Controversial Izea While I Slept

IzeaSometimes I really hate timezones, especially when a company I closely follow (and even take a couple of punches for) makes an announcement.

PayPerPost and now Izea

Fittingly I think Colleen should have the first link, she has been a postie for a long time, is a top earner, and has been taking an equal amount of punches being on the firing line.
Colleen highlights the fact that PayPerPost have been planning to have a new domain for their Argus platform for some time, and it is only logical that Argus is not housed under the PayPerPost moniker, because PayPerPost will only be one of many services provided.

People who actually monitor the PayPerPost blog of course knew this was coming a month ago.

Dan, an investor in PayPerPost… well now the parent company Izea, seems happy about how money is being spent.
That is important, I am sure the Izea.com domain name cost a lot more than $9 from GoDaddy.

Here is a link to the official Izea Press release on the new corporate entity.

Mixed Reactions To Izea & PayPerPost

As always with anything related to PayPerPost, there is a lot of controversy, and mixed reaction. I have covered the more positive stuff so far, so what follows is the more neutral or negative opinion.

On Scobleizer.com

Robert Scoble writes

Translation: Ted’s company is interesting to watch cause he pisses off lots of A listers but I’m still not sure he’s really going to build something disruptive. A company doesn’t change its name if it’s loved.

Ted Murphey responds in the comments

With over 80,000 bloggers and 11,000 advertisers (including Fortune 500 companies) in our family changing the name of the parent company was a difficult decision. While we may not be loved by all A-Listers, I do feel we have a strong connection with the bloggers we serve. The name change may be hard for some of our long term supporters, but this is the right thing long term. PayPerPost.com will remain our flagship product, it just won’t be the name of the parent organization.

The name change itself is by no means disruptive, however it does provide a framework that will allow us to innovate by offering new services that don’t necessarily belong under the PayPerPost brand.

I do believe that when it launched PPP was a disruptor. I think our newest innovation (codenamed Argus) will achieve much of the same success when it is released to the public.

Tanya questioned the negative connotation

Ted responded

Tanya : The name itself is too limiting. The name PayPerPost clearly described the business when we started but confines us long term. I am not saying PPP doesn’t have a negative connotation for some bloggers, but that is not the driver behind this change. Were it the driver we would change PayPerPost.com to Izea.com and that is not the case. PayPerPost.com will continue to operate as it is under the IZEA umbrella.

Read/Write Web – The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

For a website selling PageRank passing advertising within both their sponsors section, and possibly their “partners” section, though maybe partners is just payola, I find it wrong for Marshall Kirkpatrick to concentrate on bloggers being paid peanuts and gaming the search engines.

I don’t get paid peanuts, but I do probably charge a lot less than I should for a review, my links are editorial, and my readership likes the content I write.

It seems Marshall prefers to encourage domainers to fill up the internet with parked domains showing duplicate content.

Mashable = Balanced Coverage

Mashable is notable that on many controversial issues, they keep a balanced line. They are quite capable of stirring up their own controversy, especially regarding Google’s feed stats and feed bundles and internal linking, but I actually take a similar line on those myself.

(Did you notice Techcrunch’s commentary on PageRank linked to no one?)

Those actually are relevant links, because as Mashable highlight, Izea’s new Argus platform is being hinted to have new metrics available for advertisers.

Lots of the extensive gaming of advertising stats in the industry are going to be wiped out, and many detractors of PayPerPost might be forced to use one of their services.

On Jim Kukral

Jim takes the balanced view as he has a much longer memory than most Tech bloggers

E-Consultancy

I just want to point out that PayPerPost have never offered money to any postie that I know of to break an exclusive story. Sometime after an announcement they have had opportunities for buzz marketing. Would they have vetted a story? I doubt it, they have never asked to do something like that in the past. Colleen is in a privileged position, because I believe she has actually seen Argus during a beta testing focus group, and it shouldn’t be assumed that people writing for PayPerPost are “selling out“.

The choice of linking to the Read/Write article was strange coming from a site that lists the following in their reasons to advertise in their directory.

* We link directly to your web site which has 2 benefits:
o It improves your search engine rankings
o It means our users can go straight through to your site
* You also get your listing enhanced in the PDF print version of the directory
* We include e-mail contact details
* You get more prominent formatting in any search results
* Your logo is include to help prominence and branding
* Search result prioritisation – so you rank near the top on relevant searches
o You specify 5 keywords which you want to rank top for
* Detailed online performance reporting [View sample] o You know how many people are viewing your listing and who

Sounds to me very similar to what people degrade PayPerPost about. There is certainly no open disclosure that paid listings are paid listings.

PayPerPost Reaction To PageRank Decrease

As I have been trying to keep a record of the official stance of the major players in the Google Pagerank Fiasco, here is a quote I found on the PayPerPost message boards, from Ted Murphey, CEO of Izea (and PayPerPost)

Posties,
Before you start pointing fingers at PPP for any Google PRupdate I would take a look here:

http://andybeard.eu/2007/10/pagerank-update.html

This is a net wide hit that effect many high profile bloggers and sites in general including Forbes and SFGate.com

On a related note:

This is all the more reason that we are moving to more quantifiable segmentation options like visitors and pageviews in Argus. PR has nothing to do with the value you create for advertisers. If your PR drops from 6 to a 3 overnight does it mean you have half the amount of visitors or clicks you will generate? No. It means that Google arbitrarily assigned a value to your blog that is not necessary representative of the value you create.

