Archive: February 2008
Anybody who follows our company knows we embody the "work hard, play hard" mantra. Today's IZEA Loco exemplifies that, for sure. It had to be a doozie...I mean, it is a leap year!
To kick things off Ted made sure anyone who wasn't "properly" dressed for the festivities got some face paint. Somehow I managed to escape the makeup chair; I'm chalking-it-up to my being sick.
Next we moved on to the food. Yes, the food. That's always the good part! The pizza. The subs. Amy's delicious homemade meatballs. Gordon's wife's delectable desserts. It just doesn't get any better.
After lunch it was time to reveal our February RockStars:
> RockStar of the Month: Larry
> Advertiser of the Month: Western Creative
> Blogger of the Month: Rebecca Empey, NewYorkRenovator.com
After the awards it was time to take on the pinata. Several people "stepped-up" their game and struck the pinata with all their might. Ummm, folks are we stressed out or something?!?! Maybe they were just craving the sugar from the candy that was waiting inside.
And the festivities wrapped-up with the infamous cake plow. Today's
victims participants: Priscilla (whose birthday is actually today, so she did two cake plows!), Dan M., Joe, Mike, and Veronique. That's Priscilla below! Sassy earrings, huh?
** We had a special guest joining us in our IZEA Loco celebration today. Current Guest Blogger BenSpark is in town on business, and it just happened to work out that he's here for our monthly potluck. You know we love it when our Posties come to hang with us, particularly when they're up for doing a cake plow. **
You can watch today's IZEA LOCO celebration here:
Stay tuned for this month's IZEA Loco video stream. Promptly at 11:30 am EST we will begin broadcasting.
It's gonna be CRAZY...ugh, I mean LOCO!
As you all know I am someone who values feedback tremendously. I am constantly seeking ways to improve our company, our services and my own personal contributions. Over the past few months I have been monitoring feedback and comments about the PayPerPost boards.
The boards are an interesting challenge for us. Over the past year and a half we have had 127,317 posts on some 9,589 topics with 8.944 people participating in the discussions. That is a lot of discussion. We have done our best to keep the boards wide open while trying to maintain a destination that is conducive to our business and friendly for our customers.
Our business has changed a lot over the past year and a half, yet the boards have remained relatively stagnant. It's time for some updates. Next week the boards will be moving from boards.payperpost.com to boards.izea.com. We will be modifying the categories of discussion to include the core IZEA properties, including SocialSpark, Zookoda and Bloggers Choice Awards. All of the discussions from the past will remain as will your login and account history, but we will be moving older threads into the new categories the best we can.
The other major change will be in moderation of the boards. I will be the first to admit that we haven't done a great job of creating policies, guidelines and training for our moderators. It's been a bit of the wild west and some bad decisions have been made regarding locking threads and stifling conversation. For that I apologize to any Posites or Advertisers who have been offended.
The amount of moderators is going to be significantly reduced and moderators will serve in a 6-month term moving forward. All moderators will receive formal training on expectations, communication, etiquette and policies. Our goal is open communication so long as it is done in a way that is non-threatening to other community members.
The changes to the url and structure will happen next week. Selection and training of moderators will happen within the next two weeks.
I want to thank all of the moderators who have participated to this point. Your service is very much appreciated and I will be sending something special your way as thanks. If you are not selected for a position as a new moderator you will receive special status as a Moderator Alumni on the boards.
We want to make the boards the best we can. Thank you all for your support and input to this point. Please let us know what we can do better in the future.
We want to thank everyone who completed the Customer Experience Survey. We had a great response, and the information provided was outstanding. We received a lot of great comments on the things that we are doing well, and what we need to improve. I assure you that your feedback has been heard, and we will continue to make every effort to meet your needs.
On another note, help us congratulate Jerry Russell. He is the winner of drawing for the iPod Touch.
Tomorrow we will be streaming February's IZEA Loco starting at 11:30AM EST. Ashley is a bit under the weather so I will be hosting tomorow's event. Drew from BenSpark.com is going to be joinging us, along with Carl Smith from ngenworks.com. Priscilla is celebrating a very special birthday. She was born on leap year and only has a birthday every four years!
