Friday, July 18, 2008

Shot Thru the Heart, and You're to Blame, You Give [Customer] Love a Bad Name...Disenchanted with SocialSpark

An angel's smile is what you sell
You promise me heaven, then put me through hell
Chains of love got a hold on me
When passion's a prison, you can't break free

You're a loaded gun
There's nowhere to run
No one can save me
The damage is done

Shot through the heart
And you're to blame
You give love a bad name
I play my part and you play your game
You give love a bad name
You give love a bad name

Paint your smile on your lips
Blood red nails on your fingertips
A school boy's dream, you act so shy
Your very first kiss was your first kiss goodbye...

Since I graduated from high school almost 25 years ago, I've tried not to go back to that time of social cliques full of mean girls, and arbitrary rules imposed by school administrators. In June 1984, I delivered my valedictory address, incorporating quotes from Bruce Springsteen and Howard Jones, and moved on to college, a career, and business school, never agreeing with the notion that my high school years were "the best years of my life" and never anticipating that my "real life" would ever resemble high school.

Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that I've turned out to be remarkably thin-skinned about the social aspects of the blogosphere. As many of my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I started this blog in August 2005, but left the blogosphere for more than two years after only a couple of months and a handful of posts, due to an ugly exchange with another not-so-nice housewife. Upon my return to blogging in February 2008, I developed a set of terrific blogosphere buddies through BlogExplosion and EntreCard...we visit each other's blogs almost every day, leaving relevant and non-relevant comments, and generally supporting an atmosphere of cameraderie.

In April 2008, I joined SocialSpark, became a highly enthusiastic supporter, and encouraged all of you to join, so that we'd have one more way to connect. Over a three month period, I've made 4,118 new friends, and earned 1,005 "props" -- the SocialSpark blogger recognition of "I like your what you're doing, I enjoy reading your blogs." Yesterday, I saw all of my SocialSpark efforts burn up like paper in fire (sorry, recent John Cougar Mellencamp concert still playing in my head) when Ted Murphy, the CEO of IZEA, posted his decision to "zero out all props" on the IZEA blog (trackback: ):

"The only fair way to do this in our minds is to zero out all props and comments relating to props for everyone. If we don't do so the users who have utilized this method of building props will be at the top of the list for the foreseeable future, creating an unfair advantage the can't be taken away."

On July 17, 2008 at 1:14pm, Ted posted:

Before implementing such a drastic measure I would like to hear from the community as to why we should or shouldn't do this. I am sure I will hear a good bit from the people using this method, but my real hope is that we hear from the community at large.

Ted's loyal posties lined up behind him like a teenage lynch mob, quickly agreeing that it was wrong for bloggers to market their blogs by inviting others to visit and leave props.

Having given all of us ample time to drop our investment banking work or mothering or blogging and other activities in order to provide feedback, three hours later at 4:15pm, Ted posted:

Props have officially been reset. Thanks for all the feedback.

My new friend Shelly, aka The Mom with Brownies, who also happens to be my EntreCard advertiser today (please hop over to her blog and drop it like its hot!), left the following comment for Ted:

You will get a lot of support for this move Ted. You will get a lot of support form MOST of the members I imagine because most people do not have a huge number of props. You will have a handful of bloggers who will be upset because they worked to gain friends and props. That handful of bloggers will be upset but that will be fine because there are only a handful of them and what harm could they do to a large social network like IZEA?

I am one who did NOT leave comments on profiles or blog profiles to gain props. I am one who sent in a ticket asking the protocol before I decided to run with my personal emails and friend making social networking on Social Spark. I am one who was told to go for it by the Social Spark team. I still have the ticket.

I got the green light and spend hours, days and weeks making friends and helping new bloggers who friended me. I am one who used the "Social" system to make friends and share props as we shared ideas and comments on one another's blogs.

