IZEA Phasing Out Social Spark, Sponsored Tweets and More

It is about time, but IZEA is finally converting and phasing out all other platforms to consolidate to the IZEA Marketplace which simply offers every sponsored opp capability that the other platforms do, all in a single location and more.  With IZEA Marketplace you can pair up with advertisers to do sponsored posts on your YouTube Channel, your Tumblr Blog, Your WordPress or BlogSpot blog or any other blogging platform.  You can also leverage your Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and more.

I did a video showcasing some of the IZEA Marketplace services and how you connect your accounts.

Meanwhile this is good news for those who were using one or a few of the IZEA services, they are going to allow you to cash out any remaining balance without penalty to help people migrate and get over to the new system.  The timeline for their phasing out the older services is as follows:


If you haven’t yet, make sure you sign up for IZEA Marketplace and start listing/connecting all your social media properties so you can start accepting opps.  The free account lets you make 3 bids per month, but like SponsoredTweets you can pay a small fee and get unlimited bids per month.  Only 1 opp typically pays for the account upgrade, so it is worth it in my opinion, but feel free to test the network and let your properties soak with the free account for a bit first.

I was happy to get all my sponsored opps in the same place having used nearly all of IZEA’s services previously and having to keep track of separate balances in all the other services.  I love that you can easily connect 4 or 5 Twitter accounts in the same profile and build separate advertiser targets for each of them.  I have all 6 of my blog properties listed and have seen some offers for my wife’s cooking blog and social media properties already.

Two things however are a bit odd, how come no Pinterest yet?  I see a lot of advertisers wanting Pinterest integration and there is no Pinterest connection  yet.  The other thing is no referrals from other networks are being honored, which means those hundreds of people I referred to SponsoredTweets and the dozens or so I referred to SocialSpark will not be referrals, so I can’t collect some earnings from them being referred by me.  This totally sucks, and I was getting not much but a little from those referral earnings.

If you haven’t signed up for IZEA Marketplace yet, then give it a whirl and start earning from your online properties or social media accounts, it is a good way to perhaps make a little side money to pay down bills, go to the movies, or just grab something extra for yourself.

IZEA Media Malware Issues not Fully Resolved Yet

So on late Thursday night / Friday morning last week like many bloggers I woke up to Malware warning errors on my site.  This was reported to me by the 48+ notifications on Facebook by followers and fans and I saw that many of my blogs all had the same issue.

At first the error was misleading, and after routinely scanning my site I found no malware at all on it from virustotal.com and urlvoid.com so I was doing further digging and discovered on SocialSpark there was a blog post about malware being related to the IZEA Media service.

Well this was related to an advertiser network that purchased ads through IZEA Media that led to a malware site, and all sites that displayed the ads were flagged by Google Safesearch and had this malware warning that would show up if a user visited the site via search or directly with the Google Chrome browser.


To remove the malware warning you had to remove the IZEA Media code and then file a reconsideration request in Google Web Master tools, but it was faster once I filed a request on stopbadware.org which seemed to lead to a resolution 12 hours later.

3 days later IZEA Staree still shows the malware issue, and I would refrain from putting the IZEA Media ads back on your blog until IZEA has the issue completely resolved, since linking to Staree (which their ads do show on IZEA Media) could lead to your own blog showing malware warnings again.

Hopefully IZEA will get this issue fully resolved soon, and I think this was an isolated incident.  I have seen this happen before with an advertiser who purchased an ad through BuySellAds.com on my site and had to manually have it removed, but haven’t seen anything like this happen on a mass scale before.  IZEA still offers excellence service for bloggers and this mishap was caused by an advertiser network leveraging purchasing ads through their system, this opportunity should lead them to having better manual review processes put in place but overall does not personally make me have a negative opinion of the service as they provide too many good opportunities for bloggers and this one hiccup shouldn’t be a deterrent from bloggers wanting to leverage their services to earn some money for their blogging efforts.

-Justin Germino

Experimenting with SocialSpark Ads from IZEA

I have told fellow bloggers repeatedly why I have been using the IZEA SocialSpark platform since I started blogging in 2008 as a means to earn from my blogs by doing sponsor review articles.  Recently IZEA has introduced a few new concepts to SocialSpark like "Deals" which create your own branded deal site where you get a commission based on each sale you make.

