Archive for the ‘Geek Squad’ Category

how low can he go?

Friday, November 30th, 2007

mikearringtonJust when you thought Mike Arrington couldn’t squeeze enough content out of PayPerPost – he surprises you! In today’s episode, Mike trolls the PayPerPost message boards and singles out especially “pathetic” (his words, not mine) users to put together a new blog entry about the Google pagerank shift.

In this amazing editorial (note: sarcasm), Mike links to specific discussions on the PayPerPost / Izea message boards where users talked about the recent pagerank updates that left many bloggers with a much lower pagerank than expected. Mike goes on to call the posts “pathetic”, and the users “freaked out”.

I completely agree with the freaked out portion – I imagine Mike would be in the same boat if Google ever came after him for the PR juice he gives to his sponsors. But pathetic? Since when it is it pathetic to wonder how you’re going to pay your bills? Is it pathetic to worry when an income source dries up? As much as I’d like to tell my fellow bloggers c’est la vie, don’t worry about it…I can’t. Too many people depending on their blogs for income DON’T have another source of income, or a full time job. Blogs have turned into a way for people to pay for a debt free Christmas, or an extra vacation, or braces for the child, or household extras. When did it become pathetic to wonder how you were going to make ends meet?

What IS pathetic is Mike. Trolling a message board for content proves it’s a slow news day, but posting it and calling people names proves you’re a heartless bastard. (I like how he ignored all of the POSITIVE comments on the thread by people saying they were going to work on content, keep blogging, and not be Google’s bitch!)

Mike has learned over the past few months that anytime PayPerPost is mentioned on his site, his pageviews go up and he gets tons of comments. He’s no fool – bashing the company has turned into big business for him, and going after the bloggers of PayPerPost by publishing their words on his site is just one more way to make a buck. What he fails to realize is that he’s ticking off his regular readers who made him what he is BEFORE he started using PayPerPost for content. The people who have been reading TechCrunch since the beginning are becoming increasing disenchanted with Mike. I know he’s crossed the line, and so do his regulars. The question is, is Mike smart enough to know when he’s crossed the line? Obviously not.

What a swell guy! What’s next – kicking kittens?

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microsoft education discounts

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

If you’re currently homeschooling your children, listen up! Forgot paying big bucks for Office 2007 or Microsoft Vista at your local computer or office superstore. Did you know that your home school may qualify to receive an education discount? CostCaptain.com is a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller, and they offer academic discounts on authentic Microsoft products. That means your kids don’t have to suffer on Windows 95 anymore – you can absolutely afford to upgrade! CostCaptain.com also provides these academic discounts to schools, libraries, and research labs. They offer gift certificates, and the option to prove academic eligibility after you buy.

go green, recycle a cell phone

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

We’ve got a few cell phones around the house we don’t use anymore…do you? With Christmas coming, there will be even MORE unused cell phones around, as people toss out their old Nokias for shiny new iPhones.

Did you know you can donate cell phones you no longer have a need for? Not only that, but you can even get paid for selling your old cell phone (remove the chip or SIM card, first!). With this being a big week to go green, this is a timely reminder to make good use of your old cell phone by donating it or recycling it safely.

This America Recycles Day CellForCash.com Wants to Pay You to Recycle Your Old Cell Phones

More than 100 million cell phones are retired each year in the United States, and most are just stashed away adding to an already hazardous stockpile. CellForCash.com lets you upgrade without the guilt when you sell your old cell phone online.

OCALA, FL, November 14, 2007 –- Has the latest cell phone in the TV commercials got your number? Do you want to upgrade your feature-challenged cell phone for the feature-rich model and do the right thing for the environment? CellForCash.com enables you to upgrade without the guilt by recycling your old cell phone for cash.

Over the last few years the environmental hazard discarded cell phones can cause has become a growing concern. Research has found cell phones to leach hazardous levels of lead when disposed of in landfill conditions. As a result, programs banning electronic devices from regular trash pickups are becoming more common throughout the country.

