IZEA, Social Spark and Redemption

Update: This contest is now closed.

IZEA is one of those companies that everyone loves to hate. Why? Well… PayPerPost, the ill concieved program that when launched offered to pay bloggers for reviews of companies and products without disclosure and requiring positive reviews.

Many stories have been written about PayPerPost over the years, most of them negative. Ted Murphy, the CEO of IZEA, is a stand up guy though and adjusted PayPerPost to not require positive reviews and to allow for disclosures. This was better but wasn’t palatable for many bloggers. To his credit, Ted has been very open with me in the past year since I had a memorable conversation with him atop the rooftop bar at the Iron Cactus in Austin Texas for SXSW. We discussed the complications of IZEA programs. He noted that he wanted to provide a way for bloggers, particularly longtail bloggers who might not have direct access to large ad deals or corporate sponsorships, to be able to make a decent amount of money. My argument was that many longtail bloggers are new or inexperienced in the mine fields that are the internet and endorsements and that not enough education was presented around the concept. Bloggers could hurt their reputations or audiences simply lusting after the concept of “cheap money”.

Since that conversation, Ted and I have stayed in touch about new programs such as SocialSpark which seems to take the same principle of making money for bloggers and executing in a wildly different way. While I personally do not plan to jump in on the paid review arena, I would note that I am giving IZEA a chance with a big outreach happening next week. It’s redemption time and I’m putting my neck out for a company I’ve had odds with. However, I believe in the principle of redemption and I also believe that it’s really difficult to come back after making big mistakes. People remember mistakes, not the things done right. I feel like IZEA has started to execute well and that they deserve a chance.

As I said, I am participating in an IZEA/Sears program for the Grant a Wish program. The details of that program, and the benefits to you my readers as well as a Charity during these Holidays will be seen in the days and weeks to come, but considering the history, I wanted to stake my position on IZEA, Social Spark and Ted Murphy today.