On April Fool’s Day, Izea will be shutting down their forums. The forums were setup back in September of 2006 just a few months after the company launched and served as the primary social networking platform for the first couple years.
by BrightGirl on Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:06 pm
Image via CrunchBase
Due to falling participation, the rising costs of hosting and our expansion into other support avenues, we have made the decision to close down the IZEA Boards effective April 1, 2010.
Many of the same topics posted here are currently being discussed at http://getsatisfaction.com/izea and we encourage you to visit us there to post any questions you may have or to participate in the discussions there. We will also still be posting major system updates on the IZEA blog, http://blog.izea.com.
In addition, we will still be available by support ticket and through Twitter
Finally, I think I speak for the entire team when I say what a pleasure it has been working with you and learning from you all the past few years. The interaction of this community is what makes the job we do fun, challenging and exciting and leads IZEA to better products and services.
And one last shout out to our Boards Mods, past and present who have worked tirelessly in providing information and support. It has an honor to work with you all!
All the Best,
Izea Customer Love
This forum post is followed by a member named RealityTVFan who has had a long technically challenging series of difficulties making it virtually impossible to communicate with anyone through the Get Satisfaction social media network.
Ergo he can’t even talk to people about not getting satisfaction through Get Satisfaction!
Now, I don’t have near the issues that RealityTVFan has encountered, but Get Satisfaction has always been very problematic for me as well to the point that I just don’t use it/go there/ provide feedback there.
LESSON LEARNED (again) Giving Content for Free to a Network that Voids your Control of Said Content is a Mistake
I started working with Izea about 6 days after they launched back during the summer of 2006. They set up their forum or boards later in September as their rapid growth dictated that they needed the ability to communicate with bloggers on the web, efficiently and in an area where they could control the message. Even more important, they needed other bloggers to help each other, benchmark off of lessons learned, and grow together, so that the same lesson could be taught and retaught more efficiently. This was one of the most successful aspects about what was PayPerPost back then. It not only accelerated the growth of their blogger network, enabling them to get a second round of venture capital, but it helped them improve their business, and create a sense of community.
The boards themselves were getting thousands and thousands of hits and visitors a day, generating hundreds of forum posts on a forum with no advertising or as we say today, no monetization plan. So from Izea’s perspective it was a cost center, with a value add that was difficult to measure.
Years later they did eventually ad advertising after the recommendation of many members on the boards, including yours truly. This apparently might have minimized the cost (bandwidth maybe?) but not enough. More importantly through Get Satisfaction they were finally able to run with a ticketing process that worked for the company better than the home grown coding they had relied on in earlier years.
But there is a lesson to be learned here for both Izea and Bloggers and it has nothing to do with cost control or even customer satisfaction.
It is a flawed approach to host a conversation in a centralized social media environment (whether it be a forum like this, Get Satisfaction, Facebook, Twitter etc) when you are engaged in a business reliant on the blogosphere.
Sure there are indirect benefits from being part of the conversation and siphoning eye balls away from a centralized social platform, but it is INDIRECT at best and there isn’t much money in that.
When you write on a centralized platform you DO NOT own your content. You have no control and that content is subject to deletion, editing, or worse. When you play with the long tail, that is bad for business too.
Plus, just as a personal example, when this board goes dark on April Fool’s day, I’m going to loose upwards of 1800 backlinks to my site. Also bad for business considering those backlinks are a small factor in promoting my blogs in the SERPs. Izea may not sell links so much anymore, but that still translates to reduced traffic and influence, which is something they do sell these days. So by closing down the boards they are going to devalue their own product line just a bit.
SOLUTION – At Least for Bloggers
Fortunately, there is an open source solution that is almost available. Very soon, none of us will have to rely on centralized social network systems. The days of Twitter and Facebook (and Get Satisfaction too) playing a role as the dominant social platform are likely to go the way of Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL playing a role as the dominant email system and internet logon portal.
What’s that solution called?
Ironically its WordPress and the new 3.0 version combined with other components of WordPress will conceivably give every blogger, writer, business site the means to turn their website into a decentralized social network. Now we just have to figure out how to inter connect with each other all over again!
You can follow me on twitter ( http://twitter.com/brettbum )if you like, but its kind of a silly place. 😉