Some research suggests that less than 10% of cell phones are recycled. Others say only about 5% of people will recycle their old cell phones, and a few actually do throw them in the garbage. In any event, every month more and more cell phones are added to the stockpile.

“America Recycles Day is a great time to remind people that the old cell phone they have stashed away shouldn’t be trashed,” said James Mosieur, CEO of RMS Communications, the company that operates CellForCash.com. “Responsibly recycling an old cell phone is free, easy, and it may even come with a payoff.”

Mosieur encourages people to visit CellForCash.com before buying a new cell phone. “Consumers should be determined to recycle even before they choose a new phone,” he says. “Besides, getting $20 for your old phone could make the difference between getting the model you want and just settling for the one you can afford”.

CellForCash.com pays for over 600 different models of used cell phones and then re-markets them around the world. Payouts range from just a few dollars to well over $200 for each qualifying cell phone. If your phone does not qualify for payment, CellForCash.com will recycle it for free. Printing a pre-paid mailing label from the website and handing the package to your postman is a lot more convenient than going to the local landfill.

Some recycled cell phones are used in the company sponsored 911 Cell Phone Bank program, which provides no-cost emergency cell phones to the elderly and victims of abuse throughout the country. Over 1,500 cell phones are donated to law enforcement and other agencies every month.

“Phone upgrades do create a dilemma for the environmentally responsible, especially since most people already have a few stockpiled,” Mosieur said. “But as more consumers learn about recycling solutions like CellForCash.com, they’ll realize there is an immediate payoff for recycling; cash today and a healthy environment in the future.”

About CellForCash.com
CellForCash.com pays cash for used cell phones, and makes the process simple by displaying the phones it will buy and the prices it will pay for them right on the web site. It also provides sellers with already-addressed, postage-paid mailing boxes. The site lists over 600 models from 21 manufacturers including Motorola, Nokia, LG, and Samsung. For more information visit the web site at www.CellForCash.com.

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postiecon – live blogging

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I’m at PostieCon, and I’m having a blast! I participated in the Fab Four top earner panel this morning, which was right up my alley. Mr. Fab and I could have talked for hours. We’re thinking about hijacking the microphones so that we can sit on stage and continue to amuse everyone. It’s lunchtime now, and Ted has ordered FIFTEEN cakes for the World’s Biggest CakePlow. I don’t see myself shoving my face into any cake!

[tags]PostieCon, PostieCon2007, PostieCon07[/tags]

voip monopoly

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

We’ve got this package deal from the cable company that includes cable, internet, and phone. The upside is that we’re saving money. The downside is that we’re stuck with one particular cable company, and they don’t have the best track record. I’d love to ditch them and find a different VoIP provider. One of the newest VoIP companies, making big waves is US National Telecom (USNT). Formerly known as Yi Wan (YIWA), they’re reporting revenue increases of 161% since January 2007. They’re snapping up small VoIP providers and web hosting companies right and left in order to increase their market share, and grow quickly.

Interesting strategy…and I wonder if it means we’ll see some healthy competition here in Tampa soon?

twitter and tweet

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

In just 24 hours, I’ll be starting my vacation. Jim and I are flying to Vegas tomorrow afternoon, and we’re not coming home until LATE Monday night…technically Tuesday morning. Now, I’m a big believer in “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but I’m sure some stories and pictures will be too good NOT to share. I’ll be twittering once I leave tomorrow, so be sure to check out the Twitter widget down there in my sidebar for updates, or you can follow me on my Twitter page.

izea launches a new brand for payperpost

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

I just received an official email from Ted Murphy announcing the PayPerPost name change. I say “official” because what I got last night was an unofficial email with a press release attached telling me to do what I wanted with the information. That allowed me to be the first to break the Izea news online – I even scooped Darren at ProBlogger!

Dear Colleen,

I am very excited to present our new corporate name and identity, IZEA, Inc.

Going forward our company will be known as IZEA, with PayPerPost as its flagship product and other properties including Blogger’s Choice Awards, RockStartup, Zookoda and BlogInSpace under the IZEA corporate umbrella. These changes are the natural result of our phenomenal growth as a company and the continued success our user community is having with our social marketing tools and strategies.

