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2008-04-02

Entrecard Exposé: "U Drop - I Follow" Ploy  

Just how dumb am I? Silly me, I just assumed that one could take at face value that sites carrying the U Drop - I Follow graphic would actually drop back on me after I had dropped my Entrecard on them. There's no question in my mind that Lee Doyle, the concept's originator, was sincere in his desire to create a network of Entrecarders who would commit to the U Drop - I Follow idea. And I believed him...up until I ran an experiment last week that yielded some surprising results.

Lee's blog contains the story of how the U Drop - I Follow movement started:

I was sat here thinking about how many people I drop my card on in Entrecard and how many drops I get back and it sort of made me a bit mad. I drop 300 cards a day and only get about 50-60 drops back, this sucks I think.

So I looked at the right side of my blog and looked at my very nice “U COMMENT / I FOLLOW” button that removed the nofollow code from my blog… I thought “I wish people would do something like this….” then I thought “Why don’t you make your own funky button that fits with the entrecard badge?” and I did…


Lee's idea was a winner! Dozens of Entrecarders signed up and agreed to Lee's three simple rules:

- Must display the badge next to your Entrecard!
- Must link back to this page with the badge (Use the code! At the bottom!)
- Post a comment bellow to tell me you JOINED!


I'd guess that within a week or two of the time that Lee first created his "funky" graphic that most active Entrecarders had started to see it pop up on sites they would visit in the Entrecard community. While not every Entrecarder pays attention to their drop statistics, those that do had likely felt similarly to Lee about how difficult it was to find sites who would return your favor of a dropped card with a card drop back on your site. It was around this same time that Deimos of ahkong.net started his Reciprocative EntreCarders Guild, also seeking to improve his return drop ratio, among other goals. A month or so later, Arthur of ChalkisCheap.co.za started his Recipro-Drops group, with the same goal of improving return drop rates. However, what set Lee's group apart--and what caught our eye--was that "funky" graphic that had to be displayed near the Entrecard widget. As Graham Langdon (Entrecard Founder) wrote in a comment on Lee's site:

Lee Doyle you’ve started a movement!

I'll admit that I'm not a typical Entrecarder, as evidenced by the fact that I have 20 Entrecard accounts, don't usually advertise on others' sites, and don't comment for any other reason than I truly want to comment. My focus has been on card dropping to generate Entrecard Credits (ECs) and then selling them. That approach served me well from late January through early March, as I earned over $600 in profit from the sale of ECs. Seeing as how my primary goal was to generate ECs as efficiently as possible, I saw the U Drop - I Follow movement as a great idea. Here was a group of Entrecarders who were pledging to return a drop and went so far as to include a funky graphic that advertised said commitment. No, I wasn't about to sign up myself, as my goals were different and I was juggling multiple accounts. I knew that I wouldn't return a drop on every card that showed up in one Drop Inbox, much less 20 of them. However, Lee's list of participants was easy to access and quick to open (Linky, in tabs, images off) and I started to visit his site a couple of times a week to drop cards on his Followers. I didn't really expect to get a 100% return drop rate from the Followers due to vacations, illness, my card passing through their inbox before they could drop on it, and so on. Yet, I did kinda think I would get an 80-90% return drop rate...just not 40%.

40%? Sure, that's a better return drop rate than just randomly choosing Entrcards to drop on, but a lower rate than one would get from dropping Entrecarders on the Popular page and the Top 3 in each category. 40%? Boo! Change the funky graphic to U Drop - I Might Follow. Searching for an answer to explain this apparent skullduggery, I came to the following conclusion:

Kent, you're an idiot.

I made an assumption about the purpose of being a Follower and need to re-evaluate that assumption. That funky graphic wasn't an invitation to me...it was a membership pin. Ha! Look at me! I belong to the Followers club and we drop back and forth on each other. Don't you wish you were part of our group?!

No, I don't. And armed with the knowledge that most of the Followers don't return drops on non-members of their club, I'll be danged if I use any of my 300 drops a day just because someone has a U Drop - I Follow graphic on their site. It's too bad, really, because there is a need for true Followers, those Entrecarders who are willing to commit to return dropping on each card that arrives in their Drops Inbox. Otherwise, being a Follower could be just a good ploy to get people to drop on you and lots of knuckleheads like me will fall for it.

