Social advertising at InstantBuzz.com

This isn’t normally my kind of thing, but on the advice of my friend Paulie Sabol, I decided to check out InstantBuzz.com, the latest site/project/product from internet marketing gurus Mike Chen and Mark Joyner. With all the buzz about buzz marketing, the name alone caught my attention, and I was also pretty intrigued by the twists (keep reading).

In short, it’s a free advertising program, using a (spyware-free) toolbar (yes, you have to use Internet Explorer) that displays simple text ads. You get ad credits for ads you view, and when you earn so many credits, your ad appears. Simple enough.

The twist?

One is that they have a very active community of internet marketers, and yes, Mike Chen and Mark Joyner actually participate. I’ve found some pretty good conversation so far, although it’s just a very simple discussion forum. Don’t set your technology expectations high — it’s the people that make a community.

Another is that it’s multi-level, i.e., you get credit for ads viewed by people who sign up under you. If you’ve got a negative thing about MLM, it doesn’t apply here. Remember, it’s free. There’s nothing you have to buy (or sell) — ever.

Of course, there’s no free lunch, right? Where do these guys make their money (something I always want to know)? 1) When you sign up, they promo their “Make Your Own Software” product. I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t recommend it one way or the other, but I didn’t buy it. 2) The creators of the site get heavier ad rotation to advertise their products to this huge community. Heck of a way to build a receptive audience!

Bottom line, what are the results?

Well, I haven’t signed up anyone under me yet (I wasn’t about to until I’d checked it out thoroughly myself), but just off my own browsing, in about a week I’ve earned 2,174 ad impressions, and that’s translated into about 25 new visitors to our site. I’m not using any click-tracking, so I can’t tell you how many of these ended up as actual conversions, but since I’m also trying to build brand awareness for The Virtual Handshake, even those 2,174 ad impressions count for something.

Keep in mind that those are qualified visitors. They responded to my ad copy — they weren’t going to our site just to earn advertising credit for themselves. This is an important differentiator from many other traffic generator programs I’ve seen.

My friend Paulie, on the other hand, whose web site is a well-oiled internet marketing machine, monitored his results for four days, during which time he generated over $800 in direct affiliate sales of one product, sold 43 copies of the Credit Millionaire book, and set up $120 a month in residual income. Not bad. Now, he signed up over 100 people under him and has obviously had a lot more ad impressions than I have.

There’s one more twist. It’s invitation only, and there are limits on how many people you can invite. If you’re still reading, then maybe this is something of interest to you. If so, send me an email — be sure to include your email address (which I will use for no other purpose than to invite you into InstantBuzz). I’ll send you an invitation sign up for InstantBuzz.com and you can join me in the experiment.

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend Paulie Sabol, I finally figured out that I don’t have to send everybody personal invitations. You can join Instant Buzz here.