monthly Pageviews Every one of these blogs has their Pageviews set to private, so I can’t give you actual numbers here, but considering RealRank depends heavily on pageviews I can’t imagine any more than 2 of these blogs are in the Top 10% of Monthly Pageviews.

Highest Monthly Visitors Again, each of these blogs refuses to share its monthly visitors, but I can look at their Visitors/day: 6, 5, 50, 63, 160, and 159. Again only two have any chance of being in the Top 10%.

Most Posts Per Day – I haven’t taken the time to browse enough blogs at SocialSpark to determine what qualifies as high or low in this category, but here are the numbers for the relevant blogs: 0.28, 0, 0, 1.2, 1.26 and 0.

Most Props – again I haven’t done the research to determine how many Props is “a lot”, but the 10th most propped blog currently has 40 according to the leaderboard on the homepage. These bloggs have: 1, -1, -1, 4, -1, and 0. Hard to imagine any of those qualify as “Most Props”, especially the three with negatives.

Most Male Traffic and Most Female Traffic – These two requirementswould seem to cancel each other out, so I’m not really sure what SocialSparek or the advertiser was thinking with this type of segmentation. hence, no further comment.

Most U.S. Traffic – This, in my opinion, is the most important segmentation due to the fact that the contest is only open to legal U.S. residents. let’s see how the six blogs measured up: 8.4% (w/ 85.2% Malaysia), 15.3% (w/ 82% Canada), 32.5% (w/ 22.8% Philippines), 46.2% (w/ 29.5% Malaysia), 36.7% (w/ 33.2% Philippines), and 55.2% (w/ 21.3% Philippines). Only one of the blogs has more than 50% U.S. Traffic and the average (if I’m doing the math correctly) is only 32.3% U.S. Traffic – not exactly a majority considering many blogs in the system have 85% or more U.S. traffic.

Several of these bloggers have more than one blog in the system and I have no way of telling which blog will host the opp, but I chose the one with the most U.S. traffic for each blogger. While I won’t be sharing the names of the bloggers or their blogs here I will tell you that the numbers are in the same order for each type of segmentation.

An additional caveat is that I don’t know if all six of these bloggers received the opp. they were, however, the only six to visit it before me and there were no additional slots when I arrived, so even if they haven’t received the go-ahead yet, they will before anyone with a significant amount of U.S. traffic does.

So, I ask again. Do you think this advertiser is going to be happy with their Return On Investment?