Archive: June 2008
It seems like there's an endless stream of resources to help make your blog "bigger, better, faster" or help your ad campaigns be "more targeted, manageable, and insightful." Well, we've created a new resource for you to help navigate through some of your options. Introducing: the SocialSpark Solutions Center which can be found under the Community tab.
We've identified some of the more useful and popular tools and services to help you as a blogger and/or advertiser. Whether you're just getting started or a seasoned user, you can find tools that can enhance your online experience. The Solutions Center is organized into different categories for Bloggers (Getting Started, Getting Traffic, Increasing Engagement, and Other Tools) and Advertisers (Measuring and Monitoring).
You can drill down to specific provider profiles to learn more and link to the various solutions.
- Need help designing your blog? Take a look at Unique Blog Designs
- Want to better manage and track comments? Check-out CoComment
- Want to help your readers "email forward" your posts? Try Grouptivity
- Want to link to related content? Use JargonFish
- Want to join a blog writing community? Check-out b5media
- Want to easily modify your design with images and link content to affiliate programs? Try Triggit
- Want to use polls to learn more about your users? Use Vizu Power Polls
- Want to add fun and engaging widgets to your blog? Check-out RockYou
- Want to create speaking avatars for your blogs and/or campaigns? Try Voki
- Want more statistics to complement IZEARanks? Try BlogPatrol
- Who's talking about your brand in the blogosphere? Check-out Andiamo Systems
We've also worked with providers to secure some special offers for SocialSpark users:
- Want free web hosting for 12-months? Sign-up to Jumpline 12-Months Free Web Hosting for SocialSpark Users
- Sign-up for Lunarpages web hosting through SocialSpark and and save $48 on a 24-month Basic plan.
- Sign-up for SezWho's universal profile service through SocialSpark and become eligible to win an iPod Nano!
- Are you an online merchant? Sign-up to the eCommerce Merchants Trade Association through SocialSpark and save $50 on your membership ($149/yr).
Each provider will have its own profile page where you can learn more and share comments.
Check it out! If you have another great solution you'd like to recommend, let us know here
It's hard to believe we are quickly approaching our two-year birthday as a company! Time sure has flown, and we--the IZEA team--have enjoyed every minute along the way. You know we've been through many changes over the past couple of years, and have grown immensely: IZEA branding, the launch of SocialSpark, PostieCon in Las Vegas, and the announcement and planning of the upcoming IZEAFest.
We'd like to know how you've grown over the past two years, as a Blogger or as an Advertiser. Send us your stories by leaving them here in the comments section.
Better yet, if you live in the Central Florida area or within driving distance, we'd love to hear your stories in person. Help us celebrate our two-year anniversary in downtown Orlando at Wall Street Cantina, at 8pm. It's totally free for you, but we do need you to register so we can get a headcount of those attending.
WHAT? IZEA two-year anniversary party!
Wall Street Cantina
19 N Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
WHEN? Wednesday, July 2nd from 8pm 'til....
- FREE admission
- FREE food
- FREE drink
- YOU LOVE US!
If you live in the Central Florida area and have a passion for developing, coding, or technology in general, why not make plans to join us for the very first IZEA Devasaurus next month?
Devasaurus is a gathering of the local developer community, and is hosted at IZEA headquarters in downtown Orlando. There will be food and drink while you talk-it-up with other folks who have the same interests as you...and it's FREE!
Future Devasaurus get-togethers will be an opportunity for you to find out about innovative products and platforms, get sneak-peeks into APIs, and let you help shape the future of the Internet. And it's all happening here in Orlando!
At the kick-off Devasaurus on July 2nd IZEA will be unveiling a new social media platform, designed for developers from the ground up. There will also be a challenge announced where the designer of the "best widget" will be awarded $5,000! But you have to come to find out.
If you code, want to learn to code, or are just interested in coding as a profession make sure and join us. You can get additional details--including times and exact location--on Devasaurus by clicking here.
For those dedicated followers:
Due to scheduling conflicts there will be NO "Lunch with Ash & V" today, June 18th. If you'd like to catch-up on previous episodes you can view them at Stickam.com/RockStartUp.
Please plan on joining us next Wednesday @ 12pm EST for our lunch chat. If you have anything you'd like to ask or have discussed, feel free to e-mail us at lunchwithashandv[at]izea[dot]com.
It's talked about now more than ever before. I was reminded of this when I read Ted's post yesterday, titled "How to Become a Top 100 Twitter User."
