Are You Sabotaging Your Social Stories?

published on November 20, 2007

I’ve been a participant in the social media scene, both as a reader and content producer, for a quite a while now. I’ve had several stories I’ve written become popular and I’ve had even more submissions make it. But no matter how many stories I read or submissions I see, I can’t get over the fact that people make the same mistakes over and over again when it comes to their social media stories. They dream of the exposure social media can deliver, work hard at creating viral content, and then they make one of these critical mistakes that kills their story before it even had a chance. If you have hopes of social media success, avoid these all too common mistakes and actually give your story a chance for a change.

Feeding the Trolls

Digg is famous for its troll populationWe’ve all heard about how harsh Digg users can be when it comes to submissions. Even stories that hit the front page get comments like “what a horrible story” or “I can’t believe this made it to the front page!” While other social media sites have a less prickly reputation, you’ll see this on just about any site you visit. With a crowd as diverse as social media users you’re not ever going to please everyone. If you jump into an argument guns blazing at the first hint of a negative comment, you’ll not only be in for a long day, but you’ll also probably be killing off your story’s chances as well.

Spelling Errors

Look, no one is ever going to spell everything correctly 100% of the time. However, take the extra minute to double check the spelling of the title and description that you’re submitting to the social media site. You’ll also want to check the title of the story on your page but the submission is especially important. I’ve seen several great stories go up in flames because all the voters focused on was the typo in the submission headline.

Fake Comments

It’s always nice to hear or read compliments but social media sites are not the place to go for help with your self esteem issues. Don’t have all your friends comment about what a great site you have, or how amazing your content is. If you’ve done a good job, there will be others to sing your praises. If not, no amount of fake comments is going to help. Users will see right through it and your story will suffer the consequences.

Misleading Title or Description

Reddit users hate misleading titlesJust about every article you read about how to hit the front page of Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. focuses on having an appealing title. The fact is, that advice is 100% accurate, but there is a very fine line between writing a compelling title and description for your submission, and becoming too sensationalist or misleading readers. If your submission says you found a way to cure cancer, you’d better make damn well sure you’ve got the cure for cancer in that article. If you disappoint readers, not only will they not vote for your story, but they’ll probably vote it down and leave a comment warning other potential readers.

Ad Focused

This might sound a bit hypocritical coming from a blog that not only has ads on it but is all about making money. However, the fact is no matter how much work or planning you put into creating content that performs well socially, it won’t matter if visitors have to dig through 15 ad blocks to get to your content. Seriously, you could be the next Shakespeare and you’ll never stand a chance if your site has 3 Adsense units before you get to the content. Besides, you’re not going to make much off social media traffic anyway, the bulk of them have ad-blocking plugins and the rest are too savvy to click your ads.

There are definitely more mistakes that could go on this list but these are the ones I see most often. I’m also probably not the first to write these things but either people don’t listen or they don’t think these things apply to them because this still happens A LOT. I know you think you’re helping your story along but the truth is, you’re sabotaging your story, your site, and ultimately your own success.


The Lasting Digg Effect

published on November 19, 2007

Welcome Digg Users! You may also be interested in our latest post, Are You Sabotaging Your Social Stories?

Just about every blogger around knows how powerful hitting the front page of Digg.com can be. We’ve all heard the stories about the massive horde of visitors swarming over a site in just a few short hours. However, few people talk about the amount of traffic a front page Digg story leaves in it’s wake. Many SEO sites have written about the influx of links that often follow a popular story, but I’d always read about it as one component of an overall link building or SEO campaign. I hadn’t ever heard about a site that relied solely upon one Digg story for it’s promotion and traffic. So, I decided to make one.

The Idea

About 6 months ago an idea for a great article sprang to mind after a discussion with a co-worker. Originally I had planned to publish the article as a post on one of my existing blogs, but after a bit of thought decided to wrap an entire site around the article. I jumped online, was pleasantly surprised that my first choice of domain names was available, registered said domain, installed WordPress, and quickly typed out the post. After installing a new theme and cranking out an about page, HilariousNames.com was ready to roll.