This new corporate framework will enable us to further execute on our established mission statement: To empower everyone to value and exchange content, creativity and influence. We will be adding additional services over the coming year and I feel strongly that the IZEA brand will allow us to present all our solutions in a more complete and understandable way to our clients, users, investors and the press.

I know many of you have come to love the PayPerPost name. We love it, too. The company started a new era for bloggers and advertisers and will continue on as the brand name for the world’s largest consumer generated advertising network.

I look forward to seeing you all at PostieCon on November 10 in Las Vegas, when IZEA takes the next step forward with the release of our next generation platform, codenamed Argus. Argus will deliver an unparalleled collection of social marketing tools and features you will have to see to believe. The product has its own brand name that we are eager to share with everyone. The name and logo are awesome, so stay tuned!

Again, thanks to all of you for your continued support.

All the best,

Ted Murphy

The Izea.com website launched last night, and big changes are coming when Argus debuts at PostieCon next week. I’ll be there – will you?

izea.com: the future of payperpost is here

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

A few weeks ago, Ted Murphy started talking about the future of PayPerPost. Since the next incarnation of PayPerPost will be about MORE than just getting paid per post, Ted wanted to use this opportunity to brand PayPerPost in a whole new way.

I’ll admit, I was against it.

Especially when I saw the dumb names he had come up with. Zumzy.com? Pobdob.com? And even Odebo.com? What was Ted smoking? He’s spent thousands of dollars marketing and branding PayPerPost – not just the site, and the opps, but as a household name. From the t-shirts and postie prize packs, to the Big Blue Monster and all of the opps we’ve done about the company – was he really going to let it all go to waste?

Even worse, was he going to go with a made up nonsense word that doesn’t convey what the site does?

After we shot down a lot of crappy names, Ted came up with Izea.com – and even I liked it. Instead of continuing to operate all of the PayPerPost under the PayPerPost name, Ted and company will be launching Izea.com tomorrow, November 1st. Under the Izea umbrella you’ll find sites like:

Zookoda.com
BloggersChoiceAwards.com
RockStartup.com
RSSBrief.com
URLBrief.com
BlogInSpace.com

As of tomorrow, PayPerPost, Inc. will be officially known as IZEA™. It’s less about getting paid per post, and more about social media and marketing all coming together into a whole suite of products and solutions. On November 10th, at PostieCon, Izea’s new service (code name: Argus) will be released to a select few.

I asked Ted if he felt he’d be able to grow the services hosted under IZEA at the rate that PayPerPost has virally grown. He stated:

I am very confident in our ability to grow these properties and this new structure helps provide a framework to do so. In the future these offerings will become more integrated and beneficial to each other. The amount of organic growth we have seen has been incredible to this point but we can do even better if we acknowledge that sites outside of PayPerPost have a lifecycle of their own and dedicate the proper resources accordingly.

What does Ted say to the critics? Because you know, people have been saying Ted’s going to fail for over a year…and he’s still going strong. (He should dress up as the Energizer Bunny tonight!)

The critics have wanted us to fail since day one yet we continue to consistently set sales and signup records. We remain focused on our mission and delivering value to the bloggers and advertisers we serve.

(What do you have to say now, Arrington? Scoble? How about you, Calacanis?)

Argus is a breakthrough in the advertiser / blogger relationship. Not only will it not be as concerned with pagerank (take that, Google!) but it will provide:

  • Advanced reporting
  • Open APIs
  • Blog analytics
  • Management tools
  • Social networking features

The PayPerPost / IZEA network now touts 80,000 bloggers and 11,000 advertisers. That officially qualifies as the world’s largest consumer generated ad network.

For old timers like me, who will miss PayPerPost.com – don’t worry – the marketplace is going to continue to operate. As IZEA grows, you’ll find that a single log on for the site will give you access to everything IZEA can offer. The sites will share profiles and data and streamline the experience for users from product to product.

