When I first invested into IZEA, I liked the parallel between Google’s sponsored search (pioneered by GoTo/Overture) and IZEA’s sponsored content. Google’s sponsored search pays for all the other cool free stuff they offer, and is the foundation for much of the internet ecosystem — it’s arguably the most successful online business model to date. Sponsored content holds similar promise.
However, there was always a missing piece in my comparison — sponsored search was offered on a performance-based model and sponsored content was offered on a pay-per-post model. Although pay-per-post is a natural for the blogosphere, with many blog jobs paying on that model, it’s most appropriate for a subset of marketing goals — brand and media/buzz.
Performance-based marketing, however, is more appropriate for direct marketers — the bread and butter of Google’s sponsored search behemoth. I also happen to believe performance marketing will continue to take a larger and larger share of the marketing buy — particularly as the broader markets tighten and marketers want more bang for their buck. All of this presents the opportunity for IZEA to revolutionize yet another industry through blogs — performance marketing
IZEA just announced SocialSpark Affiliate Opportunities
— sponsored posts that are compensated on a cost-per-action basis
. This allows bloggers to capture an ongoing share of the marketing value they create — not just a flat fee per post. It also allows marketers to pay for performance — compensating for actions (CPA) like signups, sales, forms, leads etc. The result, as the system scales, should be higher ROI for everyone
Some of you may ask “Great, Dan, but how do readers benefit from IZEA’s approach to performance marketing?” For that I’d share a dirty little secret about blogosphere affiliate marketing — despite all the uproar about disclosure on pay-per-post sponsored content, multi-billion dollar affiliate networks have ignored reader disclosure to date. IZEA, as the leader on social media marketing transparency, a governing member of WOMMA and creator of DisclosurePolicy.org, has introduced the industry’s first 100% Disclosure affiliate network
. Every SocialSpark Affiliate post must conform to SocialSpark’s Code of Ethics
, including auditable in-post disclosure. The largest affiliate networks don’t even mention “disclosure” in their Terms of Service — IZEA leads.
And for the Google lovers out there, SocialSpark’s Code of Ethics also requires 100% no-follow affiliate links, to guarantee adherence to Google Quality Guidelines — another first for the affiliate industry. SocialSpark bloggers makeup the only GOOG-approved sponsored blogging network on the planet.
All of this is delivered within SocialSpark’s existing blogger/advertiser marketplace, including advanced segmentation and analytics. Marketers are able to hand-pick bloggers or develop smart blogrolls that auto-populate based upon segmentation criteria such as traffic, quality, demographics.
Too good to be true? Check out affiliate posts
for yourself and tell me what you think.