Allow me to clarify a few things about this exposé. I want to reiterate that I believe that Lee Doyle is sincere and adamant about his movement. Nowhere does it state that the Followers must return drop on non-members. For all I know, Lee gets a 100% return drop rate when he visits each site on his list, which he claims to do on a daily basis. Let me also state that I used 3 separate Entrecard accounts over a period of 4 days to determine the Followers' return drop rate of 40%. All 3 accounts were dormant, meaning that they were existing accounts from which I had removed the Entrecard widget and with which I had made no other recent card drops prior to the experiment. I copied the cards (Link Info - Web Developer Add-on) in each Drop Inbox to an Excel spreadsheet that contained the list of Followers from Lee's blog. I allowed 48 hours to receive the return drop and have compiled a list of Followers who returned a drop on at least 2 of the 3 accounts. These folks deserve True Follower status and you can feel free to use this list yourself to try your own experiment:

Lee Doyle
joanjoyce
xavier media
techies den
blog.bljconsultant
windowsaddict
lilyarbee
clickdtalk
el gigante verdoso
wypov
vkeong
resell rights world
wenlopred
michael aulia
the buzz
designers depot
fragile heart
fighting with writing
foolsville 2.0
pinoy united magazine
diet pulpit
sewing mom
newyork traveler
4-4-4-
enchanted crafts
2 witches blog
u.silencios
pinay wife speaks
u.silencios
happier life
learning-review
ulupong dot com
mom oft wounder 18
how i make money from home
mycornerstonetrio
The Aging Disco Diva

Note: If you are on Lee's list and feel you are a True Follower and that I omitted you from the above list in error, please comment below and I'll give you another try.

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20 comments: to “ Entrecard Exposé: "U Drop - I Follow" Ploy

  • A.
    April 2, 2008 at 2:31 PM  

    I deliberately stayed away from those groups - the pressure would be far too much for me! I always try to drop back on anyone in my inbox by working my way through it systematically, but just occasionally my system fails and I miss a few. The guilt is terrible:)

    Still, 40% isn't good.

  • CyberCelt
    April 2, 2008 at 3:26 PM  

    I watched the do follow movement on blogs turn my blogs into a catcher's mitt for every spam commenter on the web.

    I am still do follow, but I took the banner off my blogs.

    When I saw the U Drop/I Follow popu up under the cards, I thought to myself, "Oh, no, here we go again."

    All the initiative and energy you spent with the cards and spreadsheet will serve you well in the marketing field. You will succeed. Just follow your heart.

  • Pam Hoffman
    April 2, 2008 at 4:17 PM  

    If there is a limit of 300 drops that I may commit per day, there NO WAY I could commit to a reciprocal drop on each person who drops on me.

    Now, I don't believe more than 300 visit my site a day and drop (heck, google analytics tells me so!) yet there COULD be.

    And if there were, say 400 a day? It would take me a whole EC day and part of another to visit all 400 of them.

    Of course, by that time, I'm getting more visits.

    Pure reciprocation is not likely (i don't delve into 'impossible' ever as things do become possible at times) as there is no way to catch up with something which may exceed your output of 300 drops.

    We are all human, I think we all do the best we can and I certainly don't expect each and every person to come and visit me.

    I know that what I provide may hold absolutely no interest whatsoever to a particular person. I know because I have been to sites which I'd rather not revisit again.

    For whatever reason, I just don't want to.

    I do go sometimes, when I can. I go to see if anything interesting has happened since my last visit that I can relate to.

    I didn't know what that 'you drop, i follow' thing was all about so I'm gratful for the explanation.

    Pam Hoffman
    http://seminarlist.blogspot.com

  • Tam
    April 2, 2008 at 4:24 PM  

    FWIW, I don't think the U Drop I Follow members only drop on each other.

    A member myself, I get under 50% drops back when I try dropping on the list.

