Entrecard's Disconnect with Reality  

I want to say that "Hey, we're all adults, here!", but that's not the case, as there are minors who have Entrecard accounts, too. Instead I'll just say that the Elephant in the Entreroom has a roommate...an ostrich who apparently has its head in the sand. I'm talking about the idea that Entrecarders "read" other blogs while they are dropping cards. Yes, it does happen...but someone should look at the category rankings and do the math. Evelyn would be proud of all those Entrecard speedreaders who can drop 300 cards a day and read every new entry on the sites they visit. And let's not forget to comment, stumble, and send love notes while you're at it. Talk about a full-time job!

This entry is a result of a thread in the Entrecard Marketing Forum wherein an Entrecard member, Sci-Fi Herald, is offering to drop cards for other Entrecard members for a fee. The thread was officially closed and the explanation given by one of the Forum moderators (Saphrym) was:

This service pretty much guarantees that the blogs will not be read. Entrecard does not condone this type of service.

And we remind everyone that if you use this type of service you are putting your passwords at risk.

Thread closed but left as a reminder.

Hmmm...I'll get to the reasons why I thought Sci-Fi's offer wasn't enticing in a bit, but let me start with the "disconnect" as I see it:

1) The Entrecard ranking system rewards those on the Popular page and in the Top 3 of their category. Not directly, but as a result of increased exposure and presumed worth of the blog, or at the very least an indicator of Entrecard activity. Also, more daily drops = more Entrecard Credits (ECs) = more money or ability to buy ads or other commodities. Result = motivation (for some, many, or most?) to earn as many ECs as quickly as possible. Reality check = Reading blogs slows down the card dropping process and for many--if not most--Entrecarders, card dropping is their main and most time-consuming Entrecard activity. The average Entrecarder might read 5, 10, or even 50 entries a day, but they are not reading 100% of the sites they drop on, which "pretty much guarantees that [some] blogs will not be read."

2) Ever heard of RSS feeds? Of course you have, and yet RSS feeds are an odd fit with Entrecard in that their use is somewhat counterproductive, especially if one is trying to increase traffic to their site and/or maximize the number of cards dropped on them. For example, an Entrecarder finds a blog whose content they really enjoy reading and as they don't want to miss a single entry they subscribe to the blog via the available feed. In fact, it might be that the owner of the blog to which they have just subscribed doesn't return drop because they are too busy writing quality content. So what's the point of visiting the blog and dropping on it if you can get the content via feed and if your card drop isn't going to be reciprocated? True, you can "reward" the blog owner with your card drop and visiting the blog allows for one to comment on the articles, as well as view any graphics (and ads) that don't come through the feed. However, if you are seeking efficiency with your 300-a-day card dropping strategy, you'll want to use your drops on sites that have the highest likelihood or returning the drop. Notice the "if" in the prior statement. Not every or even most Entrecarders are taking that stated approach, but a good number apparently are and in my opinion it's a disconnect with reality to think otherwise.

3) There's not 300 blogs in the Entrecard system that interest me enough to read them on a regular basis nor do I have the time to do so. That's my reality and I'll bet it is the norm for most Entrecarders. How many times do I need to read about the newest Wordpress release or what Britney Spears is doing or the same contest entry blog or how great a program ____________________ is? Sure, I've posted similar content on occasion and my point is that there is a lot of duplicate or uninteresting content out there which "pretty much guarantees that [most] blogs will not be read" by me. I suspect that Entrecard knows this happens and hopes that its members will at least scan the articles they come across while card dropping, and Entrecard can't really say anything to the contrary from a corporate point of view. Well, actually, that's not true. Rather than say "Entrecard does not condone this type of service" they could have said "Entrecard encourages its members to read their fellow members' blogs as often as is feasible."

Now, for the reasons why I think that Sci-fi Herald's offer should be ignored. First, they have no track record of having actually dropped 300 cards a day on their own account, so why would anyone believe that they would or could drop 300 cards on someone else's account? As of this writing they are listed as a Casual and Relaxed card dropper and it costs a mere 21 ECs to advertise on their blog, which has been in the Entrecard system for about a month. Second, there is no identifying info for the blog that would give a potential client some comfort about letting them date your daughter, so to speak. The blog is hosted at Blogger and the About Me default has been removed. None of the entries that I read, some of which I found to be pretty interesting, contained any personal data or clue as to who the author is. Hmmmm. Third, Sci-fi Herald is only charging a $1 a day for a service that takes even the most nimble-fingered seasoned Entrecarders at least 30 minutes to blast through. Talk about a disconnect with reality! Add it up, and if it's not fishy, it's definitely naive. Do you want to give this person your password and ability to access your Entrecard account, potentially hijack your ECs, post in the forums in your name, send messages to other Entrecarders in your name, redirect your account to a porn site, upload a picture of their girlfriend as your Entrecard graphic and generally wreak havoc with your Entrecard reputation? {{{shudder}}}

I can speak from experience on this subject in that I have guest dropped for two different Entrecard members, neither of which I accepted payment from for so doing. ( I should note that I did keep the ECs that I earned from card dropping for one of the accounts.) I had my reasons for providing this service and it wasn't to make money from them. In fact, now that I have done it for free, I wouldn't guest drop for someone for less than $20 an hour. Honestly, it's a pain. Do I think the practice should be banned? Heck no, and welcome to the business world. I can agree that Entrecard might want to ban offers to guest drop from their Forums and Shop and even publish statements that they don't condone the practice, but I believe that there is room for trustworthy professional card droppers to provide a valuable service to Entrecarders who are seeking said services. Just don't ask me to do it for less than $20 an hour and without payment in advance, paypal only.


If I Were Joining Entrecard Today...  

I signed up for my first Entrecard account in December, and have signed up for a few more since then. Yet, if I were starting over again, I would definitely take a different approach. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not having or doing a Cow. I have really enjoyed the Entrecard "experience" and have benefited from the time and energy I have spent as an Entrecarder. Having said that, here's what I (and heavy on the "I") would do if I were starting fresh today:

1) Drop a card on the new blogs that grabbed my attention each day. New Entrecarders have made the decision to join and are likely hoping to meet other people and generate traffic to their site. Reviewing the newer blogs would allow me find sites that I want to return to later (or subscribe to), based on their content alone, and not in the hopes of winning a prize or even getting a return drop.

2) Drop a card on the blogs that I visit primarily to read their posts and comment when appropriate. In a community of 6000+ blogs it is unlikely that one will get to know more than a few dozen (or perhaps a few hundred) fellow Entrecarders on a first name basis. Next time around I would choose Quality over Quantity.

