Sunday, December 27, 2009

Allow Your Visitors to Jump to the Entrecard Widget

5 comments
I don't believe that this quick tip infringes on any of the terms of Entrecard, but will solve the problem (at least for some) sites where the widget can't be placed near the top of the site.

Essentially, this is an "old" HTML tip, but can be effective for use on your site.

Above your widget, place the following code: <a name="entrecard"></a>

Then, when you enter your website address your want visitors from Entrecard to go, append #entrecard to the end of it, as in http://entrecard-tips.blogspot.com/#entrecard, as this is the word contained within the shortcut.

Generally, this tip will work across all blog platforms, but there may be small changes if you want to use different text, etc. Let me know how it works and whether you see an increase in the number of clicks through your widget.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Join Entrecard and Earn 200 Credits Today

0 comments
If you've never heard of Entrecard, it is a free advertising system for your blog. You join, place a widget on your blog, and visitors from the network will be able to communicate and interact with you, while you also increase traffic. As you may know, traffic is the number one way to increase conversions and profit from your site.

For a limited time only, you can join and earn 200 credits just for signing up and placing the widget on your blog. There really isn't much to lose!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just a Friendly Reminder

5 comments
According to the Terms of Entrecard: "Widgets must be placed "above the fold." (No more than 850 pixels from the top of the page.)"

There have been a lot of blogs not following this as of late.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Drop Entrecards Much Faster

2 comments
Flash has become a serious problem on the web as more and more sites use this technology to deliver video and advertisements. Although it is considered the industry-standard, it still isn't optimized for your browser and can cause quite a bit of problems when you browse through sites.

With Entrecard, you try to view as many sites as possible, leaving comments, and interacting with blog owners. However, Flash is quite prevalent on these sites, and can quite often cause the browser to crash, leaving any additional tabs you had opened left to crash.

There are three tools that I want to mention to help remedy this problem.

1. Flashblock - This plugin is for Firefox users, and is ideal for blocking web video. While you can also block advertisements, ads are generally not the main cause of slow browsers, but instead the large videos that are strewn throughout the sites.

2. Toggle Flash - This plugin is for Internet Explorer users, who may want to disable Flash due to its overuse on the web.

3. ClickToFlash - This is a plugin for Safari on Mac OS X in order to help you block obtrusive Flash from loading.

I want to hear your thoughts about blocking Flash when browsing sites through Entrecard, and whether it has sped up the time it takes to "drop cards" each day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pricing of Entrecard Traffic

0 comments
Entrecard has listed what you can get through their advertising program, and I'd like to share this information with anyone who may be interested in learning more about it.

For $25, you will receive 40,000 ad impressions across 20,000 blogs ($0.60 CPM) or 20,000 ad impressions across a targeted category ($1.20 CPM).

What do you think about these prices, and is it really worth it to advertise through the network, compared to just dropping your card on other blogs for "free?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Earn 200 Credits Just for Joining!

0 comments
If you haven't already become a member of Entrecard, now is the best time, as you will earn 200 free credits just for joining!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Entrecard Continues Nose Dive in Traffic

3 comments
October wasn't a good month for Entrecard. Unique visitors dropped by nearly 7% in the month, with a drop of about 2% in total visits. Traffic remains fairly high, but you can see the progression in traffic declines.

October 2009 Traffic for Entrecard

Coming off a high of more than 1.7 million visitors in March, traffic is now at 1.1 million, and ranking is down 200+ sites.

While these figures can't really be viewed as 100% accurate, they can still give a good idea of the overall direction of site site - down. Not enough updates were provided, and the 15% reservation for their own ads also didn't appear to have a significant increase in their own traffic, but perhaps for new members, it did.

Additionally, you can't view this traffic as Entrecard's own, as it is a representation of clicks and views, as they serve the widget through their site. Perhaps the amount of traffic on the entire network has been decreasing at a fast rate, too.

What do you think about this decline?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Increasing Click-through to Your Widget

0 comments
The Entrecard widget was designed to make it easy for others to advertise on your site and for other bloggers to earn credits/attract the blog owner to visit their site in return. However, like all bloggers, you need to increase traffic, and Entrecard's traffic can be optimized further if you follow some basic steps.
  1. Place the widget in an area that everyone can see it. Typically, this will be above the fold (or within 1300 pixels of the top of the page.
  2. Don't include too many images near the widget, or it will be harder to find when someone scrolls down your page.
  3. Explain to your readers what Entrecard is and how they could benefit, including a link near your widget.
  4. Don't necessarily use the word "ad" near the widget. People don't usually click on anything with this word, so use something more friendly like "friends" or "follow blogger." Hopefully you get the idea.
  5. Ensure your theme doesn't break the widget. I've noticed a few blogs that have un-responsive widgets, which are preventing the rest of the site from loading. Obviously, you are doing a disservice to your blog advertisers and those who visit your blog looking to drop.
I hope these tips have helped you, and they should address some of the issues that I've noticed across some of the blogs on Entrecard. What other tips could you suggest to increase click-through rate for either advertisers or bloggers?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Advertising Rates on Entrecard (Under the New Ad System)

0 comments
Within the new ad system (using 15% of their ad network), you can purchase advertising across all the member sites within Entrecard. I wasn't aware of this (the link is rather hidden on the homepage) mainly due to the fact that it wasn't promoted heavily. I figure they want more of the "outside" to advertise on the site, rather than purely the members.

I don't know how successful this has been - three of the ads that appear in my Sponsor Ads area are still from Entrecard. So, if this is true, they haven't enticed any long-term deals yet.

Pricing is $0.60 CPM for the entire network or $1.20 CPM for targeted categories (choose from one of over fifty categories). They will only accept 125x125 pixel advertisements, and a $25 minimum deposit is required.

The main benefits, as stated from this page are: maximum exposure and click-throughs, professional results, highly effective with detailed stats, and discounted rates.

What do you think of this pricing model (quite similar to the last time advertising was introduced) and how it is being marketed?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Entrecard Credit Pricing Reduced

2 comments
You can now purchase Entrecard credits for half the price, they can be found on this page. However, it is slightly harder to compare the value, as the interval has also changed, as follows:
  • 4,000 Credits - $12.00
  • 6,000 Credits - $23.20
  • 16,000 Credits - $44.80
  • 32,000 Credits - $84.40
  • 64,000 Credits - $166.40
Have you ever purchased credits through this manner?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Advertisement Credit Tax Lowered from 75% to 50%

1 comments
In an effort to retain some of its users, Entrecard has changed the advertisement credit tax to 50%. So, if it costs 512 credits to advertise on your blog, you'll now receive 256 credits in return, rather than 128. The change will remain in effect for three months, unless some dramatic problem arises within the network to suggest that too many credits are maintained.

Please leave your thoughts on this here, and the discussion will continue.

September Entrecard Traffic Up Slightly

0 comments
Taking a look at Entrecard's traffic, you'll find that it was up slightly for the month, but is down nearly half since its peak in the January to March period during this year, when unique visitors were over 1.7 million and total visitors were over 4.4 million. During September, traffic figures rose about 2.3%, to 1.2 million visitors, but total visitors were down nearly 5%.

September Traffic for Entrecard

I expect next month's traffic to be quite a bit lower unless something is done to combat the people who are quickly leaving the service and not staying on the site.

Something interesting to note, however, is the number of visitors not going to the Entrecard site. According to the sub-domains feature of Entrecard, about 6,700 visitors went to the www.entrecard.com website during the month of September, while the rest of the traffic (1.1 million unique visitors) came from serving advertisements (at adn.entrecard.com).

If these figures are anywhere near correct, this may be one of the reasons why Entrecard stopped offering advertisements on their blog and main page - the amount of traffic on their blog/website is extremely low. The only reason the site is even considered in the top 1,500 sites is because of the number of advertisements it serves.

Let's assume there are 26,000 legitimate sites within the network (an average of 500 sites per category). I'm sure that there are less than this, as there are only about thirty "expensive" sites, which are the primary users of the service at this time. There are quite a bit of sites within the 384-1024 credit/day range, with traffic of these blogs in the 3-10K range/monthly.

The most popular/highest costing site on Entrecard at this point receives about 14K visitors per month/45K total visits. It also means that the average Entrecard user (assuming all traffic is from Entrecard) visited the site three times during the month).

Apart from these higher-trafficked sites, the average site on Entrecard receives about 42 visitors per month. Again, this is assuming my estimates are correct, and they may not be - I am open up to discussion and dispute on this if more accurate figures can be proven.

