Archive for December 14th, 2006

PayPerPost Deservedly Slapped

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

My most hated enemy, PayPerPost, recently got slapped in the face by the FTC and PayPerPost logorightfully so. This bottom-of-the-barrel, blood-sucking entity should be put out of business altogether. I have already written about their unethical practices here and here.

As a quick refresher, the company has created a marketplace for bloggers and advertisers. An advertiser pays a given blogger to post about their company. Pretty simple right? Yeah, but PayPerPost doesn’t understand the ethics of the blogosphere and the importance around transparency. Having said that, paid bloggers do NOT need to disclose payment information with the given blog post. In addition, all bloggers are paid the same amount per post, independent of your traffic or blog readership. Ridiculous to say the least.

My words of advice: please, please, please check out ReviewMe instead. This is a much ReviewMe logobetter marketplace for bloggers and advertisers. It eliminates the immoral practices of PayPerPost while providing a comprehensive solution for both bloggers and advertisers. 

Ok, so I strayed a little of course there…

My point was that PayPerPost is sacrificing the integrity and trust of the entire blogging community. The blogosphere is all about self-expression and personal beliefs, not fabricated opinions.

For this very reason, the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and begun scrutinizing practices around writing a paid editorial piece and failing to disclosing payment. Woohoo!

 The FTC issued the following statement:

“Raised concerns about a specific type of amplified word-of-mouth marketing, specifically the practice of marketers paying a consumer (the “sponsored consumer”) to distribute a message to other consumers without disclosing the nature of the sponsored consumer’s relationship with the marketer.”

This is a step in the right direction and I hope that PayPerPost eventually makes payment disclosure obligatory.

Now, I’ve read and heard people talk about product placement in movies and how payments are not disclosed, but we’re talking about a whole different ball-game here. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. When most people see a product placement in a movie, they expect that it’s paid. The same goes for travel and vacation write-ups. Most people expect that the editor received a free trip or some sort of compensation in return for the article. These free incentives for travel writers and publishers have been around for years. It’s to be expected. But in the blogosphere, I would wager that most people believe 99%+ of all posts are written without payment for the sole purpose of expressing the viewers of the author. Paid blog posts are NOT to be expected. Therefore, disclosure should be mandatory if a transaction is completed.

NOTE: Factual information for this post was pulled from a Mathew Ingram post.

How to Launch a Successful Internet Start-Up

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Earlier today, Mashable posted an article outlining the steps for success for a web-based start-up. It was very well written and brought up some interesting points. However, the article missed a few key points that I would like to touch on.

Mashable explains that a successful busines model should be tailored around either viral distribution or natural search. Two very valid points. However, I think there is much more to the story. The build-up of the plot looks good, but this story needs an introduction.

My take on success focuses around notions pulled from The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Here are the four steps that I see necessary for exponential growth:

  1. Target your key influencers and evangelists.
  2. Provide them with a compelling message and value proposition.
  3. Facilitate viral growth and distribution.
  4. Execute efficiently and effectively.

Easier said than done. The last step may very well be the most challenging. Time and time again, numerous start-ups have emerged with killer apps and extraordinary product offerings. Their inability to execute ultimately led to their demise and current inexistence.

The four points mentioned above have been compiled mostly from my own personal observations of Internet success stories (and failures) over the years, as well as from numerous books and articles.

My hope in writing this post is that it doesn’t sound overly generic. Numerous books, articles, blog posts, and other documents have been written around the same topic. My goal was to cut out the BS and really dig down to the major points that I consider most important. I think that all articles that guarantee a recipe for success should be taken at face value. Success can never be guaranteed. If it were so, the author wouldn’t be writing the article or telling the world about such a formula. He or she would be executing on the plan and making billions of dollars.

Therefore, pull your own conclusions and take from your own experiences and background to determine the best possible strategy for your start-up or company.