3) Visit the sites of Entrecarders who show up in my Drops Inbox at least once to see what their blog is all about. Bookmark, Favorite, or Subscribe to those that I find interesting. Oh yeah, drop cards on them, too.

4) Blog regularly. (Duh?) Believe it or not, many Entrecarders have commented about getting caught up with, addicted to, or distracted by participating in card dropping, entering contests, and climbing the category or traffic rankings, to a point where they don't get around to blogging. At the end of the day, great content will win out over great card dropping.

5) Use my Entrecard Credits (ECs) to advertise on sites that I like or have similar content to mine. Entrecard traffic is directed and active and there is nothing quite like it out there. You can choose where you want your ad to display and you can increase visits to your site by visiting other sites and dropping cards on them, whether you are seeking 5 visitors a day or 500.

Your Entrecard is a tool and you can choose how much or how little involvement you want in the Entrecard community. Set limits and goals for your time and activities and enjoy!


3 Entrecard Experiments  

Recently I had the opportunity to guest drop for another Entrecarder for 7 days, in addition to my regular multiple account activities. This particular Entrecarder buys ads in addition to dropping cards and has achieved good results in the form of a high ranking in their category and in the community at large. Instead of Power Dropping my way through 300 cards a day, as I might do on my own accounts, I used multiple card dropping strategies to ensure that this Entrecarder got plenty of traffic.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of blindly return dropping from the Drops Inbox. It might be polite to do so, but if one is seeking to get ranked above their peers, being nice doesn't necessarily cut it. The trick is to figure out how often to return drop from one's Drop Inbox and on which cards. Power Droppers do not need a return drop and Widget Surfers are not keeping track of who they dropped on and as such won't know if you returned the drop. Reciprocative Droppers do need a return drop if they are really playing the game, and part of my daily strategy included hitting both the major Recipro groups. In the end, Alexa showed a significant spike in traffic for the week I was at the helm. So, do I pat myself on the back? Nope. The truth is that it was that Entrecarder's ads and other activities that caused the majority of the spike and not my wonderful card dropping wizardry. Oh, the wizardry is important, but mostly when one opts to not advertise.

I learned that I wasn't interested in working with another Entrecarder's existing account, primarily because of the need to perform and the lack of revenue, or in other words, I had to work too hard for the return. So, I decided to try guest card dropping for an internet acquaintance who had not yet signed up for their own Entrecard account. Their blog had virtually no traffic and an Alexa ranking of 7,595,407, sporting just 10 entries since being started at the beginning of the year. Today marks the end of a week of card dropping activity and the Alexa 1 week average is 251,587. I placed a few ads on other new Entrecard accounts, but didn't spend more than 10 ECs in all. Again, it really wasn't all that fun and I did it mostly as an experiment. It took me about an hour a day and the bottom line is that while the traffic rank increase was significant, no one is going to pay me enough money to drop cards for them on a regular basis.

My third experiment consisted of making a concentrated effort to drop on new Entrecard accounts. This blog focuses on the Entrecard community and as such it should have a certain appeal to newer members as they go up the learning curve. I was interested in finding out how many new Entrecarders would return card drops versus more seasoned Entrecarders. I didn't keep stats as much as obtain a gut feel and my gut tells me that working with the noobs is a good choice. For a week or so I copied the link info from my Drops Inbox into an Excel spreadsheet and tried to determine which of the newer Entrecarders were return dropping on a regular basis. Not all that many as it turned out. Regardless, I believe there is significant value to dropping on the newest members of our community. Doing so says "Welcome" and gives these new Entrecarders a chance to visit your site from the get-go. Interestingly, I did notice an increase in RSS subscribers in the past week, which might be a result of the concentrated card dropping on new Entrecard accounts.

So, it's thumbs down on guest dropping (unless the Credit Exchange results in a historic high for the value of ECs) and a thumb's up for pointedly dropping on new Entrecarders.


U Subscribe - I Follow.....Ahkong.net  

I guess it started with the "U Comment - I Follow" movement, and was adapted for the Entrecard community by Lee Doyle to read U Drop - I Follow. I admit that for a while I was thinking of using "U Drop - I Smile" but figured it would engender the wrong reaction in folks. However, I have seen a "U Drop - I'm Happy" that made me smile.

Now, Deimos Tel`Arin (ahkong.net), who was one of the first Entrecarders to publish a list of sites to drop cards on, and was the first (to my knowledge) to come up with a Reciprocative Dropping group, is pushing a "U Subscribe - I Follow" fellowship. You subscribe to his blog feed via email and he will return the favor and subscribe to your blog's feed. What a great idea!

Perhaps you are saying "Duh" and yet there are some Entrecard-specific dynamics that make this new movement a valuable one, at least to me. I haven't yet run contests or used any other device to encourage readers to subscribe to my main blog, The Entrecarder and it took me almost two months to put a standard button on my site where folks could easily subscribe to my feed. Over the past couple of months I have routinely signed up for blog feeds as part of contests and usually unsubscribe a short time later. I don't feel much loyalty to a blogger just because they gave me a chance to win something, even more so when I don't get much from their blog entries. The same might hold true for the U-I Subscribers, but at least they are having to see my feed for a nanosecond before they move on.

I actually prefer to read blog posts via email feeds because I don't have to break my rythm when card dropping. I seem to be able to scan an emailed post quicker than reading it on the webpage and then just archive it when done. And for those who chose to only send a partial entry in their feed? Hasta la vista, baby. I don't care who you are, if you think your writing is so wonderful that you are going to get me to click through to your site to read beyond the teaser, I've got one word for you: Unsubscribe.

I expect that the honor system will have to be the order of the day for the U-I Subscribers and that's ok. It's not worth the time to try and track who is commenting back or dropping back and if someone really doesn't like what you are writing, then let them drop the feed.

Note: Deimos does something that is really slick and that I will probably start doing myself. He updates his Entrecard profile with the specific address of each new post so that the traffic goes to that page and builds a better overall site ranking as a result.


Poll Results: Number of Entrecard Accounts  

Here are the poll results from last week regarding the number of Entrecard accounts that voters have:

1 account........32 (43%)

2 accounts.......17 (23%)

3 accounts.......12 (16%)

4 accounts.......6 (8%)

5 accounts or More...6 (8%)

Thanks to all who voted last week. Please take the time to vote in this week's poll!


Entrecard: Your Blog, My Business  

A short while back I posted with the title Entrecard Power Dropper for Hire and talked about the possibility that one could earn some decent money dropping cards for other folks. It was more a mental exercise than anything else, so I was a bit surprised when I was approached by a fellow Entrecarder with a request to drop cards for them for a week or so. I had previously done business with this person, having sold them 50,000+ ECs and so I agreed to do so more as a gesture of gratitude than as an income activity.