There simply isn't any reason why traffic will increase during the next month across the network, and the main reason traffic will drop in the future will be when the more higher-trafficked sites begin leaving the service. Compete's traffic may be really wrong, as Quantcast estimates traffic at 61.2K, coming off of a maximum of 95.2K since the beginning of Entrecard. However, approximately 90% of the traffic is from "adn.entrecard.com," similar to Compete. I'd assume these figures are low, as "100%" of traffic is from the U.S., which it definitely isn't.

Please lave your thoughts on some of these figures, especially if you can add more specific information about the traffic and return that can be expected from the site.

"The Ultimate Networking Tool" - Wait, What Network?

1 comments
It appears as though Entrecard is doing even more to alienate the members of the service that are left. The forums have completely closed (and have been closed for just a few days now).

Entrecard Forums Closed

Without any warning, the forums were closed, and there will be no new one opened for quite some time, if ever. The main reason was probably due to the moderators and members who would often get into disputes over rather minor issues. It became spam-infested over time, and really didn't provide much value to the site.

However, now that there are no forums at all, there is no way for members to communicate with one another and promote their blogs in this method. Forums serve as a method of off-topic conversation.

Their Twitter profile remains dull and not updated. No new updates have been posted since September, and I honestly doubt how much interaction the members of Entrecard receive simply browsing and visiting one another's sites.

Finally, all new posts on the Entrecard Blog will have their comments closed, ensuring that no negative opinions are posted on the site. All one would have to do is enter a simple Google Search for specific terms to learn about the negatives of Entrecard. I'm not saying everything is negative about Entrecard, but for the most part, they aren't working on the positive elements of the site that helped it grow so rapidly.

Now, for a network built around developing relationships, there is only one way to communicate with the site - through email. This is an extremely faceless conversation - they will never know any other details about you other than your name and perhaps your website. It's a mindset and business model that rejects what helped to create the success. Everything will disappear within a few months, and it wasn't the members' fault.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poll - Do You Plan on Leaving Entrecard?

0 comments
This is just a brief poll that you can take so I can get a better idea of what you think about Entrecard? Have you left Entrecard, or do you plan on leaving soon?

Subscribe to Entrecard - Now Live!

1 comments
An option to subscribe to Entrecard is now available within your account, making it easy to remove all the sponsored ads. At this time, they are still testing the new system, so it would be worthless to block just two ads.

Subscribe to Entrecard

Pricing is $5.00 per month or $48 per year (great discount to just $4.00 per month). No refunds will be provided, and this is more of a donation to the service than anything else.

I would just like to know how many people that are members of Entrecard really even thought about this membership just to remove ads and support the system?!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sponsor Ads Management

0 comments
A new feature was rolled out, allowing you to block one ad form their list. At this time, there are only two Entrecard-sponsored ads, but more will be placed here in the future. One of the problems that may arise is that two ads might not appeal to your blog, but you'll be unable to do this.

In the end, I simply don't see how this feature will really pay off. There will be difficulties in selling advertisements, especially to a network of users that don't really want to see them.

What do you think about this management area, and how should it be changed? By the way, you can access this area through the link provided in your admin area, or by attaching sponsor_ads after the trailing slash at the end of your user number.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sponsored Ads Coming Tomorrow

1 comments
It appears as though history is repeating itself, although some things are still more planned than in the past. Users are being told that they either must accept paid ads or they will have to pay $50 or so per blog to get them removed for a yearly period.

This is a response that Cindy, one of the writers on the blog gave, in response to other comments:
Thank you for everyone’s feedback. As we mentioned in our earlier blog, Entrecard will be using 15% of the ad inventory to serve ads to sponsors in order to keep our service free. We believe this is extremely fair considering some free ad networks use 50% of their inventory to serve sponsor ads. We understand that users fear that the ads served might conflict with their blog. Because of this, we will give users an option to opt out of the ads that they do not find appropriate on their blog. This is also free.
Now, users are thinking that they have to pay $50 a year just to use our service. This is not the case. Entrecard will remain free for all users because it will be funded by the sponsors, not the users. The $50 per blog fee is just another option for users that would like to opt out of the sponsor ads program completely. It’s an option and not mandatory.
There are have been many options suggested by our users and we’ve read through them. However, at this moment, we feel this is the best approach to take. Even with the options we have made available, we understand that many of our top users do not agree with us, expecting the worst and are planning to quit our service entirely. We don’t disagree with anyone leaving a company because of bad service. We just ask that you stick around and try it out for the next month and see what happens before making your final decision. If you choose to leave now, we hope that Entrecard has been able to help you achieve some of your goals as a blogger and that you are welcome back anytime.
In my opinion, this is what happened the last time paid ads were introduced. It was viewed as an alternative method for people to advertise and capitalize on the sites within the network, but this time it will be touted as a "closed" network. Users won't necessarily be able to advertise within the network, and they must either decide to continue using the service/accepting paid/sponsored ads or they must pay the fee to have them removed.

Blog and advertising networks need something to keep them going - loyal users. Without them, no one can expect the site to continue growing. Entrecard was started and promoted as a free blog network that allowed people to build up a community as well as traffic. The problem fell in how the site aimed to generate revenue. There were no clear ways initially, but a paid advertising plan was introduced nearly a year after the service was launched, barely paying for the site, and barely achieving what it was set out to do.

Looking back at the comment left above, you'll notice that they - Entrecard - state that you are welcome to lave at any time, yet they are also trying to suffocate those who try to inform others about what is occurring:
Because of our recent changes, we have a small group of users who are extremely angry and are using the blog comments to encourage other members to rebel against Entrecard. Due to this reason alone, we have decided to disable comments. This will be restored in the near future.
I don't have a problem with a site making money, but the way they are doing it is against the morals of many people who joined the site simply for the traffic and building a following - not profit. Larger blogs WILL NEVER join Entrecard now because they don't want to have competitive, "free" ads placed from a third-party network. Now, it is without their approval, or else they pay a $50 fee per blog.

Something isn't being spelled out to the users. I realize that there are goals of Entrecard looking into the future, but it is difficult to continue using the service when few new features and enhancements are being added, further degrading the experience users are having.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Entrecard Resorting Back to its Old Ways?

2 comments
Recently, it has come to the attention of some members that forums are being deleted (as was a trend in the past). While I don't know the degree of what was said, it is in the policy of many forums and sites to delete boards which have become racially motivated or that defame other members. I don't know the whole side of the story, but looking briefly at the way the administrators and moderators are handling it, it is reminiscent of the past, in which entire forums were deleted, without due reason - often simply because someone became angered at another.

As Entrecard continues to look for ways to monetize through methods other than placing ads 50% or more across all the sites, they may even go down a "premium" route, in which ads aren't placed on sites and access to the forums is given a more "open" approach.

However, should this happen, it would further divide what community the site has left, and this would further set the network back. Honestly, the members grew tired of this a long time ago, and those few that are left are likely not going to tolerate it for very much longer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sponsors Will Appear Across 15% of Impressions

1 comments
Beginning next Monday, Entrecard will begin displaying their own advertisements on 15% of all page views/impressions. For example, if you have a blog that receives a hundred thousand impressions/page views per month, their ad(s) will display on 15,000 of them. The main reason behind this is for them to make some money (they can't keep the service running for free, after all!).

Some users have become concerned, although it is a far cry from the previous system, in which 50% or more of the views were not for their sponsors that paid through the credit system.

We'll just have to see how this impacts the overall market. Obviously, it may very well force the cost of advertising down again, as there won't be as many page views up for grabs.

The post with this announcement can be found here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Entreard's New Referral Program

0 comments
Members of Entrecard can now refer new members to the site, receiving three hundred credits (the maximum you can receive from dropping cards on other sites). This will surely attract new members to the site, but we can only wonder why this feature wasn't introduced earlier/in the beginning stages of the site.

Login to your Dashboard area and click on the Referral Program to access the banners/links. You must refer new members, not just new blogs (added as linked blogs).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You Can Now Follow Entrecard on Twitter

0 comments
It's easy to stay up-to-date with Entrecard through their dedicated Twitter account found @GetEntrecard.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Toolbar Now Compatible with Firefox 3.5

0 comments
The Entrecard Toolbar is now compatible with Firefox 3.0 and higher, including 3.5. For details, see this post.

Some of the details and requirements have been copied below.
  • The toolbar only works with Firefox 3 or later. This will not work with other web browsers.
  • You must have an Entrecard account, the toolbar provides no functionality otherwise.
  • The toolbar should be compatible with Firefox on all operating systems, Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Under NO circumstances should you download the toolbar from any other source than Entrecard itself. Using modifications by third parties may result in the theft of your account information.
  • The Entrecard toolbar does not keep track of any browsing habits or information other than that directly relevant to your Entrecard operations. If there is no widget on a page, the toolbar will pay no attention to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Changes and Improvements at Entrecard

1 comments
Some changes have occurred at Entrecard, all of which should have been addressed a long time ago.

