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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.
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.