Honestly, dropping cards is not an activity that I enjoy and when asked how much I would charge to continue with this service, I deferred and did not give an answer. I realized that someone out there would do likely do it for $6 an hour...but I wasn't really interested for less than $20 an hour. In my prior post on this topic I suggested that it might be possible to earn that rate if one could drop 300 cards in 15 minutes, get a 2/3 return drop rate, charge each client $1.50 a day, and sell the ECs for $7 per 1000. Unfortunately, with the changes to the security system, it appears that even nimble-fingered card droppers are lucky to drop 300 cards in 30 minutes and the price of ECs is dropping (as I predicted), with some folks selling them in the Promotions Forum for $4 per 1000. Therefore, if one was to earn $20 an hour they would have to charge each client $8 a day...not an unreasonable rate based on the value of some people's time, but it represented a more difficult task to find 10 clients who were each willing to pony up $250 a month for some Entrecard traffic.

I also found that while I could power drop on my accounts (dropping back on the cards in the Drops Inbox is nice but not the best strategy) as part of my EC harvesting strategy, my clients would have higher expectations for performance and that meant more time and focus put into the selection of which widgets to drop on. Now we're talking about an hour a day per client and only $2 per hour of potential income from the sale of the ECs, so earning $20 an hour would be out of the question for all but a very select clientele. Really, how many bloggers would dig deep into their pockets to the tune of $18 an hour for Entrecard traffic?

It did occur to me that there are thousands of bloggers who would like to get an Entrecard traffic spike, but don't want to have to learn the ropes or spend the time doing all that card dropping (or both.) And getting traffic was just one function of having an Entrecard account...in fact, you don't need to actually have an Entrecard account as long as SOMEONE is pointing their Entrecard account to your blog. Hmmmm. What if...., what if I were to maintain ownership of the Entrecard account and "rent" out its traffic to someone for a week or a month? The system tracks User ID for ranking and card drops/ad prices, and the biggest challenge would be the fact that the URL would change...unless I were to just redirect it to the client's site.

I would own the Entrecard account and make sure that it got plenty of visits/drops, so that the client would get instant traffic. They would have to supply me with the 125x125 ad and I'd send them the widget code to put on their blog. They pay me for the rental period (in advance) and I'd keep all the ECs for future sale. They could even throw in some more cash and I'd buy ads for them. They would have to trust that they would get traffic, but with a few testimonials from other satisfied customers and my history in the Entrecard community, I think I could find some takers.

The tough spot is still how much to charge so that it is worth my time to drop cards for someone else's benefit. I just don't think that I can make it fly on an hourly basis or per dropped card, but maybe there is a price that someone would be willing to pay to experience an Entrecard traffic spike, like maybe $50 for a week? And if they want to continue on I could always just sell them that Entrecard account for a reasonable price. It's just an idea, and there are plenty of details that would have to be worked out, but I'll bet there are some folks who treat their blog like a business and $50 wouldn't be a big deal to see what all the buzz is about, especially when they would only have to spend a few minutes to get it going.

Whether or not I actually go ahead and follow through with this idea, I believe that eventually someone will, seeing as the Entrecard community is continuing to grow and generate more and more noise in the blogging world. Entrepreneurs abound and there are plenty of ways to make a buck with one's blog...or your blog, as the case may be.


Entrecarders: Small Fish, Small Pond?  

Last November I attended a class (put on by our local college's extension division) entitled Intermediate Internet Marketing. I was interested to see what constituted intermediate versus beginning material and it was a free class, so I figured I couldn't lose too much by attending. While no expert myself, I ended up fielding many questions on topics that I knew as much about as did the instructor. Blogging was covered, but only in passing, and that in the context of supporting your other marketing activities, both off and online.

In my last post I suggested that bloggers weren't typical people and to follow up that statement I will further suggest that bloggers aren't typical internet marketers, if in fact they are attempting to monetize their blogs in the first place. Prior to signing up for Entrecard I have had blogs on at least 10 different places, like niche sites related to weight-loss, myspace, the local newspaper's website, etc. That is typical (in my never quite humble opinion) of the VAST majority of the blogosphere. The percentage of pro-money bloggers versus no-money bloggers is much higher in the Entrecard community than one might find in any other place I can think of. (How's that for covering my ignorance?)

Not surprisingly, some of the largest categories in the Entrecard community are Make Money Online (398) and Internet Marketing (197). Many of the blogs listed in other categories are attempting to make money online via internet marketing, too, but have chosen to place themselves in a category more suited to their content. With it's big "Profit!" on its main page, Entrecard is promoting itself as a tool to build your traffic and make money with your blog. And I'm here to say that it works! Long Live Entrecard! Of course, I haven't actually made money with my blog in the way that Graham likely envisioned the typical Entrecarder would. I've made money harvesting and selling ECs, not as a result of pay-per-review or affiliate ads, although I think I made a buck from a short-lived Scratchback widget and I won a cool coffee mug from Ken at YouCanLearnSeries.com.

What struck me most when I first joined the community was the presence of the Johns and other big name bloggers, although I wasn't familiar enough with the A list to know who they were. Most of the blogs were better than mine (not too hard) and these folks were serious about their blogging, whether for money or not. My broad business background and general online experiences told me that while there are millions of bloggers, the pro-money bloggers are a relatively small pond, especially when compared to the ocean of Internet Marketers. And as it has turned out, there are only a few big fish that are actually active in this small pond, which I'm ok with as I'm just a very small fish myself.

I have been around long enough to have visited sites where people get paid a penny per comment, and some industrious folks can earn upwards of $3 a day for their 4+ hours online. Well, bully for them, but that pond is too small for me. Even some of the better known blogger communities boast of their top people earning $200 a month for their 80 posts or something like that. Sheesh. Don't these people have a life? Oh yeah, I'm one of them. Forget that degree in Accounting and the 25 years in the business world, right now I'm scrambling for pennies a day from Project Wonderful? Reality check!

We all pick the pond that we are most comfortable in and Entrecard is a wonderful place to be, whether you are tunnel-visioned on Your Blog, Your Business or Please Don't Think I'm Trying to Make Money with My Feel Good Blog. There's room for all sorts of bloggers here in this small pond, although I'm seriously questioning what the hell I'm doing here! I think it was a time and place thing. I came in at just the right time to make some good money ($600+) from selling ECs and now I'm trying to figure out how much interest I have in staying involved. I probably wouldn't have written these last two posts if I wasn't ticked off by the assertive ignorance of Pat and Beth, with their respective posts on the main Entrecard blog. Why should I care about them boneheads and their clear lack of perspective beyond their little view on the world? Small fish, small pond.

