Blogging, Social Media

Entrecard’s bait-and-switch

Entrecard began as a community-drive way for blog owners to trade ads.  Now, it’s becoming a paid ad network.

If you use the service, you probably know that Entrecards, which used to show approved ads from community members, and paid you in credits, and allowed you to advertise on other Entrecards, now show paid ads 50% of the time.  You can reject paid ads, and check an option (it’s not checked by default!) to only allow approved ads on your widget, but that doesn’t change this core change in the purpose of Entrecard.  OK, so that’s not what Entrecard was to begin with, and not what we signed up for.  But maybe we’ll all make some money, so let’s hear them out.

It was recently announced that algorithms would be developed to determine who gets payouts first.  The algorithm would attempt to determine your value to Entrecard’s community as a whole.  Feel the love.  Here are the criteria:

  1. How many cards you drop / how frequently
  2. % of paid ads you approve
  3. % of Entrecard ads you approve
  4. Listings you create / completed sales in the market
  5. How many credits you transfer to others (indicative of contests, tips, and generosity)
  6. % of credits you spend on Entrecard ads

Ok, so, I have to be willing to approve most of the ads coming my way, even if they’re irrelevant to my site and inappropriate for my visitors?  I have to participate in this weird marketplace community that trades goods and services for Entrecard credits (I thought those were for advertisements, but whatever.  I can pay 1EC for some guy to follow me on Twitter.  Yippee.).  And I have to hold contests for my credits, or just give my credits away?  You want to buy my credits, but only if I give some of them away first?

Of course, Entrecard has always been more valuable to those who have the time and energy to drop cards all day, to round up huge amounts of credits and hold contests to give them away, etc, etc.  But there was value in it for those of us with work, school, social lives, and, uh, blogging to do anyways.  I got a bunch of junk traffic, and a bunch of valuable traffic.  I got new eyes on my blogs.  I got comments.  But now, the value of the advertisements I place has been halved, since paid ads will show over mine 50% of the time, unless I, too, pay.

So, what motivation do I have to support paid ads on Entrecard? Whether or not I ever see a dime for showing paid ads on my site is completely uncertain.  It looks like if I become more active with Entrecard, I maybe, kind of, could see a few bucks.  But if I cash out the entirety of my credits right now (i.e. if they’d let me), I may be able to eat at McDonald’s.  Y’know, if trying to cash in credits weren’t enough to give me a heart attack.

News. Flash. I get more money than that from Google AdSense where I use it, and I don’t have to jump through hoops to get them to pay me.  I don’t have to run around visiting other AdSense sites and clicking on ads to get a return for the ad space I’m using myself.

Who would join Entrecard after this?  Here’s the pitch: “Put this widget on your blog.  We’ll show paid ads on it.  We might pay you for them, but, sorry, if you’re not going to play our little dropping game, you’ll be last on the list.  But why wouldn’t you want to participate?  Aren’t you a team player?  We’re all about community here.”

What makes Entrecard think it’s cool to push paid ads onto my site and say, “Hey, I’ll get you later”?  Entrecard was great as a community site where everything was about bloggers working together.  But this gradual change into a paid ad marketplace sucks, and the fact that it’s happening slowly has some bloggers excited about the idea that their credits could turn into cash.  So much so, that some people seem to be hoarding credits away rather than using them to keep the free half of the system moving.

I’m trying to have faith that this will work itself out, so I haven’t removed my widgets yet.  Maybe if I just reject paid ads and focus on the original intent of Entrecard, I’ll still get value from it.  Or, maybe the system will improve and I’ll eventually get some money from it.  Entrecard isn’t neccessarily doomed, but I don’t think they’re on the right track.  So, we’ll see.

I joined a community-driven, cooperative ad network.  Now I’m in a paid ad network.  And not a very good one.

One Comment

  1. Excellent post! What a lot of people don’t understand is the history of entrecard. Owner Graham Langdon appears to have abandoned the company as of April 13 following a history of: racism, rudeness to EC members, dictatorship ideals, censorship, faking posts using another identity, and now the bait and switch with the ads. A young and very immature 19 yr is currently calling the shots continuing the downward spiral for the company by closing the forums to even some members. There are implications that paid ads were and continue to be fraudulently run on some blogs despite all settings set to not allow paid ads. The problem is Graham controls the widget so can override any members setting meaning if he choses paid ads will show up, likely at a time when the author is least likely to notice them. Why anyone would want that widget on their blog is beyond me.

    Graham himself has a history of banning any member who says anything negative about entrecard on their blog or any other forum. Back in the fall he was bragging about how good it felt to be homeless and how he enjoyed sleeping on park benches. By December it was well known the wolves were at the door as creditors were threatening to close down entrecard. Somehow emergency funding to keep the servers going was found but it has now run out. He is desperate for money and with this new scam has managed to get a hold of SS# over an unsecured server. I doubt those numbers are going to be purged when entrecard goes down and goodness knows what they could be used for! Anyone who remotely has any hope they will ever get any money out of entrecard is delusional. The prediction for its final demise is June but my bet is on sooner than that.

    gardengnome1 on twitter

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