, the oft-criticised web PR company, is set to change its name to sound a bit less like it came from The Ronseal Book of Marketing.

IZEA, its choice of a new brand, will sit above the company’s various services, including its network of bloggers that write paid testimonials / articles for advertiser dollars, often without any kind of disclosure.

The company has set up a new site, according to Read/Write Web, and is reportedly set to announce a new range of marketing tools at its user conference next week.

But the name-change seems unlikely to help it cast off its own negative image among the more right-on elements of the blogosphere (and beyond). 

The firm’s own user base - some 80,000 bloggers who are prepared to sell out to 11,000 advertisers - maintain a sort of weird fervour about the company, which seems to completely polarise opinion.

“It’s less about getting paid per post, and more about social media and marketing all coming together into a whole suite of products and solutions,”
writes one, in a stunning and presumably accidental example of PRspeak. But wait! The ‘About IZEA’ paragraph has been pasted into the foot of the article! It’s as if the article was placed by a PR…

Research suggests consumers are catching on to this form of marketing, even though IZEA’s disclosure policy has been criticised in the past as less than transparent. A name change won’t help you, folks.

A survey released by Burson-Marsteller last week found rising frustration among the most influential online consumers about ‘advocates for hire’ and other commercial activity on discussion boards and other consumer websites.

However, the agency said those concerns were reduced when companies were open about who they were and what they were doing.

Disclosure is just good manners, simple as that.

Related research:

Online PR – Roundtable Output

Related stories:

Consumer attitudes to online PR