The Digg

hilariousnames.com on diggAt that time I was very active on Digg and had been on a good run of submissions becoming popular. Since the site was brand new and no one knew it existed, much less that it was my own site, I decided I’d be ok to submit my own work. Obviously this is something normally frowned upon by the Digg community but occasionally you can get away with it. This was one of those occasions. The submission took off very quickly and became popular within a matter of hours. The traffic poured in at such a frantic pace that my host thought it was a DDOS attack and shut down the site. After two hours of panicked support tickets, the site came back up and the traffic resumed. In fact my follow up post (describing my dealings with my hosting provider) very nearly went popular on Digg as well. After all was said and done, the site had seen about 20,000 visitors over the course of a few hours.

The Lasting Effects

traffic statistics for hilariousnames.comAfter a couple of days the blog was shelved for a different project I was working on (this very site in fact) and I decided to just let it sit to see what would happen. I hadn’t promoted the site anywhere else other than Digg and I hadn’t done any SEO work on it. The popular post did get picked up by several other social sites and the traffic over the next week or so remained fairly high for a brand new site (around 1,000 visitors a day). After that, traffic began to trail off and eventually dropped down to under 10 per day. I figured the site had probably run its course but left it up to age just in case I ever decided to come back around to it. I recently decided to check my stats for all of my sites and was surprised to see the blog is now averaging nearly 40 visitors a day! 75% of the traffic is coming from search engines with another 19% clicking over from the Digg submission. Apparently the site ranks first in Google and Yahoo for the term “hilarious names” and also appears on the first page for other searches such as “worst names”, and “worst names ever”, etc.

HilariousNames now ranks well in GoogleWhile 40-50 visitors a day certainly won’t raise many eyebrows, keep in mind that this is entirely the result of a single popular story on Digg. Any and all links, rankings, and traffic the site has is due to the long term effects of that single post. I mean shoot, the last update was hours after the article hit the front page. No this level of traffic won’t shut your server down or spike your Alexa rankings. But these are the results I’ve seen without doing ANYTHING else with the site. Imagine the kind of growth and popularity that could be achieved if you leveraged the initial traffic into readers.

Imagine how many more links and how much more traffic your site would receive if you were able to make it to the front page of a popular social site multiple times. Hell, imagine how much better the results would be if you simple wrote posts regularly after becoming popular. This is the lasting Digg effect, and it might just be more powerful than the tsunami of traffic Digg is famous for.


Blogging Experiment Loses PageRank

published on November 19, 2007

Some of you may have noticed over the weekend that BloggingExperiment.com’s PageRank score dropped from 4 back down to 0. Apparently the consensus in the blogosphere is that this is Google’s latest attack on paid links and centers around blogs doing paid reviews specifically through PayPerPost and ReviewMe. Obviously I’ve done reviews on this blog, however, none of them have gone through either of those two sources. I am listed in both marketplaces though and I suspect that may have been enough to do me in.

What’s been affected?

So far only my PageRank score has dropped. At the time of this writing I’m still receiving traffic from Google and in fact still ranking fairly well for several different terms. For example, I’m currently ranked 6th for the term “make money blogging” and have received an average of 50 visitors a day from Google over the past week. Obviously I won’t be able to use PageRank as a selling point for any advertising, but I think my Technorati and Alexa along with my traffic numbers should be enough to allow me to march on toward my goal of a full time income.

Where to from here?

I’m not sure whether it comes through in my blog posts here or not but those who know me well will tell you that at times I’m stubborn as all hell. I  like to think that I’m not usually that way but if you push me, for whatever reason my natural tendency is to push back. If I sense that someone is passionate about a topic, I instinctively pick up the other side of the argument. The worst part is, I don’t have to care, or even agree with the point I’m making, just as long as I can argue the point effectively. So, what does that have to do with this post? Whether they intended to or not, Google has pushed me yet again. I mean, it’s not like I was terribly fond of them to begin with, but my passion on the subject had died down quite a bit. Now, not so much.

