Paid to Post: the Facebook/Twitter Model

Luxury Brands on Social Media

Make money online is one of the most searched terms online, serving up millions of results, each more puzzling than the other. From MLM get rich quick schemes, to pay-per-post opportunities for bloggers, there’s nothing new under the sun, and nothing can surprise us anymore. When it comes to social media, however, many have hoped to keep things transparent, and genuine. A lost cause, as you will soon realize.

Last year in August, eMarketer ran a feature called How Valuable Are Social Media Sponsorships? The conclusions of that study were that blog posts and videos were the mentions with the most value, calculated to be $114.71 and $112.46, respectively, while Twitter edged out Facebook. Tweets were valued at $63.64, compared to $55.16 for a Facebook update. No wonder that so many companies are willing to pay people on social media directly, instead of investing in advertising.

Social media users are already being paid to “like” pages, to “follow” peers, and even to post opinions and “sponsored” entries. PaidPerTweet promises Twitter users up to $5 per tweet for tweets about web sites, products, services, and companies. Sponsored Tweets describes itself as eBay for tweets, promising cash as well. These are just two of the many similar services. Some require full disclosure, and a so-called code of ethics, others circumvent the rules. Even celebrities get paid to tweet, some exorbitant amounts, like Kim Kardashian with $10,000, for Shoedazzle.com; and Charlie Sheen with $50,000 per tweet, for Internships.com.

With Facebook, the situation is pretty similar. FanSlave pays users to “like” pages, but there are also companies that pay users to for Facebook shoutouts, although not many made this the core of their business. Till redKonnect.

Like Sponsored Tweets and PaidPerTweet, redKonnect promises Facebook users cash if they post about politicians, charitable causes, or brands they like. The service, which launches next week, was formed by BYU students Brock Luker and Trygve Jensen. An invitation-based beta version was launched last December, and the company gained popularity pretty quick – as expected with anything that promises compensation for social media activities of any kind. The problem with redKonnect is that it’s deceitfully advertising itself as new, innovative and a social media revolution, when, in fact, the company doesn’t bring anything new on the market, although they seem convinced that they are the first to offer individuals direct PayPal payments:

Similar companies, like Klout and Blue Calypso, reward social media influencers with discounts or on-site credit, but redKonnect is the first to offer individuals direct PayPal payments for their activity on the redKonnect site.

There are enough companies that pay directly. MyLikes is paying users to tweet, post a video on YouTube, post on tumblr or Facebook. The system is pretty standard: users are paid-per-click or per-view based on a quality score. Unlike MyLikes, who pay after a campaign, redKonnect allegedly pay users upfront, but also per-click and based on a quality score, which, according to a review at BYU’s online publication The Universe, is proprietary to redKonnect.

ad.ly works with the big dogs, or what they like to call “influencers.” You’ll find a tremendous amount of “names” on their list, including Paris Hilton, Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and so on. These are some of the celebrities who get paid to tweet – the non-celebs can be found close to the end of the list.

IZEA is by far the most popular in Social Media Sponsorships. The company was once “PayPerPost” but rebranded as soon as more opportunities arrived. They still compensate bloggers, tweeters and mobilers for sponsored blog posts, tweets and actions via three different services: SocialSpark, Sponsored Tweets and WeReward. The list could go on forever, and maybe end with Warner Brother’s Word of Mouth Marketing which pays “social media superstars” to post on Twitter and Facebook about WB shows.

Whether these services mean “the kiss of death for Facebook ads” (as in the title of a recent redKonnect release) is not even debatable. They are not. They provide an alternative channel for advertisers who don’t rely on ads for their campaigns.

Are sponsored social mentions more effective than traditional ads? Now this is a matter of debate. Generally speaking, it all depends on the purpose. Traditional ads have a more powerful subliminal effect, while sponsored social mentions bring immediate results.

Will companies like redKonnect, MyLikes, and the lot, thrive in the future? They sure will. And there’s enough room on the market to welcome competition and copycats.

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