PayPerPost Buys Zookoda – Maybe I Got The Jump On Techcrunch

A few days ago I saw a number of my readers had grabbed an “opp” with PayPerPost to predict the acquisition they were going to announce this week, in fact today.

I don’t like speculating about purchases too much, but this one actually intrigued me, because there were a number of options.

I was going to post a nice short list something along the lines of

5. Splashpress Media – PayPerPost have been looking to get into some higher profile blogs for some time, and this would be one option
4. B5 Media – For a similar reason, but B5 have funding, and I doubt would be looking to cash out too soon for the sums possibly available
3. Clicky – PPP were in the market for tracking in the past, and Performancing fell though – then not long ago Performancing first of all started using clicking for their service, then dropped it.
2. Blogcatalog – I know VC Dan was very interested in MyBlogLog, and Blog Catalog has a lot of potential

So who is left?

I have got to know Dan Rua quite well from various discussions about PayPerPost and disclosure, and Dan is one of the main driving forces behind PayPerPost as a primary investor.
He is a very smart “guiding hand”, thus I came up with one overwhelming argument.

Dan wouldn’t advise on a purchase of a product unless he tried the service himself.

So my first stop was his Venture Capital blog.

I do read Dan’s blog, and there were no mentions of him testing out any new products. He did write a fair amount about MyBlogLog in the past, even though he wasn’t an investor, thus I expected some kind of mention of a service if he was testing it.
So I took a look at his sidebar.


Zookoda thus became a contender, but there had to be business reasons for the purchase, and they were easy enough to find.

  1. Zookoda have been advertising with PayPerPost heavily, in fact I would think one of their biggest cost centres is advertsing with PayPerPost.
  2. Zookoda offer a free service and have been promising a method of monetization for some time. Just like Google and Feedburner, their offer of monetization and the cut of the advertising revenue would allow them to continue offering a free service. Most publishers would jump at the chance of more revenue
  3. Zookoda needed an advertising sales team – PayPerPost has an advertising sales team
  4. Text Link Ads offers Feedvertiser, and also has ReviewMe. PayPerPost is similar to ReviewMe, but more mass market. With advertising sales in Feeds an established marketplace, and PayPerPost already an established player in blog monetization, it is no great shock that they might try to offer more monetization options.

Whilst I could have written the above a couple of days ago, I wanted it confirmed, so I popped off an email to Dan. It was obvious the announcement was being orchestrated, and whilst I could maybe have gained a few extra page views, it might have upset the apple cart.

Dan didn’t get back to me until a couple of hours ago.

Nice work Andy…I can’t believe you leaked it ;-)

Here are some of the things that Zookoda need to fix:-

  • Feed Stats – they need to work together with Feedburner to report feed usage – if they do this already, they really need to make that information obvious.
    In some ways they are now a Feedburner competitor, which might make this a little complicated. If it doesn’t happen, I expect to see PayPerPost/Zookoda move into the feed syndication and statistics business extremely quickly.
  • Legal Disclosure – One of the interesting shortcomings of Feedburner, and one which I have pushed/encouraged them about in the past, is how poor Feedburner is for CAN-SPAM compliance, and meeting UK/European regulations. I think we will soon see disclosure options for email and feeds available from PPP / Zookoda
  • Affiliate Program – This is something that relates to PPP as well – I would love to see some recurring income.
    Both Feedburner and Zookoda are currently lucky to not have disturbed sleeping giants such as Aweber and GetResponse, who both offer rather rudimentary services for bloggers, which don’t offer the important “social proof” of Feedcounters that I have mentioned in-depth in the past. One caveat though – do some work on the landing pages – I have removed the “Review My Post” button on this site because it wasn’t converting, and in my opinion is confusing for a person who first comes across it.
  • Comment Subscriptions – I don’t like serving them from my own domain, and they could easily be monetized. I currently use an SMTP plugin, and use Gmail as a SMTP gateway.
    I have a number of teething problems with my email subscription plugin – it isn’t as reliable as it could be and seems to drop people who requested to subscribe. I would love to see an alternative service. Lots of big blogs do not offer comment subscription, I don’t know why. Current options for following discussion are not ideal. It could be monetised
  • Delivery Rates – In the Email marketing world, delivery rate of email is looked on as important. If you are offering RSS to Email services, for some reason this doesn’t seem important. Maybe blog content has a 100% delivery rate due to trust, but I would love to see some figures.
  • Migrations – How would I move to Zookoda from Feedburner? Obviously I would want to have the ability to have my stats merged, or have some kind of full service.
  • Aggregated Feeds – I would love some way to provide multiple feeds on a blog, and to then supply aggregated subscriber counts

I am actually excited about the Zookoda purchase by PayPerPost. In some ways I am surprised that someone didn’t pick up the site earlier. That being said, 10,000 customers isn’t a lot compared to the 500,000 customers Getresponse have, I don’t think Aweber quote customer numbers.
In some ways good technology is important, but 500,000 customers paying a monthly subscription allows a huge budget to develop services.

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  1. says

    Just because I worked it out well in advance doesn’t mean I get the scoop, that is the way marketing goes, and I have no grudges at all about it.

    Dan’s confirmation email came after the post was on Techcrunch, and I would do exactly the same if the roles were reversed. There is a big difference between 800+ subscribers and 1000 visitors a day, and a site with 350K+ subscribers.

    Also significant was that this was over a weekend

    I still think my analysis of the situation is much better than Mike Arrington’s though ;)

    I actually wonder how many weeks this has been in the works. It is quite possible something was fairly solid as much as a month ago.

  2. says

    You tempted me with your email…but I resisted. Maybe one of these days you’ll catch me in a moment of weakness. Great investigative reporting to connect the dots!

    Also, thanks for the feedback for improvement. I particularly liked the comment subscription angle.

  3. says

    I don’t know about Aggregated Feeds I’m after pre:split feeds. Take all your feeds, separate them into separate items and build new feeds based on given params like tags, categories, keywords etc.

    • says

      I could already offer custom feeds based on a mixture of tags, that a user selects with an nice Ajax interface, it is all built into UTW.

      But I don’t offer it ;)

      The more feed options you give people, the more confused they get, plus that little feed counter would go down instead of up.

      Plus if I added more feeds, Technorati would get extremely confused, and think I was spamming them. I could easily have 1000 links in Technorati, all based on internal feeds linking to myself.