Check Out TalkAhead – Sponsored Comments – Win $25 of Advertising Credit

I had a stroke of good fortune recently. A new start-up, called TalkAhead, invited me to beta test their new service, which is a network for Sponsored Comments. I think it has the potential to really take off, and I’m excited to be an early adopter. It could be a great cash generator for anyone who publishes on the Web, which is why I’m putting it on my own blog.

So what’s a Sponsored Comment? In TalkAhead’s own words they’re “paid messages in response to an article or blog post” that are “prominently displayed” in the readers’ comments section. Check out the bottom of this post to see how one looks.

How will that work in the real world? Let’s say you’re a blogger who reviews gadgets and you post a review of a new Logitech game controller. After you publish, people start writing in your comment section, some telling you that your review is absolutely right, others swearing you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Now let’s say your post is read by John Doe, a Marketing VP at GreatGames (not a real company), manufacturers of a competitive

Sponsored Comment – Talkahead

product. Prior to TalkAhead, John Doe might have (as many before him have) posed as a game-loving consumer and written a response trashing the new Logitech game controller. And of course, within moments of posting his bogus comment, others would have written in, pushing his comment way down in the list.

But now TalkAhead gives you a chance to legitimize John Doe. He can use a Sponsored Comment to leave a brief but targeted comment explaining why GreatGames is a better alternative. Perhaps he’d emphasis the cooler games or the lower cost. Mr. Doe’s comment will be clearly marked as “sponsored” and will always appear at the top of the comment section.

By the way, this applies to more than just product or service reviews. I think that for pretty much every post or even news article, there’s someone out there ready to pay just to get his or her words on top.

The TalkAhead system is pretty flexible for the publishers. You get to set the price for your Sponsored Comments, and you have a lot of flexibility on how you charge. For instance, you can charge by CPM, CPC, CPT (cost per time), flat rate, or bid. You can also review and the comments before they go live. TalkAhead takes care of all the billing and customer service. They make money by taking a small cut of the revenue.

How does this benefit your readers? Let’s face it, as every blogger knows, a good portion of the posts in our readers’ comments section are Astroturf (messages written by advertisers posing as consumers). But Sponsored Comments are transparent, because they’re clearly labeled as such.

Want to try it out for free on my blog? I will give a $25 coupon to the first 10 people who leave a comment about this post (comment needs to be meaningful.)

And to all the bloggers interested in a new revenue opportunity: you can sign up for it on the TalkAhead website. Just click here.