New web applications & technologies are released literally everyday. Some die a quick death. Some fade slowly. Others manage to stick around for some reason, although the reason why isn't easy to pinpoint.
I'm always doing my best to keep up with what's happening in the interactive world, not only because it's partly my job but also because it interests me; I enjoy seeing what innovative ideas and concepts people come up with. Given that, I learned about Twitter pretty early on but didn't really understand how to use it or the untapped value of it until last November, when we utilized the tool to track our adventures on the Blog America Tour.
Like Ted, I use Twitter personally, and am also the sole "Twitterer" for the company; when you see IZEA Twitter updates -- that's me. I often get made fun of because of my
affinity of affection for addiction to Twitter, especially by Veronique. Despite frequent technical issues Twitter has managed to become a powerful entity in the social media world. So much so that it inspired Internet personality Lisa_Nova to create these entertaining spots (or perhaps she was paid by Twitter). Yes, I realize publishing this post is doing exactly what Lisa likely initially intended -- getting exposure and more follows. Perhaps that's the brilliance in the Marketing, either of herself or those who paid her. Either way you look at it, these videos are darn funny, and a testament to the power of a "little idea that catches on." (I know those of us who are active on Twitter will certainly find the humor here.)
The most amusing part of this? I discovered these videos via someone else's Tweet.
I started to really get into Twitter about 3 months ago. I had signed up for an account some time before that, but didn't really take a deep interest until I saw other people I knew using the system. I have posted over 1250 message since I started and I see no sign of me slowing down.
I find twitter to be interesting as both a personal communication tool and online marketing vehicle. I see most users utilize it as a combination of both. With that in mind I set out to explore how the top Twitter users harness the power of this tool. I made use of Twitterholic and other Twitter tools to grab data for my comparisons.
Your number of followers is your effective reach on Twitter. Kevin Rose (Founder of Digg.com), Leo Laporte (Tech Guru) and Barack Obama (Presidential Candidate) currently have the most reach, with Kevin having just over 43,000 followers. The number of followers trails off quite quickly, with number 100 (user TC) having just over 4400 followers, an almost 10x difference.
Your number of friends is the number of people that you are following. The top 3 users with the most friends are Juan Carlos Arzola (56,974 friends), Barack Obama (40,153 friends) and Jason Calacanis (31,570 friends).
This is where things start to get interesting, the users with the most friends are clearly using Twitter as a marketing tool over just personal communication. I am not sure how many of you have more than 50,000 "friends" but I don't think I could keep up with that many people. Rather, these users are adding friends with the intent of getting a reciprocal follow, thus building the users sphere of influence and effective reach through twitter. The growth isn't organic or viral it is incubated and forced.
The marketing intent is easy to see when you take a look at one of these users twitter content. Barack Obama has never addressed a single message to another twitter user (by typing @username). Jason Calacanis has plugged Mahalo 180 times in the past 2 months, that’s an average of 3 Mahalo tweets per day.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with using Twitter as a marketing tool. To the contrary, I think most bloggers are using Twitter to market themselves and their content in some way. I myself promote IZEA through my personal Twitter account on occasion, and it does indeed drive traffic to the site (I will tweet this very post). That is one of the reasons I would want to be a Top 100 Twitter User, to drive more traffic.
So how do you top the list? At first glance the answer seems to be to follow a lot of people. Jason Calacanis is number 5 on the list and he has certainly done that, so has Barack Obama. But it’s not that simple. In a perfect world you would get a friend for every person you follow, but that usually isn’t the case.
Kevin Rose only follows 85 friends. 85 friends / 43505 followers is a pretty incredible ratio. Compare that to Juan Carlos Arzola who has 56974 friends / 5921 followers, a ratio of 9.6. My guess is that Carlos is following just about everyone he comes across, but it seems that people aren't really interested in what he has to say.
So how do you get to the top? If you aren't a well known CEO or a Presidential Candidate it is going to take some work. You can certainly try the "follow everyone" gameplan and you might just get lucky. But at the end of the day I think it comes down to the same core principles as blogging. Create good content, write often, engage in conversation and be an active participant in the community. It may take a little longer to get there going the old fashioned route, but in the grand scheme you will have a higher quality audience who is engaged with you, clicks on your links and responds to your tweets.
Ohhhh... btw you can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/tedmurphy
Matt Cutts, head of search webspam for Google, was recently asked about SocialSpark in an interview of with Eric Enge of StoneTemple.com. I am please to say that our efforts to set a clear code of ethics, including no-follow on all inks, has been positively received by Matt and the Google team. Here is a brief outtake from the interview. View the whole thing here.