Included in the changes are:

  • Login and out problems have been fixed.
  • Auto-approving advertising requests have been fulfilled, meaning you can automatically accept all advertising requests. This can be found under your "Advert Settings" area in the dashboard.
  • The advertising directory has been purged of the blogs that do not have a widget present. This ensures that you will find more relevant and updated blogs when dropping cards or advertising.
Further changes may be made in the future, so we have to stay tuned.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ad Prices Begin to Stabilize

0 comments
While I haven't been as involved in tracking the price of credits, the maximum price is a little over four thousand per day. Some of the blogs that I have on the site have been increasing in value without any additional promotion, so this may be a sign that things are beginning to stabilize.

As you may recall, the paid ads were removed from the system a short time ago and specials on purchasing credits from the site have also gone down (you get more for the same price).

It is still unclear how the new owners will really monetize the site, as the affiliate promotions and ads on the front page/blog likely aren't allowing the site to break even from hosting costs yet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No More Paid Ads

1 comments
Paid ads will soon be a thing of the past, as the new owners are now honoring what users say about the service. This was to become the main source of revenue for Entrecard, although it was meant with a lot of backlash by the long-time members.

During the time that paid ads will be phased out, you will not be able to purchase new paid ads and any ads already purchased will continue to run. From this point forward, you may only use credits to purchase "ads."

Additionally, the cashout service will be dissolved, with the remaining funds used for cashout. Any credits not used for cashout will be returned to your account.

It is still too early to say the direction that the new company wants to take the service, as there are now no ways for the service to monetize. Other than the few hundred dollars the blog may make per month, no long-term plan has been exposed.

Additionally, the homepage has been reverted back to an introduction/ads format, with a stronger focus on attracting new members.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Entrecard Has Been Acquired by ZipRunner Inc.

0 comments
On July 16th, it was announced that Entrecard was acquired by ZipRunner Inc., an investment company that has been working with online businesses for a number of years. Entrecard, which was started nearly two years ago, has seen a number of challenges develop as its user base has grown drastically and a revenue program had to be introduced.

Much of the old staff will still be working at Entrecard, advising the new owners on the direction that the site should take and ironing out all the details. However, the difference is now in the extra support and funding that can be channeled through the site.

The CEO of ZipRunner posted the following on the blog:
Furthermore, ZipRunner is prepared to take Entrecard to the next level. We have carefully read blog comments and the help desk to gain a better understanding of users’ concerns. We value our Entrecard users and we intend to address your comments and to provide you with the best blogging service possible.
Personally, I don't know the exact direction that the site will go in after this acquisition. Most likely they'll put enough funding into the site to keep it open and possibly turn a profit.

In order to turn the profit and make some income on their purchase, they are likely going to invite more advertisers into the system, and this won't please its current members, but changes will certainly have to be made.

I'll be posting any new updates here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Phase II for Entrecard

0 comments
Entrecard is preparing to go into what they coin as Phase II. A "general" account will be introduced, making it easier for people without blogs to purchase items from the Marketplace. Not only this, but it would limit the number of credits being created out of thin air, as is currently taking place.

Incentivized offers, better known as affiliate offers, will allow members to receive more credits for helping the site. I don't know whether the earnings will go back to the fund for paying out to reduce the number of credits, but at the very least, they may be going to the monthly hosting fees.

At this time, the cashout rate will remain the same ($1 for every 1,000 credits). Since closing the doors for third-party advertisers, they haven't been able to raise enough funding to increase this amount. Even at the current rate, they are having a hard time paying all the members.

The network that used to be ideal for bloggers that were looking to increase their traffic and new readers is turning more into a "cash-producing" site, as the focus is less on getting new bloggers and more on helping the bloggers earn credits, which aren't really great for anything other than purchasing products, which may be appealing to some, but not the entire community.

Friday, June 19, 2009

No News, New Traffic Figures

0 comments
On the Entrecard front, nothing new has occurred over the past few months, and there is really no reason to post here unless there is. There has since been a mass exodus of the program, as people don't see any real benefits to using it anymore. No new, large blogs have entered the network and advertising sales aren't at the level they should be for long-term prosperity.

A new monetization model, sponsored/affiliated offers have been introduced, although nearly all of the profit goes into running the site, and not back to the members as originally intended. We'll see what happens next.

In terms of traffic, I am simply stating facts, and do not want to imply the direction that Entrecard is going, but through this, there is clear evidence that it is going down.

Between May and June, as well as previous months (June data isn't in until the second week of July), traffic unique visitors dropped by more than 8% and total visits dropped by about 21.5%, and when you have totals between 1.5 and 3 million, this is fairly significant – more than 100,000 per month. However, it is still ranked fairly well compared to all sites, at 1,262, but at one point, it was within the top 1,000 sites worldwide.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Status of Cash-Out System: None

5 comments
There have been no updates on the cash-out system in nearly a month, with the most recent update on the blog coming on May 1st, but says little in terms of what was supposed to happen with the system. In reality, it is doing more harm than good to keep the users misinformed and out of the picture.

As it currently stands, roughly four hundred thousand credits have been depleted from the system, assuming that the correct percentage is being returned back to members. This is a far cry from the one million that were supposed to be depleted daily. More credits are being generated daily now than before, and many members have become infuriated to the point that they no longer want to participate in a system that doesn't invite new ideas from a traditional advertising system and traffic exchange, as the "community" has nearly died as the system has become monetized.

In the one to two months since the new system was launched, there have been numerous occasions where questions were left unanswered. The simple fact of the matter is that this advertising system needs to be advertised elsewhere, outside of the system, to people who may have larger budgets than many of the smaller, personal-level bloggers involved in the system.

For one, to encourage more people to cash-out, a flexible rate should be provided, depending on the demand: more demand, less $/1,000 credits, and the less demand, more $/1,000 credits. I am sure that there are ways to track the value that credits stand and appropriate pay rates (for paying in the future), so a system where there isn't a flat rate of a paltry $1.

Finally, even if there isn't funding behind the site like there once was, there is also an apparent lack of time being put into managing the blog, a critical part of the site, which serves to inform members and present them tips on improving their blogs. These are just a few ways that the system could change, and they don't require many drastic changes beyond simple modifications to what is already present.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The [Expected] Next Step

5 comments
Where do you want to see Entrecard go in the future? Right now, it appears as though it is quickly stagnating as an online service. Unlike offline companies, online services always have to be rolling out new features, and that isn't the way that Entrecard is moving.

Perhaps it could be that the advertising platform didn't launch as expected, with a lot of backlash from users, at least relative to the amount of positive thoughts on it. Otherwise, there really isn't anywhere that the system could go from here. It has accomplished the community part, through forums and social media tools, and the traffic part is mostly covered, with many people thanking the service for getting them at least noticed on the internet.

However, the one thing that I think could be changed at the moment is the economy. I don't want to get into any lengthy discussion about how it should and could work, but I want to say that I am slightly disappointed in how the cashout system and the removal of credits from the system was managed.

More than anything, you want to see the number of credits removed from the system be greater than the number that is created (in order to gradually reduce the number in the system). At the current rate of credit withdrawal and the number of users who are participating in the advertisement/credit system, the ratio likely isn't good enough to maintain a course of deflation. With deflation, you'll see lower credit prices across the system, from purchasing ads on sites to buying items in the marketplace.

Something that should have been done was credit limits on daily earnings from credits. Currently, this stands at 300 per account, but unlimited if you have multiple accounts and sites. Ideally, it should probably be around 100 per account/day, or 1,000 per IP address. This will still allow people to earn a good deal of credits, but the people who would rather stick to one or two blogs will see slight reductions in the number of credits generated, because there won't be room to increase the credits unless they add another account to the site.

Another issue that I had dealing with this is the price of credits: $1 per thousand, and the rate of time that it has stayed there. Initially, it was supposed to increase and decrease with the market, but it hasn't. Why not increase it by say, $0.25/thousand every week or so, to let members decide when they want to cashout. If a large number of credits are generated on a single day (5 million, for example), then decrease the rate of payout for a certain period of time until the number of credits is reduced again.

The ideal way it should work and the way that it does are completely different and the conditions involved cannot be controlled too much without inflicting a lot of backlash from members.

What are your thoughts on the cashout system (rate) and how the economy is managed?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

April Traffic Figures for Entrecard

2 comments
It now appears as though traffic growth is slowing down slightly for Entrecard. Now, you have to take into account that a large number of bloggers left the network in April, when many of the largest paid-ads changes were taking place.

Entrecard Traffic Statistics

When you look at these figures, you have to take the overall trend, as traffic can vary greatly from one month to another and the quality of traffic you get from the service depends largely on how you use it. Additionally, any large drops in the overall traffic will mean less traffic to "distribute" among members.

