Exploring Sponsored Conversations With IZEA’s Ted Murphy

by Jason Falls |

I had the pleasure of connecting with Ted Murphy, CEO of IZEA, the sponsored conversations company, last week. We talked via ooVoo, a video chat software, for an episode of Social Media Explorer TV.

Talking Sponsored Conversations With IZEA’s Ted Murphy from Jason Falls on Vimeo.

Sponsored conversations touches on some controversy because the purists in social media believe that advertising and marketers have no place in the social media space. Social media as a gathering place for people emerged largely because people grew tired of thousands of marketing messages per day being thrown at them from all directions. The online space offers technology that allows people to manage their media environment and avoid interruption-type advertising if they want. So, those true to The Cluetrain Manifesto-esque principals of social media say ads don’t belong and what IZEA is doing is antithetical to what social media is about.

There’s also the argument that bloggers (or Tweeters with IZEA’s Sponsored Tweets) sell out their audiences by accepting advertising and not producing content that is clear and free of undue influence. Even with full disclosure from authors, consumers often say sponsored posts are not appealing. The flip side of the argument is that you don’t have to read the sponsored ones if you don’t want to.

Regardless of your stance on sponsored conversations, you have to tip the cap to IZEA and Murphy for insisting upon full disclosure before the FTC forced them to do so. They also do not require bloggers to say good things about the brands they deal with. I would guess the Sponsored Tweets system is set up to be positive only, but as Murphy pointed out, you pick the advertisers you want to Tweet about, so it’s opt-in. This is an indication that, to the core of the organization, IZEA is a legitimate advertising opportunity for brands and a company than should be considered trustworthy to the consumer.

Still, there’s plenty of opposition to the core of what IZEA does. What’s your take? Are sponsored posts and financial or product remuneration for bloggers something that deteriorate their credibility? Even if they tell you ahead of time? Would you stop reading a blog because the author used editorial space to discuss or endorse a product they were paid to discuss or endorse?

The comments are yours.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).