When IZEA created the sponsored conversation industry several years ago the blogosphere was the wild west. There were no rules, no standards and no competitors in the space.
When you are the first company to do something there is no road map to follow. You design a solution, jump in with both feet and hope for the best. I freely admit we made some mistakes when we initially launched PayPerPost. It’s natural. Nobody should expect a new industry to get it right out of the gate. The first automobiles didn’t have airbags, let alone seat belts.
We have spent the past three years listening to bloggers, advertisers, readers, the FTC and industry trade organizations like WOMMA. Our goal has been to legitimize the sponsored conversation space by creating an ethical framework that works for all parties. As a result we have made an ongoing effort in the area of disclosure and transparency. Some of our milestones:
- October 2006 : We created the industry’s first blogger disclosure policy.
- October 2006 : We began requiring disclosure by all bloggers.
- February 2007 : We introduced the Disclosure Badge. The industry’s first standard for in-post disclosure.
- April 2008 : SocialSpark launches, creating the industry’s most transparent WOM platform.
– Mandatory Disclosure Badges in every post.
– The only automated disclosure in word of mouth marketing (WOM).
– Transparent marketplace with all campaigns displayed to the public.
– No-follow tags on all links.
– 100% Real opinions. Advertisers cannot stipulate tone.
We have had some pretty impressive firsts, but we are not done yet. IZEA is pleased to announce the world’s first Disclosure Audit. Every sponsored post campaign within SocialSpark now includes a free, fully automated Disclosure Audit within the sponsored post campaign manager.
SocialSpark has always required bloggers to include an in post Disclosure Badge in order to be compensated. We now provide the time and date stamp of each individual disclosure and equip advertisers with an audit sorted by campaign.
No other form of word of mouth marketing provides this level of disclosure. Not only is all disclosure controlled, uniform and systematically required; it is also actively monitored and recorded. The Disclosure Audit available today for all SocialSpark users. Previous campaigns have been retroactively audited.
I would like to thank all of the people who have contributed to the disclosure conversation over the past few years. I feel that our discussions continue to move the industry forward. I invite you to share more of your feedback and help us to shape the future of sponsored conversations.