Google is determining your blog’s value and subsequent earnings capability with an algorithm that is based on protecting their own paid search revenue.

Up with actually stats! Down with PR!

Now admittedly that was made before the dust settled, after my first post.

I think the dust has settled enough to determine that Google have penalized PayPerPost users, at least those with clear disclosure and I am one of them.

However just like I believe that I am not selling PageRank, I strongly believe that is the case for most PayPerPost writers.
It really is about the quality of the content written, the buzz, and the real feedback that advertisers can receive about their product.

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice collection of thoughts Andy, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

    I’ve enjoyed using PPP over the last few months and they have made me literally thousands of dollars where as Google has made me…..nothing. Have I polluted the internet while doing it? I don’t think so, and certainly no worse than people doing all they can to attract search traffic, for the sole purpose of gaining adsense clicks.

    If Argus brings some worthwhile metrics for gauging the relative worth of a site and other advertisers start using it, the sky’s the limit.

  2. says

    Nice writeup and summary Andy.

    It makes sense, if you have evolved into a company with many different products/ services, there should be an umbrella name that is different from their flagship product. If PPP happened to be both the previous umbrella name AND the product too, it would be logical to separate it out.

    I can see the big perception (and negative connotation) of separating a controversial product name from the rest of its offerings. Not sure what the real reason is as only Ted Murphy will know it as his response was very PR like — he would never come out and say it even if it was the case that they wanted a name change to get away from the negativity. My response to this is … “so what?”, what exactly is the big deal about this. It is not the first time a company has come up with an umbrella name for all its product.

    However, this move just cements his business savvy and strategic thinking. Regardless of how much he is bulked by A-list bloggers, you can’t deny that he is pretty good at what he does i.e. to grow a company and make it successful (against all odds).

    Personally, I think that all the A list bloggers should stop winning and complaining. It’s starting to sound like a broken down record player. There is enough revenue around the web/ blogosphere to go around with PPP in the picture. Play nice and share guys. Even with him implementing disclosures (which what you guys wined about in the first place, the negativity continued). To me, it just looks like a bunch of spoilt kids in a playground trying to protect their turf — and THAT is just what it boils down to. A cat fight, that is what it is.

    You all should have the sense to know that the more you continue to talk about him and the company, that he is receiving tremendous amount of free publicity and he is laughing all the way to the bank. Funny thing is how you guys never once mentioned smaller companies like BLOGVERTISE and BLOGITIVE which are doing almost the same thing — just because they are not as big to threaten your turf.

    It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to put it all together to show that the so called A list bloggers are feeling something they have never felt before — vulnerability and being threatened by an up and coming company that is making a lot of money. All of a sudden their throne is not so comfy anymore.

    It’s certainly good entertainment you guys (i.e. the A list blogger) are putting up for us going back and forth with the PPP negativity. And through all of it, I can just see Ted Murphy smiling everytime one of the A listers start saying something negative or start stirring up negativity about his company. Don’t you guys get it… the more you talk about him, the richer his company becomes.

  3. says

    Nice write up Andy. I saw Colleen write up last evening, but didn’t have anything in particular to say.

    Given the large number of services, setting up a parent company as an umbrella makes sense. I don’t see why that would need to be named after the largest sub-company. There are certainly advantages to having a separate name.

    I also don’t see how Read/Write web can be lovin’ the idea of Shared Reviews and disliking PPP.

    Am I misunderstanding, or does Shared REviews work like this:

    Someone buys domains that already have backlinks for their old content.

    That someone these puts new, entirely different, content on those pages. This new content has instant undeserved page rank from the old backlinks. Then, the owners monetize the new contents.

    Sure, the new content may be better than stuff we see on splogs, but where, exactly is the brigh line ethical difference between:

    a) A small business running a company on a fresh new domain, populating that domain with content, and then buying a link to increase rank and

    b) SmartReviews buying domains equipped with now irrelevant links inbound links intended to point to the old content and populating that with content?

    Oh well… If Smart Reviews is doing what it sounds like, I’m sure Google will figure this out. It’s not that difficult to figure out the content on a domain is entirely and completely revised after the domain is purchased.

  4. says

    The A-listers can go blow it out their fat hairy arses. I’m getting mighty tired of these uppity snobbish obnoxious elitist baboon snotbags dictating how the rest of us should blog.

  5. Laura says

    Izea.

    When I first saw the announcement in my email, I thought it was “Ikea.”

    As in “furniture”.

    I was disappointed to learn that they don’t have any office chairs on sale this month.

  6. says

    Very good coverage Andy. Its really surprising that some of the popular bloggers are against the PayPerPost Idea but they write about the “Search Engine Love” in their advertisement section.

    For PPP Posties: Its really important to setup alternative source of traffic instead of relying on Google.

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  1. [...] reactions from the world of weblogs include: Andy Beard’s take and round-up, Robert Scoble’s thoughts, and Read/Write Web’s write-up, among others. It’s [...]

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