As a joke I suggested that I would sell a one page ebook about how to make money from Entrecard. I've now covered much of what I was going to put in the ebook and if someone is really interested in making more money from selling ECs than the average Entrecarder does from affiliate ads, then wade through my posts and see how I did it.

As for me, I'm looking for a bigger pond.


Entrecard: Trade Show or Block Party?  

It's likely that most of us have attended or worked a trade show, those delightful temporary booth cities dedicated to marketing and self-promotion. Likewise, we've probably participated in some form of block party, where neighbors get together to socialize and "shorten the fences" so to speak. Personally, I'm not a fan of either activity as I'm not one for idle, shallow conversation, er, I mean, sales pitches and chit chat about the weather and who's running for PTA President. And while there is a full spectrum of personality types represented in the Entrecard community, we are in the minority in that we choose to communicate via the written word or graphical presentation. Honestly, we're (as a group) not typical, because typically MOST people don't spend hours at their computers creating content in blogs or clicking on widgets with an E on them.

Working a trade show can be exhilarating and exhausting at the same time and one of the challenges faced is finding time to go see the other exhibits. Often all one has time for is to make a quick run through, only occasionally slowing down to drop a business card in a drawing and maybe making a mental note to follow up with one or more of the exhibitors that caught our interest. Even if one has the time to browse the event at a more leisurely pace, there many booths that we just aren't interested in what they are promoting. Sure, every conversation is an opportunity to promote our deal, but unless it's really slow most folks working a trade show are interested in pitching and not getting pitched. Either way, before long it's back to our booth and back to business. It's normal to get to know the folks nearest your booth, especially if traffic is slow. However, few folks are there just to "make friends" and it's hard to justify the cost and time expenditure if one doesn't conduct any real business but has a great time schmoozing.

Block parties can be loads of fun (I suppose) and a great way to get to know one's neighbors. BYOB and find out about that couple who just moved into the Jenkins' house. Watch the kids run around and talk football, golf, soccer (yeah, right) with the other sports fans in your neighborhood. Forge new friendships that could develop into wonderful lifelong relationships. The opportunity might arise where it's appropriate to talk about your business without seeming too obnoxious and you could end up with some new clients. However, as "business" isn't foremost on your mind, the real value in the event is the relationships you build and maintain with your neighbors.

So what is Entrecard more akin to, a trade show or a block party?

The answer depends on you. There is no "correct" way to Entrecard...and anyone who tells you otherwise is assertively ignorant. Entrecard is an opportunity and you can make out of it what you want to, and your desires and motivation might not be the same as the next Entrecarder. Even if Graham were to opine as to why he's created this place, that doesn't mean he is dictating how we choose to use it.

To be blunt...I'm not a member of Entrecard because I'm looking to socialize or build non-business relationships. I don't read many blogs and usually end up canceling my subscriptions because most of what I read doesn't interest me. I'm in a hurry when I drop cards, mostly because I'm dropping on 5+ accounts and my strategy has been to harvest as many credits as I can in as short a time frame as possible. Credits = cash and cash = justification for time expended creating content for blogs. I don't comment on others' blogs unless I have a real motivation to do so, and not just to create backlinks. I'm not playing by the rules, and honestly, I'm coming to the end of my interest with Entrecard. While I believe it is possible to earn thousands every month just by harvesting and selling Entrecredits, it's also very BORING. I was hoping to earn a few bucks while I wrote some blogs on topics of interest to me, but when I found that I was spending more time dropping cards than writing, I realized that I wasn't going to be a "true" blogger. Ironically, this blog is the one that I write in the most frequently and it has zero value outside of the Entrecard community. (Although, I do have fun with Where on Earth Am I? and What Do YOU See?)

So, while I wait to see what Graham and Phirate decide to do with the Credit Exchange, what do you think Tiger's chances are in this week's tournament? And is that a snowflake I just saw?

EDIT: Tiger won in dramatic fashion, and it did start snowing just a little.


Recipro-Wars, Speed Dropping, BEST Card Dropping Strategy  

It was great to read the various card dropping strategies put forth in the Entrecard Forum recently (or regularly.) I've written on this topic several times and it warrants yet another post as Graham and Phirate are constantly changing the rules, which impacts what one should do be the most efficient in their card dropping adventure.

The newest twist is an attempt to slow down the use of bots to drop on widgets by changing the browser generated "Drop yours" to an image file that says "Drop". This change has a negative impact on legitimate droppers in that one can no longer turn off images to speed up page load time and it's no longer possible to use the Find function to quickly get to a below the fold widget. While some have written about using Opera or the Opera-ish add on for Firefox, if the image doesn't actually load one can get an "invalid" message. (I haven't pursued this avenue too far and maybe it's still possible to drop with images off. Check the Forum for the latest tips.)

There's also been a lot of discussion about how long it takes to drop 300 cards. I first got the figure of 20 drops a minute from Turnip who was using folders of 50 bookmarks and opening multiple tabs. He must have a better computer and connection than I do because opening more than 20 tabs at a time causes my computer to run at 1996 speeds. Other speed demons have claimed to be able to drop 300 cards in 15 minutes, but I have not been able to match that pace...legitimately. (I did get Busted once when I dropped 50 cards in 30 seconds. Oops.) Recently I have seen 25 minutes pop up as the most frequent best pace listed in the forums, which starts to make Site Hoppin look pretty attractive as an option. (Atta Boy, Max!)

Even the Power Droppers have figured out that 300 drops in 25 minutes that only yields 100 return drops is not at good as 300 drops in 30 minutes where one receives 200 cards back. Reciprocative (or recipro) dropping has some distinct advantages as a strategy, which is not to say that I'll ever post a U DROP -I FOLLOW tag on my blogs. As of the moment there are two recipro groups (3 if you count ahkong.net) that each commit to returning drops from their group (Arnold of Chalk is Cheap) or return the drop of everyone who drops on them (Lee Doyle's aforementioned U DROP consortium.) The bottom line is that it doesn't make sense to commit to return dropping on every card that passes through your inbox, so why would I commit to that by putting a U DROP I FOLLOW image on my site? Arnold's recipro-group is a bit different in that if everyone plays by the rules and drops on all the other group members, everyone in the group wins.