Unique Visitors: 1,606,693, down 6.85%
Total Visits: 3,729,677, down 11.95%
Overall Rank: 1,127, down 81 places
Traffic from Blogger and Blogspot Total: 19.69%

Compared to other services that try to aim at the same niche, it is currently between MyBlogLog (1,014,560 unique visitors) and Blog Catalog (1,964,161 unique visitors).

Please note that traffic numbers from Compete are generally from the United States.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1200 Words on Entrecard

0 comments
impNERD (Gary R. Hess) published his thoughts on Entrecard, the direction that it is going, and some of the misguided complaints that people are sending towards the system.

List of Sites Not Accepting Paid Ads

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Dianne of Wahm Cafe is collecting a list of sites that do not accept paid Entrecard ads on their site. You can add your site to the list, as it currently stands at 79, and they want to get up to 300. It is recommended that you add the image/link to your site to help others who may be interested and joining, so others know that your site is "Dropper Friendly."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fixing the Entrecard Toolbar

3 comments
impNERD has a tutorial on how to fix the Entrecard Toolbar from bleeding, by still displaying some text when turned off.

This is a good tutorial, albeit it may require some technical knowledge of file structures and accessing Firefox plugin customization areas, and solves the problem.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Top Droppers for April 2009

1 comments
Thank you to the top droppers of the previous month.

You can share your own list by going into the Statistics area and visiting the sites, copying the links of the sites.

Dropper | # of drops
Septagon Studios Indie Comic Blog 31
The Way I See It 31
The Credit Bum 30
Blog Mockers 30
Autism Experiences 30
Blogging Ideas 30
Vacation Oregon 30
BMWF1Blog 30
Super Fisherman 30
More Game Cheat Links 30

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lack of Updates

6 comments
Although this blog is still here and being updated, there have been little to no updates from Entrecard over the past week to ten (plus) days. I don't know whether they are in the process of trying to fix issues or the site is taking a dive towards a place that members didn't want to see it.

I see the main problem being the forum change, and how many of the ideas that were previously available are no longer, under an "elite" plan that has been setup. Essentially, it is easy to get in, as long as you spend at least 800 credits (400 ads at 2 credits apiece) or 410,000+ if you purchase ads on "popular" blogs.

This might make sense for those that have already reached this level, but for those with few credits and want to interact in the special areas of the forums are no longer able to.

Perhaps the main reason for this was to further deplete credits from the system, but the "equilibrium" level that was previously encouraged is no longer intact with the lack of updates - there is no desire to spend credits or "artificially" create them now that there hasn't been updates.

Not only have there been no updates from the main owner, but everyone else has become silent, as though the site doesn't have any meaning for those that are still using it (a lot of people say that prominent members have left).

What are your thoughts for the future of Entrecard?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cashout Now Available

10 comments
After nearly a month since the first advertisement options were unveiled, you can now cash out your credits, starting at $1. This is a small update, as this was already planned, but it appears as though accounts are being approved after about five days.

In addition, the form to sign up is now HTTPS (secure), so there is less chance of having your personal information stolen by signing up for cashout.

I'd like to hear if you have been paid/accepted yet and what you think since the new changes have gone into effect.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Entrecard Essentially Making Forums Available to Most Active Members

7 comments
If you were previously an active member in the forum, you will likely find that there are new rules and a revised structure to the forums. This is a move that will likely prevent some new members from sharing thoughts with others, although it had to be done as people were "bashing" one another and sharing negative thoughts on Entrecard.

I don't think that the changes will make any huge difference, as the average user that posts in the forum already is a) an Entrecard member and b) has purchased at least 400 ads.

The only people that this targets are those that want to introduce others to their blog and want to get some insight into the system before joining. They will only be able to access the support areas and none of the other areas.

Details concerning this change can be found here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poll: How Much Do You Want Credits to Be Sold At?

3 comments
Even though it appears as though Entrecard is setting the price for selling credits, how much would you be willing to sell your credits for, no matter how many you have? Prices are per thousand credits, and I've included a number of options.

I am not doing this poll as part of Entrecard, but to see what the average user would be willing to sell his or her credits at.

You can take the poll below or follow this link.

Entrecard Updates and More Revolt

1 comments
The past month has been a challenge in terms of releases and revolts from members who were less than thrilled about how Entrecard handled the support requests and general issues surrounding the launches.

For one, the method of advertising through CPC (Cost/Pay Per Click) was removed with rather short notice, and some advertisers felt that there wasn't good reason for this. After all, when you pay per click, you are generally "guaranteed" a certain number of clicks, depending on how much funding you place in your account. The other method and previously-updated pricing is still intact.

Entrecard - Twitter Search
Twitter Disputes Outlined on Twitter

Member are now able to withdraw their earnings for $1 per 1,000 credits, or looking at it another way, for every time they view someone else's blog or participates on the site. Many members thought that $1 was too little to start with, but as long as they are able to attract new advertisers and increase revenue, there is no reason why increased amounts won't come soon.

However, some members have not taken the time to fill out the application form, as it is not secure (HTTPS) at this time and a change to this was posted, but has not yet been changed. Others feel that the amount should be increased, before they will be willing to cash out at such low rates.

Well, that's as much as I can post about this at the moment. I won't get into the disputes/problems/questions that are occurring, as many of you are already aware of them if you visit the Forums.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Choose" How Much Entrecard Credits Should be Worth!?

1 comments
The admin at Enrecard posed this question: how much money do you want to earn through the Entrecard cashout system?

With more than fifty million credits in the system, the number of credits needs to be reduced as quickly as possible to get some control over the value of credits and advertising through the blogs in the network. If they are reduced too quickly or the value of the credits at cashout time is either too high or too low, it'll lead to more inflation or deflation, depending on the particular circumstance.

Here's what needs to be done with the $1,760 that has been accumulated over the past two weeks:
  • The funds have to be divided somewhat equally to the members that want it and have credits to sell.
  • There needs to be a certain level of credits or a "level" that needs to be reached by a certain level of credits - perhaps set the goal of "deleting" a certain percentage every week depending on how the market reacts.
  • For extremes, see what the market does with the price set at $0.01. This will give everyone a chance to see how much is sold at each price. Gradually increase price until "everyone" starts selling their credits.
  • Under no circumstance should the funds used that have been dedicated to members be used for enticing new advertisers or creating other projects. 25% is already set aside for this and will be used appropriately.
  • It appears that most members of Entrecard do not want to see cash from this, but unless something is done to curb inflation within the system and solve the funding problem, there is no way for the site to remain in operation, it's that simple.
  • Opening up a "closed" system with only certain times throughout the day for cashout would create a stronger demand, limiting some of the timeframe for cashing out - demand/price would rise, and "less" credits would be cashed out in the near-term, if this makes any sense.
This is what the forum post said:
  • If we start buying back at our retail price, $6.00 per thousand, we can buy back 293,000 credits. This would result in the economy deflating by 0.5%
  • at $3.00 per thousand, we can buy back about 600,000 credits. Economy deflates by .1%
  • at $1 per thousand, we can buy back 1.7 million credits.Economy deflates by 3.4%
  • If we start buying credits back at .50 cents per thousand, we can buy back 3.4 million credits. Economy deflates by 6.8%
  • at .25 cents per thousand, we can buy back 6.8 million and the economy deflates by nearly 15%.
What price do you think credits should be placed at from the start?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Testament to Entrecard Advertising

0 comments
Allen Stern of Center Networks posted a more in-depth look at Entrecard advertising, with a test $25 campaign, and the results are again quite the same as other people have seen and similar to other smaller advertising networks.
The campaign resulted in zero total orders - I can use this metric because my startup charges a fee and isn't based on pageviews like a blog might be. The interesting part that's not computed at this point is how many of the 550 visitors have I at least opened the door to -- meaning they will come back and order at a later date or share my service with someone else who will.
Although he was using his paid service in the campaign, this might be a bad sign for bloggers and people who want to advertise a service. It signifies that people clicking ads through the Entrecard widget aren't looking to purchase anything, and that the return rate isn't that good, especially compared to larger networks, like Google AdWords, which distributes ads through their Google AdSense program.

Even though he didn't make any initial sales, if one person that found the site through Entrecard has bookmarked or shared the service, the ad campaign might have worked. However, if it doesn't garner any sales, it truly indicates further problems for Entrecard down the road – More than 10,000 people, potential advertisers, could have seen the post, and taken appropriate action based on their findings.

