Archive: April 2008
Pants... something we take for granted on a day-to-day basis. Have you ever really thought about your pants? Have you thought about just what they go through on a daily basis? I'm sure that much of their daily activities are a little less than enjoyable. They are forced to sit on surfaces that may not be the cleanest... like park benches, movie theater seats, bus seats... the list goes on and on. At the end of their full day of wear and tear we just rip them off and throw them in the laundry basket, dresser drawer or even worse in a pile with all the 'other clothes'. Think about how they feel on Thanksgiving, eek! They get stretched out because we overeat, spilled on because we aren't careful with the gravy, and used to wipe our hands clean of extra mashed potatoes because we are missing a napkin. Oh, those poor pants!
So, now you think I'm crazy for thinking all about pants huh? Well don't! You can actually get paid to write about what your pants go through on a daily basis with this awesome Opportunity, 'If These Pants Could Talk'. We'll pay you to tell us what a day in the life of your pants is like! How much easier can that be?
Also, you'll notice another exciting thing about this Opp - the Dockers Commercial Contest. Yes, contest - you can win something! If you visit http://www.nbc.com/Dockers you can learn all about their contest. Basically, entrants create a 30-second video advertisement for Dockers. They submit their video to the contest site (http://www.nbc.com/Dockers) and it is rated by the viewers! How awesome! The best part is that one video will have the opportunity to air during a broadcast of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in June, as well as appear on NBC.com! You could make your celebrity debut!! If you want to check out more information about the contest or its rules please visit http://www.nbc.com/Dockers.
Now did you ever think all this cool stuff could come out of a simple thought about your pants? Maybe you should think about them more often? Looks like they could make you rich and famous!!!
Thanks to all who met-up with us for "Lunch with Ash & V" today. I believe we even had a couple of new folks join us, which is always nice. For those who weren't able to make it here's a recap of the things we covered. You can also view the video by click here.
This is the portion where we talk about hot topics going on in the world, including news stories.
- Vanity Fair/Miley Cyrus controversy (perform a search)
- Tom Ford ad pulled in Itlay (perform a search)
- Shark attack in Southern California (perform a search)
During this portion we chat about cool websites we've run across in the past week:
- Google.com (what the heck are the images on their homepage?)
- "Can you duet?" reality television show
This is the segment of our lunchtime when we chat about new-and-exciting things going on at IZEA, that everyone may not know about:
- IZEAFest.com launched last week:
i. if you're coming or plan on registering, make sure and pick up your official event badge so you can promote it to your readers
ii. visit the IZEAFest Community on Eventful and see what other bloggers will be attending the event
- IZEA Loco and virtual cakeplows this Friday, May 2nd
* Here's your challenge for next week: Bring a friend! Get one new person to join us for lunch, and even encourage them to send us a question to lunchwithashandv[at]izea[dot]com.
You got Mail! Or do you?
This is an introduction to the Message Center on SocialSpark.com. Do you need help finding it? There are a couple ways to get there. First, you need to login to SocialSpark. Once logged in, look to the right of your screen. Do you see a little red envelope image? You could click on your number of messages to get into the message center (Shhh, I wont tell if it's a 0, mine is too). Or, you could hover your mouse cursor over the 'account' tab and select 'Message Center' to get to your fabulous SocialSpark communications super center.
Now, let me tell you about the Message Center and all that can be done there. First, I want to point out the Legend, no not the Tom Cruise Fantasy film, but the other Legend that shows you how to understand where your messages are coming from and if they have been read or not. I'd say a majority of your messages will come from either Customer Love or a SocialSpark Friend. Customer Love messages will tell you when reservations are created and the results of a post/blog review. SocialSpark friend messages will either be a personal message from someone who has been added to your profile as a friend, or from someone you requested to be your friend and accepted you (aren't you lucky!). When your profile or opportunity receives a comment, this will also come in as a message from SocialSpark Friend. All unread messages will be marked with a blue dot until they are viewed.
