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Thursday, June 12, 2008

I signed up for SocialSpark!

My blog has just been approved for SocialSpark, which is both a social network and a nice, ethical way for bloggers to make money. I was somewhat miffed when my blog was initially rejected - see the post preceding this one for the full story. So, this morning, I was surprised and delighted to discover two very nice comments on this post from William, the Review Lead at SocialSpark, as well as Gordon King, the manager of Izea's Customer Love. They apologized for the error made, and said nice things about this blog. I am HUGELY impressed by that level of customer service, so I think I'm going to enjoy my time with SocialSpark. Many thanks, Gordon and William :).

So what's this SocialSpark all about, I hear you ask? At the moment, I'm still trying to find my way around and get my bearings. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is as a cross between Pay-Per-Post and MySpace, although this an over-simplification. With SocialSpark, you can add other users to your friends, and they can add you to theirs. Although I suspect there may be some users who simply like to collect friends, that's no different to any other social network. I find this 'friending' ability attractive. It's not just a good business tool; it also creates a nice, friendly atmosphere at SocialSpark.

Another thing that attracts me to SocialSpark is that it has a strict code of ethics. A lot of sites offering paid review opportunities ask bloggers not to disclose their affiliations with those sites and advertisers. Such sites also tell you that you may only write 100% positive reviews.

SocialSpark is very different. For a start, they insist on what they call a 100% audit-able in-post disclosure. See the little 'sponsored by SocialSpark banner at the end of this post? No mistaking the fact that this is a sponsored post. That means that SocialSpark expects 100% transparency from its bloggers. This allows bloggers to maintain an honest relationship with their readers. SocialSpark also favours "100% real opinions" - which means you don't have to be 100% positive about a product, but can honestly review it. Another huge plus is that all sponsored posts for SocialSpark contain no-follow tags. This means they won't be picked up by search engines, so you shouldn't lose your page rank for undertaking sponsored posts.

Something I really like about SocialSpark is how easy it is to navigate. Here's a screenshot of my SocialSpark home page. From here, a user can easily access the marketplace, the community, their account or the help pages.

The marketplace is very easy to navigate and customize. You can either choose to view all channels and all opportunites, or you can be a bit more selective, and browse the marketplace via its different channels, e.g. entertainment, travel, family, etc. If you look at the right hand sidebar of this screenshot, you will see there is a further ability to filter your choices, so that open opportunities that are available to you, appear at the top of your marketplace listings.

You can also browse the SocialSpark community. Here, you can make new friends and discover interesting new blogs.

The community also includes a collection of message boards, one of which specifically focuses on SocialSpark. Here, you can get help and advice from other SocialSpark users, or even from SocialSpark staff.

All in all, SocialSpark looks like an interesting place to be. So if you're looking for a nice, safe social networking site that also gives you the chance to monetize your blog in an ethical way, give SocialSpark a try.

Sponsored by SocialSpark


Dragonstar said...

Well done. As you obviously want this, I'm very glad you're in. Good luck.

Siani said...

Thanks, Dragonstar!

LadyBanana said...

Yes, no, yes, no, I can never make up my mind whether to go down this route or not. The Extra cash would be nice but is it pence or pounds I wonder for the effort?