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Just Kill The PayPerPost Brand & Focus On SocialSpark

Ted, what’s the story? PPP is dead. Google killed it. The way I see it, you have two choices.

1. Kill the brand and focus on your new SocialSpark product that enforces disclosure and nofollow. This to me is a winning idea with no flaws.


2. Fight Google.

Which one sounds easier? You may say to yourself, “Well, #2 sounds like it would bring my company lots of free publicity, plus it’s the right thing to do.” But I’m here to tell you that I don’t think “fighting Google” is either smart, or worth the time or effort.

Let’s face it. The PPP model has been stricken down by the Google Gods.

This is Google’s Internet… we just live in it.

We play by their rules or don’t play at all, even if their rules are built for them alone. Seems defeatist, yes, but it also seems prudent when it comes to running a long-term profitable business?

Maybe my opinion would change of the situation if they came after one of my companies/brands. So I have considered that, yes. And yes, I’d probably get very angry with them too.

I’m just saying… I’m not sure I’d fight at this point. But then again, you’re not me. Good luck in whatever you do. I know one thing, you’ll get some good publicity out of the whole situation. But will that publicity help, or hurt? That’s the question.

Mathew offers a more balanced opinion, as usual.

Exclusive First Look At SocialSpark, Formerly PayPerPost, A “Social Network” For Advertisers & Publishers

I just got a private first-look at the new Izea system (PayPerPost) from Ted Murphy himself at his Postiecon event (where I’m speaking shortly, full disclosure). I was asked not to print the entire press release, so here’s what I can tell you.

It’s called SocialSpark (which now forwards to so don’t bother looking). Click image for bigger version.

What Is SocialSpark?
So what is it? Well, it’s a “social network” for advertisers and publishers (bloggers). Wait, wait, wait… Who wants another social network, right? I don’t either, and that’s what I said to Ted. SocialSpark is different. From what I can see, you don’t join to make friends… you join to meet advertisers. So it’s essentially a matchmaking network for the blogger and the advertisers. I guess a super, fancy marketplace, no? That was my first impression.

Now, you’re in the network, and you put their code in your blog and now advertisers (who are also in the network) can browse your blogs and pitch you on advertising their goods/services. They can name a price, and you can decide to accept it or not. The ads are in the form of pop-up, layered interstitials, and “paid to post” blog entries.

Whoa! It’s just like PayPerPost, lame, right? That’s what I said. It’s not. A few things Ted told me.

1. Every link in your post is nofollow.
2. You are required to put a disclosure badge… in the post… or you don’t get paid.

An Alexa Killer?
On another note, Ted showed me something called “realrank”. Which is essentially the stats your blog gets in the network that can be seen by anyone else in the network. I took this as something like an Alexa ranking. Ted said bloggers in the network will eventually have little traffic widgets they can put on their blog to “show off” their realrank. An Alexa killer that we all finally wanted? Maybe.

Open Source
Looks like third-party developers will have access to an api to do with what they want, which can only be a good thing?

What Will Happen To PayPerPost? Will It Die?
I asked Ted frankly if PayPerPost is going to die and fade away, and he would not commit to that. However, it’s my opinion that that is his intent down the road. He used the negative press for a year to drive the company’s growth, then smartly changed the name to Izea, and is now launching a new brand under the umbrella. I see no reason why PayPerPost will live on, do you?

I’m trying to think of reasons why SocialSpark will suck, but I can’t yet. I mean, I’m really trying to shoot the business model down but so far all of my red flags are gone. Of course, we’ll have to wait to see it in live action to judge it, and I know the bloggers will. :) Ted said it doesn’t go live until Jan, 2008.

PayPerPost Changes Its Name To IZEA

Ted Murphy, CEO of PayPerPost dropped me a note earlier today letting me know that the controversial company is changing its name to “IZEA”. The site is live now, check it out. From the press release I found live on the site

Effective immediately, the company will operate under the parent name of IZEAâ„¢ Inc., incorporating consumer generated advertising network and other Web sites currently operating under the PayPerPost, Inc. umbrella.

So the question is… Why change names now? Some will argue that IZEA is simply trying to remove the often scolded brand of PayPerPost from the equation. Other companies have done this in the past, and it has worked. Accenture anyone?