Needless to say, I won’t be changing anything that I’m currently doing on this blog. While I’m not particularly attached to ReviewMe, I’m not going to delete my listing on their site. I have deleted my listing on PayPerPost, simply because the offers I qualified for simply weren’t worth my time and I’ve never had much success with them on other blogs. In fact I think the only PayPerPost offer I’ve ever done was the review of their service you’re offered when you first sign up. I guess that could be viewed as a minor victory for Google in that respect. Gevil.orgHowever, I’m also going to revive my activity on Gevil.org. That’s one of those abandoned blogs I’ve talked about in the past but I think now is the perfect time to breath some new life into it. Hatred of Google is at an all time high (largely due to their draconian tactics and lack of transparency) and I think it’s time I capitalized on that growing trend.  And who knows, if a few of my new ideas for that site pan out, I might end up making more than enough money to cover any income I lose due to my lack of PageRank.


Cartoon Caption Contest!

published on November 16, 2007

Normally on Fridays I do a phrase auction , however, it’s been a really long week and I needed to lighten the mood a bit. Also, it seems that the novelty of the idea has worn off a bit and it might not be something a lot of you are interested in. So for this week at least, I’m calling an audible and switching it up. This week, we’re having a cartoon caption contest.

The idea is pretty simple, create a caption (or question and answer speech baloons) for the cartoon below (generously provided by Pops from ToonRefugee.com). Anyone who submits a caption will receive an entry into the drawing at the end of the month (the announced prizes so far include a custom cartoon from ToonRefugee and 125×125 ad spot on this site with more to come I promise) and just like last week, the winner will get 3 extra entries. But wait, there’s more! Since so many people have been requesting specific shows in the Lessons on Blogging series, the winner will also get to choose the next show I cover! How’s that for a fun prize package? The deadline for submissions will be Monday at noon and the winner will be chosen by Pops and myself and announced on Tuesday. Have fun, but any submissions deemed inappropriate (f-bombs, hate speech, etc) will be deleted and will not count as a submission. Multiple submissions are allowed but will not result in an extra entry to the end of the month drawing.

Whew I feel like a lawyer spelling out all those rules. Anyway, on to the fun part! Create a caption (or dialog balloons) for the following cartoon:

Ask the Swami cartoon contest

Enjoy!

Update: And the winner is… Adam’s “Good luck getting down.” Adam, drop me a line and let me know which show you’d like me to cover next!


Prison Break: Lessons on Blogging

published on November 15, 2007

This guest post is written by Christine Kayser, the co-founder and writer for MovieSnobs.net, a movie news and review site. E-mail her at christine[at]moviesnobs.net to talk about new movies, The Wizard of Oz, or how talented Wentworth Miller is. I think she really captured the spirit of this sort of accidental series I’ve created and I really enjoyed the post even though I’ve never watched a full episode of Prison Break so I figured the rest of you would enjoy it as well.

As a fan of Ben’s posts about TV’s lessons on blogging (and a subscriber to the Blogging Experiment RSS feed), I suggested in the comments for The Office: Lessons on Blogging that Ben tackle the series “Prison Break” next. His previous entries on “Heroes” and “The Sopranos” were entertaining and offered a different angle on blogging-about-blogging. Unfortunately Ben doesn’t watch “Prison Break” and since I have a slight obsession with the show, I offered to take a shot at the post myself.

Careful Planning is Necessary

Michael's elaborate Prison Break TattooThe first season of “Prison Break” was about former-engineer turned prison-inmate Michael Scofield and his elaborate plan to break his innocent brother out of jail. Scofield is an extremely smart man, and he knew that getting thrown in prison with the purpose of breaking out wasn’t going to be as simple as holding up a liquor store. He researched criminal charges and punishments to plan out what crime would get him placed in the same prison as his brother. The bank robbery he attempted while firing his weapon into the air landed him in Fox River State Penitentiary with his brother. In the planning stages, he acquired the blueprints to the prison and designed an elaborate tattoo with the blueprints hidden in the artwork. Every intricate detail in his full upper body tattoo was a clue to their escape. Street names, names of tools he would need, even a guide to the weak points in a wall were all hidden in the devils and religious images in his tattoo. Rather than jumping into what could be the most dangerous task of his life blindly, his every move was carefully planned out and backed up with research.