I am one who made a SocialSpark blogroll on her blog to promote this Social Network. I am one who helped the bloggers who are just beginning to get their feet wet in the blogging circles, by emailing back and forth helping them to get their ITK installed and blogrolls started. I am one whow worked to prop ALL of the friends I made. I am one who put in HOURS upon HOURS of work into this exciting Social Network. I am one who sent personal emails to each of my new friends offering help and giving MUCH of my time to help EVERYONE who asked for it.

I am one who worked hard for the props I got. I got Spanked Hard on this one. I feel very disheartened that this has occured, I am very sad and upset. But I'm only one voice.
But, I am only one. I was number one, But ONLY one. I will not get all of that work back. I will not get my props back. I will not be able to have my voice heard because it is "not personal." I am just one blogger, who had faith in the system, spent her time building the props, friends and contacts to gain some sort of support and was dropped flat down the list like I'm a nobody who did nothing more than just join.

But, it's "not personal" and I'm only one voice. My lost time and efforts are in vain.

I seconded Shelly's motion with the following comment:

I agree with Shelly. We worked hard to get our PROPS...I had 1,005 before the re-set. Over a three month period, I sent out well over that number of PERSONALIZED e-mails via the SocialSpark system, detailing what I was up to on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog and Bay Head Blog on the day each email was sent and inviting people to check it out, and prop me "IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE." Not an illiterate "I prop u u got prop 4 me?" I also visited each blogger's profile and blogs, propping where appropriate and dropping and/or alerting if the content was inappropriate.

Further, if anyone thought my SocialSpark e-mail was spam, why would they have propped me??!! When spam makes it through my spam filter, I delete it. I don't do what the spammer asks, I don't buy the penis enhancement equipment or send my bank account numbers to my long lost cousin in jail in Africa! If 1,005 bloggers/advertisers took the trouble to visit my SocialSpark profile and prop my blog, who are you to tell them and me that the first time didn't count?

Shelly (Mom with Brownies) and I spent hours, days, and weeks of our valuable time marketing our blogs through the SocialSpark system, focusing on the big picture of making it to the top ranks and believing our efforts would pay off in the long run. We welcomed newcomers to the system, and gave help when possible to those unable to reach Customer Love in a timely fashion. And this is the thanks we get?

If you're up for additional discussion of the SocialSpark situation, I see that Shelly has posted Ted Murphy's response to her on her blog, The Mom With Brownies.

Going forward, I haven't made a decision on what to do about SocialSpark. When I made the decision to invest the time and effort into developing a high profile on SocialSpark, I had believed that SocialSpark represented a terrific marketing tool for my blog and a platform for launching my new WordPress MU community. Right now, I feel betrayed.

For those of you who took the time to read through this post and listen to my rant, I appreciate it. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment here.

Thanks again!



Hi Roxi,

Have a brownie. Chocolate makes the wounds hurt a little less, my good friend. lol

Thanks for the tea and the song. :-)
Shelly M.
The Mom With Brownies

Wally Banners said...

Hi Doll! Is this Ted dude in France?
Am waiting for BE to load takes a while on the connection. BUT THE COW WILL LOSE TODAY!!! Figured am stuck all day in hotel what better time than to read all your articles. Doll you should have a column in a newspaper your stuff is fantastic.

SpicyBug said...

Although I am a member of Social Spark, I never played around with it. I found it confusing and not easy to navigate.

I am sorry that all your hard work went down the drain, that's not right. I still don't understand why it was done?

SurfJedi said...

Wow. That really sucks. From one of the little guys, I enjoyed exchanging props with the heavy hitters like you. I haven't been too involved in SocialSpark lately, but it is even less appealing now.

Nessa said...

Well that just sucks. I signed up like you recomended but i just never really got into it. I kept meaning to change that but never got around to it. Now i'm glad. Sorry they're doing you guys that way. It's definitely not right.

LadyJava said...

Am here to vote for you dearie!! Good luck!!

Beamer said...

Well, I have long thought the Internet can be so friggin' bizzare at times. It's stuff like this that really makes me wonder about some of the brains behind these people that come up with these ideas to begin with. It seems like techies with great technical skills and sorry social skills pull this kind of stuff more often than not.

