This is kind of creepy (click screen shot below for bigger image). I googled myself (yeah, I know- lame) and got a paid advertisement linking to….my profile on Ziki? I don’t think I’m really a fan of Ziki paying to get people to see my profile. And to think I was a fan of this service!!

**Update- I am still a fan of Ziki after having learned that this ad was part of a test ad campaign detailed on their blog. Thanks to the great response by Ziki in the comments below. However- from a business perspective, I still have the same mindset I had before-

In my opinion, social networking sites that advertise to get people on a CPC basis to their site are taking the wrong approach to growing their market. If a social networking site can’t spread word of mouth, then the site is going to fail…PERIOD.


  • Hi – Apparently you did not receive the mail we sent you on August 23 informing about our test sponsored link campaign on a selected group of 200 people (so including you); Of course , this campaign can be deactivated at any time (which we did today, after reading your post). I’m sorry about the misunderstanding/miscommunication. Just to clarify though, I’ll briefly explain what we are doing and why:-) Managing one’s online identity is a growing concern for a lot of people. The main reason why we’re offering sponsored links to our users is to help them control their online identity. On your Ziki, which you control, you can gather all your digital content and describe yourself with your own words. By getting your Ziki listed at the top of the major search engines, you make sure people find the right you when searching for your name. To validate our sponsored links program, we started with a test campaign on Google (you can find more info on our blog : http://ziki.com/blog/2006/08/13/controlling-your-online-identity-with-ziki/). Further to the positive and enthusiastic feedback we received we decided to extend it to all Ziki users, on a opt in basis, and to offer $10 of sponsored links to the first 10.000 who apply (as explained on our blog : http://ziki.com/blog/2006/09/13/high-visibility-on-major-search-engines-in-google-and-yahoo-msn-coming-soon-for-the-first-10000-ziki-members/). When we ran the initial test campaign, we did not have the check box implemented to allow/disallow an ad, which is why we sent you the campaign information through email. I don’t know why you did not receive it and I’m sorry you found out about it this way. We certainly did not mean to upset you but rather the opposite:-) But as previously said, since then, we deactivated your ad. So, I hope this clarifies things a bit. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you in person.

  • Drew Meyers

    Severine-
    Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate the honesty in your follow up. I did not receive the e-mail (perhaps it got sent to my spam?), but I am not bitter after having realized that Ziki made an attempt to reach me regarding the test campaign on Google. I’m glad your company is taking the right approach to following up with this problem- addressing your customers, listening to concerns, and correcting the problems. Ultimately, I still disagree with the campaign from a business perspective. I don’t think a social network will ever succeed by advertising its services. It needs to be viral to be effective- but the business side of it is another issue. Thanks for great customer support! You’ve won me back to your corner.

  • I disagree, Drew. It’s difficult for a service or social network to gain the first core users they need to be successful.

    By Ziki advertising against your name they get people who are already in your social network (or want to be) checking out your Ziki page. Evebtually, your page may top the organic search listings, but that may take a while.

    Until then, this serves as a highly targeted ad campaign that may give Ziki the core they need to spread organically.

  • Drew Meyers

    In my opinion, there’s always a way to spread word of mouth if you have a great product- and I think Ziki has something to offer. At the same time, there is a lot of competition in their space because so many companies are fighting for these types of customers to adopt their platform.

  • Hi – Glad to see you’re not angry anymore Drew.:-)Thanks for your nice comments. Keep giving us some feedback, whether good or bad, it’s always appreciated!
    And Hashim, nice to see you here!
    Just one thing regarding the sponsored links we offer to our users. The way we see it is not so much as advertising for our product even though it promotes Ziki indirectly, but rather as a full feature to be able to position Ziki as a service truly helping you to control your online identity. Ziki includes social networking capabilities. Independently of that though, your Ziki is your place on the web to piece together your digital life. It is your online identity card that we offer you to promote to help you control what people find about you. As Hashim points out, with organic search listings, results are not guaranteed, while they are with paid placement. But I do agree with you that the virality is a deciding factor to success. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, very helpful to better understand how our service is perceived. Cheers – Severine