You may recall I signed up for ReviewMe and began with a review of ReviewMe, taking advantage of their opening promotion to pay bloggers to help spread the word about the new service. My review was more of a discussion of the viability of bloggers being paid for reviews, which you can read here – Should Bloggers Accept Money For Reviews?
Since that review I have been offered six more paid reviews between this blog and the Small Business Branding blog, which I am in charge of as well. For the Small Business Branding reviews I contacted a few of the writers who blog there and offered them the reviews, but they were declined because of lack of familiarity with the subject matter of the review. In my case for the reviews ordered on this blog, I have either felt the subjects were not relevant enough for my readers, were too difficult to write about in an interesting manner or I simply couldn’t slot the review into my hectic writing schedule. You only get 48 hours to accept a review so you have to act quickly.
It’s worth noting that I have collectively turned down $750 USD in review revenue in a month’s time, which for some may not be much, but for me is still significant enough cash that I care, as I’m sure many other bloggers would too. The effectively hourly pay rate would probably have been around $100 an hour – not so bad. It’s also a sign that this service has some attention from advertisers, but I am curious how many reviews are making on to blogs and how much impact the reviews are having for the advertisers who purchase them. I’m sure the staff at ReviewMe are watching the search engine and publicity data closely for each completed review.
There were a couple of reviews requested via ReviewMe that spiked my interest, but I turned them down for the reasons mentioned above. Yesterday I received a review request for a service that grabbed my attention, so I decided to accept the review. As per the ReviewMe policies I would like to let you know that the following is a sponsored review, but I think this is a service you may be interested in – in fact I may even test it out myself!
Social media, love it or hate it, is absolutely booming at the moment. I don’t mean just the use of social media either – sure MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, Del.icio.us, and all the various flavors of social community based sites are rocketing up the charts as some of the most popular and traffic pulling (and distributing) sites on the web, but they are also garnering attention from people with big budgets to spend on publicity and advertising online. In the last few months based on the conversations, interviews, panels, keynote speeches and of course – blog posts – you will have noticed that the corporate world is taking interest in social media as a marketing channel.
Enter MySpace Bulletin Postings, a service that as the website details, allows you to purchase MySpace bulletins, Craigslist postings and seed message boards. Here’s how the site describes their MySpace service:
We’ve created a network of account holders who, between them have thousands and millions of friends. By having these multiple account holders place your bulletin it looks like genuine, organic buzz. Whether you’re a brand looking to drive traffic to a jump site, or a band establishing a following, our bulletin program is a way to spread authentic buzz to a large group of people.
I’ve heard of similar services and automated software programs that will broadcast your message into the MySpace community and no matter how “organic” it appears I am dubious and I think it will only work for certain types of promotions. For example if you want to advertise an upcoming gig for your band, I can see how using a MySpace “blast” to thousands of accounts would appear reasonably organic since the site is often used as a central site for bands, but if I was say, wanting to promote breast enhancement pills, I doubt any company could make that appear “organic”. This does make me wonder whether a service like MySpace Bulletin Postings has any qualifying criteria regarding what they promote – I would presume they do.
The other major issue with a service like MySpace Bulletin Postings is what the company that runs the social media community thinks of people using their site as an advertising channel in this manner. It’s usually quite clear in the terms of service for sites like MySpace that you can’t use automated bots to effectively spam users, but a service that leverages the connections of real accounts in the system may be more difficult to assess or single out, it may even be permitted – again how the promotion is conducted will no doubt impact whether it is frowned upon.
In the past I considered starting up a forum seeding service, and I have seen how effective this can be and understand why it works. I don’t like that it feels as if you are “cheating” the real users but content is content – if people value the discussion does it matter if some of the users were paid to participate?
If you take away all the potential negative issues regarding a social community posting service, from a pure marketing point of view, I love the concept. The raw numbers that sites like MySpace and Craigslist reach every day is mouth watering and most of the communication going on at the sites is very organic, very natural – it’s peer to peer – in other words, a ripe location for word of mouth and viral marketing.
Just recently someone suggested that the classifieds site Craigslist may be an untapped marketing channel for my business BetterEdit. Craigslist has become a central hub for commerce in many major cities around the world, and students in particular make use of the service daily to buy and sell secondhand goods. Since I target university students with BetterEdit, Craigslist presents an opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of potential clients at no cost but the time it takes to enter postings. Or, I could consider paying for a Craigslist seeding service to do the posts for me – I have to admit that is very tempting. I’ve used Craigslist once before to gain a number one Google ranking so I know how powerful the site is.
I believe we are going to see more and more services like MySpace Bulletin Postings pop up and the risk is sites like MySpace may become diluted with too many marketing and branding messages – doesn’t that sound like something we already endure in our offline lives? Then again perhaps that point is moot – the net is already very commercial so adding to the noise by using a posting service may not make that much difference. I for one am interested in how good a posting service really is at achieving the outcome all business owners want – more conversions. If anyone has any stories about using a posting services like this, please leave a comment.
Social Media Commentator