It sucks.

It's too bad all your hard work was for nothing.


Tina said...

Hi, Roxy! Just visited your site through Entrecard. It's not the first time. I found you through Shelly and Social Spark, and I love reading your blogs.

Up until I read your post I didn't know anything about this. I thought they asked for everyone's opinion. Hmmm...I wonder how they did that.

Unlike you and Shelly, I am new to blogging and Social Spark. I have had my own frustrations with them in regard to post issues. This really makes me feel terrible.

Even thought I didn't have a friend count in the thousands, I finally made it to over 100 this week. It's hard work and time consuming, and I often wondered how those of you at the top managed to find the time to make it there. I cannot imagine how you must feel. Based on the sinking in my own heart, it must be pretty awful.

I will be sure to read Shelly's post on this as well and pay closer attention to the details when I visit Social Spark next time. I cannot imagine the logic or reasoning that must have led to this decision and action at Social Spark. It's pretty cruel if you ask me...

sheila sultani said...

That must be SO frustrating. I joined Social Spark a couple of weeks ago and haven't really done anything with it, I found it really confusing. So, what do they do now, just go back to square one and end up with the same thing they had before? Idiots!

Leigh said...

Typical. PayPerPost is run in much the same way. Decisions seemingly made on the fly which affected thousands of people and, in some cases, their livlihoods. I joined SocialSpark way back when they first opened the doors, but never really ran with it. I guess I was still feeling very apprehensive about it considering what I had experienced at PPP. I'm very glad now that I listened to that little voice inside my head! I'm so sorry this happened to you, Michelle and all the others who put in so much time and effort.

Thanks so much for sharing all of this!

Ferd said...

I bet all those eFriends still love you, Rox. I bet they will still visit and leave comments. The time you invested has probably already paid off, no?

To me, though I'm not a Social Spark member, it seems like one of the many random curve balls of life. No big deal in the big scheme of things. I don't want to minimize your feelings, hell I love rants, but those are my thoughts on the matter.

You have a cool site, and I bet you'll be alright.

Valedictorian, huh? I thought I smelled smart girl.

Karl Goldfield - Sales Trainer said...

This is why I am weary to use anything but traditional SEO to grow my site. It is scary to think all of my work is in someone else's hands.

Cindi-Moomettesgram said...

Hi Roxi,
Boy, am I learning quite a bit tonite between you, Shelly & Ben Spark! I'm relatively new to this with Social Spark (I know you've taken the time to answer my questions to you before on the friend requests) thank you, BTW, and also new to PPP and blogging in general. It's tough for an old broad (not really) to learn new tricks! So I'll just keep EC dropping in, dropping in anyway, because I like what I read here, and learn the ropes. Best of Luck in your decisions. I'll keep the lights on for you this weekend. Check out my latest rants too if you want. It's a full moon tonite. EEEoowwwww~

Roshill said...

Woa like wOw.You don't have enough already 4000 sumfin lol thats a bulk load of adding ...! how did you manage that !. Don't tell me or my chair will break . I already broke my comp chair was a sad ending !. Man i can only wish i could get some comments like you do . None are real quality well if it help i am joining social park too...! already have done soo many sites yesterday do check my site out ..

Plz don comment i think People don't comment cause no one else is comment or visaversa ..! lol ! B/w this was a really good post!!

Dena said...

I've seen a couple of other people upset about this too. Thanks for laying it all out there.

hparis said...

isn't making it to the head of the class the whole point? Why would they even have a sort system which lists the top propped blogs if they didn't want to encourage people to try to get to the top of the list? I was impressed by your position on the list; you worked hard to get it. Unfortunately, Entrecard takes up a lot of my time, or I'd be trying to climb to the top of that list too. But now I won't waste my time knowing that there's a chance my efforts would be a waste. Now all the "I prop you, you prop me back" people are gleefully jumping for joy since they won't have to work as hard to make it to the top for their 15 minutes of fame. Hope they enjoy it!