Kudos to Lee and his Followers for being good Entrecarders, but I'd join Arnold's group first, for a couple of reasons. I have mentioned in the past that I sometimes drop cards while riding my recumbent exercycle in the morning. The computer I use is an old Gateway running Windows 2000 and with limited ram...which means I can't open multiple tabs and I get the thrill of watching every image load, one by one. I have decided that the Followers are a sneaky group of bloggers who tend (not all, but more than half) to bury their Entrecard deep in their page, only loading after almost everything else. Most of the Followers aren't going to be on Power Dropping's list of quick loading sites (or BendzG's.) It as if they are saying to their fellow Followers, "Hah! You committed to dropping back and so it doesn't matter where I put my Entrecard, because you have to wade through my garbage to find it!" At least Arnold has set up some rules about where his recipro-group is supposed to place their widget so that it cuts down on the amount of time required to make the drop.

While I'm on a roll, let me dispel a popular myth about a fundamental "good" card dropping strategy, that of dropping cards on those cards in your Inbox. Now, this sage advice CAN be effective for some people and at some times of the day. However, just like assuming that Power Dropping or Recipro Dropping are ALWAYS good strategies, thinking that one should ALWAYS return drops on the cards in their Inbox just isn't smart. I further got a chuckle when I read someone's advice about returning drops on your Top Droppers. Wrong. Well, I guess it's not wrong if it makes you feel good. But it's not the most effective strategy for using your 300 drops every day. Yes, I am assuming that the reason you drop 300 cards is that you are trying to increase the number of drops on your widget and ramp up your ad price and traffic stats. I suppose it's possible that the reason you drop the max every day is that you just love it.

So what's my advice? Here we go:
1) Get onto every power dropping list you can. You never have to return these drops because the people who use these lists are about speed and not reciprocation.
2) Look at your Top Droppers and figure out which ones are dropping on you regardless of whether or not you drop on them. Then make sure you don't drop on them. They are likely dropping out of folders and they aren't watching their Inbox to see who reciprocated.
3) Bookmark the best of the Followers (Lee's list) and hit them early in the day. (Tag, they're It. They should get back to you the same day or shame on them!)
4) Watch your Inbox for Entrecards you haven't seen before, drop on them, and bookmark the fast loading ones in a folder for future Power Dropping.
5) Drop on Entrecards whose price is between 100 - 250 ECs. They're active and not getting so many cards through their Inbox that yours will go unnoticed.
6) Widget surf via multiple tabs so that you always have a new site ready to click on. The odds are good that if they are advertising, they are active and you should get a return drop.
7) Power drop the rest of your 300 from bookmark folders of fast loading sites.
8) Find some good browser add-ons. I like using the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox because it lets me see the links in the Inbox so I can Linky open them. Also, it helps identify newer Entrecards (by their User ID) that I should return drop on.

OK, so maybe the above is not the BEST strategy, yet hopefully you will get some ideas that will help you be more efficient in your card dropping.


One Buck Wiki...One Buck WOW!  

There is a fundamental acceptance of the entrepreneurial wiki here at Entrecard and for those of us who can't afford to toss $1000 a pop for the MillionDollarWiki, the guys from Zedomax (SiteHoppin, etc.) are serving up OneBuckWiki. Are you branding a certain term in relation to your blog? Are you willing to invest some cash ($20 at the moment) to tie up keywords at OneBuckWiki for the next 15+ years? Put your SEO hat on and cruise on over and snap up keywords that in 6 months you'll regret that you passed on today. OneBuckWiki is Entrecard user #10, if that tells you anything about how long they have been part of the Entrecard community.

Seriously, other than signing up for traffic and affiliate programs, participating in the Entrecard community, and the occasional stumble, what are you really doing to extend your site's reach? I'm not talking about BlogCatalog or Scratchback. What have you done to get traffic to your blog that comes directly from the search engine motherlode? I'll freely admit that I don't have any expertise in SEO and so when I got my keywords from OneBuckWiki I just looked at what others had purchased at MillionDollarWiki and chose some of those. Why not take some of those Entrecredits you have been storing up and sell them to get the cash to buy some OneBuckWiki keywords? In the cash goes to PayPal and back out again. It's like you never really had it. Or, use your Project Wonderful funds or other money earned from online activities to fund your keyword purchase. Regardless of how you do it, I don't believe you will find a better investment for purchasing keywords for the long haul than OneBuckWiki.

Results from "When Joined Entrecard" Poll  

November 07..........5 (19%)

December 07..........7 (26%)

January 08...........4 (15%)

February 08..........9 (34%)

March 08.............1 (3%)


Entrecard "Community" Not "Unity"  

I've posted this semi-rant before, but I'm motivated to do so again. I'm often amused and confused at the human tendency to see things from our own point of view and then presume that others must be daft to not see them the same way. I'm as guilty of this as the next guy, only I must admit that I usually know when I'm doing it. Today's post is a result of Graham opening up a conversation about potential paths that Entrecard can take to facilitate its growth and functionality.

I was paying attention when Graham posted about Entrecard's improved Alexa rank and didn't miss that he has big plans for this community and wants it to continue to grow exponentially. I also find it amazing that he and Phirate are so accessible and survey current community members about possible changes and enhancements. Even if I don't agree with all the decisions, I really like being asked for my input.

Back to my "unity" observation. Folks, we're not going to agree on much of anything, much less everything. People are diverse in their motivations and goals for participating in the Entrecard community. And that's ok. Power Droppers want to blast through 300 drops as fast as possible and don't have the same reasoning that a stop, drop, and comment community member might have. Some people (like me) have been spending 4+ hours a day in Entrecard related activities and others are lucky to squeeze in 2 hours a week. ALL are valued members of the community and the key to success is to create a community where ALL are welcome (within reason.)

Let's find solutions that ADD to what we have and will appeal to more and more bloggers. While we will lose the "small town" feel that existed when I first showed up in December, I don't see how we lose in the long run when there are 20,000 or 100,000 Entrecarders. Those of us fortunate enough to get started early in the game SHOULD be in a great position to leverage the increased Entrecard popularity into greater individual blog readership and popularity.

By all means continue to opine and let your voice be heard. I guess what I'm really saying is that there isn't just one way to be an Entrecarder and let's put some more plates on the table, because there's a flood of new folks arriving and we want them to feel welcome.


Almost Spring EntreCleaning  

I can't say that the slow response times on Entrecard this week or the lag in drops registering were the reasons for my decision, but it certainly didn't help things. No, after dropping 6000+ cards in one day earlier this week I realized that I want a life and that while it was fun to see my total ECs go up by over 10000 in 24 hours, I really didn't want to repeat the exercise. So I closed down most of my Entrecard accounts and consolidated most of the Biz Beacon accounts into this one by moving the posts over. I even went so far as to shut off public access to most of the defunct blogs so folks won't spend time looking for the non-existent Entrecard.