  • Deimos Tel`Arin
    April 2, 2008 at 10:48 PM  

    Hah! Nice one, Kent. :)

    Thanks for guinea pigging for us! ;)

    I can get more drops on myself by blowing all my EntreCredits on Entre-Ads though. :p

    Nice analysis, though. :D

  • The Freelance Guru
    April 2, 2008 at 11:28 PM  

    I've been umming and awing about it and decided to stay away in the end. It seemed to good to be true.

  • pinaywife
    April 3, 2008 at 1:25 AM  

    im on the list :) i have a few entrecard account but i only commited this site for this "u drop, i follow" movement. and everyday, i do my utmost to drop on those on my inbox..

    but i simply can reciprocate all drops on my other entrecard accounts so i didn't put my other sites on the list.

    :) im a slow dropper coz i actually read at least 3-4 posts of the blogs i visit..

  • Stine
    April 3, 2008 at 2:00 AM  

    Not a member of any of those - I know I'm bound to miss some in my inbox due to "too many" (no such thing!) drops, time difference and so on. I reciprocate to everyone in my inbox first thing in the morning and try to catch up during the day. No need to belong to a club - I have a 40-50% ratio anyway! Probably less, actually - my "stats" are based on numbers only, and I get some new droppers every day.
    Entrecard isn't an exact science - which is fine by me. I would be pretty tedious to go and visit the same sites every day...

  • Lee Doyle
    April 3, 2008 at 3:29 AM  

    Im sorry, but I hope your not expecting to get a 60%+ from the links. As you know people have other things to do and some of the list is outdated as I do not have the time to update.

    If you would like to lend a hand or have some idea for the U DROP please let me know. I would love some help with it.

  • biz beacon
    April 3, 2008 at 7:11 AM  

    @a. (A Changing Life),

    I understand your sentiment about feeling the pressure of returning drops if one were to join one of the reciprocative dropping groups. However, as you can see from my article and some of the comments here, many people are likely returning drops less often than you would (guilt avoidance) and you should probably rethink your decision.

    @cybercelt (Cool Adzine for Marketers),

    No question in my mind that the U Comment movement could lead to abuse by spammers. My idea in writing this article was to bring to light the possibility that Entrecarders could put the U Drop banner on their site and potentially receive visits and drops each day without hardly ever returning the favor. As Lee stated in his comment here, he doesn't have the time to police the list and unless someone does what I did to verify the return drops, U Drop is destined to operate on the honor system. As such, I'll buy Lee's 60% as a good honor-driven return drop rate, but I have a hard time with a rate of 40% or below. I could have published a list of sites that didn't return drops on any of the 3 accounts I used, but my intent was to reward, not punish. Thanks for your comment about marketing. I am truly seeking to find my place in this online world and follow my heart at the same time.

    @Pam,

    Thanks for commenting here! And thanks for all your comments on my Where On Earth Am I? site. What caught my interest about the U Drop movement and its Followers was the idea that they were dedicated to reciprocating card drops. Deimos has his own list and I doubt there is an Entrecarder who is more dedicated than he is about returning drops, to a point where he sends out ECs to those he couldn't drop on when he has exceeded his daily 300 drop limit. Our circumstances differ and so do our strategies. My view is that if one's intent in putting the U Drop banner on their site was to be a True Follower and life gets in the way sometimes, then that's ok.

    @Tam (Fighting with Writing),

    Thanks for the input re your return drop rate. I've got you listed as a True Follower and appreciate the effort you put forth to earn that status.

    @Deimos (Ahkong.net),

    Always good to see your smiling face! Thanks to you, Lee, Arthur, and others, Reciprocative Dropping is one of the pillars that hold up the Entrecard community. I like the way you have structured your Guild list by the number of daily drops each member anticipates making, which allows one to pick their level of participation. And I'm looking forward to the official U Subscribe - I Follow fellowship to start!

    @freelance guru (The Freelance Guru),

    I hope my article and the comments here has provided some good input for your evaluation of joining the Followers or one of the other recipro groups. Maybe what we need is a way to toggle on or off our Recipro status so others can know that we're in the mood and will return drops.

