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.

Dec 052008
 

Izea, the company behind PayPerPost and SocialSpark like to tout their international status, but non-US bloggers have complained for some time about the dearth of opportunities available to them. Non-English writers have had the very same complaint. The vast majority of sponsored post opportunities require that the blog be written in English, and most target exclusively an American audience.

So, imagine my surprise when I logged in about an hour ago to see the opp pictured above:  ¡Zona Niños!

I’m not really sure what it means or what the opp is about since I don’t read Spanish, but it’s from MEGA Brands, so I’m assuming it’s got something to do with Christmas toys and games.  I’m just excited to see advertisers finally reaching out to non-English bloggers.  Hopefully they’ll get a good enough return on investment to encourage more advertisers to do the same.

Sep 012008
 

As y’all know I frequently write sponsored posts for various advertisers that I believe in. This is one of the many ways that I earn money “off the grid”, keeping more of it for myself than I give to the tyrannical government by way of its sanctioned theft known as taxes.  One of the services I use to connect me with advertisers is called SocialSpark (about which I’ve also written extensively) and whenever I submit a post to SocialSpark for approval I need to enter a CAPTCHA image to prove that I am human.

Well, the CAPTCHA above was presented to me a couple of weeks back and had me literally laughing out loud, so I thought I’d share it with all of you.  If only freedom could be purchased for a mere $194!

Aug 112008
 

Ted Murphy, founder and CEO of IZEA (parent company of paid blogging companies PayPerPost and SocialSpark) despises Google PageRank so much that his company created a competing website metric system called RealRank.  But I’ll allow him to speak for himself…

From a PayPerPost Community Blog post dated November 17, 2007-

Once again Google has proved that PR has little to do with blog traffic, influence or relevance and everything to defending their monopolistic stranglehold on search and online advertising.

[…]

What does this mean for Advertisers?
If you are still using PR as your measure for influence you will be missing out on a lot a great blogs and bloggers. While the general population has maintained their ranking some of our better bloggers have been hit by Google. You may want to consider using Tacks and Alexa instead of PR for future campaigns until we implement RealRank.

[…]

We know that Google PR does not reflect your actual traffic…

From the IZEARanks.com FAQ

PageRank is not based on real traffic, but on what Google perceives as the quality of a website as determined by a link rating algorithm and some cloudy rules. The arbitrary and unpredictable nature of this ranking system has left both bloggers and advertisers longing for accurate statistical measure.

In an IZEA Town Hall Meeting on January 24, 2008-

I can promise you that PR will disappear in the future. Timing depends on how fast we wrap SocialSpark, but we will be removing PR from PPP in favor of other data.

There were many, many more disparaging remarks made about PR by IZEA staffers, but I think you get the point.  As far as IZEA is concerned, PageRank is an essentially useless metric, the only reason they haven’t gotten rid of it yet is because some of their advertisers demand it, and it will be going the way of the horse and buggy as soon as possible.

So, then can someone explain this screenshot to me?

That’s an opportunity at PayPerPost, created by IZEA to advertise PayPerPost, and it is only available to bloggers with a PageRank of 1 or higher, regardless of the website’s RealRank.  If RealRank is so much better than PageRank and IZEA is looking to remove the option to segment blogs by PR, then why are they using it as the only qualifier in their own opps?

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?