Don't worry...I've still got 4 active accounts and I'm not going to suffer Entrecard withdrawals. My Internet Marketing Adventures, Intunique, and Where On Earth Am I? will still stay involved in the Entrecard community. I had to ask myself which blogs was I willing to spend the effort to update 2+ times a week and which ones were people choosing to advertise on. I'll still post occasionally on Double Oh Adventures, I'm Losing 60 Pounds, U C What?, The Backseat Driver, and New Product Ideas, as well as try and develop Serial Shorts, Rock with Horns, Home Loan Insider, My Family Link, Recumbent Biking, Emergency Preparedness, The Personality Translator, and a few others yet unnamed. If you couldn't tell, I made a list of subjects that I am interested in writing about.

There were definitely two Entrecard considerations, aside from the temporary issues listed above, the first being the new Credit Exchange, and the second being the ad pricing structure, which is slated for change as soon as Entrecard can get to it. It's my belief that the Credit Exchange will drive the price of ECs to around $5 per thousand (before fees), down from the $10 per thousand listed by the various 3rd party vendors. As it stands, the lack of market knowledge and an easy system for exchanging credits creates an artificial scarcity that has propped up the price of ECs.

There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of Entrecarders who would like to sell their ECs but haven't wanted to get a widget or otherwise make the effort. I believe that it is a vastly smaller number of folks who want to fork out cash for ECs and so once the Exchange is in place, these few buyers will be in a buyer's market and be able to find great deals, if not through the exchange, via 3rd party vendors. I suppose that Entrecard could artificially prop up the price, but that puts us where we are now with the current 3rd party vendors making the sales. I've made over $500 of profit in the past 7 weeks selling ECs and yet I would have made more money at the local fast food joint, when you figure out the hourly return on time expended. I shouldn't have spent the time I did and have decided to scale back my time expenditures in the future.

I also recognized that it was relatively easy to drive up the price of one's widget to 300 ECs per day and above. However, what type of return was someone getting from advertising on one of my sites? Likely not very good. So, by reducing the number of sites I'm managing I'm hoping to improve overall traffic and provide a better value to potential advertisers.

On a somewhat related note, I totaled up my Drops and Drops Received for my accounts and determined that I'm averaging a 63.5% return drop rate. (57392 cards dropped by me, 36451 cards dropped on my sites.) That's pretty close to the 66 2/3% rate that I suggested in a prior post.

Entrecard should be lauded for creating a system where bloggers can earn some money while building traffic to their blogs. My experience has shown that it is possible to earn an income from the Entrecard community and I expect that in the coming months we'll see more and more "professional" power droppers arrive in the Entrecard community.

NOTE: It was very helpful to use Spottt stats to determine which of my blogs were getting more clicks than the others. My top site was Where On Earth Am I?

2nd NOTE: I pulled all of my Project Wonderful ad boxes. $30 a month revenue for 20 sites was just giving the space away. I'd rather give it away for FREE to people I like.


Bec's Life Has Changed!  

Bec's Life is sporting a brand new template and a very professional look. Bec was one of the first folks I met in the Entrecard community and I'm currently featuring her smiling face on this blog. Bec has been making money online for over a decade and is clearly focused on Internet Marketing. For whatever reason, I've followed Bec into a number of different traffic generators and affiliate programs, probably because I feel so positive when I'm on her site (it's her smile) and the site is so easy to read.

As I mentioned, Bec's Life is where I find out about new resources for bloggers and her post regarding Traffic Era is just one example. She warned us that it is addicting and it is. I found myself coming up for air an hour later, wondering just what I'd have to do to get 10/10 clocks and what exactly it meant. Addictions aside, I spend so much time with things Entrecard that it is refreshing to find some additional sites to help build my web businesses.

As of this writing Bec's feed button shows 149 readers and I'm sure this will continue to grow as more folks find Bec's Life. One thing I noticed that was missing with the new layout was her About page, but no worries, on her Links page she has lists her other sites, where one can find lots of photos and some background information.

So do yourself a favor and put Bec on your list of sites to frequent and get your dose of Aussie sunshine!


Entrecard Power Dropper For Hire  

I first noticed the ebay listing last week. An enterprising Entrecarder was offering their services to all takers for just $120 a month, which was later reduced to $80.

"You have found a Entrecard Professional Droppering Service For Your Site, Simply speaking I will log in as you and Drop every day up to 300 Cards on blogs (roughly 2hrs of my time everyday) for you for 30 days."

Sadly, no one stepped up to hire this professional Entrecard dropper and the auction ended today. Yet the problem wasn't in the idea but in the fact they used ebay to promote it. That and the obvious lack of credibility issues inherent in the ad. For example, Turnip and BendzG, among others, use a benchmark of 20 cards per minute or 300 in 15 minutes for their power dropping blasts. I chuckled at the "roughly 2hrs of my time" estimate used in the same ad as "Professional Droppering." That's so wrong on several counts that it almost made me overlook the "up to 300 Cards" deal killer. I'm guessing that the Professional Dropperinger intended to drop 300 cards a day, but they covered themselves in case they only dropped two. Oops. Good idea, bad ad.

So is there room for professional Entrecard droppers? As of the moment the answer is a resounding YES!

Here's why it works: Nimble-fingered power droppers can grind through 1200 drops an hour. Images off, tabs open, multiple windows open, clear cookies after each set and start over. It's the page loading that slows things down, not the clicking. Once the 300 pages are open it's just a matter of click, tab, click, tab, click, tab, and so on. 60 seconds to clear cookies and log in to the next account and away you go.

Ok, so now you have 1200 ECs, right? Wrong. Make it 2000 ECs with the return drops. Power dropping daily on reciprocative droppers almost guarantees a 50% or higher return drop rate. I've plugged in a 66 1/3 rate because I believe it can be done. So now we are at 2000 ECs for one hour of effort. Now comes the tough part. You've got to sell those ECs to get your cash, less the Entrecard Credit Exchange and paypal fees. So, pick an exchange rate of let's say....$7 per 1000, net of fees. 2000 per hour at $7 net = $14 an hour.

What? That's not enough to quit your day job? OK...then what say you actually charge the blog owners for the increased traffic they are receiving as a result of your card dropping. After all, up to this point all they have had to do is put the Entrecard widget on their blog and you have done the rest. It's proven that Entrecard will improve their traffic numbers and that's got to be worth something, right? Is it worth $1 a day? $2 a day? I know it's worth something...and I guess we'll just have to see. No one jumped on the $80 a month, but I'm thinking that if you threw in some Digging, Stumbling, and Commenting with your power dropping, you might be able to get $50-100 a month ON TOP of what you get from your card dropping. And it's not like there is a shortage of bloggers out there who might want to increase their traffic.