But in reality, it appears to simply be a restructure, with a launch of a new product that Ted has been teasing to show me for months now yet failed to deliver. Murphy may be a marketing genius, but he’s a darn tease too.

The name change comes just days before the scheduled unveiling of IZEA’s highly anticipated new service, codenamed Argus. An alpha version of the offering will be revealed on Nov. 10 at PostieCon, the company’s annual user conference. It will provide both bloggers and advertisers more visibility into social media and allow them to interact with each other and the public in more immediate, transparent and accountable ways. Access to the alpha version will be by invitation only through the end of 2007.

Full disclosure: I’m speaking at Postiecon in a few weeks, the day after the Blogworldexpo show. See you all in Vegas.

Ted Murphy Is A Fucking “Evil” Marketing Genius?

I agree with Loren. Ted Murphy isn’t evil as Arrington says. In fact, if you read my blog, you’ll know that I turned my opinion on Ted a long time ago and proclaimed him a fucking marketing genius.

Which, by the way is #1 on Google for that term now Ted.

Fucking marketing genius

And he continues to keep that moniker.

Case in point, watch Ted at MESH baiting Mke Arrington of Techcrunch.

Disclaimer: I’m on a panel at Postiecon in the fall. Looking forward to meeting Ted and learning how I can also be an evil fucking marketing genius too.

PayPerPost Direct Launches – Elminates The Middle Man

PayPerPost may still not be liked by many, but I will stick to my guns when I say that Ted Murphy, the CEO of PPP is a marketing genius. I got an email from Ted earlier today asking me to check out a new thing called PayPerPost Direct.


Full disclosure. I am not being paid to write this post, however, I am speaking at the Postiecon event in the fall.

PayPerPost Direct is really smart. Why? Because it makes it even easier to conduct transactions on your blog. Watch the video for a better, more detailed explanation.

We’ve had a number of people ask whether it’s possible for advertisers to directly approach Posties to get them to write special blog posts. PPP Direct makes that happen. In a nutshell, you simply specify the minimum amount you want to be paid for these Direct opportunities and stick a widget on your blog. When an advertiser finds your blog and decides they’d like you to write something they just click on the badge attached to the widget and make you an offer.

We’ve built a full negotiation and transaction auditing system into the PPP Direct engine as well so that Posties and advertisers can really hash out all the details of a post together, without any involvement from PayPerPost.

In other words, they’re saving time. I like it. If I’m an advertiser, why should I have to create an account, login, search for the blogger in the network, etc… When I could simply say “Hey, this blog is taking opportunities, I can quickly and easily just buy a spot right now, fast.”.

If I’m a blogger, I’m loving it as well. Especially because the payout is much better and more competitive than other systems.

If you are using ReviewMe or any competitors services you know that they charge between 50-100% markup on your post, while we charge 35% for our self service model. While I still think 100% markup by our competitors is absolutely ridiculous, there is justification in a markup for making the facilitating the review, match making, customer service processes, tax report and financial processing, those things have real costs.

What I take issue with is the badges these guys have bloggers put on their blogs. They take as much as half of your money for doing very little. If an advertiser is clicking on your badge on your blog you should be keeping the majority of the money, no giving it to someone else.

PPP Direct cuts out the middleman (including ourselves) in transactions that are driven by your blog. You can still participate in ours and others marketplace programs if you want to, but it doesn’t make any sense to pay so much when you are generating the advertiser lead. PPP Direct only charges a 10% service fee, and nearly 5% of that is PayPal and Credit Card Fees.

Let’s keep the debate on whether or not you like the PPP model in another place. The point I’m trying to make today is that PPP is on the ball. You may or may not like them as a business model, but from a marketing and biz-dev/strategy perspective, they are innovating and problem-solving… everything a good, smart technology company should be doing today.

More at Techcrunch, Techmeme and Centernetworks.

Robert Scoble, I Won’t Be Speaking At Postiecon Either

Instead I’ll be on a panel at the new event in Vegas.

Looks like my appearance (and Scoble’s) at Postiecon in June is canceled. They announced today that the event will be moved to November to “piggyback” on the Blogworld Expo event (which I’m slated to speak at as well).

They (Payperpost) offered to pay to get me out there to be on a panel and I plan to do so, even though Scoble won’t be able to keynote now, I still want to do it.