Another sign may be the fact that less and less is being "dumped" into the system each day – originally at nearly $300/day, now the amount to members is down to nearly $100 per day. If this rate continues, with the "expected" cash out still in place (1 million deleted daily), they will have to sell credits for well under $0.15 per thousand.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why So Many Can Avoid Paid Advertising

1 comments
This post is not meant to tell you to "drop" paid advertising, but offers some insight into what is really happening in the system and why the holes exist.

With paid advertising, there were many disputes. These were largely caused by people who are taking part in the system to get traffic and interact with other members, and did not want to make money by selling their credits. There are quite a few of these people, and there was enough of a reaction for the owner to give an answer to their pleas - to allow the "old" system to remain.

Paid advertising won't benefit everyone. This was made clear nearly from the start. Prices will be so low to start, that most will agree not to "sell out" at bottom-low prices. There are so many credits in the system, that the value is so low for each. If you figure in the most expensive blog, at more than 3,000 credits, would you even consider paying upwards of $20 (at current prices) for a daily advertisement on that blog? Most wouldn't.

The value of advertising on the blogs with paid advertisements has gone down significantly. Each day, I see fewer and fewer other blogs and site owners that are trying to place advertisements on blogs. There is simply no value in doing this, when you are getting less than half of the exposure that you once were. Rates (credits) have remained the same and haven't really decreased, so you have to "work" and save up credits longer in hopes of getting a few credits/visitors out of the ad placement.

Many of the advertisements aren't really relevant to the niches on Entrecard. Although there are blog owners placing ads for products on Entrecard, many of them don't really interest the visitors to blogs in the network. This is a reason that many have found to reject all paid ads, therefore eliminating the opportunity of their visitors seeing these ads. Some have even appeared to be controversial.

In the long-term, advertisers will continue devaluing blogs. After the cash-out feature, the blogs that have any remaining credits will likely get cash for them, then sincerely consider leaving. It takes too much work, as many would say, to be involved in the community. Unless the ad rates are increased even further, it will be difficult for new features to be added to Entrecard and continue the payout system that is set to go into place.

The community becomes stronger. I've seen a number of groups form, with people that "want the old system back," creating lists of blogs that don't accept any form of paid advertising. While we all need to make money (it costs money and time to maintain many blogs/websites), some feel that blogs should represent community and interaction more than anything. As a result, some blogs have joined together to promote the message that advertising on Entrecard blogs is "flawed."

The problems can't be fixed with extra funding. Some members have realized this, and have decided that accepting advertisements won't really do the site any good, falling in line with the other examples above.

In conclusion, the only people that really lose are the advertisers, who might not want to advertise on a network that doesn't have the level of high quality spots. Even though some people may be refusing the ads, 80% or so are approving a significant portion of them, which still accounts for a significant portion of the "5 million monthly" clickthroughs that go through the system.

If you have any other further responses to the advertisement system, please leave them in the comments area.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Advertising Experiment through Entrecard

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Justin Germino of Dragon Blogger did an experiment in which he purchased $10 worth of advertising to see the level and quality of traffic you can receive.

In summary, it brought 526 clicks, 78,590 impressions, and had a click through rate of 0.0067. Other factors may go into play, but it appears as though the rates are fairly average, if not slightly below average for Entrecard advertising.

Read the full post for additional details.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ad Prices Double

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In a logical step to manage the number of paid ads, the prices have doubled, as illustrated below:
  • CPM - .60 to 1.20
  • CPC - .04 to .08
The announcement comes on this forum post. As a result of the huge number of paid ads the first day and the continued demand for them, the price change should help users that saw too many ads or ads that weren't really planned or thought out before placing - after all, $10 could have gotten a website 500 clicks, fairly affordable by any standards, when advertising across all blogs.

Even at the new rates, advertising is still targeted towards bloggers and hasn't seen a huge increase in price, especially if you are advertising a service/blog that is able to get a conversion/multiple conversions.

If you are a paid advertiser, the difference to your account balance has been doubled - if you had $10 in your account, you now have $20, to adjust for the decrease in clicks/appearance of your ad that would have been present under the previous pricing grid.

Performance Upgrades: As a small side note, performance upgrades have been made, with other fixes coming soon - possibly dealing with the reported paid ads that are making it through without prior consent from the blog/site owner(?).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Disputes within Entrecard

2 comments
Several of the recent announcements and launches at Entrecard have caused disputes within the system. At times, it appears as though the members could care less about whether Entrecard remains in operation, while others remain devoted to the system.

I also want to clear up some issues. I want to stress that I am divided on some of these and have different feelings about which side of the fence I am on.

Value of Dropping Credits - There is no reason to stop visiting other blogs and earning credits this way. Even though you can't travel from one blog to the next through the widget unless you look at the status bar link, Entrecard is still rooted in providing traffic to members of its service.

The Ad Approval Process - Even though all ads have to be manually approved, some members have felt that some shouldn't have made it through the system. The simple matter here was that you are in full control of ads, and you are free to approve or deny them as you wish. The site might have contained content or beliefs that you might not have approved of, but they are the thoughts of one member.
Entrecard Paid Advertisements in Inbox
Paid Ads versus Credits - Paid ads are placed on blogs by advertisers and advertisements that display at the top of your queue, which have been paid for by other members through the credit system. There may not be a sharp distinction between the two at this time, in terms of how they are displayed on your blog, but one is "paid" and one is "free."

Time Concerns - I can see where people had a hard time dealing withe the large number of ads in the Dashboard, especially if a large number enters between logins. However, in the long-term, you'll get more back as you continue to approve ads.

Rotation - Although all ads rotate that you place, other than through Entrecard credits, you will still receive the number of clicks or impressions that you have. It is a different situation than purchasing an ad on a single site, as they will be distributed throughout the network or by a category that you specify. When there are more ads, it will just take longer for your ad to be displayed, although you have to look at the entire category/network and how often your ad is being displayed - likely on multiple blogs.

The 50/50 Split - Separation between paid/credit ads has to be made, and this is a concern that many people have expressed. There are those people who are able to pay to have their ad displayed that isn't really a blog, while others put work into their blog, dropping, and commenting on other blogs day in and day out (often paying in excess of two thousand credits) to advertise on that blog for one day.

The 'Spam' Ads - Some users have complained about "ad" sites appearing. A third-party ad network allows ads from anyone, not just blogs. Even though many of these sites are really just affiliate ads, many could still be run by bloggers that you have commented on. Look at Google AdWords/AdSense, and you'll find a similar case.

[My Complaint] - The number of SPAM BLOGS in the network is still extremely high. Unless you stick with sites that have a daily price of at least 128 (or so) credits, the content has typically been copied, the person never signs into their dashboard and drops, or the widget isn't on the blog. This means that the top blogs will continue to receive a majority of the traffic, and trying to "give" traffic to smaller blogs is nearly impossible due to the fact that 60% of the sites in the "random" or "cheap" categories don't contain a widget, are full of ads, or redirect to another site.

Any further disputes will be added to the post. I'd like to hear more of what you think about the changes - whether they are for better or worse.

The Cashout Service

2 comments
As you may already know, the Entrecard team is anticipating the launch of the new cash out system sometime this weekend (likely Saturday). This comes just one week after the launch of the advertising platform, which has earned Entrecard members (at 75% share) between $275 and $300 per day, with a total of nearly $1,400, less the 25% the administration keeps.

There has continued to be a lot of confusion between members and what the Entrecard team wants, ranging from credits to the advertising system and cash out. In the interests of the members, they want to keep as many as possible, making it more attractive down the road for advertisers and new members looking to advertise with them. On the other end, they want to make sure that they don't "overspend" or provide funding to members who don't really deserve it, not using the system the way it was meant to be.

Rejection of the paid ads have brought some members together, forming "Old School" lists of members who don't accept ads, to threads expressing problems/concerns, and others calling for an Entrecard Strike. Even though the new system is exposing dividing lines among members, it is, in some ways, bringing those together that really want to stay with the system and those that don't.

Back to the cash out service and what we know at this time. From best guesses, if you have a large number of credits, you probably won't be able to cash out for quite some time, as there isn't nearly enough funds to allow everyone to do so at this time.

Some people feel that the cash out service will devalue dropping credits and visiting other sites. Alternatively, there have been disputes about who gets to cash out first and how many can be cashed out at a time.