Good, now let’s dig deeper! You will see in your message center a variety of tabs next to the ‘Inbox’. The rest of the tabs are friend 'requests', 'feedback', 'comments', 'sent', and 'invites/requests'. Clicking 'friend requests' will show you a list of people that want to be your friend (am I in there, I could be!) You don't have to accept everyone that wants to be your friend, but it would be super nice of you. 'Feedback', will show you any feedback you have sent, any opportunities you have taken or any feedback an opportunity you released has received. 'Comments' is where you can view comments you have received or given. Note: if you receive a comment you want to delete, you have to click the comment in this section and choose delete comment. If you delete the message informing you about the comment, you will not be given the option to delete the comment, so do be careful in this section. 'Sent' is where any messages you send to other users or advertisers appear, just in case you can't remember whom you said what to (you could remember every word if you are brave enough). The last tab, 'invites/requests' is where any request you make to participate in an opp, or any requests from an advertiser, will go to.
Wow, those are some great features, right! Well, that’s not all the magic of the Message center. I'd now like to point out your Tools. Most should be easy to understand. 'Compose message' allows you to send a message to anyone you are friends with. You will notice boxes next to all your messages on each tab except 'invites/requests'. You can check one or many of the boxes and select 'delete selected', and these messages will be deleted. If you select the boxes next to unread mail and select 'mark selected as read', it will remove the blue dots from unread messages (should you not wish to read the messages). Do note: Your Tools will change depending on what tab you are in yet, the features work the same way. Now, an important tool is e-mail preferences, so lets go over this. At the time you set up your account with SocialSpark, all the messages you receive will send an alert to the e-mail you signed up with. Should you not wish to get an alert every time you have a friend request or comment, then you need to access this and set your email preferences to 'No' instead of the default 'Yes'. This section also lets you opt out of receiving our Izea tack e-mails and daily opportunity summaries. To opt out, again just select 'No' instead of 'Yes'.
Whew, feels good doesn't it! The lesson is now over and you should be able to call yourself a Pro at the SocialSpark messaging center. Use it, enjoy it, and let's keep Spam out! Do note: Future updates may become available as we are always improving, so keep checking back with our blog for any future SocialSpark updates, and as always, Enjoy!
Join us for lunch today! Bring something delicious, and tell us about it. Come prepared with any questions about the world, the Internet, or the IZEA community. It's an interactive hour with anyone who wants to participate.
You can find the live stream at http://www.stickam.com/rockstartup starting at 12pm EDT. We'll also be Twittering from http://twitter.com/IZEAinc.
See you soon!
We've showed you how to search for opportunities and how to reserve them. Now that you've reserved an Opportunity and submitted your post, what do the different statuses mean? Well, lets find out! Under account:
1. Click on manage blogger account
2. Click on 'Taken Opps'
3. Click on the 'Sponsored Posts' tab
Here you will see something that looks like this:
This will be a list of all of the posts you have submitted and the status of each one. The statuses will be one of the following:
2. Initial Submitted
3. Initial Rejected
4. Initial Resubmitted
All posts go through an auto-approval before they are manually reviewed by our Customer Love team. Once your post passes the auto-approval process, it will be listed as 'Initial Submitted'. Finally once your post has been approved it will be listed as 'Approved'.
If your post was not approved the first time around please follow these steps to resubmit your post:
1. Manage Blogger Account.
2. Taken Opps.
3. Sponsored Posts.
4. Status shows it's rejected.
6. Change information.
Once you have completed these steps, the status of your post should say 'Initial Resubmitted'.
Now that we've learned what the different status mean, we want to know what happens after your post has been approved. When do I get paid right?
After your post shows up as approved in your “Taken Sponsored Posts” tab, you have to keep this post, in it’s entirety, up on your blog for 30 days after the date it was submitted.
After your 30 days, your post comes back to the reviewers for a final check. At this step they check to make sure that the post is still there, the links are working properly, and that the post hasn’t been changed.
If they notice anything wrong or anything not working properly, they will send you a notice letting you know what needs to be fixed before the final payout is made. (There will be an email sent to you letting you know what there is some information waiting for you in your message center on SS. )
If the post is fine, then it will be approved and the Opp. amount will be added to your owed balance right away!
In your “Taken Sponsored Opps.” tab, this will go from the status of “approved” to “paid”.
Once your balance due to you reaches $20.00, you are then eligible to cash out and have your funds transferred to your PayPal account.
