Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Off Topic: Entrecard, a downward spiral?

Don't know what Entrecard is and why you should care? Widget is on the right - look for the yellow E.

Mkay. When I first signed up with Entrecard for my blog, I *loved* it. A free way to advertise my blog while discovering new blogs to read myself. Actual targeted advertising, on blogs whose visitors might actually want to read my posts. A fun way to earn credits - something I could do while drinking my morning coffee and waking up.

That does still exist....but, of course, change is inevitable here on the internets. And changes abound at Entrecard - some of which are frustrating and confusing.

I won't bore everyone with all the mathematical details - lots of people have already posted in their blogs about that. Suffice it to say that Entrecard has a new paid ad system, and a new forum policy.

I whole-heartedly disagree with the forum policy, which stipulates that people cannot read or post in the main forums unless they have purchased 400 or more ads. I have been with Entrecard for several months and I have just over 400 ad purchases - and I buy ads a lot. The forums were useful for newblies, so why they decided not to let them in, I will never understand. Apparently, there were a few people posting negative stuff over there, but hey. That's normal in every forum environment - that's what mods are for. To just ban half your users is immature and most assuredly a knee-jerk reaction. For certain, not all the negativity came from newbies.

As for the paid ad policy - I am on the fence. Most certainly, it has not been handled well by the powers that be over there. Many bloggers have opted out of allowing paid ads, and that's their choice. I kind of don't blame them - I mean, there's not much in it for us to accept the paid third-party ads. We aren't being paid for them - Entrecard is. And while I do understand the need for entrecard to make some money to keep the system going, they have done so at the expense of their most loyal users - the people who drop and spend their credits on ads. Those people only get their ad shown 50% of the time on blogs which still accept the paid ads, and that's really not fair. It's those people who really keep Entrecard going, in my opinion.

Am I still accepting paid ads? Well, yes, for the time being, but I am being very selective as to which ones. I still won't accept ads from sites which are completely unrelated to my content, and I am favoring the ads which are obviously from Entrecard bloggers or art/craft sites. I may change my mind on that soon - it depends on whether Entrecard decides to make this easier by offering more widget options, etc. I do see their need to make some money with the paid ads so they can keep offering Entrecard to us.

They do say that the reward for all this is the ability to cash in credits for money. However, for now, only certain people are being allowed to cash in, and the credit-to-dollar ratio is still pretty low. It's not really all that worth it to cash in, unless you've been hoarding credits for months and months. In which case, you likely won't be approved for the cash in service, due to the prerequisites there (higher priority given to people who spend credits on ads, place ads in the market, drop cards, etc.).

It's all so chaotic. Entrecard has implemented too many changes in too little time, with not a whole lot of obvious planning.

I'm sad because I really love the whole Entrecard concept. But I am going to take a wait-and-see approach and hope the storm passes without too much damage.

27 comments:

  1. I agree totally. I loved Entrecard at first, despite reading a number of comments against it. But as time goes on it gets more and more clear to me that the management have no idea what they're doing. And they're going to keep losing members until they get their act together. I've been dropping less and less lately.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They seem to be alienating people right and left these days. Like the paid ads weren't enough of a reason. I've been a member for months, and I still haven't bought enough ads to be one of the chosen ones. I used to read the forums daily. I never posted. I never flamed anyone. I just read and learned. Unless I buy a boat load of 2ec ads, I probably still won't have enough ads to join the forums next year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I totally agree about the forums thing. Ridiculous that is, and it makes them look scared.

    However, I don't mind the paid ads thing.

    And I found this blog through EC! So it's obviously still doing what it's meant for!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ditto...thanks for voicing what is also my frusration with Ecard changes as well as you did!
    I'm dropping less and less.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The new forum policy is completely outrageous, and I've said so there publicly. One of the things I liked about Entrecard in the beginning was their concern for keeping their members satisfied. Questions were answered promptly, newbies were encouraged to post, etc. That's all gone now, maybe forever. Where are newbies supposed to go, now, for help of a non-tech-support nature?

    Entrecard used to be fun, and it has definitely been a big help to me in driving traffic to my blog. But the people in charge seem to be bent on doing anything and everything they can to alienate their user base. Hell of a way to run a business, in my opinion.

    I'm still there, for now, but if things continue as they have been going, I will seriously consider dropping out of EC permanently. I'm exploring CMF and possibly other options.

    Karen Henry
    http://outlandishobservations.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm in almost the same boat, except I decided not to take paid ads right now. Turns out I'm dropping just as much, but trying to spend most of my EC credits on blogs that don't take paid ads. It is just a better return on my credits.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't take paid ads and do not "advertise" for anyone other than independent businesses that I would vouch for their quality. Entrecard should look at what it's clients are saying in their blogs. Many echo your discontent.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow I didn't even know that about the Forum, how sad. I am trying to only have paid ads that are relevant to my blog but even then it seems like they outnumber the ads paid for by credits. There has to be another system similar that will do the same but not irk all of us!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I didn't know about all the forum stuff, since I never read the entrecard forums. I do think the changes were not thought out well. A better way to do paid ads would be to change the widget so it runs a regular EC ad on top & a paid ad directly underneath. It wouldn't be too big, I use PW ads and have three spots, so an EC widget with two spots would be okay with me, and a better solution IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have signed-on with Adgitize, but CMF didn't want me because of considering way too much of my content as being unoriginal. So, do you know of any others like them, aside from Entrecard, of course?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I used to love Entrecard for the same reasons, exposure and I got to visit a lot of blogs. With the new paid ads I don't click through as much therefore don't get to see a lot of new blogs. I do allow paid ads, but have it set up for only blogs that relate to my blogs and so far haven't got any paid ads at all. Before I did that my inbox was loaded with all kinds of paid ads. I may opt out to do paid ads altogether, but since I've made that change I haven't had to.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @FishHawk - sorry, sweetie, but I agree with the idea of original content being a priority, so I can't really help you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. On another note, I have been approved for the cashout service, but I most likely will never use it. It's not worth it to me - I would rather spend the credits on more ads.