The Entrecard Equation

The method for determining who gets to cash out is as follows:
  1. The number of cards you drop and/or how frequently.
  2. The percentage of paid ads you approve.
  3. The percent of Entrecard ads you approve.
  4. Market listings and how many items you have sold.
  5. Contests that you hold and how you generally participate with other members and the community.
  6. The percent/number of credits you spend on other Entrecard blogs.
Some Limitations I Think Should be Enforced
  1. Initially, up to 10,000 credits (or a set, similar amount) should be enforced, allowing the greatest number of people to cash out their credits for cash. This will prevent certain members from cashing out all their credits at once, leaving no funds for other members with much less credits to cash out.
  2. Similar to number one, a set amount of "earnings" can be cashed out per week/per month, etc. until a solid revenue has been built from the advertising.
  3. Even though a member drops 300 cards per day shouldn't necessarily entitle them to cash out first, as they are often people that don't spend as much time commenting and exploring other sites or communicating with other members - not a goal of Entrecard.
  4. People who reject all advertisements should be limited in some ways to the amount they can earn through the cash out system. While they might still be supporting Entrecard through ad clicks (using the CPC rates of $0.02 to $0.04), they generally aren't adding to the "network" of blogs through additional impressions.
Other Thoughts

While I have to hope that the cash out service will work, only time will tell. Like other virtual services, it can be difficult to determine how successful it will be in the long-term, considering that only short-term results are available.

Introductory rates for credit cash out look to be much less than the half of the "retail" value of $6 per 1,000 credits. Assuming the advertising rates remain the same, with $300 of revenue per day, the rate will be $0.0003 per credit, much less than the $0.006 which is the current rate. This is also assuming they want to "delete" a million credits per day. Half that number and keep the current rate of advertising and rates will be $0.6 per thousand credits. Again, this is assuming everything remains the same, and very low rates are given to members to deplete credits.

Here's another situation. Let's assume that all ~30,000 or so members have 1,000 credits in their account, or 30 million total. The posts indicate that the rate for Entrecard credits may rise up to $15 retail/$7.50 cash out, although I don't find this feasible unless huge earnings can be brought in and advertising rates are increased dramatically. With the "millions of credits in the system," it would take nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the "chest" before members could earn anywhere near the $6/1,000 current rate.

Now, don't let all these figures and assumptions get to you, as other values come into play with the market and economy. If the number of credits can be reduced to a manageable level, and this could be as little as a million, the rates for credits will increase dramatically, the value of advertising through Entrecard will increase.

Your Thoughts - Please let me know what you think of the cashout system or any of the other recent changes at Entrecard.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Additional Updates on Ad System

1 comments
The "beta" system released to all members is now in its third day and there are still problems. However, some of the bug fixes on Dashboard approvals have been made. users with category or blog limits were being shown ads to approve that the ad network would never display. This may have been the reason for so many ads being placed into the Dashboard, without a user's prior consent.

Additional settings have been added to the Advertisement Settings page, which are already turned off by default.

You can now view the cut that Entrecard users will be getting from the paid ads sold, currently at around $1,000. This is certainly a good start, meaning that since the release of the advertising system, $300 has been made per day. Certainly not high enough to support withdrawals by all the members that want it, but once this gets worked out, maybe it will allow people to earn from the system that really want to.

Entrecard Advertiser Statistics

Additional clarifications and updates will posted as they become available. I want to emphasize that this new system is a major change and I certainly wasn't happy about how it was released and haven't seen any changes to support a "better" opinion of upcoming plans.

If you'd like to learn anything specific about the system, please let me know. This will help benefit the community.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The New Ad System - Leave Feedback, Thoughts, etc.

7 comments
The new ad system has been launched and has been available for quite a number of hours. I'd like to hear some additional feedback from members other than what has been posted in the forums.

New Entrecard Homepage
New Entrecard Homepage

The consensus that I am receiving is that members weren't quite ready for the sudden change and are expecting "something" in return for displaying paid ads on their site. If you were expecting direct payment like AdSense or any other network, you couldn't be further from wrong. Credits are the backing of the system and that won't change. Read the forums, read the blog posts, and you'll find that they are planning (and this has been in the works since the initial plans) and it will explain that they need funding, they need to reduce the number of credits in the system.

Don't assume that just because you can't see any improvements that they aren't being made. As I previously stated, it costs a ton of money to operate the site and without that, it wouldn't exist. How many other online services do you know that remained in operating for more than a year with no premium/paid/sponsored service (although Entrecard did initially have some rounds of funding)? Not many that I can think of. Entrecard could have turned into a spam site if it had been purchased for ~$100,000 earlier and you wouldn't be receiving a single valid click through to your site and everyone that you met through the site would no longer be available for instant, easy contact.

Just because it says that you are a "beta tester" doesn't mean that tests haven't already been done. Think about the new changes as a way to balance the "world economy." It'll take a lot of work and testing to see what needs to be done and tweaked to get everything right. It'll take some expenses form the members and advertisers before you see any return. If you kept tabs on updates from the lead developer and administration, you would have noticed that updates were posted concerning bug fixes throughout the day and last week when the first rounds of updates/introductions were made.

Don't get ahead of yourself and assume that this model won't work. Yes, some of the numbers concerning cash out rates and amount needed for advertising and such might not have had the most testing involved when coming up with an exact figure, but you aren't the one in charge of the site, making the tough decisions.

How long did it take you to make your first thousand dollars with your blog when you added advertisement options? You could equate this to the amount required for Entrecard, but much, much higher. Assuming there have already been about fifteen advertisers site-wide, that means that roughly $150 has been spent. At the current rates, that'll barely purchase a few members' credits. They need to accumulate much more than that (at least a week's worth of earnings) before they can even start to consider the cash out rates (which I see as being at least half of what they were being sold directly through the site).

Remember this key fact - your blog is not a permanent part of the Entrecard network. Although you probably can't deal with the fact that these changes are happening, there is always the option of canceling your account or immediately removing the widget. I'm not saying that you should do this, but some members tend to think that their blog was started as a result of Entrecard, instead of their natural love for writing, sharing thoughts with other bloggers, and maintaining a part of them, online. Secondly, you are still in control of paid advertisements. You are under "no obligation" to approve or conversely, deny all paid ads that come through your account. This has been a commitment by the staff at Entrecard and with this change, that philosophy and motto has not changed.

Conclusion

Some of the facts may be harsh for you to deal with, but they are there. Please leave your feedback about the new system. I will be expanding the homepage of this blog to accommodate the large influx of new posts published here today and will be answering questions to the best of my ability as I can see the concerns that some are having.

Do you think these changes will help in the long-term or simply add to the number of "spam" blogs that have been entering the system?

Benefits of CPM/CPC Network for Advertisers + Walkthrough

0 comments
There were some questions that Entrecard members had when placing an ad, and this may be a problem if the site wants to attract advertisers from outside the network. The main problem was the initial sign-up process, so I created a test/demo account and will try to address the problems.

Step 1: Go to the Entrecard homepage, and then got to the area that displays: For Advertisers (New!!).

This is what is displayed:

– Self-service advertising.
– Reach across tens of thousands of blogs.
– Target more than fifty vertical niches and categories.
– CPM rates from .30 to .60.
– CPC rates from .02 to .04.

Step 2: Click Sign up as an advertiser! and then proceed from there, filling in essential information such as your username and password.

Skip to Step 3 now if you wish (terms/details listed below).

Information: Guidelines, Terms, and Conditions for Advertisers

– All ads will be approved first by the Entrecard staff, and second by the individual bloggers publishing your ads.
– Sites that advertisers are placing adverts on are required to place their ad-serving widget within one page-down of the top of their blog.
– High standards must be followed when placing ads on any site in the network.

Unsuitable/Not Permitted Advertisements

– The following ads are not permitted: male enhancement ads, adult-themed ads, any ad that links to a site with nudity, gambling or casino ads, ads for drugs, ads that link to sites selling prescription drugs, ads using images of scantily clad women, ads that are offensive, unprofessional, in poor taste, etc., ads for sites that are part of money-making schemes, and so on.
– Absolutely NO ADS/IMAGES or LINKS/SITES will be permitted that have the content listed above on them.
– You must change your link or image to a suitable one, or you will then have to request a refund after thirty days.

Approval Process, Publishers, and Some Guarantees

– No guarantees are made as to how many publishers approve your ad.
– Publishers/bloggers will approve most, if not all, advertisements within 24 hours, often more frequently. The number of people approving your ad versus denying it is your approval ratio.

Campaign Targeting and Redirecting

– Redirects are allowed for targeting and tracking purposes only.
– You may never change the target of the redirect after your campaign is approved by the staff. The end-target of the campaign must be the same for the duration of the campaign as it was approved initially. No refund will be given for accounts that do not follow this rule.

Creating a Successful Campaign

– Be sure that you select a category that is somewhat relevant to your site, or it won't be viewed by the right group of people and your ad will be displayed on less blogs due to a lower approval ratio.
– Advertisement designs that are more attractive and professional will see higher approval ratios and more clicks.
– The target links that have been targeted to the specific categories and are blogs themselves will be seen and clicked through more often than traditional websites or sites that aren't really relevant to the site.
– Type of site - don't advertise sites that themselves aren't professionally done or don't have content that people are looking for.