To do this, log on to your Social Spark account. Hover over “account” and click “manage finances” in the drop down menu.
In the overview tab, click on “cash out” and this will transfer your funds for you.
But remember, this can only be done when your amount due to you reaches $20.00.
See, it's that easy!
Now of course the first few times will be a little confusing and we understand. Please start a ticket with Customer Love if you have any questions at all, that's what we're here for!
Now go forth, and post away!!
Just before lunch Jenni brought a box over to me that was addressed to Ted and I. Upon opening the box I uncover a magical treat, a basket of cookies, brownies and popcorn! YUM! Lisa, Drew, Elizabeth, Colleen, Loretta, Karen, Corrin, Alli, Marisa, Hope and Julie sent us a care package after they heard about our incident Thursday night in New Orleans. Here's some pictures of the goodness...
Travis and the Basket of Goodness
Basket of Goodness
The note. Definitely did brighten up our day, Thanks guys!
Basket of Goodness, again
The month of April is coming to a close, if you can believe, and that means IZEA Loco is just around the corner. And with IZEA Loco comes cakeplows! Yes...everyone's favorite tradition of having one's face shoved in cake. There's just nothing that compares....
As with anything we here at IZEA do, we like our community to be as involved as possible. Cakeplows are no exception -- even though you can't phycially plow your face into cake we've come up with a good alternative. Last month we began the "virtual cakeplow." In case you missed the memo, here's what it's all about (click here if you aren't able to view the video below):
Doesn't that look like fun? You know you want to. Besides, if nothing else you'll have something fun and unique to share with your friends, family and blog readers!If you would like to be virtually cakeplowed, send a photo of yourself (clear picture of your face; bonus points if you're wearing green) to ashley[at]izea[dot]com and we'll take care of the rest.
And if you haven't already, join the Cakeplow Community and interact with fellow plowers!
You may remember from previous posts on our blog that the IZEA staff has spent some time helping out in the community - locally and beyond. We've collected toys for Sadie Holmes, sent care packages to troops in Iraq, raised money and joined in last year's Alzheimer's Memory Walk, and most recently we donated gifts and money to the elderly program at Kingsley House in New Orleans.
Those were all great experiences, and an incredible way for our employees to come together for a good cause! Recently, though, we've decided we can - and will - be doing more. There are so many ways to help out any day of the year, and we'd like to share some info with any of you who may be wondering just how you can help, too! We're kicking this off with several opportunities to make a difference from your own computer, your own home, or within your own community.
First, did you know you can help without any cost to you, without leaving your computer? All you need is one click of your mouse. Check these out to see directories of many sites where donations are made each time you click:
One Click at a Time, The NonProfits.com, Click 2 Donate. They offer a wide variety of charities - focusing on children's causes, women's care, environmental concerns, and fighting hunger and homelessness. Of course, you could go through each site every day, but that might soon become daunting and easy to skip because it's so time consuming. Instead, pick a favorite few and check in on them daily, or rotate through those sites that are relevant to the topics important to you.
Next up - one of the more common ways folks are helping out from home is recycling. Cardboards, plastics, glass & aluminum - we use them every day. We also toss things in the garbage every day. So why not have a recycling container next to your garbage can? Easy enough! We've even recently added recycle bins to the IZEA office! But if you're not recycling yet, how do you get started? What can you recycle? Do an online search for your town or county name and the word 'recycle' or call your local waste management or city hall - either should be able to help you.
What about those items you can't recycle, are still perfectly good, but you just don't want anymore? Donate, donate, donate! Again, you probably have a local stores run by Goodwill, Salvation Army, or even local hospitals. They accept donations year-round, and the profits from sales go back into their programs. Difficult in your busy day to make an extra stop? Some organizations will also pick up donations right at your doorstep. AmVets was just on our block this week, and usually sends flyers in the mail to let us know they're coming. Many of us love to help out around the holidays, donating household items or new gifts. One way to make a difference, and help your money go further on donated items - shop sale or clearance items all year. Keep in touch with one of your favorite charities, and continue to drop off what you can when you can. After Christmas last year, I found children's hats and gloves on sale for $1.00 each! Wow - a quick and easy way to share some warmth, especially during this long winter! And you know - donations of food are needed all year as well. Your area may have multiple food banks, and Second Harvest is a nationwide food bank. They accept food donations, as well as welcoming volunteers to help out in the kitchen for meal services. Last time I worked at a Second Harvest in the Orlando area, one of the other volunteers had her two children there also helping out. So don't forget to include the kids for any age-appropriate volunteer work! I've talked to many parents who include their kids in selecting toys to donate, or who remind their children that a certain percentage of any cash gifts go to charity. The child gets to pick the charity, and it can't be the 'buy a new Wii for our family fund'. :) It's a great use of their time, and gets them started with some great habits!