Well, I didn’t have much luck in the SocialSpark deals but there haven’t been a ton to fit my niche specifically either, SocialSpark Ads however is a different story altogether.

What is SocialSpark Ads

SocialSpark Ads is basically leveraging a banner ad that is run by SocialSpark based on Google’s Ad platform.  I think it is basically SocialSpark using Google Doubleclick where they are able to sell that advertising space to advertisers who want to specifically target your blog, but it also uses AdSense in unsold slots.  (IZEA please correct me if I have these details wrong).

What happens as a result is IZEA is able to give you a minimum eCPM for your blog if it has 51% or more traffic from the U.S. and this minimum can vary but the fact that you will get a minimum per # of PageViews can be rewarding.  The minimum for my DragonBlogger.com is .50 eCPM, which means if they sold no ad slots, it would get 50 cents per 1,000 pageviews of that ad.  This technically means my site with 50,000+ pageviews per month should get $50 per month from one 300×200 SocialSpark Ad banner, which would be more earnings than a 300×200 BuySellAd slot which is what I replaced with the SocialSpark ad for my experiment.

My personal blog ironically which gets so much less traffic has a $1.00 minimum eCPM because has more relevant U.S. traffic probably.  I also run a SocialSpark Ad on my poetry blog as well.

Can SocialSpark Ads Earn You Money?

The short answer is yes, it can earn you some site revenue but my experience so far with my smaller blogs is that it comes pretty close to Google AdSense revenue for the same ad spot.


Now, I still leverage Google AdSense and AdSense has a 3 ad maximum, so there is a way to leverage SocialSpark Ads as an additional ad.  Without a doubt SocialSpark Ads allows me to earn from my blogs that aren’t able to sell 125×125 ads easily and won’t even get listed in BuySellAds for having too low traffic.

For my DragonBlogger.com site I only installed it a week ago, so it is too soon to tell how SocialSpark Ads will perform on my site after 30 days, but I can show that it’s earning me at least $1 per day right now and probably more.  This means it will earn me more than Luminate or BuySellAds.com which means it would be a program I encourage and would keep around.

SocialSpark Ads Payout

The payout delay for SocialSpark Ads isn’t so bad, but they don’t’ credit your account until almost 2 months after you first install the ad, then it appears to be monthly after that.  SocialSpark does transfer you the points and you can cash them out whenever your balance hits $50 or take a $2 penalty and cash out sooner, which is faster than collecting from Google AdSense where your balance must reach $100 in order to collect a payment.

SocialSpark Ads Limitations

Currently SocialSpark Ads has restrictions that require the ad to be above the fold on your blog, which means the ad must display as soon as someone hits your site, they can’t have to scroll to see the SocialSpark ad.

In addition, you can’t use more than 1 SocialSpark ad period on your blog the code doesn’t support multiple SocialSpark ads, so the theory would be if you earn $40 from 1 ad with minimum eCPM, why no earn $80 from 2 ads?

SocialSpark has limited banner ad sizes currently and only offers 728×90, 300×250 and 160×600 ad sizes.  They don’t support the 468×60 which are popular at the top of posts, or some of the more obscure formats, so make sure you have a spot available above the fold that can fit one of these ad sizes.


Overall if you are already using the SocialSpark platform and you aren’t earning from AdSense or just aren’t earning much, it is worth connecting your blog and seeing what kind of minimum eCPM you are seeing offered from SocialSpark.  You may just get more from replacing your AdSense banners with SocialSpark Ads banners, or if you have unsold BuySellAds banners that are 728×90 or 300×250 then you may want to consider replacing it with a SocialSpark Ad banner.  Just note that there are no 125×125 banners for SocialSpark ads, and they only have 3 ad sizes (728×90, 160×600 and 300×250).

If you haven’t tried SocialSpark yet and you are a blogger, I encourage you to sign up for SocialSpark and give them a try, I have made over $3,000 from SocialSpark since 2008 and really enjoy the quality advertisers and opportunities they send my way.

You blog. You Profit. Sign up for SocialSpark!

If you have anymore questions about SocialSpark or SocialSpark Ads, let me know and I will be happy to answer them.


-Justin Germino

SocialSpark Staff Pick Blog

I was happy to see an email last week from SocialSpark that DragonBlogger.com was upgraded to a Staff Pick blog.


