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Yesterday we took a look at two paid posts from British Airways run through the Izea SocialSpark program. One of the comments I made was around how the paid disclosure is referenced. Izea required that the paid post badge be added to the bottom of the post. My suggestion for clarity was to add a clear notice that the post is paid/sponsored at the top of the post.
Last night I received an email from Izea founder Ted Murphy that basically addressed my suggestion. It was perfect timing as Izea launched their updated disclosure requirements earlier in the day. You can read their disclosure update announcement on the Izea blog. They are calling the update a “sandwich disclosure”. You can see their sandwich image below. Basically they now require their network of paid bloggers to disclose at the top and bottom of each post that the content is sponsored/paid. I am glad to see this change – let’s hope they can enforce it.
Izea notes that their system checks for the disclosure messages and rejects any posts that don’t include the required notations.
– I wonder which part of the sandwich is the real opinion part :)
I’ve flown on British Airways three times and all three flights went well. The last time on British Airways was in 2006 and was a short hop from Venice to London and I remember the crew making the trip smooth for someone who really doesn’t enjoy flying. So it was a shock to learn that an airline that has a good reputation is buying reviews and paid posts. I decided to take a look at two posts, one from former tech blogger Meghan Asha and the other from her NonSociety partner Jordan Reid.
You can read the posting on SocialSpark (that’s Izea’s posting service) where British Airlines outlines what they require to be included in the post. The paid post provides for $15 in earnings although I believe some Izea posters make more than what is listed.
It’s interesting that the posts from Jordan and Meghan basically follow the required script from British Airways exactly. Is that where the “real opinion” comes from? One requirement is that the post is more than 200 words; Meghan’s comes in below that at 186 words. Both bloggers provide a small button to note that the post is paid although it is at the bottom of the post. I know Izea founder Ted Murphy talks about the importance of disclosure is his network’s paid posts which is a good thing. One change I’d like to see is that the button is moved to the top and clear language is added to the top of every post noting that the post is paid. You may never even see the button on the two blogs because of the non-traditional layout that the NonSociety site employs.
SocialSpark CEO Ted Murphy provided a business update yesterday regarding his paid blogging program. I’ve embedded the presentation below. At the basic level, SocialSpark (formerly PayPerPost) allows advertisers to get bloggers to write about their product or service. Murphy says the product is about connecting advertisers with people who create content online. They represent 18,000 advertisers and 190,000 bloggers (they call them posties).
Murphy explains that the core benefits of SocialSpark are: brand awareness, word of mouth, traffic generation, social media optimization, and content creation. The admin panel they built is actually quite impressive.
I have a variety of concerns with SocialSpark and paid reviews in general. Here’s just one concern. there’s no requirement for the review to be positive but let’s be honest here. If you write 2-3 negative reviews, what company is going to want to send you their gadget? Zip.
As I’ve written about numerious times before, I’d love to see a blog advertorial network. No reviews, just advertorials. As more blogs move to RSS, I believe we will see more advertorials popping up.