Finally, we all go shopping - some of us like it, some of us don't, but we at least stop at the grocery store from time to time. You can make a great difference in your community on the way to the store AND while shopping! How many of you have experienced or shared a random act of kindness? This can be as simple as moving your neighbor's garbage can back to the curb - hey, sometimes garbage collectors are in a hurry, and those cans end up all over!, paying a toll for the person behind you in traffic, holding the door for someone at the store, picking up something you saw someone drop (rather than rolling your eyes and stepping over the inconvenience :), and so on - the list is endless! Being aware of the products you buy can also help. Have you ever noticed boxtops for education or labels for education? Simply clipping these off boxes and bags of cereal, pasta, meals, frozen goods, storage bags and even toilet paper and paper towels, can earn your local school cash and supplies for the kids. If your local school doesn't participate, find out if they will, or find a school that does. And if there are none in your area - we'll take those labels! My niece's school has competitions to see which class can bring in the most.
So there you have it - one or two, or well - several ways you can make a difference in your community. This is just a start, and we encourage you to find something that fits your lifestyle and your own personal preferences in your own community. Many people have a reason for supporting certain organizations, or staying away from others. It certainly is and should be a personal choice, but we have a tool that may help you out, too. Charitynavigator.org offers information on individual organizations you may be interested in. Feel free to share with us any other ideas you have, or programs you've participated in!
And keep watching the blog - Ashley will have our next community focused post this week!
Our ticketing system will be going down briefly starting Saturday April 26th from 9PM through Sunday April 27th 3AM EST for routine maintenance and updates.
This will not affect your ability to use the PayPerPost or SocialSpark sites. However, you will not be able to submit support tickets during that time.
You may be able to access the system again after 1AM EST, although there will most likely be slowdowns. But, do not fear! We will be back, rested and refreshed by 3AM, ready to answer any and all questions you send our way!
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Have a wonderful weekend!
In SocialSpark we have several options for bloggers who want to take Opportunities and write posts. These options vary depending on the status of the Opportunity. On the top right corner of an Opportunity description page, under the 'Tools' section, you will find these options. The most immediate choice a blogger has is 'Take this Opportunity'. This allows bloggers to take the post on the spot and submit it within the 12 hour post period.Once complete, the 'tools' section will read 'opportunity taken'.
Another option is the ability to 'Wait for Slot'. This option allows you to be put in queue for the next available post offer as long as your blog(s) qualify for the advertiser's Opportunity.
The third option, is to 'Request a Slot'. This allows you to send a message to the advertiser stating why they will benefit from choosing you to write a post for them. This option is available when the Opportunity has been completely filled or you do not qualify under the advertiser's segmentations. Currently, users can submit only one request per week.
After requests have been sent, a notice will display on the 'tools' section, which will state: 'Request has been sent' or 'Waiting for opportunity'. If a slot opens or an offer has been sent from an advertiser to a blogger, a message will be sent to the message center and the 'tools' section will read 'Opportunity reserved' (at the Opp description page). Bloggers may click on this text to begin the post submission process.
If you fulfill all the advertiser's requirements, and are able to immediately take the opportunity via 'Take this Opportunity', you will be forwarded to the following screen:
This is where bloggers will gather and input all the necessary information to begin the review process. After your post is complete with all required links, images, etc., you have the option to paste your written post HTML code in box 5. This will allow a script to run which will review that all links have been input correctly. After clicking 'Verify Post' the status of your post will show at your 'Taken Sponsored Posts' tab under 'Account'--'Manage Blogger Account'--'Taken Opps'.
Our next post will explain the meanings of status messages within these tabs...