Izea recently ran a promotion for Kmart that would offer influential bloggers a $500 Kmart gift card, if they blogged about their experience at the store. In addition to offering the bloggers gift cards, they also gave them an additional $500 gift card to offer as a prize to one of their readers. Whether or not you agree with the ethics of the campaign, you have to admit that it was quite brilliant.
Not only did Izea manage to promote Kmart to thousands of blog readers and Twitterers, but the discussion within the blogosphere has generated even more buzz for Kmart, Izea, and the bloggers that participated. Many criticized the participants for writing paid posts. Others weren’t so critical and had no problems with it. Regardless of whether they agreed with the campaign or not, it got a lot of people talking about it.
Chris Brogan responded to the criticism with his thoughts on advertising and trust. I seriously doubt if Brogan and other participants have seen a measurable decrease in followers and subscribers. If anything, the controversy and other discussions may have actually helped to raise awareness of their blogs and their presence within the social networks. The situation demonstrates that any press is good press.
Chris Brogan: Sponsored Post-Kmart Holiday Shopping Dad Style
Loren Feldman: Kmart FTW
Michelle Madhok: Sponsored Post: Win $500 From Kmart And Do Your Holiday Shopping In One Fell Swoop
Jeremy Schoemaker: What Would You Spend $500 At Kmart On?
Julie Roy: My Kmart Shopping Spree
Wendy Piersall: Enter to Win a $500 Kmart Gift Card for Christmas
Recent Articles about Izea and Paid Posts
Cleaning up after a social media shitstorm
Understanding Izea’s Sponsored Blogging Service
Has Paid Posting Finally Matured? And Is Ted Murphy a Genius or What?
Jeremiah Owyang Inserts Foot In Mouth (Again) Over IZEA Sponsored Posts
Paid Posts: Why they’re not that bad, but why you shouldn’t do them
Kmart embracing social media in a unique way
Paid Posts, Izea, Kmart, Sears, Social Media, Reputations and Cash Money
Are Paid Posts now acceptable on blogs? (poll)
And the list goes on and on… The biggest beneficiary of the campaign was not Kmart, the bloggers, or the blog readers. Without a doubt, Izea has received the most benefit. Izea has raised awareness of its services to even more bloggers. Many will join PayPerPost and SocialSpark as a result, and new advertisers will be drawn as well.