There will be cakeplows, tequila shots and of course our monthly awards. Who will win Rockstar of the Month, Postie of the Month and Advertiser of the Month? You will have to tune in and see. We will also be having a contest for the best green costume.
Do you have questions you would like me to ask any of the team members? Post them in the comments and I will ask them on the stream tomorrow.
In that line, the 'Cat' is Randy. When Randy told the Sales team he'd be busy with super important high-level meetings, we thought, 'Sweet! Let's have fun without him!' Of course, I'm only joking, we really missed him- but it's rare that the majority of the Sales team are in one room, so we went through with the dinner anyway!
Kash flew in from California and Louis and Joe were flying in from London. Unfortunately, Sandi wasn't able to join, and her presence was dearly missed! I'll go ahead and add her to our group picture, though, because she and John (who was in Detroit) were certainly there in spirit!
Joe loaned us his very trendy house and Kash, Dan and I stopped by some of the local Asian markets to pick up special spices, roots, and other items not found in the local supermarkets. It was like Top Chef meets Super Market Sweep- "Kash needs pomegranate..poma-what-it? POMEGRANATE...oh...over here?...that's a carrot."
After stocking up, we jumped on the highway and headed to Joe's. Let me tell you, his place is like a really swanky bachelor's lair- red leather, zebra striped benches, black leather, and a massive pool table, with red lining, no less) smack dab in the center of his living room. It's like Trading Spaces came in and gussied up the place, but actually, the credit goes to Joe- what a handyman- he's done the entire place himself (with a little help from some friends).
Anyway, the dinner was stupendous- wonderful jumbalaya, a steak strip salad with blackberries, and two sides- white rice and a vinegar-like shredded cabbage thing.
Special thanks to the gracious hosts: Joe and Kristen- also, Kristen, thanks for running out to buy me bandaids after 'the accident.' Thanks to Kash for cooking, and to Dan for helping chop after I was injured. Also, to Larry, for the ride home- sweet car.
Here are the pics, enjoy! Don't expect to see me, the photographer is NEVER in the pictures! :(
Congratulations to Aaron from Digital Vegetarian for winning the Shoeperstar contest. Aaron is getting a FREE ride to SXSW to hang with Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney and Ted Murphy. He also gets to be featured in an upcoming episode of RockStartUp.
Check out his entry here.
Come by our booth at SXSW Interactive from March 7-11, 2008.
I would like to follow up on my previous post as there seems to be some confusion regarding the visibility of links. While I agree that different advertisers want different things I would have to say that the overwhelming majority of advertisers want links to be clicked on. No matter what kind of advertiser you are the goal is to drive traffic and every click counts. If you are a Postie taking an Opp that makes sense for your blog and abiding by our code of ethics there is no reason you should be downplaying the visibility of a link.
But let's throw all of that out the window. Let's forget that there are advertisers or sponsored posts. What we are really talking about here is the usability of your blog. Links exist because you want to let your reader know about something and provide them with an easy way to get more information. That said, links should stand out from the rest of your content, and they should do so in a consistent way. I am advocating that your CSS makes it easy for readers to identify links and that you apply your CSS uniformly to all the posts on your site.
Here is a great article regarding links and usability: Jakob Nielsens Useit.com
Clear, consistent linking on your blog will lead to better usability for your readers and better ROI for your advertisers.
I recently ran an Opportunity to promote IZEARanks.com through PayPerPost.Overall I was pretty happy with the results and posts, but I did notice one thing that drove me a little nuts. Some of you have your links setup so they are nearly indistinguishable from your body text, making it very hard to tell what is and isn't a link. As an advertiser who is evaluating click through rate and cost per click on my sponsored post campaigns I prefer to stay away from these types of blogs. I could see advertisers banning or giving low tack scores to these blogs as they would immediately perceive them as lower value.
The name of the game is to deliver value for the advertisers you work with. Take a look at your blog. Can you quickly and easily tell what a link is? If not chances are you aren't delivering as much value as you could be. When in doubt go with old faithful... blue text with an underline is as clear as you can get for a hyperlink.