Just 2 weeks ago PayPerPost launched their PayPerPost Direct service and I wrote one of my typical in-depth reviews about why I believe that this new offering really changes the paid review landscape.
Not everyone agreed with my review and there were 4 major arguments against using the service from various corners of the blogosphere.
- PayPerPost don’t provide a marketplace for their bloggers using PayPerPost direct, and that without a marketplace it would be hard for a blogger and an advertiser to connect.
- Bloggers should sell direct – supporter of this argument suggested that the 10% additional fee that PayPerPost added ontop of what a blogger receives was excessive, and it would be better to have an advertising sales page, and handle any transaction directly
- The icons provided by PayPerPost were ugly
- No High Paying Advertisers – it was believed that all PayPerPost advertisers were “low budget” and that the service wouldn’t attract major brands with deeper pockets.
$7 Million in New Funding
Companies don’t receive a second round of funding unless investors have taken a very close look at the future of a company, and their ability to meet goals and deliver based upon their business plan.
Tomorrow PayPerPost will officially announce $7M USD Series B funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson whose Managing Director Josh Stein joins the board, and additional participants Inflexion Partners, Village Ventures and new investor DFJ Gotham.
With Series A funding last year of $3M plus initial seed funding by the founders, that brings total investment of over $10M USD.
PayPerPost mean business and are in this for the long haul, and with that much money in the kitty, they can afford to be generous to their marketplace of bloggers.
I notice Michael Arrington has already posted his views on the new round of funding. He seems to think the fact that the same investors are involved this second time to be a sign that other investors want to keep their hands clean.
That is possible, because Michael has been giving them constant bad press, and who knows, maybe the numbers don’t add up for other investors.
An alternative could be equally well said that the current investors don’t feel the need for a lot of fresh blood on the board of directors, are happy with the ability of PayPerPost to deliver based upon their development schedule, and they don’t seem to be having problems finding bloggers or advertisers.
Michael has also got a
podcast available with Ted Murphey, CEO of PayPerPost and Josh Stein, the new board member.
Update:- I should have checked out the link first – it is actually the old podcast from back in November, worth listening to if you haven’t heard it, though a lot of it is now out-of-date.
New PayPerPost Marketplace
Time for some pictures:-
The initial PayPerPost Marketplace view is unfiltered. It allows you to sort through PayPerPost’s 28000 bloggers either by price in ascending or decending order, or by “tack” which is based on the rating a blogger has received from advertisers.
It should be noted that posties (the bloggers) who have been very active in the PayPerPost system prior to the launch of PayPerPost direct are more likely to have higher quality ratings at this stage. New bloggers who have been attracted to PayPerPost because of the new direct service may have been writing reviews for competing services. I would think it will be a while before this situation becomes balanced out, but it is great for those that have been supporting PayPerPost as bloggers for almost a year.
So lets apply a filter and see what we find, in this case we will go for primary categories Business and Technology, and set the filter between $50 and $200.
The result for that filter is 30 bloggers sorted in alphabetical order (though you can still sort by price or quality), who match the category and price choices.
The display only shows a snippet of information about each blogger, but it is possible to click through to a profile for more information.
Power User Tip For Posties – You will notice in this next screenshot that I did some experimentation, and that you can use some HTML in your description. Hopefully that will remain because it helps you improve your presentation.
Also note in the preceding screenshot that my snippet displayed isn’t very inviting. It will be important to optimize you first paragraph to encourage people to click through to a full description.
Statistics such as Pagerank and Alexa Traffic are available on the profile page – Technorati Authority is not used, because PayPerPost made the decision recently not to use Technorati ratings, because they can be fairly inaccurate. As an example a theme designer could have a much higher authority with Technorati than major blogs such as Techcrunch, Engadget and BoingBoing.
You will also note that tags are displayed, but there currently isn’t a way to sort blogs based upon tagging – hopefully this is something that will be added in the future. I also hope they move away from having bloggers enter space separated tags, and them being displayed comma separated.
It would be much more accurate to have comma separated tags being entered, and then displayed without adjustment. This would allow tags to be multiple words, such as used by Technorati.