Just like Michael planned to break out of prison, you should be making plans for your blog. The blogging world is such an instant gratification kind of place that a lot of bloggers forget to make future plans for their blog. A blog strategy can be extremely useful for those times when you’re hit with writer’s block or a nasty cold. It can also help you capitalize on search trends by being prepared for major holidays and events. As a movie blogger, I plan out my calendar with the major awards shows, plus big movie-related holidays – horror for Halloween, romantic comedies for Valentine’s Day, and Christmas favorites for December. Preparing posts in advance and planning out a blogging calendar can make your writing time more productive and your blog more successful.

Be Ready to Think on the Fly

In addition to being prepared and doing his research, Michael has had to be able to think on his feet. More often than not his escape plans have gone terribly awry. Even worse, his plans are usually ripped to shreds leaving him just moments to create a new plan or risk being discovered by the guards. His plan in Season One had the inmates escaping with the help of a broken pipe in the infirmary, but they had to start from scratch when they discover on the night of their escape that the broken pipe had been replaced. This season Michael planned to escape from his new prison at 3:13pm – the precise time the sun hit the guard tower, temporarily blocking the guards’ view of the prison wall. After creating a diversion (a challenge for a fight to the death between himself and Whistler, the inmate he’s escaping with), Michael climbed out a window and down a rope ladder. Of course the clouds rolled in at the precise moment the potential escapees desperately needed the sunlight and they had to cancel the plans, climb back up the rope ladder, and think of a good reason why the two of them shouldn’t be fighting to the death in front of all the other inmates.

While your blog decisions won’t lead to a fight to the death (at least, I hope not), you will have times when you’ll have to react quickly. While a blogging calendar can help you be prepared for the future, you also have to be nimble enough to write about issues and events that are happening right now. Jumping on top of an event or news item in your niche can drive some serious search traffic to your blog. When we live-blogged an event surrounding the viral marketing for the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight, we had an influx of visitors who were searching for the answers to the internet scavenger hunt. If the event is big enough, the traffic can linger. That post has been one of our top ten posts for three months. One way to truly capitalize on these situations is to have a link to your RSS feed at the end of every post, or at least prominently featured on your blog’s home page. New visitors can turn into subscribers with just one click.

Network with a Purpose

the Prison Break castScofield knew he had to connect with the right people in order for his escape plan to work. He had to trust his cell mate Sucre in order to escape through a hole behind the toilet. He needed to get close to prison physician Dr. Tancredi to have access to the infirmary window that was closest to the escape route. Finally he had to convince the warden to trust him so that he would have an opportunity to launch the escape. He also had to avoid or carefully manage the people who could make trouble for him – Abruzzi the mafia man, T-Bag the untrustworthy sex offender (as if that’s not an understatement), and Haywire the schizophrenic. Throughout the seasons the people who Michael could trust and the people he had to be careful around changed considerably, but the concept remains the same. When Michael interacted with people in prison, he had a specific purpose for the relationship. Whether that purpose was friendship and teamwork or careful avoidance depended on what would best benefit his escape plan.

The same holds true for the blog world. You comment on other blogs, email other bloggers in your niche, and participate in social networking sites, but do you ever think about why you do these things? You should have a purpose for every blog interaction you conduct. Your comments on other blogs should not only add value to the conversation, but they should be a tiny representation of you and your blog. You have a chance to say something – not just leave a comment, but truly say something – every time you comment on other blogs. Don’t waste it and become one of those people to avoid – no one likes an abusive commenter or a fellow blogger that simply copies others’ content. Similarly, when connecting with other bloggers directly, don’t waste their time. If Michael Scofield had wasted John Abruzzi’s time, he might have lost his life instead of just his pinky toe. You need to bring something to the relationship, not just further your own agenda. For tips on networking with other bloggers, check out ProBlogger Darren Rowse’s series of posts on blogging relationships and Ben’s posts on striking up a conversation and not wasting your networking time.

