EntreCard Analysis - Take 2

EntreCard Analysis - Take 2

Today I thought I’d take a look at some trends I’ve noticed with EntreCard. It’s been around a little over a month now and has been getting its share of cheers and jeers from the blogging community. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Is it another ill-fated blog widget like BlogRush? What’s the story?

Here’s my take on it so far along with some other’s opinions on it.

Traffic Analysis

I’ve been tracking EntreCard traffic results since I installed it. I described my initial findings in this article, Traffic Analysis: Blogging Zoom vs. EntreCard. After another 3 weeks of traffic I’m still seeing about the same results. The average time on-site for EntreCard visitors is running about 1:15 and the bounce rate is at about 85%. This slight improvement was probably due to me featuring EntreCard articles on a few days. When I eliminate them the average time on-site drops to 30 seconds and bounce rate goes up to 95%.

Taking a look at the chartsThe bottom line still is that EntreCard does send traffic but most of it is low quality traffic. The vast majority of people who visit your site using the widget are coming there only to drop their card and move on quickly to the next site. Getting them to take a break at your site seems to be tied to the articles and graphics they see up front. From what I can determine articles about EntreCard or those that are appealing to the mostly male eye have the best performance when it comes to putting the brakes on a drive-by dropper.

Also, it’s ability to advertise your site seems limited although this could be improved by having a compelling 125×125 graphic (once again, think of what captures the attention of a mostly male audience). The real problem here is that few of the graphics used work well as advertising. Most are just text or a non-distinct or confusing logo graphic that easily fade into the background visual noise.

Does EntreCard Conflict With Adsense?

Does EntreCard Conflict With Adsense? Here’s something I’ve wondered about and I’d like to know if anyone else has seen something similar. EntreCard does boost your traffic count meaning that if you have Adsense your number of impressions increase which, in turn, drops your click-thru rate (CTR). This increase in non-converting traffic may cause your Adsense account to become “smart priced”.

This is what happened to me and that’s why I removed Adsense from OpTempo. It was adversely affecting the earnings on my niche sites. Now, it could just be coincidence but the decline in Adsense revenue started about a week or so after I installed EntreCard here.

I strongly suspect that Google is treating EntreCard traffic in much the same way as they treat arbitrage traffic or paid traffic, they smart price the account. This will cut your earnings anywhere from 1/2 to 1/10 of what you were earning previously. If you’re seeing 3 cent clicks where you were getting $1 clicks before, then you’ve been smart priced. If you run multiple, niche targeted sites, this can have a big impact on your earnings.

More EntreCard Trends

Current EntreCard Trends It seems like everyone and their cousin are either having a contest giving away EntreCard credits or are talking about someone else having such a contest. I’m not sure what this indicates so far as the overall health of the EntreCard economy but it may indicate that people have a lot of credits and no where they want to spend them.

EntreCard ‘wall’ posts are also popular. They’re kind of annoying because they take such a long time to load and are, well, kind of useless. Sam points out that this kind of linking may even hurt you in this article: EntreCard Holiday Dysfunctional Link Love That Could Potentially Hurt You.

In another article, Super Advanced EntreCard Strategy - Squeezing the Most Out of Your Chain Droppers, Sam suggests using a new advertising annoyance called “Pay-Per-Play” that plays an advertising message when someone enters your site to make the most of serial card dropper traffic. It might work, at least until advertisers complain about poor conversions.

Some people think that EntreCard serves a useful purpose, such as this post on “I’m not that girl anymore”, Unrequited Blog Love

Others are less impressed by EntreCard’s performance such as Geoff who compares EntreCard credits to World of Warcraft  gold exchanges in this article, Entrecard Credits as a Virtual Currency. Jason also sees it as a waste of time and effort: The Death of Entrecard?

What’s your take on EntreCard now that’s it’s been out for over a month?

 


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17 Comments »

Comment by Shari Thomas
2007-12-31 15:20:50

Guess I’ll go first here.

I’ve recently written about my experiences with Entrecard and feel it’s really too early to properly evaluate either positive or negative results.

