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:
- How many cards you drop / how frequently
- % of paid ads you approve
- % of Entrecard ads you approve
- Listings you create / completed sales in the market
- How many credits you transfer to others (indicative of contests, tips, and generosity)
- % 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.