Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sponsored Ads Coming Tomorrow

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.

1 comment:

John | Make Nothing Online said...

Entrecard must be crazy to think anyone will pay $50 to use the service without sponsored ads. I'm not happy there might be unsuitable ads showing on my blog as of tomorrow and I'll have no control over them.

Entrecard still hasn't put advertising on their own site, despite the fact they want to put it all over our widgets :-(