By Li Evans
A few months ago, Sponsored Reviews was launched. In a niche market where there was a lot of commotion among the competition, Sponsored Reviews actually caught my eye and held my attention because of their approach. When I read about who was behind Sponsored Reviews, I then realized where the approach came from and set off to see if I could interview them.
Sponsored Reviews is a product of TextLinkBrokers which are based in Arizona. Jarrod Hunt, the company's CMO/CTO and Founder was kind enough to oblige this blogger's request for an interview. I put some pointed questions to him, from transparency issues, to what makes sets them apart from their competition, Jarrod took the time to explain what Sponsored Reviews was all about.
Q: So Jarrod, how did the concept of Sponsored Reviews come to fruition?
A: SponsoredReviews is the natural progression of a product we offer at Textlinkbrokers.com called “Hosted Marketing Pages”. The idea is essentially the same: paying webmasters to place a page of content on their site with links back to the advertiser. The only real difference is the medium. With the rise in popularity of paid blog posts, we knew we needed to develop a product to compete.
Q: How big is the team that manages Sponsored Reviews?
A: SponsoredReviews is a sister company to Textlinkbrokers (360 Enterprises, Inc.). Our management team consists of dozens of people, some working directly on SponsoredReviews, some working as part of the 360 Administration team.
Q: Approximately how many advertisers do you have participating at this point in time in Sponsored Reviews?
A: We have had over 250 opportunities posted in the past 2 months, some public and some private. Thousands of reviews have been written and 10’s of thousands of dollars have been paid out to bloggers.
Q: Approximately how many bloggers do you have participating at this point in time?
A: As of today we have just over 2000 bloggers in our system. It would be closer to 10,000 if we accepted every blog that applied. We reject blogs that are too new or have too little “real” content.
Q: Could you explain how advertisers can benefit from Sponsored Reviews?
A: We have seen advertisers use sponsored reviews for a wide range of purposes. The obvious ones are link building, direct traffic, and buzz building but that is just the tip of the iceberg. One popular usage is expert feedback. As one example, there are a couple bloggers in our system doing very well by offering to do an SEO analysis of the advertiser’s site as part of the review.
Q: How does Sponsored Reviews help out bloggers?
A: Other then money, Sponsored Reviews do have other benefits. They bring fresh content to blogs and help motivate bloggers to be more active. As a company we also try to educate bloggers through our own blog.
Q: Do you think that a blogger’s audience could be turned off by the blogger doing these type of reviews?
A: It really depends on what type of reviews they are doing. Some bloggers go out of their way to make the reviews part of the normal flow of their blog. It is also important to keep the number of reviews to a minimum. Readers will not reject a blog for the occasional paid post, but if every other post is a paid review, the blogger is going to have issues. This is one reason why we require a 3 to 1 ratio of non-paid to paid content on our blogs.
Q: What are some of the major points that distinguish Sponsored Reviews from the other “paid review” services out there?
A: One primary difference is our transaction rate. SponsoredReviews only charges 35%. SponsoredReviews was also the first to offer a hybrid system that allows the advertisers to post opportunities as well as purchase reviews directly by browsing through our blogger directory. In addition, we give the advertisers 100% control over which blogs they purchase reviews from, even on publicly posted opportunities. Most of our competitors have automated systems where the advertiser only has control over a few factors.
Thank you Jarrod! I really appreciate you taking the time to explain what Sponsored Reviews is all about. For more information about Sponsored Reviews check out their FAQ's, it answers a lot of questions for both advertisers and bloggers.