    Same with forums - I was approved for the VIP forums, but I probably won't post much because I think it's ridiculous to have the limits. I mean, the Introduce Yourself forum is in the VIP room, for crying out loud. So newbies can't read or post there, even though the forum is directed at newbies. Makes.No.Sense.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I used to love Entrecard too. I have found alot of blogs that I really like to read, including this one.

    All these changes have me a little confused about what to do. I've been taking ads from handmade and arts sites but I'm thinking about canceling them all. The price for my ads way down as well as my traffic. I didn't even know about the forum policy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wonderful Post about entrecard!

    ReplyDelete
  16. "The Introduce Yourself forum is in the VIP room, for crying out loud. So newbies can't read or post there, even though the forum is directed at newbies. Makes.No.Sense."

    I agree completely! And yet if you try to say that in public on the forum, your post gets deleted, because they just are not interested in hearing negative comments of any kind.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  17. Whoa, do you really consider my content as being just copied off of others? Besides, I wasn't asking for validation. I was just asking if you knew of anymore programs like Entrecard, Adgitize and CMF.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't understand the decision about the forums either. When I started using EC last year I needed to forum to make sense of the whole thing.

    I find it interesting that when they put together EC they had no form of income from it. Who makes a business plan that way? It doesn't make sense. I suspect that this mess was always the plan. What a better way to sell space to advertisers than to have thousands of blogs to place ads on? I think we have all been had. Of course I will probably get banned now so please visit me when that happens.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Fishhawk - no - I wouldn't know whether your content is copied or not. You alluded to that in your comment, saying that's why CMF rejected you. Therefore, based on that, I don't know of any other programs that would accept copied content blogs. If you're not into copied content, you might consider applying to Project Wonderful to be a publisher.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks. I'm already with Project Wonderful, and appear to be doing quite well with them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I didn't know about the forum thing because I rarely visited them. I've been trying to avoid all the drama with the changes and just visiting the sites I love. Like yours. :) I am accepting some paid ads...at first I was looking at every single one that applied but it took forever so I'm being a lot more selective. If something even looks spammy I reject it. I'm trying to only go with artsy craftsy sites and blogs.

    I hope they realize that they are making a mistake in how they managing their business. If they don't they might go the way of the dodo.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I didn't know that about the forums, either. That *really* irritates me. I don't visit the forums - but knowing that now I can't makes a big difference.

    I'm getting more fed up with Entrecard as the days go by. I have tons of paid ads in line to show - when I know I didn't accept them. (I haven't been accepting paid ads at all.)

    I'm really upset and saddened by this whole thing. I loved Entrecard for the same reasons you do...but it's becoming a drag. I have a lot of points (not tons) and I do buy ads - but I'm no where near 400! I don't know why I'm "saving" points - other than knowing I'm getting ready to open a shop and would rather advertise that than my blog. I'm going to rethink Entrecard...thank you so much for enlightening me on the forums. xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just wanted to add another comment about this. Today I went to check on my blog and do a new post. On my EC adbox was a paid ad that I HAD NOT approved or declined yet!!! How is that? I immediately went to my EC dashboard and declined this particular ad. How can they do that?? Now that really ticked me off!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Closing the forums is bad for Entrecard and everyone who uses it. Even if you apply and are approved to use the forums, there's only like 20 people in there to chat to now :-(

    I'm pretty ticked off that I'm not allowed in, considering I've been pretty supportive of Entrecard and I've been approving most paid ads.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Kicking us out of the forums is awful. I'm glad you've spoken out against it despite being on the entrecard staff.

    I started a petition to reopen them if you're interested,

    http://budurl.com/jsxy

    ReplyDelete
  26. @Jenny - thanks. :) I stepped down from being a mod on Entrecard awhile ago, but they haven't changed my status on the forums, unfortunately, so it looks weird. I wasn't a mod for very long - I just didn't have the time to devote to it due to changing life circumstances.

    The forum is really slow right now, and most of the mods and the owner haven't posted in days. It's kind of a ghost town, sadly.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Guess what, I got declined in the cashout. I approved all those paid ads, dropped religiously, and carefully answered the form when I applied for cashout. Now, I got an email saying that the info I provided is incomplete and inaccurate. But they can't explain which info I gave is incomplete nor accurate. And what's more? I can't reapply. They said I reached my limit. So I'm guessing the limit is ONE?! Entrecard has turned into a horrible site. I might end up wasting my credits to buying stuff. Entrecard is so mismanaged.

    ReplyDelete