Eric Enge: Would you like to talk a little bit about IZEA?
Matt Cutts: Actually yes, I would. I meant to talk about this in the You&A, because Google has made its policies pretty clear on paid posts, about the fact that they should be disclosed not only for humans, but also for machines. We feel the same way.
And, it’s interesting, because whenever I looked at the latest thing from IZEA Socialspark, I noticed that they were very good about shutting that down. I went and I checked it out, and I wouldn’t say that it is one hundred percent perfect as far as completely watertight, you might see one or two advertisers, but it was still good.
Eric Enge: So, the links were all NoFollowed?
Matt Cutts: Yeah. All the links were supposed to be NoFollowed, and I saw one or two instances when they weren’t. But whenever I mentioned that they took care of it very quickly. So, as far as I can tell IZEA and SocialSpark do a much better job of disclosure. It looks like that would comply with our Google webmaster guidelines.
Because, it is machine readable disclosure and you are not selling links to pass PageRank. And so, whenever I see somebody who is moving forward and trying to adjust, I want to send out props. And so, I thought that was a good sign of progress and I thought they did a good job on that.
Eric Enge: Well, the other thing I wanted to know is when I spoke to him last, he told me that it was never his intent for PayPerPost to be a paid links market place.
Matt Cutts: Yeah.
Eric Enge: What he found is that major brands wouldn’t go into it, because of the stigma associated with that. And, the reason for SocialSpark was to build something that brands could engage in the way they want to engage in the market. I think it’s something for everybody to think about.
Matt Cutts: Yes.
Eric Enge: If you are trying to deal with major brands or become one, than you have to start thinking like them.
Matt Cutts: Yes. And, whenever I see progress I want to call it out and give props where it’s deserved. And so, I think SocialSpark has definitely progressed compared to PayPerPost. Google continues its policy on paid links in general, so just yesterday we put out a new call for any paid link spam reports, and we continue to act on this. We are willing to act not only manually, but also algorithmically. So, if people know of other networks that are not disclosing, we would be interested in hearing about that. But, I thought it was good to see that SocialSpark was using NoFollow.
Matt and I have been conversing about the topic for quite some time now. While we don't always agree on everything, I find him to be open, fair and constructive. Thank you for the words of encouragement Matt. I am sure that the Posties will be glad to hear that SocialSpark is doing things right in the eyes of Google.
This past Friday afternoon we Twittered about having an IZEA sign installed on the outside of our building. I'm happy to report the installation is complete, and now everyone driving through the downtown Orlando area will know we're here! Pretty exciting, eh?
Here are a few photos. If you'd like to view more you can visit our Flickr profile
For those of you who follow, Veronique & I will be broadcasting today for lunch. Please join us at 12pm EST by visiting http://www.stickam.com/rockstartup. We'll discuss things going on in the world, buzz on the Internet, and things you should know happening in the IZEA Community.
If you have any questions or there's anything you'd like us to discuss, feel free to e-mail us at lunchwithashandv[at]izea[dot]com. Hope to see you at "Lunch with Ash & V."
SocialSpark is really catching on, so much so that IZEA had to hire another inside sales manager to help manage all the advertiser interest. So here I am! My name is Erin Fox and I was attracted to IZEA's unique marketing platform almost six months ago. Since then I began hanging around the office in hopes that they would break down and let me in already!!! Some might call it "stalking" but I think of it more like being tactfully aggressive :) Well it paid off and here I am. I truly love my position at the company since I get to help our advertisers maximize their social media exposure. What could be better for a UCF marketing major? Being at IZEA truly is a dream job, especially since I get to be a part of something that is creative, unique and cutting edge.
Now for the personal stuff. I worked in new home sales for the past three years and I really became interested in the green movement. The amount of waste that a newly constructed home produces is staggering ( 2 tons!) So that really inspired me to reduce my impact on the world. I have been doing my research and learning about all the new and old ways to reduce, reuse and .....(come on you know it).....recycle!!! I am hoping to get some more advertisers who are a part of that industry to become a part of Social Spark. We only have a few green bloggers right now, so I can't wait for more to join. My hope is that we get a whole channel dedicated to going green. Then all of us "tree-huggers" can find out about the latest and greatest green products and services.
I truly believe that the blogging community has so much insight to offer our advertisers and are becoming a major influence in the marketplace. My future at IZEA looks very bright and I can't wait to see what happens next. Look forward to future posts and your feedback.