So let's recap: $14 an hour, $1.50 day per client = another $6 an hour, and now we're at $20 an hour. How many hours would anyone want to do this a day? One hour a day = $600 a month, two hours = $1200, three hours = $1800 and so on. Could you be a professional Entrecard Dropper for 8 hours a day and $4800 a month? I doubt it...but I hope you get the point. It's theoretically possible to make some pretty good money from Entrecard every month if you play your Entrecards right.

Of course, there are a few possible glitches that might mess up this grand scheme: 1) There might not be enough buyers for the ECs you (and others) are trying to sell at any price; 2) Graham changes the rules and you don't earn ECs from dropping cards. 3) You develop carpal tunnel from all the card dropping.

No plan is perfect, but what is encouraging is that the Entreconomy has plenty of room for Entrepreneurs who are looking to make some money from this vibrant and growing community.

Entrecard Dropping Tools  

Speeding up the Entrecard dropping process is on a lot of Entrecarders' minds as they click, click, click their way through up to 300 sites per day, per account. Dropping your entrecard on others' widgets is not a requirement of Entrecard participation nor is it the only route to Entrecard success (eg-Joe Tech.) However, for those of us who are clicking for at least an hour a day, any legitimate method of becoming more efficient is gladly embraced. The Entrecard resources that I'm writing about today deal with power dropping and reciprocative (recipro) dropping.

Turnip of Power was one of the first, if not the first, to offer a list of bookmarks for those who are interested in power dropping. Deimos of Ahkong.net initially offered a list of sites to drop on, but has changed his approach to reflect his status as the King of the Reciprocal Drop by establishing the Reciprocative Entrecarders Guild. Power Dropping and Reciprocative Dropping are the two most popular methods currently in use in the Entrecard community, but that could change as folks become more familiar with Site Hoppin.

Site Hoppin is a browser in a browser that--as the name suggests--allows one to automatically hop from site to site. With the ability to create a custom list of sites to cruise through and set the time before the next hop, Site Hoppin can work well for Entrecarders who want to take a bit more casual approach to Entrecard dropping.

PowerDropping.com is taking the speed approach to power dropping and publishes a list of Entrecard sites by their site loading times. When opening 10-100 sites at once (either via folders or the Linky add-on) one doesn't want to get hung up by slow sites and this type of list can trim minutes off of the daily card dropping chore. (Entrecard Hacks is taking a similar approach.)

A soon to be debuted Reciprocative card dropping site is run by Chalk is Cheap.Site author Arnold is hoping to get 200 participants in the group, each of whom will commit to dropping on all the other members' sites on a daily basis. Rounding out this review of Entrecard dropping tools is a recent entry in the drop by folders approach found at TysBlog.

Technorati...an Unlikely Blogger Community?  

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch wrote recently about Technorati's shift in direction back to focusing on its core blogging audience. Says the sage one "That change foreshadows the upcoming shift - which places the Technorati site itself as an anchor in a new blog advertising network." Arrington goes on to suggest that Technorati's ad service will be more akin to Ad Brite than Glam or FM.

Of course, Technorati has an amazing edge on other ad services due to its site rankings and well-established tag system. Considering that many bloggers already have a profile at Technorati, it's not a stretch to think that they might add social networking features in addition to their proposed ad services. The internet can be an overwhelmingly large and lonely place to dwell and many companies have created successful enterprises by sizing the web down to neighborhoods and communities that allow people to conceptually put their arms around their own space.

I suppose the big question is does a community feel enhance advertising or detract from it? If the former, then expect to see Technorati integrate their core services, ad services and an improved social element in the future.

They Want Me....Which Means They Don't Know Me  

It's a good thing I make money sellings ECs and don't have to rely on my Affiliate program income to justify the time I spend blogging. It's hard to pick one word to describe my success with these various programs, so let me try a couple: pathetic, miserable, non-existent, anemic, disappointing, or maybe just worthless.

I'm not too surprised, considering that no one outside of the Entrecard community visits my blogs and only a small percentage of visitors actually read anything I've written. I don't expect many sales to Entrecarders, seeing as how they have access to the same Affiliate programs that I do. Maybe one day I'll get real and have the kind of blog that draws traffic via search engines or some other methodology and someone will get all excited about an ad on one of my sites. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the process of selecting the ads for my various sites, much like choosing my numbers for EntreBall.

Which makes it all the more amusing that I'm getting emails from Affiliate programs that I didn't apply to, and reminders from those that I did sign up for but have yet to earn a dime through. For example, I just checked my email and there is an offer from Pepperjam to run ads for the Playboy Store. Hmmmm...now which site would be the most appropriate one for Shop The Bunny? TravelRes.com, Hotels.com, and SpaLook.com have all sent me offers this week to sign up and I'm wondering if I should bother to spend the time to do so when I know that I don't have the traffic to support it.

I'll continue to muse over this problem as I peruse the links for Shop The Bunny, you know, 'cuz it's...research.

11 Entrecard "Characters"  

1) Turnip of Power - All things to Almonds…
2) Sam Freedom's Internet Marketing Controversy Blog
3) BendzG - Blog Contests and Stuff
4) Fantasy Baseball Advice, Insight and Bluster
5) Deimos Tel`Arin’s Ahkong.net - Gamer, Blogger, Philosopher
6) Saphrym
7) The Realtor - Cleveland Ohio Real Estate Blog
8) Meerkat Mistress - Nothing of Particular Interest
9) Evil Woobie - The Darker Side of Things
10) Joe Tech
11) Sue Doe-Nim

EntreBall...Try Your Luck!  

EntreBall is published by Linkfog.com and is loads of fun for just 30 ECs. The premise is simple: 42 squares matching up to the possible numbers red numbers in the semi-weekly Powerball drawing are available to purchase at a cost of 10 ECs apiece, a maximum of 3 numbers to a person. The pot has been sweetened beyond the 420 ECs from entry fees by the sponsorship of that particular drawing by one or more Entrecarders. For example, the current drawing has been sponsored to the tune of 1000ECs by Josh's Unconventional Marketing Blog, who also happens to be the previous drawing's winner of 1000ECs via his other blog, That Mutt.

30 ECs isn't much to spend for a little fun and a possible 1000EC payback. More than that, a little clique of regular participants is developing and one gets the sense that these people are fun-loving entrepreneurial types. Choosing one's numbers early in the current drawing period means that your entrecard will be displayed for the other players to see, a well-thought out bonus.

I hope the EntreBall continues to grow in popularity and the rules change so that each person only gets to purchase a single square per drawing. That way there'd be 42 different players for each drawing and Linkfog just might consider opening up a second section.