As an advertiser, at this time, you don't have control over what specific sites you target, as you could (in many cases) target members of the site directly for this opportunity. There are plans in the future to allow more targeted advertisements, but for now they are by category and site-wide only. Therefore, you could be displaying ads on sites that have thousands of visitors per day or some with just a few.

Refunds

All sales are final, therefore refunds cannot be given. Test a campaign by filling out all details, other than adding funds to your account.

Reports

Advanced reports will be given from the dashboard of your advertiser account. The number of impressions, clicks, and more will be displayed in this area.

Funding and Purchasing Advertisements

Funding is done through PayPal. First add funds to your account, then add more to continue your campaign. Choose CPM or CPC based on what item/blog you are planning on advertising through the network and your budget/plan.

All Campaigns Start in Paused Mode

Due to this, you will have to start or pause the campaign as long as you have funds in your account. Campaigns will be paused when you run out of money in your account.

Step 3: You will be greeted with a Dashboard area for managing your account upon signing in.

Entrecard - Advertiser Dashbaord

To the left, you have an overview of your balance and campaigns. There are links to increase the balance in increments: $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, etc. You can view previous transactions by clicking the appropriate link/button.

Campaigns will be listed below, from which you can view archived/previous campaigns or quickly update the currently running campaigns.

To the right, you can see the Ratecard, which has the rates as follows:

– CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions): $0.30 across the entire network and $0.60 when targeting specific categories.
– CPC (Cost Per Click): $0.02 across the entire network and $0.04 when targeting specific categories.

Step 4: Creating your first campaign.

Entrecard - Starting a Campaign

Click the "New Campaign" link under the Current Campaigns area on the Dashboard. This will bring up a new page with several options and configuration settings.

First, select an image (JPG/PNG - no GIFs or animated ads), a target URL, whether your advert is a direct link to an established blog, whether you want to display only in spots in the same category, which category you are targeting, and your payment (per impression or per click).

You're done! All you have to do at this point is go back to the Dashboard (you should be automatically redirected/given the option), and then you can "start" the campaign. Your balance will gradually decrease, depending on the number of clicks or impressions.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

FAQs on the New Advertisement System

3 comments
Listed below are some FAQs commonly asked by people throughout the forums, on the release post, and elsewhere. I hope to have cleared up some of the more common questions (to my best knowledge) and give some more input into the system.

Follow-up questions can be added in the comments of this post or can be targeted directly to the Entrecard staff.

Links
What's the purpose of the new ad network?

Simply put, Entrecard needs to make money. Sometimes people think that the site has very little cost to operate and add new features. According to the figures posted by phirate, it cost more than $7,000 to create the Entrecard Market and $12,000+ per year for the hosting and systems required to keep the site accessible, even under heavy load. Even though the site does did sell advertising on the main page, the earnings weren't high enough to balance the hosting and extra earnings (for payments to moderators, coders, and the rest of the staff, including the owner) weren't high enough, either.

How will the new system benefit me/my blog?

There shouldn't be major changes if you were already a part of the network and approving ads from other members before. Now, you'll see a "Paid Ads" area beneath the Entrecard Ads in the Dashboard area. You can approve or deny them as you wish, and then they will begin appearing on your blog.

Approving ads for placement on your blog will improve the site, as you are contributing cash (albeit somewhat indirectly) to the site. At rates between $0.02 and $0.04 per click depending on whether you target a specific category or the entire network, the cash will go into a "chest" where earnings will eventually be "distributed" back to members. At this time, the cashout service will be available by next week (or later, depending on the amount earned).

Denying ads ultimately means that you do not want Entrecard to make money nor do you want to accept any forms of advertisements on your site (you should never have joined up for Entrecard, as all ads, even those purchased with credits, are technically ads). This may appear a bit harsh, but is the reality.

What are the immediate benefits of accepting paid ads?

Right now, absolutely none. Until the earnings from ads have grown, you won't see any immediate benefits. Down the road, the option to cash out credits for cash will be looked at as many as the answer to reducing the number of credits in their account without advertising, although some still do not want to go down this path. Even further down the road, new features and integration into other services will be released. Again, even the smallest of improvements to the site cost a lot of capital, in both time and monetary expenses.

You can continue approving or denying regular ads as you wish.

Do I get penalized for rejecting a paid ad?

Not right now. Perhaps down in the road, you will be limited by the number of cash out options you have or additional features, as you aren't "helping" them earn money, but for the mean time, you can deny all the ads or approve them all, depending on how you feel about paid ads appearing on your site.

From the start, and even now, you are free to control what is displayed through your widget. This is unlike every other service on the Internet, including even the more traditional advertising formats.

Please Note: Accounts that have not logged in and approved/denied ads, their ad queues will automatically begin displaying on their widget, as per the normal settings.

Ads not displaying/errors?

Any browser with adblock or some form of blocking will not display the URL that is delivering the ads will render the area black or blank, depending on the particular area/error.

Email notifications aren't arriving.

They won't at this time. In the future, a survey email/option set may be introduced to help you see the paid ads that have been sent to your Dashboard.

There are more paid ads than regular/non-paid ads. What am I doing wrong!?

You haven't done anything wrong. Under normal market conditions, this will be normal, as advertisers are sending their ads across entire vertical channels (ex. Blogging Resources/Tips) or the entire site. Previously, you could only advertise to single blogs at a time, and now you're seeing ads that have been sent to thousands of blogs at a time. This may balance out in the future, but if trends continue, you'll be seeing more paid ads versus regular ads in your Dashboard.

I don't want to/cannot see paid ads.

If you are a part of the Today.com blog network and do not/cannot see the paid ads, then go into the Advert Settings area of your profile and make sure that the "Allow paid ads only if explicitly approved by you" is checked. Otherwise, ads may automatically approve or be approved without prior permission.

All I see on blogs I visit are paid ads.

It may appear this way at this time because with the ~50/50 split of advertisers to regular advertisements, the new ads may appear more frequently, and in some cases, more than the regular ads. As some of the members of the site have purchased ads using their regular banner ad, you won't see any difference. If you hover over the ad, the last part of the link will appear as &type=entrecard or &type=paid.

Will the number of "credit" advertisers decrease?

It's too early to tell for sure. However, I think that those without large budgets or extra cash to spend on paid adverts will probably still stick to dropping and advertising for free. After all, that is what Entrecard was from the start and will (hopefully) always stick to as its main benefit against other services.

In an ideal market, the credit value of all advertisements will decrease by 50%, although this probably won't happen in this case. When people see the paid advertisements on the widget, they might not be that influenced by the values and still advertise on the blog. More demand will be fore the sites that aren't accepting paid ads - 100% of the ads will be shown for Entrecard members' ads.

The reason for no dual-layout option.

Some members insisted on a widget that was split with a regular banner and a paid ad. Even though Entrecard has several options for blogs, depending on the size of the blog's sidebar, more people choose the smallest one, which fits best in smaller sidebars and nearly anywhere. This would have meant less room (less than a 125x125 ad) for advertisers, and would have failed in the end.

Conclusion - In the next post, I'll be discussing the benefits to advertisers, some more long-term prospects, and further along,t he new homepage.

The New Advertising System - First Thoughts

0 comments
Today, paid ads began appearing in the accounts of all Entrecard members. Some people freaked out, although it has been at least three weeks since the initial announcement was made regarding the new system and the new potential for both members and those who want to advertise their site or services through the network.

Due to the large number of questions and problems that have been on the minds of members (including myself), I waited a few time for the initial dust to settle and see what happened, how the Entrecard staff would be dealing with the problems, and more. As you might well know, few questions were answered initially and some still haven't been answered.

This will be the first post in a series of using the advertising system, what it means, and more. You can follow these posts and any new ones by clicking on the Advertising Network label/tag at the bottom of the post.

My Initial Thoughts

Timing - It probably wasn't the best idea for the staff to roll out the system on the weekend. It means that some members probably would have seen the new system much more quickly than if it had been rolled out during the week, and bugs would have been exposed to more members at once - most of the members have more time to "drop" cards on the weekend than during the week.

Prior Insight - No one really knew what to expect from the new system until it was rolled out, quite quickly at that. How were members to know what to do when they saw the new ads within their Dashboard? How could they see what ads that had approved or denied?

Bugs and Errors - While I didn't see too much out of the ordinary, I am sure that some other members weren't seeing the intended ads/banners while the new system was being implemented. This really is in the control of the developers and staff, although the person on the front-end could have been using a script or browser that didn't render something correctly, etc. Again, this is minor at this time, since they are still reportedly working on bugs and the errors.

