About
2008-03-30

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.

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22 comments: to “ Entrecard's Disconnect with Reality

  • Nur Atari
    March 30, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

    oh.... i read your article carefully before i dropped my card... (for you not to say that card dropping is useless).... have a nice day my friend... thanks for theat very "hot" post......

  • Margaret
    March 30, 2008 at 9:34 AM  

    Very well written article and I read every word of it.

    I'm a 300 per day dropper myself and like you, seldom read every blog I drop on although I will skim at least the first post.

    I have found way too many blogs that are 300 per-day droppers are not updating content on a daily basis -- or even a weekly basis when it comes down to it. I'm not saying you HAVE to write a post a day -- I don't, but I think you need to write often as in 2-3 times per week if you're going to be a "good blogger".

    Commenting on other sites and posts was where I was sadly lacking and where I am trying to do a better job. I am seeing increased traffic to my own blog because of my increased participation in other blogs, so if nothing else, EntreCard has helped me vastly in that regard. It's taught me how to be a GREAT blogger which in my definition is someone who writes good, original content on their own blog, then visits and comments on good, original content on other blogs.

    It takes a lot of time to do all this. Fortunately, I read and type pretty fast which is a huge help, but realize that I am not the "norm" among readers and writers. It's one of the reasons I'm in a top spot, though -- that and the work ethic I have when it comes to EntreCard, my blog and my writing.

    While EntreCard may have a disconnect with reality as you put it, it's not a big one as from other posts I've read, Graham and Phirate seem to be very in tune with what it takes to make their system work for someone. Perhaps the answer they gave to this particular issue wasn't as well thought out or phrased as it could have been, but I'm pretty sure they're in the know about the general practices among the community members. I think that's one of the reasons for the 300 maximum. It may have been an arbitrary number that needs to be adjusted, but it's as good a starting point as any, plus it's easy to remember and 3 brings good luck :)

    ê¿ê

  • biz beacon
    March 30, 2008 at 10:05 AM  

    Ha! When I write I don't actually think that anyone will read the entire post, so thanks to those that do.

    The comments section of Blogger leaves much to be desired and one of the problems is the way it handles backlinks (or maybe it's just my lack of expertise), so here's some clarification:

    Nur atari writes a blog called SN-UM which can be found at http://nuratari.blogspot.com/

    and

    Margaret writes Eyespi20.com

  • Mike Riley
    March 30, 2008 at 8:02 PM  

    VERY interesting post, biz beacon. I would only add that, with the new "EC credits are easily sold" policies, even fewer articles will be read. Let's face it; if you're picking cotton, do you take the time to look at every plant after you've cleared the crop? If you want to view my take on the whole thing, visit:
    the-blog-lab.blogspot.com.
    [You will have to go in a few postings to find my three-part overview of the EntreCard "lifestyle". Hope you do...

  • Monique
    March 30, 2008 at 9:43 PM  

    My blog is interesting enough for you to read on a daily basis :)... or at least I hope it is.

    But I agree, I do a lot of dropping and after I weed out all the money makers and the gossip, there isn't much left to read.

  • biz beacon
    March 31, 2008 at 6:20 AM  

    Monique,

    You bring up a point that I should clarify regarding blogs worth reading and my particular interests. There are many, many good blogs in the Entrecard community that are entertaining and interesting to many, many people. The dictates of my family responsibilities don't allow for my casual perusing and enjoyment of most of these fine blogs. There is always something else that I should be doing in place of reading blogs and so I end up skipping past much of what I see, unless something catches my eye or attention and warrants further review. I hope that I don't come across as viewing others' blogs are being without value or uninteresting in general, for that is not how I feel. The truth is I don't have the luxury of time to read even a small fraction of the blogs that I drop cards on.

  • Rahul P
    March 31, 2008 at 6:44 AM  

    Nice article Mr. Biz Beacon,(forgive me I searched a bit but didn't find your real name on the front page). Yeah, a 300-per day dropper I too find it difficult to go through anything more than a 100 posts on any day while dropping, I ought to improve, as the benefits are anything
    but symbiotic. By the way I had passed your entrebank blog, I have something like 5000 idle credits on my account and am willing to sell for the cheapest prices than everyone in the market. Say $25 per 3000? If you like the price or you want to partner with me plz drop by
    a message on my blog http://palanthirofisengard.blogspot.com/

    or mail me at rahuliit2003@yahoo.co.in

  • Arachne Jericho
    March 31, 2008 at 8:23 AM  

    I don't drop 300 cards a day, and I suppose I do read a lot of blog entries. But the saving point is that most blogs don't update every single day, so at any one point in time you don't really have "# of drops today" entries to read. You might have perhaps a quarter that.

    So I think that point is a bit exaggerated. (And this also splashes your first point.)

    As for RSS feeds, they aren't all they're cracked up to be. My RSS feed inbox is pretty heavy, and if the point of feeds is for people to have a higher probability of reading articles, that's a bit questionable (and there have been some articles in the blogosphere to this point, such as on Skelliewag and Problogger). Whether people who actually visit everyday or people who just subscribe that have a more intimate relationship with your site, it's probably more of a wash than it's made out to be.

    Most folks aren't power droppers, either, and apparently there are quite a few who are along for the scenery.

  • biz beacon
    March 31, 2008 at 8:58 AM  

    Arachne,

    Thanks for commenting! It does make a difference why one is involved in the Entrecard community (hence my newest poll) and I think you make your point well in your post Getting the Best Out of Entrecard: 5 Benefits I Reaped Beyond Hits or Ads. Your statement, "Entrecard is a social networking system", expresses how you see Entrecard, whereas I see Entrecard as an opportunity to make money. No wonder you feel differently than I do! Fortunately, the Entrecard community is large enough to accommodate both of us. :-)

    Note: Arachne is the author of SpontaneousDerivation.com.

