Monday, September 29, 2008

Major Changes at Entrecard

In this blog post, there were a number of changes addressed, which should be shared with others who use the system.

In order to continue operating in the long-term, Entrecard needs to make some significant changes. The changes are summarized below:
  • Buy credits for less: Entrecard is now selling 1,000 credits for $6.00.
  • More pricing increments: Instead of prices doubling every time, there are now a few more steps. The new price points can be found on the Advertising page in the wiki.
  • Members are not allowed to sell credits: This goes for ebay sales, posts in the Marketing forum, and posts on other forums. If you have references on your site to the sale of credits, please remove them immediately, as it is now against our terms.
  • Credit transfer limits: Members are allowed to make a maximum of 14 credit transfers a week, up to a maximum of 1,000 credits, whichever comes first. This means you can still run contests where you give credits away for free, and under 1k per week. Note: This does not affect linked blogs, you can transfer unlimited credits between linked blogs.
  • Transfer tax: From now on, all transfers, including transfers made with our new payments API, will be taxed at a rate of 12.5%. The taxed credits will be sold to members (see #1).
  • Blogs cannot be unlinked: Once you link a blog, it’s there for good unless you ask us to delete the blog from your account. This prevents linking/unlinking to get around the credit transfer limits, and it also stops you losing access to a blog if you unlink it in error, which happens a lot.
  • No more coupons: You are no longer allowed to send coupons.
  • Shop closed: Except for Entrecard upgrades (Featured Status, Fast Pass) the Entrecard Shop is now offline until further notice. Please do not request a seller token until the shop returns. When it comes back, it will be bigger and better. We’ll communicate more details nearer the time.
We really do believe that an economy with plenty of 3rd parties involved is a stronger economy overall, unfortunately just right now we’re unable to support that given the need to keep everything running. We hope that, by taking the steps we have, we will be able to reach a good balance between maximizing the overall benefits for our users and getting the revenue we need to pay the bills and expand the service.

Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be in a stronger position with a more diverse income and we’ll be able to reintroduce independent credit sales.

We appreciate all the feedback we’ve had over the past few days on this topic, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

My Thoughts
Many of these steps were in the right direction.  There will be a sharp decline in the people who simply went to the system to make a quick buck, trying to sell the credits through third party methods, like eBay.  Eventually, a new system will be put into place (likely including the 12% tax), allowing bloggers to sell their credits to other members.

As stated in the enormous list of comments, privacy should be added when linking blogs, as it is the main reason I have not linked my blogs together.  Until this happens, I have to manage multiple accounts.

A manual review process of new members, in which blogs that have been "approved" will not have to go through the review process, and their blogs will be automatically added - similar to other sites and advertising programs.

On Entrecard (Advertising) Prices: The new intervals will likely help, but a combination of true daily page views and visits should be factored in, or at least displayed, to help (encourage) members to advertise on other blogs.  Currently, the prices are based primarily on the number of clicks and popularity (ultimately pricing) of the site.

The main goal of these changes, in my opinion, is to find the balance between profit and quality - in multiple ways.  First of all, if the price of credits is dropped, say to 200, it will prevent credit farmers from using the system, once again, from reaping a profit, but at the same time, it will limit the number of blogs you can visit to earn credits.  In the end, it will create more return visits (readers) for blogs, rather than "quick droppers," while ensuring that there are never too many "artificially" created credits.

Once these measures are put into place, the price of credits will slowly rise, to the point they once were headed — allowing the team behind Entrecard to grow, with more features, support, and financial backing (without the need of VCs).

Finally, sites that do not have a lot of content, or content that is created with little purpose, should be warned when they infringe on the terms of the site, then deleted if no response is given within a period of time, such as a month.  This allows bloggers that may not have updated their blog in three months to "reactivate" their account, while presenting warning, through email and on the site, that they need to do something or their site/account will be banned/deleted.  However, this will likely be one of the hardest decisions, as some bloggers neglect their blog for four months only to begin posting again later.

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below, sharing what you think of the new changes, as well as what should be done.

Or, you can view the full blog post and comments on the Official Entrecard Blog .