Nothing is Impossible

After watching three seasons of “Prison Break,” you’ll know that you can plan a jail escape through a series of elaborate tattoos; you can fake the murder of the vice president’s brother; and you’ll know it’s possible to have a show called “Prison Break” continue after the characters have already broken out of prison, escaped from the United States, and been thrown back into prison in Panama. Like “Heroes,” “Prison Break” seems to be the most interesting when it’s at its most unbelievable points. Impossible escapes become possible with just a metal screw, some tattoos, and a little help from new friends.

The same goes for your blog. Nothing is impossible. It sounds cheesy and self-help-like to say, but there really is nothing you can’t accomplish if you work at it. Ben is a perfect example – he set out to earn a full-time income in 365 days of blogging. Last month he made almost $600 with 245 days left. You have to work on your blogging before anything will happen, but things will happen. You don’t need an elaborate tattoo and you certainly don’t have to rob a bank, but you do have to write – a lot. Write until you think you can’t write anymore, and then leave some comments on another blog. And then write some more.

I’d like to thank the Blogging Experiment readers for sharing in my “Prison Break” obsession, and I’d like to thank Ben for the opportunity to write a guest post for one of my favorite blog post series. If you enjoyed this post, come share my other obsessions (like Kate Beckinsale, movie soundtracks, and casting rumors) over at MovieSnobs.net.


Google Screwing Publishers… (yes, again)

published on November 15, 2007

The big news in the blogosphere lately has been the announcement that Google is going to once again screw over their publishers to cater to their advertisers. Naturally that’s not quite how they put it but it’s pretty obvious that’s what they’re doing. Darren over at Problogger broke the news (at least to me) and posted this picture to illustrate the change Google is making:

Adsense Clickable Zones

I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t just make the Ads by Google text the only clickable portion of the ads. Google is defending the move by saying it will help prevent accidental clicks and will help advertisers get more value. They do admit that publishers click through rates will probably drop but not to worry, they say, that will be made up for when advertisers increase their spending.

Wait… what?

They’re trying to argue that since the advertisers will have to pay less that they’ll just go out and pump it right back into Adsense? Having been both on both the publisher and advertiser side of things, I can tell you that’s not at all how I would react. Obviously advertisers still don’t feel like they are getting the full value from AdWords and Google has responded by making this change. Now correct me if I’m wrong but the big issue isn’t accidental clicks, it’s click fraud. Sure Google says they catch like 99.9% of it but I’d bet the house that if you surveyed advertisers they’d come back with a MUCH higher rate. So, rather than admitting it can’t deal with the click fraud problem either, Google is now trying to convince advertisers that accidental clicks are the issue while at the same time explaining to publishers that a drop in their CTR will be a good thing.

Awesome. All you AdSense publishers out there, may I suggest a few alternatives?

Many people go for google affiliate program because it is a risk free advertisement and a company pays its affiliate partners a fee from revenue made by the affiliates marketing activities. Therefore, google has become a threat to many advertising companies because of adsense and adword. One can advertise affiliate information products from reputable companies on their web site and make a lot of revenue. People can even do it from their home.


Under the Microscope: 4rehabilitation

published on November 14, 2007

Well I’ll tell you what, these review requests are getting more and more diverse. So far I’ve covered a dating site, a contest site, and tonight, I’ll be looking at a rehab site. 4rehabilitation.com offers “information on drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation treatment programs.” The site has a TON of information on all sorts of drugs and other common addictions and goes into a lot of detail. I’d like all that information to be presented in a bit larger font. With so much reading to do, the small type and narrow content makes it seem a bit daunting. However, the rest of the visual presentation is very well done. The green is an almost soothing shade and for a site that deals with such an uncomfortable subject that really shouldn’t be overlooked.