What I do find is this…

I’ve personally found more interesting blogs thanks to Entrecard than any other blog exchange. I really appreciate the fact that I can either drop a card and move on, or stop to read… which I’ve been doing frequently.

I’ve also found those blogs which update more frequently command most of my attention. So, translation… fresh, quality content improves time on site, and maybe even interaction.

I can’t speak yet to any advertising results as the entire program is too new, the holiday period always skews any results, and short of creating an elaborate spread page, we don’t get well detailed stats on advertising… especially when you do repeat advertising.

I’m going to continue to use Entrecard as a major traffic generator for at least 3 months… maybe longer. I can say it’s at least doubled the eyeballs on each of my sites (I have four sites in four different categories… each individual accounts).

Will it enable me to invite paid advertising? I don’t know yet, and it would only be appropriate on a couple of my blogs.

Comment by jfc
2007-12-31 15:45:59

Hi Shari,

Sorry about the moderation delay.

One of the things I like about EntreCard is that it seems to be a more effective of a social networking tool than MyBlogLog or BlogCatalog. When you talk about finding new blogs and so forth that’s what I see as one of the pluses about it and why I’m keeping it around for now.

 
 
Comment by Can't Get Rich
2007-12-31 18:43:47

That’s a good observation, about the contests. I hadn’t thought of the implications of everybody and their brother giving away credits. You’re right, that’s a good indication of a huge surplus of credits.

Comment by jfc
2007-12-31 19:20:42

Thanks for stopping by “Can’t Get Rich”,

The surplus seems to indicate that everyone is saving up to buy a space on a big name blog. I saw a few articles suggesting strictly limiting where you buy ads and that lesser blogs weren’t worth buying from.

 
 
Comment by Candle Monkey
2008-01-01 07:48:41

Hi Frank,

I took a pass on EntreCard right from the start. I tried BlogRush when it first came out, and quickly concluded that there were better used for that space.

All of these widgets strike me as pretty much a waste of time for all but the big name bloggers who are able to refer the masses and build up excess “credits”.

Just my two pennies,
Todd

Comment by jfc
2008-01-01 11:31:21

Hi Todd,

The best thing I can say about EntreCard is that it does bring traffic, unlike BlogRush. Like I said, I see it more as a social networking tool than an advertising/moneymaking tool so I rank it accordingly in my sidebar.

 
 
Comment by Lin
2008-01-01 11:33:44

I have to agree that it’s too soon to tell whether the increase in traffic will last. I’ve only been with Entrecard for a couple of days now, and what I find most interesting is that despite all the various social networking sites I participate in, I’ve found so many blogs that I haven’t found through any other means.

I’ve wondered the same thing about people who have a large surplus of credits, if they’re waiting to use them on the big-shot blogs or not. Most disappointing so far is the number of Entrecard users who have their widget near or at the very bottom of their sidebar. I think they may be doing so to ensure people are scrolling some to check out their blog posts, but the further down the sidebar the widget is placed would cause me to not want to advertise with them (and may even determine my likelihood of allowing them to advertise on mine).

Comment by jfc
2008-01-01 11:50:50

Hi Lin,

Placement of such widgets is always controversial. They don’t pay the bills on the site but the makers of them always want you to give them top billing. For example, BlogRush was threatening to ban users who didn’t show their widget above the fold. EntreCard is hoping to use social pressure to get people to improve the placement.

Since my front page uses the magazine excerpt format it’s a pretty easy scroll down, past two big honkin’ ads, to get to the EntreCard widget and the other social networking widgets. But I have seen a few blogs that had 10 full posts on the front page and the widget in the footer.

 
 
Comment by Saedel
2008-01-01 16:13:09

I took your advice on EntreCard and I’m glad I gave it a shot. One of my next posts in my blog, I will mention that I got rid of BlogRush and replaced it with EntreCard.

So far, Entrecard sent me 51 visitors in less than a week. The difference between BR and EC is exponential! I like your analysis of EC staying factor… my visitors stay for like 7 secs, with a bounce rate of 98%.. one EC member left a comment, the rest dropped their cards. So I think you got it right, EC members tend to roam around and drop cards, some even buy ads.