Overall, I think the new system will work in the long-term, but I have to see how many advertisers there are on average coming into each blog, and how well the entire network views these ads.

This post was kept short, as it is just my initial reaction - look for more upcoming posts on the new system. Please don't forget to follow this blog via Twitter or Subscribe via RSS to stay on top of Entrecard news.

Friday, April 3, 2009

150,000 Credit Video Contest

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Entrecard is holding a new contest, giving away a massive number of credits to the people who are able to create helpful tutorials for new Entrecard members who may be interested in learning about the site but do not know where to start.

Some Possible Topics
  • How to drop.
  • How to add the widget to different blogging platforms.
  • How to buy ads and different buying strategies.
  • How to earn credits by dropping.
  • How to earn credits by increasing the number of people who drop on you.
  • How to install and use the toolbar.
  • ... and so on.... choose your own topic(s).
Rules

Your video must be of high quality, receive some type of feedback, and have been posted on multiple video sites in order to receive the highest chance of winning.

Prizes

Winning/First Prize - 75,000
Second Prize - 25,000
Third Prize - 25,000
Fourth Prize - 25,000

Leave a comment on the post and you'll be entered in a chance to win - the contest comes to a close during the first week of May (one month).

Make A Pound is a sponsor of the contest.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Top Droppers for March 2009

0 comments
I'd like to thank the top droppers for the month of March. All of the following sites dropped their card on my site for at least 26 of the 31 days in March. 

Please visit any of the sites below as a way of thanking them and further contributing to the Entrecard network.
  1. BMWF1Blog
  2. My gypsygoods
  3. Theresa's Treasures
  4. Dungeons and Dragons Corner
  5. Tomorrow is Here
  6. Avoid Money Scams
  7. Dungeon Siege Cheats
  8. Louis L'amour Book Reviews
  9. Septagon Studios Indie Comic Blog
  10. Animal Crossing Wild World Cheats

A Note on Today.com Blogs

0 comments
The post about Entrecard and the removal process has been updated, with the following addition/change:
Instead of forcing you to take the widgets down and then having to police
everyone's blogs we're giving everyone 2 weeks notice that as of 4/7/09 we
will no longer be paying for traffic from Entrecard. If you still find value in
the traffic without being paid for it then you're free to leave the widget up,
however, no paid ads must be shown on it.
For various reasons, it was spread around the Entrecard sites that everyone using the Today.com blog service would have to remove the widget, but now it appears that is not the case, and you may keep the widget up as long as you "reject" the ads when the new system is implemented. I don't know whether there will be limitations, such as you not being able to display the paid, third-party advertisements.

The original goal of Entrecard was to form a community, and when many of the Today.com bloggers announced that they were leaving, they still wanted to read the blogs and thoughts from people they had met through the system. By following the steps that have been posted on the Today.com Forums, you can remain a part of the network, continue receiving traffic, and continue commenting and dropping on other blogs.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reducing Bounce Rate

5 comments
Yesterday's post proved that Entrecard's traffic has little differences between regular traffic from other sources, including search engines, referring sites, and direct traffic. The difference across most sites is within the +/- 10% range, which isn't a huge difference as many first made it out to be.

There are several steps that you can take to reduce your bounce rate. Some of them are quite obvious, while others may take some more work on your part to implement. Please remember that these are general tips and cannot be applied to all blogs and websites.

The main goal here is to actively engage your readers more, "forcing" them to stay on your website for a longer period of time and browse multiple pages/internal links.

Here are several ways to do it:
  1. Remove some of the content from your home or root page. This is the page that is generally linked to your Entrecard profile, so you want to "make" it so visitors travel to other pages within your site. You could start with your profile or about statement, placing it at blogname.com/about or whatever URL your blog host permits.
  2. Increase the number of internal, rather than external links on your homepage. Even ads can increase your bounce rate, as people may be interested in that ad, rather than content on your site. Another way to increase internal links is by placing more posts on the homepage (see next step).
  3. Post excerpts often decrease bounce rate, as people who want to read your content must click through to the post. Secondly, make it so people must click on the post title to view comments, which sends an additional reload message to the server (reducing bounce rate).
  4. Appeal to your visitors. If you don't have content that people want to read, why should they even consider clicking through to other articles, reading what you have to say?
  5. Reduce the number of ads on your site. One of the major problems with blogs in the Entrecard network is the relatively high percentage of blogs with a huge number of ads on them. This detracts from the value of your blog and places more emphasis on how many ads you can fit into a particular space, rather than the content that you have produced.
  6. Change the layout of your site.
Despite the fact that bounce rates might increase slightly due to the above-the-fold rule, you shouldn't see any significant changes as these new rules have been put in place. As long as your try to make a difference in how people use your site, you will be able to reduce bounce rate dramatically and drastically, even if it does take some time.
The best approach to doing this is to change and evolve your blog gradually, experimenting with what works and what doesn't. If using Google Analytics, set up goals that you want to achieve, as it'll help track down to the minute that you achieve them methods of improving and how much further you need to go.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Entrecard Traffic - The Bounce Rate Myth

1 comments
I often become frustrated when bloggers in the Entrecard network complain about bounce rate. Think about it: when you are rewarded (through credits) for visiting others' sites, your visitors will generally try to accumulate more credits in a shorter period of time. Any other site with a similar purpose will garner a bounce rate that is high, too. You aren't going to see a drastic reduction to 50% or less bounce rate just because you become a member of a blog network and place their widget or participate in their site's features.

Blogs will likely have a higher bounce rate than other, more traditional sites. A blog features multiple forms of content on the main page, including up to ten or so recent posts, which is the main area that readers look at when visiting your blog. Secondly, many people have placed an "about" statement or area in their sidebar, again reducing the number of people who click through to other pages.

When a user clicks through your blog, they have "reduced" the bounce rate of your site, as they are reducing the number of people who have left your site after entering it. The main areas that a user would view are: additional pages of your blog, other posts (archives), or a link to view the comments. The more frequently you can get them to do this, the higher the pages/visit count rises. I'll be covering several ways of reducing bounce rate in this sense in an upcoming post.

Let's now look at the true definition of bounce rate, as per Wikipedia.
  • Clicking on a link to a page on a different website, closing an open window or tab, typing in a new URL, clicking the "Back" button to leave the site, and a session timeout (staying on the page for greater than 30 minutes) are all considered "bounces."
  • Bounce rate is equal to the number of single page accesses and entries.
  • An analytics specialist says that it is "really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying."
Now that we have the definition of a bounce rate, let's look at the traffic from Entrecard compared to other referring sites and search engines. I've attached an image, which shows the main detailed overview of the traffic with this blog.

Entrecard - Detailed Traffic

Please Note: This blog may not fill the "average" of all blogs in the network or throughout the web - we cater to Entrecard users or people who may want to become members. Therefore, there is less traffic from multiple referring sites, and more from Entrecard. The main promotion method of this blog is through Entrecard and I have only spent time "dropping" on other sites to accumulate the traffic.

I will consider a variation of greater than 5% a "difference" between Entrecard traffic and "normal" traffic.

The largest single referrer for my blog is the Entrecard Category Browser, which is surprising, as most would think of the Inbox as the main area for traveling to other sites. Following this first referral path, detailed pages for my blog, and Inboxes for specific members are listed (with 2,137 paths to the Entrecard.com site, the total number of inbox visits is likely greater than that of the Browser). In some ways, you can track all the way down to the particular members, and how often they visit your blog.

Some Statistics for Comparison
– Between April 22, 2008 and March 27, 2009, Entrecard sent 16,928 visits to the site.
– This accounts for 59.43% of the total site traffic.
– Pages per visit with Entrecard is 1.08, 2.26% less than the site average of 1.11.
– Average time on site is 30.97% less than the entire site average, at 00:00:30 versus 00:00:43.
– % New Visits (a greater percentage shows loyalty) is 77.42%, 3.09% lower than the site average of 79.89%.
– Bounce rate through Entrecard is 93.41%, 0.49% higher than the site average at 92.96%.
– 85 of 119 traffic sources reported a bounce rate of 100%.

What This All Means

Looking at the bounce rates between all traffic and that of Entrecard, there is little to no difference. Unlike what most people think, Entrecard traffic is not vastly different from that of all other sources, and can even be better than traffic form independent blogs or search engines.

All things considered, the only significant difference between the various usage elements was time on site, which shouldn't come as a surprise. This means that between dropping, the average person spends thirty seconds on your site, reading content, waiting for the page to load, or going elsewhere.

Conclusion

Entrecard helps connect blog owners and their blogs together, so it is obvious that unless you have a blog that appeals to other people, you will not be able to reduce your bounce rate or increase the subscriber level of your blog.

Compare your blog's traffic from Entrecard to that of other sources - what do you see?