As I mentioned before, the site has a ton of quality information. They cover everything from alcohol to marijuana to GHB. They detail exactly what addiction is, go in depth describing the downward spiral that every addict travels, and have a contact form to help you find treatment for your addiction and put you on the road to recovery. I’m assuming this is how the site makes their money, especially since the headline on the home page is “Drug Rehabilitation Referral Service.” While some people might view this as capitalizing on someone else’s suffering, personally as long as people get the help they need I don’t care how it happens. To me that’s the genius of a site like this. Not only are they able to make money, but they also are able to provide a service which could actually help people. To me that’s the best of both worlds.

The only other flaw with the site that I’ve found is the links of interest page. I expected some sort of resource list but instead found a basically empty page. I’m not sure whether that’s just an issue suffered in FireFox or what but I didn’t have any problems throughout the rest of the site. Really this page would be the perfect place to put extra affiliate links for other services or products that would appeal to addicts or their families. Amazon links to addiction books or books about living with an addict would be perfect. If they really wanted to make some money they could put affiliate links to some pharmaceutical site but that might be defeating the point a bit ;)


Why I (Still) Like SponsoredReviews

published on November 13, 2007

Update: Wow, that was quick. SponsoredReviews has just launched their affiliate program. You get paid $5.00 for every blogger referred and has the following pay structure for referring advertisers:

Amount Spent Referral Fee
$1 $5
$100 $20
$1,000 $50
$10,000 $100

So, if you haven’t signed up for SR yet, you might as well do so now ;)

My latest posts mentioning SponsoredReviews.com have generated quite a few questions. And, since I skipped the Reader Question Session yesterday, I figured I’d address all these questions in one single post. I’m just going to run down the questions and comments and I’ll leave some of the more open ended questions to the end. Buckle up, cause here we go!

bmunch: I would really like you to do a review on Sponsored Review.

Ask and you shall receive.

Mike Huang: Well, it’s better if there is no middle man. Just advertise that you do reviews on here and don’t use any service to do so.

I would have to disagree here. While I definitely like keeping 100% of the profits of the private reviews I do, I would not have nearly as many offers as I get with the service acting as the middle man. Currently the only people that I know I offer site reviews are people that visit the Advertise page. That’s a still a very limited audience. However, the service sites like SponsoredReviews (SR), ReviewMe (RM), and PayPerPost (PPP) all have much larger audiences. So, by using their service I’m increasing the number of my potential clients by incredible margins.

Also, this recent episode actually illustrated a big benefit to going through a service. I don’t have to deal with the customers. Once the dialogue was started with the SponsoredReviews representative, it was actually a very quick and easy process to get things cleared up. If I had been the one dealing directly with the upset advertiser, I’m quite certain things would not have gone as smoothly.

bmunch: Have you use PayPerPost? If so, what are your assessment for both of them and why do you prefer Sponsered Post?

I have and do use PayPerPost but I much prefer SponsoredReviews. PayPerPost has a lot more limitations and MUCH lower paying opportunities. I usually spend 2-3 hours on a review and my time is worth a heck of a lot more than $10-30 for that amount of time. Also, I’ve just found the SR system to be much easier to use overall. There’s no wondering whether or not your blog qualifies, or whether or not all the opportunities have been reserved like there is in the PPP interface.

Ruchir: I haven’t tried SponsoredReviews yet fully since I didn’t like the bidding thing. The bidding takes too long, plus SR gave my blog a very low value ($5), so the max I could bid was $5, which is pretty bad. Anyways, how has been your experience of SR so far Ben?

Actually, it’s funny that you mention the bidding process. That’s one of my favorite aspects of SR as opposed to the other sites. I hate sitting around waiting for advertisers to contact me. SR’s bidding process allows me to proactively contact advertisers. Then all they have to do is accept or reject it. Also, I like the ability for either party to make counter offers which allows some negotiations to take place. I haven’t really found the bidding process to be all that time consuming. I log in a few times a week, check out the new opportunities, bid on the ones that fit my blogs (I have several blogs signed up with the service) and they email me when one of my bids is accepted. The whole process probably takes 15-20 minutes a week max.