Comment by jfc
2008-01-01 18:03:08

Hi Saedel,

EntreCard will bring the traffic in. Getting them to stick around and click something other than the EnterCard dropper is the tricky part.

 
 
Comment by Steve
2008-01-02 00:57:46

Not sure if anyone saw the post on the Entrecard blog, but they recently announced the new sellers who will be selling things for credits on the site.

So now we can buy wordpress themes, text links, SEO ebooks, and other things with credits. Like they pointed out in their blog, that kills the argument about the quality of traffic, because although the quality may be low, each person dropping their card does earn you a credit that you can use to buy a wordpress theme, or a blog makeover, or other such things.

As for the traffic, I’ve seen about 1500 unique hits from Entrecard and about 40 comments, but I’ve been with them almost since the start. We can split hairs all we like, but 1500 hits for giving up a 125×125 space on my blog is a no brainer. Maybe once my blog gets to the point where I can actually generate significant revenue from Adsense, I’ll have to test it with and without Entrecard, but for now, to me, its pretty critical element for my strategy in building my blog.

Comment by jfc
2008-01-02 01:40:06

Hi Steve,

‘Selling’ things outside of the EntreCard space points to one of the fundamental flaws in the system, people aren’t buying ads and are only accumulating credits. People only want to buy ads on the big guy’s blogs and often act like they don’t want anyone but a big guy buying ad space on their site. As Vic explains in this article, Entrecard Another Loser, the market will become more inbred over time.

Vic or Griz can also tell you how to get 1500+ unique hits in a day, not a month.

I’ll also have to mention that Adsense simply won’t ever earn anything significant on a blog like Heavily Trafficked (or OpTempo for that matter). And, to make matters worse, using it on such a blog will probably kill your earnings on niche sites you may be running on the same account.

 
 
2008-01-02 23:54:07

[…] That’s improvement #1. BlogRush does not deliver. And by removing the widget, it frees up a big space in my sidebar and at the same time, I used that space by installing a new widget called “Entrecard” (the box on the right side with picture/logo, and underneath says “Drop Yours” or “Get One”). I’ll spare you the details of its innerworkings, but let me put it in simple term: it brings traffic more than BlogRush does. By traffic, I meant more people are clicking on this blog, and it is good, whether they are interested to stay or not. Frank analyzes Entrecard traffic. […]

 
2008-01-03 14:17:45

What I like about this article is your having noticed a very likely connection between the Entrecard traffic and declining PPC earnings. THAT is useful information to further explore - even more so if it turns out to be true.

Otherwise, I still maintain that the quality of your results with Entrecard traffic is related to the quality of your understanding as a marketer… if you’re just a casual blogger with a diary type blog, then it’s going to be a little rougher than if one were a marketer who understand what people want and how to get it in front of them.

Thanks,
Sam

Comment by jfc
2008-01-03 15:09:11

Hi Sam,

It’s hard to say if the EntreCard traffic led to the Adsense Smart Pricing or not although they happened at about the same time.

Based on my observations, I would not recommend putting EntreCard on a niche blog where you have Adsense.

However, I would recommend it for a blog where you wanted to generate social referral traffic and didn’t have Adsense or other PPC or PPM advertising. While 80-90% may be quick drive-by you will get some readers that you might not have gotten otherwise. If you’ve got good and relatively unique affiliate banners you’ll probably also see conversions on them that will surpass Adsense earnings that you typically get on a blogging or “make money” blog.

 
 
Comment by Y. S.
2008-01-12 18:10:30

After scanning through the four articles, I came to the conclusion that EntreCard is not a good Time investment for me.

Thanks for you efforts.

 
2009-03-19 19:10:20

[…] only been using Entrecard for about two weeks now, and I haven’t made up my mind yet as to whether Entrecard will bring quality traffic to my blog, or if it will follow BlogRush into the toilet. I’ve been somewhat surprised at the number of […]

 
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