Sam wanted to get my thoughts on this, so here goes.

Why didn’t they get enough people to attend?

Because the people who use PPP are new bloggers. These are bloggers who don’t make much money at all, if any. These are people who can’t afford to fly to Florida for a 2-day event. It just didn’t make sense, even at the low cost to attend the show (I think about $130?), the travel alone could triple or quadruple those costs. New bloggers don’t have that.

Why were you speaking anyway Jim?

My original post announcing it is here and is pretty clear on the matter.

I’m Speaking To Try & Help Bloggers Succeed

My session is entitled ‘The Secrets To Long-Term Blog Success & Profitability’. It will nothing to do with how bloggers can write paid content to make money, and everything to do with how to use your blog to build success and trust long-term, whether that’s for direct profit or for your personal brand, etc…

Also, they were paying for my flight and hotel and… they invited me very nicely, so I accepted. Plus I wanted some more speaking experience.

Why accept a speaking gig in the first place?

Again, from my announcement post (below). Let’s be clear here. I’m not justifying my initial decision to appear. Like it or don’t like it, it’s up to you.

My invitation to speak does not mean I fully endorse their product, but rather, it means that I think I can help a lot of bloggers learn how to monetize their blogs, and build trust with their readers and build long-term, solid brands for themselves.

The bottom line is that I’m in the “helping bloggers succeed” business, and have been for years and years, way before many even were thinking about bloggers being able to make money.

Sunday Night Roundup, Links & Random Thoughts

Here’s some links and thoughts I had after a beautiful 70-degree, sunny day here in Cleveland, Ohio.

Thought #1: Jason Calacanis interviews Ted Murphy, fucking marketing genius (it’s #1 on Google Ted, you should be proud) and CEO of

A few thoughts popped into my head while watching this broadcast.

1. You ever notice how much nicer people are in person as opposed to when they’re calling someone an asshole on their blog? Ok, to be fair, I don’t think Jason ever called Ted an asshole directly, but he shit on his business model plenty worse. You get the point.

2. Ted Murphy is not only a fucking marketing genius, the guy is a PR wonder. He has kept his calm, clear head from day one of his company’s turbulant launch, and it has paid off big time.

x_donnydeutsch2.jpgHeck, he won me over and I was probably the biggest public hater on PPP besides Jason way back when. I’m speaking at his event in June with Robert Scoble.

Lesson: Never let them see you sweat, and keep a clear, calm head and let your passion never let you sway from your vision.

3. Calacanis is really good as an interviewer, and the show production is very good, making it fun and easy to watch. I would actually liken Jason’s performance to one of my new favorite personalities Donny Deutsch. Fyi, if you don’t watch Donny’s show “The Big Idea” on MSNBC, you’re missing out.

4. Did Jason really say he was the first blogger to ever setup a disclosure policy? Not that I really care, but is that true Jason and do you have anything to back that up? I’ve been blogging since 2001 and frankly, I’ve been disclosing since 2002. Forget it, it doesn’t matter.

Thought #2: Can businesses use social media?

On Monday, March 26, I’m moderating a panel called ‘The Growing Impact of Social Media‘ here in Cleveland.

Each of our panelists will dive into case studies that demonstrate how social media, including blogs and online communities, offer businesses a unique opportunity to interact and learn from their consumers. Be warned! This event is sure to generate a lot of excitement, but the most valuable takeaway will be your newfound confidence to assess social media ideas and the benefit they hold for your business and target audience.

Thought #3: Update On My Question To The Copyblogger

A few days ago I posted a question to the Copyblogger. Dear CopyBlogger, How Did Your Blog Become So Successful, So Fast? Today, he dodged the answer with a non-answer on his blog. That’s fine, is still one of my top 5 blogs ever in terms of high-quality information.

Jim Kukral asks me a question that I was going to try to answer, until I realized that the answer is what I write about here. I haven’t done a single thing to develop or promote this blog that I haven’t shared with you. There are no secrets; only poorly-organized information that needs to be compiled and edited into a book, which I need to get focused on.

Jim Kukral To Speak At PayPerPost Conference With Robert Scoble

Ok, not “with” Robert Scoble on stage at the same time, but “with” him at the event as a speaker. I’ve accepted a speaking gig at the PayPerPost “Postiecon” on June 1 & 2nd, 2007 in Orlando, Florida.