As for the low value, every time I’ve registered a blog with them, SponsoredReviews has given me a range that my price should fall within. For example, for this blog their suggested price was between $50 and $500. For another one of my less popular blogs, they suggested between $20 and $200. I’d be willing to bet that if you log in, click on the Manage Blogs tab, and then click on the blog in question, you should be able to enter in your own price. If that’s not an option I’d drop them an email asking for a price increase and see what they say. They’ve really been quite easy to work with and go out of their way to help me in most situations.

SEO blog: After all Ben, i think you should pick another company that doesn’t dictate how to write the reviews…

From what I’ve seen each of the major services have similar requirements. SR does give advertisers the option to “Benefits Only” as their desired review type, however, those are usually few and far between and I simply don’t bid or accept those types of opportunities. In my opinion if I don’t feel free to speak my mind about the site in question, the review won’t be worth anything anyway. Not only would I be compromising my integrity but readers would immediately see through any insincere review. It’s just not worth it to me. However, I do think it’s wise for SponsoredReviews to have that as an option for advertisers such as Laser-Toner.co.uk that only want to read warm and fuzzy comments about their site, whether they’re based in reality or not. At the same time it allows me to skip over those reviews without giving them a second look.

Now, before this starts to just sound like a gushing, 100% positive review, let me address a couple of areas I think SponsoredReviews could improve upon.

Shaun Carter: However, I do agree completely with you that if SponsoredReviews wants to enforce these rules they talk about in that e-mail then they need to explicitly state those rules in their TOS.

As it turns out, they do state it in their best practices guide. It just wasn’t in the one that is easily found. I definitely think they could stand to update their TOS and make the rules a bit more accessible. I think that would help reviewers avoid the type of situation I encountered yesterday.

Also, I’d desperately like to see SR come out with an affiliate program. I’ve been told that there’s something in the works that will be released in a matter of weeks but this has always been SR’s biggest weakness in my opinion. For example, if a post like this could generate income for me, I’d probably have written it a lot sooner.

And last, but certainly not least, I’d like to see some sort of system put in place to denote which opportunities are old and stagnant and which are still active. I currently have quite a few bids waiting for approval but I have no way of knowing whether the advertiser is actually still active or hasn’t been to the site in months.

All in all, SponsoredReviews is still my top choice in terms of sponsored or paid posts, and although there are still areas they could improve upon, they’ve come a long way in the 8 short months since I first reviewed them over on SEOrefugee.com. And, whether you decide to use SponsoredReviews or not, I’d definitely suggest you check out their blog. It’s not updated all that regularly but it’s got some quality information on blogging and marketing.

What about you? Have you used SponsoredReviews? What kind of results have you seen? Do you prefer a different service, and if so, why?


SponsoredReviews Replies – I was 2/3rds wrong

published on November 13, 2007

Well, SponsoredReviews got back to me fairly quickly and as it turns out, they do mention both of the first two issues in their rules. Just not the rules I was able to easily find. I was given this link, and in this list they do mention that you aren’t allowed to advertise your prices if they are less than 25% lower than the price listed on their site. I was wrong there.

They also state that:

  1. Reviews cannot contain in-text advertising (e.g., Kontera) or sponsored links other than those of the advertiser, unless otherwise specified by the advertiser. Advertisers do not want to see links competing for clicks on the review that they are paying for.

While I don’t think the “business” links qualify since I gave that away as a prize, that’s a very fine line and one that I probably shouldn’t have walked. I’m not sure whether I just missed that section or whether this is an updated version the Getting Started Guide but I wasn’t able to find it without a direct link.

That brings us to the third and in my opinion most important point. SponsoredReviews has said they won’t be refunding the money but would prefer if I were a bit more tactful with my criticisms in the future. While I don’t have to “spin” it, they have suggested that there was probably a better way to convey my thoughts (most likely without the sarcasm as Tim mentioned in the comments to the last post).

With all that being said, much of my faith has been restored in SponsoredReviews and they are still my paid review site of choice. While I don’t think I was out of line, they also have to balance the advertisers desires with that of the publishers and that’s probably not an easy balancing act. I will continue to use their site and suggest anyone interested in making money blogging do so as well. I mean all’s well that ends well right?