Entrecard Ad Mania  

Entrecard wants you to advertise...and advertise a lot. I suspect that the Admins are hoping that most people will spend the ECs they earn (by dropping cards and having cards dropped on them) on ads and not try and cash them out. Why? A couple of reasons:

1) Advertising brings the community together. While it is possible to set one's ad preferences to automatically accept ad requests, I would imagine that most people still want to approve specific ads, at least the first time around. I'm not so jaded (yet) as to not feel a sense of gratitude when someone chooses to advertise on my blog and I tend to remember them to a greater degree than those who just drop on my widget.

2) Advertising keeps the Entreconomy healthy. With thousands of Entrecarders dropping up to 300 cards a day, each one creating two credits, that's a lot of ECs running around. Advertising removes 75% of these from circulation and keeps folks focused on card dropping to earn ECs instead of just accepting ads on their site.

3) Advertising will drive traffic to your site. While it's true that you might get some traffic from power droppers based on how quickly your site loads and where your card is placed, and more traffic could arrive via reciprocative dropping methods, advertising provides an opportunity for your Entrecard to be seen by visitors to other sites who might never have had a reason to visit your site otherwise.

There are several Entrecarders who believe in advertising so much that they actually purchase additional ECs so they can cover a broader range of sites. If one is serious about their blog and looking to quickly build traffic and readership, advertising on Entrecard can be a great strategy.


START Making Money With Your Entrecard Blog  

John Holland used a party analogy to help folks decide which type of people with which they would be most comfortable socializing. Most groups or communities can similarly be divided into categories based on common interest, traits, or purpose. The Entrecard community, by its very nature as a group of bloggers, already represents a specific slice of humanity, and it could also be posited that Entrecarders are primarily made up of bloggers who are actively seeking to promote their blogs, not just write them.

Furthermore, there is a large contingency of Entrecarders who are promoting their blogs in an attempt to monetize them, and many of these are blogging about making money with their blogs. Finally, there is a small group of Entrecarders who are attempting to make money from their Entrecard activities, of which I am one.

I make money harvesting and selling Entrecard credits (ECs.) I'll venture to say that I've made more money in 2008 with my blogs than many of the Entrecarders who are blogging about making money blogging. That's because our goals are different. They're blogging about making money with their blogs and I'm making money with my blogs. They are getting small checks from Google Adsense and other affiliate programs and I am getting paypal transfers from Entrecarders who are buying my ECs. Entrecarders want ECs and I sell ECs, usually in groups of 5000 & 10000.

It doesn't really matter what I write about or how often I post. My goal is to post a couple of times a week per blog and I'm falling behind on that. Does anyone really care? No, not really. Not as long as my sites load quickly and I drop on their sites, too. Now that doesn't mean that I can churn out nonsensical garbage....that wouldn't work and Entrecard would shut down my accounts. So what do I write about more than anything else? Entrecard.

I have blogs about Entrecard contests, Entrecard related polls, Entrecard FAQs, Entrecard advertising strategies, Entrecard credit sales, my experiences with Entrecard, Entrecard noobies, my favourite Entrecard sites, reviews of other Entrecard blogs, and now this one about making money with Entrecard. Yes, I could have combined them into one mother of a blog, but once I started creating blogs for Entrecard niches it just made sense to keep going that direction. And I'm sure I will start more Entrecard related blogs in the future.

Why? Because the Entrecard community will continue to grow and grow and grow, especially when folks figure out they can make money every day just by dropping some cards. New Entrecarders have lots to learn and that means there is a steady stream of people who are interested in the information contained in my blogs. Some of those new Entrecarders will decide to drop cards on my sites, my ad prices will go up and I'll have even more ECs to sell via the new Credit Exchange or directly to the customer.

And that means that I'll be making more and more money from Entrecard...and I just might blog about that every once in a while, too.

Are Entrecard Contests a Waste of Time?  

I didn't enter as many contests in February as I did in January. As a result, I didn't win much of anything. True, there are thousands of Entrecarders who have been added to the potential contestant pool...but there are also many more folks who are holding contests.


So what. I just can't get excited about a 200-1000 EC grand prize at this point. What with 20 different Entrecard accounts I get 200 ECs just on daily ad revenue alone. Drop like a madman for a couple of hours and I've rolled up 2000+ ECs. I've even burned out on subscribing to blogs as the vehicle for entering contests. By the time I get the email subscription I have already been to their sites and decided whether or not I wanted to read the posts. Archive. Archive. Archive. Oh, why bother signing up in the first place? You didn't really want me as a reader...you just wanted bigger numbers for your chicklet.

So, methinks, I'll enter those contests with larger prizes, as long as I don't have to write a 300 word review, Digg & Stumble, etc. Make me work longer than 15 minutes for the CHANCE to win 3000 ECs and I'm wondering why I just didn't drop cards instead and get a guaranteed 500 ECs. Still, I wonder how those bigger prize contests are faring....

Not too well, if some recent posts are any indication. Did you enter Saphrym's $250 Grand Prize contest? Apparently only 37 people did, myself included. I like those odds and was willing to spend 15 minutes posting and linking to get in the game. Radical Blogger was surprised to receive a measly 15 entries to his 10000 EC giveaway (1st Prize - 5000 ECs) and 13 year old Marko from Blogging Tips got a whopping 11 entries to his 3500 EC contest. I didn't even enter these latter two contests, opting instead to try to create a caption for some dogs and trying to crack a code.

I repeat, are Entrecard contests a waste of time?

I guess the better question is why did I participate in the contests listed above? As far as Saphrym's contest goes, it was due to the large cash prize. Putting a caption on the doggie photo? I liked the contest in that it was quirky and I could exercise some creativity. Cracking the code? It was a mental challenge (I failed).

I believe the time has come for folks to eschew the 100-1000 EC contests and step up to larger prizes where more work is required of the contestant. Why? Short term spikes in subscriptions due to "sign-up" contests will aid rankings but not gain readership over the long haul. There are other ways than holding a contest to spend your ECs that will build relationships in the Entrecard community, like repeatedly advertising on someone widget.

A suggestion for contest promoters: Shorter time frames, not ending on the last day of the month, guaranteed reward for submitting a fully qualified entry, and make if fun!

Results of "What Type Of Dropper" Poll  

Power...................11 (33%)
Reciprocative.......14 (42%)
Widget Surfer........4 (12%)
Top 3 & Popular.....0 (0%)
Favorites................1 (3%)
Random................2 (6%)
Other.....................1 (3%)
What's a Dropper?.0 (0%)