Yes, I did, and let me tell you why. For those of you who don’t read me here or at ReveNews, you wouldn’t know that I was probably one of the biggest PayPerPost bashers from day one. So those who know my history with PPP, are probably wondering what kind of drugs I must be taking.

The answer is, none, college was over in the early 90’s. Yes, I used to despise PayPerPost, but it was always because of one clear reason, which was the lack of required, clear disclosure that allowed for deception. It was never about anything besides that.

What they are now, and what they used to be are two different things, and I’m on record as saying I think they’re “on the right track”. They are.


So Why Accept A Speaking Gig From PayPerPost?

Let’s make this clear. I’m speaking at their event, just like Robert Scoble is (who took a lot of heat for it without merit). My invitation to speak does not mean I fully endorse their product, but rather, it means that I think I can help a lot of bloggers learn how to monetize their blogs, and build trust with their readers and build long-term, solid brands for themselves.

The bottom line is that I’m in the “helping bloggers succeed” business, and have been for years and years, way before many even were thinking about bloggers being able to make money.

Side Note: I still remember getting hate mail from people back in 2003-ish when I used to sell my ebook “BlogstoRiches“. They used to email me and say things like “Blogging is pure, you can’t make money with them” or “You’re a scumbag for trying to fool bloggers into thinking they can monetize. FU Kukral.”.

I’m Speaking To Try & Help Bloggers Succeed

My session is entitled ‘The Secrets To Long-Term Blog Success & Profitability’. It will nothing to do with how bloggers can write paid content to make money, and everything to do with how to use your blog to build success and trust long-term, whether that’s for direct profit or for your personal brand, etc…

I hope you can attend the event (which is only about $199), and if so I look forward to meeting you in person.

If you’re an event coordinator that’s looking for a dynamic, informative and well-prepared speaker, please give me a ring and let’s chat about having me at your event. Call me direct at 216.272.4383. Looks like I will be speaking at the Blog Business World event this fall as well, it’s filling up fast! Offers 50% Discount + PayPerPost Gets Disclosure Badges

The headline says it all, sorta. Through February 2007, check it out.


We have found that advertisers who have used RM have been impressed and keep coming back for more reviews. So our biggest challenge is getting an advertiser to try it once. To encourage new advertisers we are offering a special coupon code that will give advertisers 50% off any review they purchase this month. The cool part is 100% of the sale price will go to the blogger so there is no discount in payout.

For advertisers to use the 50% off coupon they simply have to enter: trial

I have yet to try this service as either a blogger or advertiser, but I think this is finally my calling to try it out! I’m actually thinking about trying PayPerPost too, something I thought I’d never say 3 months ago.

Hat tip Aaron Wall.

On more of a PPP topic, it seems today they now require more disclosure?

PayPerPost Takes Transparency to A New Level with Launch of In-Post “Disclosure Badges” Badges Included in Sponsored Content Expand at Reader’s Discretion To Reveal Ad Space, Benefiting Readers and Advertisers Alike

A salesperson did contact me today to try and sell me on the service. He was very helpful and made a lot of sense. Again, I’m still debating to try it or not, probably at least first from an advertiser standpoint. I mean, after all Ted Murphy (PPP CEO) is a fucking marketing genius.

Don’t forget either. Lot’s to navigate.

Ted Murphy Of PayPerPost Is A Fucking Marketing Genius!

After I wrote this post 30 minutes ago, I went to wash the dishes before I put my kids to bed. As I was washing I had an epiphany.

Ted Murphy of PayPerPost is a fucking marketing genius!


The Scoble thing nailed it for me. Checkmate. Game over people.

I used to dislike PPP, but now, well, I think I must start rooting for them as I admire Ted Murphy for his marketing skills. Think about it for a moment. I have followed it from the start, and I estimate that the work Ted has done has generated close to half a million dollars in free, yes, free publicity for his company since the get go. Possibly more?

Don’t believe it? Look at this press page. Then do a search on Technorati and Google blog search.

Love them, or hate them. Ted Murphy is a marketing rock star. Un-f-ing, believable the coverage he has procured for that company. Write a book Ted, I’ll read it.