I was asked to do a little research writing sample for a job application. Basically, I was supposed to find a few new developments in social media technology and write up a feature piece on them. In the process, I stumbled across an interesting service called MyLikes.
I decided to give it a shot. If you’ve been seeing me tag some recent tweets with “[sponsored],” that’s why. So far (after two sponsored tweets) I’ve made $1.12! Not much money, but it’s more than the usual $0 my other tweets make. If you want to join, they gave me a referral link:
Anyway, here’s the feature I wrote:
MyLikes is a hybrid of earned and paid media. There’s a small part of it that’s paid media because the advertiser controls where sponsor links lead. It’s earned media because since every member can only promote one paid link per day, the advertisers are competing for relevancy and product or service superiority. That competition is happening in the earned media/social media space.
MyLikes pairs advertisers with influencers and allows those influencers to promote links and get paid by the click. It’s affiliate marketing gone social. I’d argue it’s an improvement on affiliate marketing because it focuses on relevance. There should be no surprise that it was founded by a former Google product manager and a former Google engineer.
MyLikes is an open social network. Members build profiles and establish interests by promoting or “liking” products and services. There is a selection of sponsored links they can choose to promote on various social networks, but they are only allowed to promote one of those per day to prevent users from spamming. MyLikes works with advertisers to match the best influences with their marketing needs, and those advertisers invite the top targeted users to promote their products. The member revenues flow into a PayPal account.
Content surrounding MyLikes is cyclical. The advertisers create landing pages and then buy clicks to those landing pages. The MyLikes members choose which links to promote and create content (which can be positive or negative) to frame the link within a certain context. Users who click on the links from MyLikes members through Twitter or Facebook are then taken to the landing pages.
MyLikes connects advertisers with influencers. There are a ton of people who have built up a following online for whatever reason: their video blog (about beer), their personality, or the cool stuff they do with their business. An endorsement from those influencers could be more valuable than paid media or owned media because of the simple fact that people listen to people. They are increasingly skeptical of brands. That’s part of the reason why I believe the future of marketing lies with people; not with brands pretending to be people. MyLikes also just secured some Seed funding this month. Robert Scoble also jumped onboard as an advisor, so it seems the folks at MyLikes are truly living their brand.