As a staff pick blog this puts my site in a higher category and is one removed from premium blogs which are the elite blogs showcased based on traffic and popularity of the website and the blogger personality themselves.

With any luck this will grab some more attention from advertisers and I can continue to showcase more reviews of products in the technology and internet categories.

I have had some amazingly great opportunities from SocialSpark over the past two years and have reviewed products from companies like Microsoft, CA, and many others.

My favorite is when I get sent a copy of software to test or a product to test because then I can actually try it and give a hands on review rather than just read about it and do my best to showcase a products strengths and perceived value without actually being able to try it myself.

Out of all the paid blogging companies I have been using and trying over the past three years SocialSpark has been the most consistent by having the highest quality advertisers and most offers for my sites. 

If you are curious of the 25+ programs and what have worked for me, you can read about how I make money online through my blogs and test the programs out for yourself.  Every program I have tried costs NO MONEY to join and is merely a way for you to sign up and try to make money with your blog by writing reviews of products or showcasing websites/services.

-Justin Germino

SocialSpark Cuts Over to New System

I was happy to see SocialSpark finally cut over to the SocialSpark 2 system as the default SocialSpark platform and my wife and I both have seen a few extra opportunities for our blogs in the past few days which I am hoping is going to be an increasing trend. SocialSpark 2 still has some issues with the editor not being as friendly particularly when adding images, custom html tags and other content to make posts look right for customized blogs but it is possible to work around it and isn’t a terribly big issue.

One good thing is I noticed that SocialSpark will now post the article in a “scheduled” status to your blog early which gives you enough time and notice to touch up the article with META data and CSS code before it goes live. This has helped me fix up some articles just before they post, but generally I am able to complete a full SocialSpark opp in around 20 minutes on average. This includes time to browser advertisers site and find a few images on the product or company I am talking about. With an average payout of $12 per article this would be a decent earning rate of $36 per hour as a blogger.

The problem is there aren’t enough advertisers in the system to supply more than one opp every few days which prevents you from really making a lot of money with the service, this is why you have to augment with many other online programs and monetization methods.

Either way here are all the features that make SocialSpark 2 better than the original version:

No Tracking Cookie

This keeps blogs loading faster as the ITK script slowed pageload times considerably.

No Social Networking

This is good and bad, but some people spent too much time contacting other bloggers in the SocialSpark system and this distracted from the purpose of the system which was to make bloggers money. I originally really liked the IZEA idea of bloggers having a network to socialize and really enjoyed the Spark opps in the first system to give bloggers a chance to offer each other free ops with link backs as a reward. This was really one of a kind type of system and it would be cool if a site like BloggerLuv would implement something like this.

Self Publishing or Direct Publishing

The new SocialSpark now allows you to self publish where an advertiser approves and you have to cut/paste the code within a time frame and publish the article, this is good for people who don’t want to provide IZEA SocialSpark with an author account for your blog, but means you need to be available more frequently to post the post within the required time frame. With direct publishing once you write the article it will publish without you doing anything manually so you don’t have to be “waiting” until you are told to publish it.

Here are some improvements the SocialSpark 2 system needs:

Lower Cashout Payments

SponsoredTweets, PayPerPost all allow for cashouts at less than $50 with a $2 penalty, SocialSpark should have this feature too for bloggers who wait a long time between opps and are stuck at like $25 – $35 and could use that extra cash sooner than it sitting in a pending queue.

Editor Improvements

The editor still needs some simplification regarding inserting images, adding video and making edits. When inserting the sponsored links it sometimes loses track of them in html mode (you can’t even insert them except in visual mode). Really it would be nice if it had the same functionality as the WordPress editor.

SocialSpark should allow you to enter post tags and possibly category ahead of time so you don’t have to do it when it publishes. Though this would involve the system having to read from your blog like LiveWriter does to read in the categories, and SocialSpark supports many more platforms than WordPress, it would be a nice touch.


Overall I enjoy the new SocialSpark 2.0 system though I haven’t seen any major opportunities with it like I did with the original SocialSpark system. My blog gets 3x as much traffic as it did a year ago and I was able to get some $100+ opps from SocialSpark 1 with 1/3 as much traffic.

-Justin Germino