Socialspark is a new blogger community and marketplace from Izea. Like PayPerPost (another Izea creation), it helps bloggers link with one another and with companies in the outside world; through its system of blogger-to-blogger feedback, it helps us become better and more targeted writers (all too often, bloggers exist in a sort of vacuum, never really knowing what readers think — or whether there are any readers at all.)
Socialspark has a three-part interaction system. First, there are sponsored post opportunities, in which the writer reviews a particular item in return for payment (in the screenshot at left, you can see that the featured opportunity is from Dockers.) The second form is a blog sponsorship, in which an advertiser will place an ad on a blog for a specified period and pay the blogger for the privilege. The third form of interaction lies in the community-building aspect of blog-to-blog linking and feedback.
It’s important to note that Socialspark has a comprehensive code of ethics: sponsored blogs and posts must disclose that they are just that, with in-post disclosure that can be fully audited; with complete transparency; and with 100% real opinions being expressed on the part of the bloggers. No one is forced to take an opportunity he does not want, and no one is forced to say anything he does not believe.
There is a further requirement that a blogger may insert at most one sponsored post after each non-sponsored post. This helps to prevent advertisers falling victim to what one might call “faux blogs,” which are really nothing more than electronic billboards filled with badly-written mentions of this product or that — such a venue is not likely to achieve the advertisers’ goal of getting their product noticed in this most viral of media.
Of course, the rating system for blogs can be (and probably is) gamed by many, but still in all Socialspark provides a relatively low-cost avenue for companies to market their products, and for bloggers to defray at least some of the costs associated with their pet publishing efforts.