Lets look at the other shortcomings raised 2 weeks ago by other bloggers
Bloggers Should Sell Direct
I thought in my review of PayPerPost Direct 2 weeks ago that orders that will be coming from a new direct marketplace would have a higher charge for processing payable by advertisers. It looks like that is currently not going to be the case.
A 10% fee for order processing, technology, and providing a marketplace and escrow service really isn’t a major concern, especially with the way PayPerPost promote their bloggers to advertisers.
I imagine the level of blogger promotion is set to increase, and that bloggers will be rotated through the system.
The Icons Are Ugly
You could always include them on an advertising sales page rather than in your blog sidebar, and that might be an option I will consider in the future.
The system also allows you to use your own custom icons, or just a text link.
I think a more valid argument, which I don’t think I have heard anyone raise is the ability to customise the popup when someone clicks on a link.
If I only want to allow neutral tone orders, I don’t want any other option available to an advertiser, and I would also prefer to give links in an editorial context, and not have advertisers specify link text – I have a fair amount of SEO experience, and I am not going to give people junk links, but I want to have the choice.
No High Paying Advertisers
In the press release going out tomorrow, PayPerPost confirm they currently have over 6500 advertisers, and those advertisers have ordered, and PayPerPost have delivered 125,000 blog posts – that is probably a turnover of over $1,500,000 in the last year. Not huge by any means, but that number is increasing. I am sure more than $1m of that is in the last 6 months.
PayPerPost purchased Zookoda not too long ago and that business has a lot of potential if they expand into a similar territory as that previously occupied by Feedburner.
Ted, Dan & The PayPerPost Team
Investors invest in people, not just ideas. Dan is one of the investors in PPP, but in many ways is also one of the marketing team, and highly dedicated.
Ted is charismatic and smart, and doesn’t seem phased by anything. Whilst many startups are founded by geeks and don’t have a business plan, PayPerPost was founded by a marketer who saw a need for a certain product in the marketplace.
My blogging friend Jim Kukral frequently calls Ted a Marketing Genius and PayPerPost have certainly capitalised on the controversy that they have caused since they were launched.
The PayPerPost team seem to be very dedicated, and you can tell if you watch any of the videos on RockStartup that they are a well oiled machine, and having fun and delivering development milestones like clockwork.
Calling Microsoft & Yahoo
PayPerPost is a disruptive business model, not just to the blogosphere, but also to advertising. It could be argued that it is also disruptive for search results, but generally it is successful companies who offer good products who can afford to advertise on a large scale, and bloggers who work for Microsoft or Yahoo, and even Google effectively promote their own company products all over the blogosphere whenever something is launched.
Surprise surprise, there are some major companies who offer great product who don’t already have 1000+ bloggers on their payroll, and they would like bloggers talking about them as well.
If Microsoft or Yahoo buy PayPerPost, it would be extremely disruptive to their major competitor, Google, both by offering an advertising model Google can’t touch because of prior criticism (though not official), and one that affects Google’s search quality (supposedly, though there is very little proof)
6 months or less to a major acquisition?
Think I covered everything? Think again…
Kat for instance pointed out how well PayPerPost are promoting their bloggers, with the rotating spotlight on bloggers at the top of the bloggers page in the new design. She also highlights some very interesting demographic information that is currently available.
To give you some idea of the misconceptions among the tech sector that “mommy bloggers” are not a worthy audience for advertising, I know Kat gets more traffic than I do every month.
I think the Forbes reporter has been reading Techcrunch too much, and should maybe vary his reading habits more. Whilst the coverage is reasonably accurate on the facts, there is a definite negative slant without looking at what really happens in the blogosphere by employees of INC500 companies who happen to be bloggers.
Colleen again was being misquoted by the press, but in what must be a fairly unique situation, actually gained 2 links from Forbes.
It looks like Jules has found the press section on the new PPP site and is taking advantage of the photos provided.
Compensated reviews can be of high quality, all you have to do is take pride in what you write. This article by SapphireKnight in a sponsored post for PayPerPost about the latest funding goes into detail about the difference between the original PayPerPost Marketplace and the new Direct Marketplace.
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