  • coffeesister |_|)
    March 31, 2008 at 3:33 PM  

    While I definitely see the potential for making money, my first concern is traffic.. In my own Entrecard-dropping, I try to reciprocate before going from blog to blog & - as I do scan each blog I'm dropping on, stopping to read what catches my interst - it's my hope SOME who drop their Entrecards on my blog do the same!? Thanx for your thoughts; hits versus views have been much on my mind. ^_^

    Drink Deeply [of me])
    "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." ~ Walter Hagen

  • nabink
    March 31, 2008 at 3:54 PM  

    Hmm ...

    What is "quality article?" This would be good question.

    I drop and hence i read.
    If you want to measure the popularity on the scale of comment; you will be doomed to write more "hottie"!

    Great content!
    nabin

  • Jo
    March 31, 2008 at 6:00 PM  

    Good post. I don't drop very many cards per day, but I do take time to skim the first post, sometimes comment and sometimes stumble. I'm more interested in the networking possibilities of Entrecard than earning ec.

    BTW, I stumbled your post.

  • Arachne Jericho
    March 31, 2008 at 7:37 PM  

    Hi biz,

    True that. Different strokes for different folks. :)

    EntreCard is a bizarre system that way: advertising with social networking aspects. It's definitely a blessing for blogs that are starting up, and you can still drive traffic without placing a single ad just by being sociable/reciprocal.

    And the economic system of credits of course allows people to be more flexible than most social networking.

    EntreCard: I just ain't got it all figured out.

  • Pamps
    March 31, 2008 at 8:12 PM  

    I drop 300 cards a day and yes I dont read blogs when I do dropping of my card but I make sure that I'll go back to the site of members that is worth reading like this one. Besides 300 drops can be made in just an hour or maybe 30 minutes if you have a very fast connection. If you know how.

    -Pamps
    Pamps' Blog Corner
    The Expedition
    Pamps' Compilation of Videos

  • biz beacon
    March 31, 2008 at 9:01 PM  

    @Coffeesister (Carpe Coffee |_|))

    I think your viewpoint is more representative of good, successful bloggers than mine is. Really this article is about allowing us all to use the Entrecard tool as we see fit, as long as it doesn't violate the Entrecard TOS.

    @nabin,

    It's true that this article has generated more comments than just about any previous article I've written. Maybe it was the somewhat controversial title? I'm a big fan of the Entrecard community and appreciate that Graham and Phirate don't try and rule it with an iron fist and are open to member suggestions. Thanks for your comment! (nabin has two blogs listed on his profile, Time! and My Frame of Reference.

    @jo, (CornerScribe)

    I've never been a great networker, but I have no doubt you'll have more fun and build your blog faster by networking than just dropping cards. Thanks for the stumble!

    @pamps,

    You've helped make my point that some of us read blogs, just not while we are in dropping mode. Thanks.

  • jordanmcclements
    April 1, 2008 at 6:08 AM  

    I agree it is a pain, and you would be lucky if 1% of people dropping cards actaully read even one of your posts..

    Maybe if you have a 10 year old child with time on their hands..?

  • biz beacon
    April 1, 2008 at 6:20 AM  

    Jordan,

    I chuckled when I read your comment, not knowing if you had your tongue in your cheek or not. I DO have a 10 year old son whom I used to pay to drop cards for me on some of my Entrecard accounts, but he quickly got bored of the process and begged off.

    Note: Jordan has an interesting site at Make Money From Photos Online that describes his online income activities from his other site, IrishViews.com

  • rak-wholesale
    April 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

    Well written and great points you make! I'm new to entrecard myself and must admit that although I do glance over the blogs, I only read the ones that interest me. I don't think the whole entrecard economy is conducive to actively participate or 'favorite' blogs (although your article was good enough for me to stumble it )

    Now, entrecard discusses the whole 'commuter' concept -which is probably all you get from the system - that and some entrecard points.. If your site is appealing enough - maybe just maybe, some card dropper will actually stick around to see if there is anything interesting to read - although the way I see it - it's mostly drop and run (my statistics back that up as well...) while traffic from other referrers and searches keep visitors on my site an average of 14 minutes or so, entrecard traffic averages at a whopping 37 seconds (I guess that's the time it takes for the page to load, the card to be dropped and the Thanks! message to be displayed)

    But that's just my 2 cents.

  • Offgrid
    April 1, 2008 at 12:13 PM  

    Good article - I read it all the way through. I agree and my card drops have slowed to between 50-100/day. I may fall out of 3rd place as a result but I'm learning a lot more than I was by dropping 300 a day.

  • The Freelance Guru
    April 1, 2008 at 10:27 PM  

    I'm new to this whole entrecard thing, and to be honest I'm finding it hard to see the point. Surely the effect is no better than blogexplosion. All that will happen is that someone comes onto you site, scrolls to the entrecard, drops theirs and moves on. How can that be good for any site?

  • Verlin Martin
    April 2, 2008 at 7:49 AM  

    Everyone of these deals that comes out promises readers; the most they can deliver is hits.

    As long as you get the hits, some of them will actually read and (if it's free) will make it worth it ;)

  • Guardian Angel
    April 2, 2008 at 9:14 AM  

    Traffic is traffic. It's up to us how to convince our visitors to stay long and read our posts. I am viewing blog posts as I drop but if the article is not as interesting as this one, who would care to waste their time to read and post a comment?

    Actually, I also made some posts about Entrecard esp. how to convince visitors to be readers, and how to maximze the dropping. Nope, it's not a software. It's practical approach.

    Thanks for this nice post.

 
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