About IZEA:

IZEA is a next-generation, Web-based social media marketing company. Comprised of properties including PayPerPost, Zookoda, Bloggers Choice Awards and RockStartup, IZEA aims to empower everyone to value and exchange content, creativity and influence. IZEA’s current flagship product is PayPerPost, the leading marketplace for Consumer Generated Advertising that connects advertisers and consumer content creators to deliver compelling marketing messages. IZEA is venture funded by Inflexion Partners, Village Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Advertisers, consumer content creators and partners are encouraged to join the social media revolution at www.izea.com.


all our blogs belong to us

Monday, October 29th, 2007

So the internet is in an uproar about the recent PR penalty assessed by Google. I’m actually feeling rather zen-like about the whole thing. I see people scrambling to remove paid links from their blogs, or references to the companies that they work for. I see bloggers obsessing over how to link people in their sidebars, clamoring to get off blogrolls they’ve been a part of for years, all hoping to find the magical combination of things that Google is looking for in order to get that high PR.

I’m not doing a thing. I’m blogging the way I’ve always blogged, I’m linking who I want to link to, and I’m not deleting links or content from any of my sites. Stupid? I don’t think so. I don’t want paid blogging to change me, or how I blog, or what I do, and I’m not going to obsess about my pagerank, especially since Google will never tell us exactly how to obtain a higher PR.

I also see bloggers worrying more about monetizing their blogs, and less about the content of their blogs. As a moderator on the PayPerPost boards, I see a lot of people talking about interim posts, and what’s allowed. Does an Amazon.com affiliate link count as being sponsored? If you receive a free product from a company and blog about it, is that post sponsored? What about Kontera links in your interim posts? People are complaining that PayPerPost wants to control their blogs and they can’t blog what they want, when they want.

To that I say…good for PayPerPost! A little quality control goes a long way, too little, too late, and all that jazz.

I want to read original, NON sponsored content when I come to your blog. I consider myself to be a fairly good writer, but I know people really aren’t here to know what I think about mixers or loans or clocks…and all of the other products I’m paid to review. If every single post on this blog was “sponsored”, I would lost a lot of traffic from the so called “regular readers”. Focus less on monetizing every single aspect of your blog, and worry about your CONTENT. You can’t rely entirely on search engine traffic, and one part of my blogs success is that I have a regular group of readers who come here once a week, if not daily, and seek out content. I abhor blogs that have some form of a sponsored link in every single post, be it contextual, or an affiliate link, or a sponsored link. I find myself skimming those entries, discounting the writer’s words, because the link screams to me, “I am only writing this to get paid.”

What’s so hard about inserting some content that’s just for the sake of blogging? If you want to review a book you purchased off Amazon.com, and you want to link to the book using an affiliate link, so be it. But please put some of the great content that made me start reading you in the first place on either side of that book review. Tell me about what your kids are up to, or about the idiot receptionist at the office. Make me remember why I came to read your blog in the first place!

As for me, I’ve made a conscious effort to place original non-sponsored content on either side of any sponsored review / post / link I place into a post. What are YOU doing to take back your blog?

next2friends launches 12/25

Friday, October 26th, 2007

When sites are planning a future go live date, or a future beta stage, and have limited information on their site about what they’ll actually do, are you turned off, or turned on? Based on the limited information available at Next2Friends, I’m actually interested to see what’s going to happen when they launch on December 24th, 2007. Not only is it VERY ambitious to launch on a major U.S. holiday, it shows that they’re not afraid to compete with Santa Claus.

In the meantime, the site is giving away Dell laptops like they’re going out of style, and if you can’t win one of those, you can try for an iPod Touch each month. The next laptop drawing is December 15th, and the next iPod Touch drawing is November 15th. Two chances to win, two cool prizes. But wait, there’s more! Email your friends an invite to the contest, and they can enter too. For each friend you refer, your name goes into the pot another time.

Founding members of Next2Friends earn more cash, more rewards, and the chance to be the first to get on amazing Web 2.0 services. It’s a brand new social networking experience that combines the best of Facebook + MySpace + YouTube into one interface.

This is a paid review.