    @pinaywife (pinaywifespeaks),

    Having multiple Entrecard accounts can be time-consuming to say the least, so the fact that you have maintained True Follower status on your pinaywife blog is admirable. And if you read 3-4 posts on this site, I hope you chose short ones!

    @stine (Mother's Got A Dot Com),

    It's true that the stats that are easy to derive from total cards dropped on others and total cards dropped on us are likely inflated due to random drops, power drops, and ad-driven drops. Over my 20 Entrecard accounts, my average ratio works out to about 2 cards dropped on me for every 3 cards dropped on others. It wasn't until I ran this experiment did I get a better idea of how many of my drops were being reciprocated, and as Lee points out, 60% would be really good. Then when you factor in the other sources of cards dropped on your site you might find yourself getting 100% or more. Joe Tech has previously stated that he doesn't drop cards and I doubt that the A listers do very often, so card dropping is the only way to make the Popular page. We each get to choose how many cards to drop each day (up to 300, plus a few more if you're fast) and upon which sites. In the end, I'd like to spend most of my 300 drops on people who appreciate the visit and who are similarly minded, and I think that is the beauty of the U Drop movement, as well as the other recipro groups.

    @Lee (LeeDoyle.com),

    Thanks for being a good sport! I was hoping you'd understand that I wasn't out to trash your U Drop movement, but in fact am a fan of it and was surprised by the larger-than-expected number of non-Followers on the list. As I mentioned above, my intent wasn't to punish those who didn't return my drops by publishing their names, especially as there are a number of valid reasons for their not dropping. I'd be glad to continue to test your list and send you those whom I feel aren't True Followers. A suggestion for your site would be to include your expectations for prospective Followers about how often (and how quickly) they should return drops on others in order to not diminish the credibility of the U Drop movement.

    To All:

    As I've stated, I'm a fan of these groups, even if I'm not a member of them. There are many days when I am trying to figure out which blogs to drop on in order to get the highest number of return drops and I count on the recipro groups to lead the way. If I drop 100 cards on Followers I have an expectation of getting a good number of cards back, because the main reason I am dropping on them on not someone else is their membership in the U Drop movement. I have almost 7000 other sites to choose from and if you are telling me you are a Follower with the intent on getting a card drop from me, please be a True Follower and do it.

    Thanks for all of your comments!

    -Kent

  • The Aging Disco Diva
    April 3, 2008 at 2:04 PM  

    Hmmm.... you left the Diva off of your list and I not only make it a point to return drops I have a group of about 60 blogs that I have bookmarked and visit each day (this is the group that I take the time to read daily)You are in my bookmarked group, so I drop entrecards on every day that I can (baring being sick as a dog or out of town for work related trips)I don't have time to check to see how many return my drops, I figure those who like what I produce will drop by regularly and those that don't... will live in ignorance and shame, LOL.

  • biz beacon
    April 3, 2008 at 2:13 PM  

    Diva (The Aging Disco Diva),

    I'm so glad you stopped by! You definitely earned True Follower status and I will add you to the list. My confusion arose from not being able to find your link on Lee's list. (Maybe a redirect?) Either way, thanks for calling my attention to the omission.

  • Iris
    April 3, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

    I saw my two site on the list, thanks...i always make sure i won't miss any dropper in my inbox that's my way of thanking them. I believe in "U drop i follow" of Lee Doyle, It's just that it's too much work for him, i have read in one of he's post that he is looking for a team to update the list and do those tricky tracking stuff. anyway, thanks for sharing this great post, i am sure this brings the attention to those that have "U Drop, I follow" and yet did not follow.

  • Lynne
    April 3, 2008 at 5:35 PM  

    I make every attempt to drop on every person who has dropped on me and then some. I always start out with my inbox. Unfortunately, the last couple of days I've been very busy and haven't been online as much. Today, by the time I could check my EC inbox, I'd had over 200 cards dropped on my site. The inbox only holds about 100, so that means I missed over 100 and I feel terrible about that.

  • Haney
    April 4, 2008 at 12:22 AM  

    Lee Doyle should also emphasis on reading other's content or leaving a comment would be an added advantage.

  • Margaret
    April 4, 2008 at 3:54 PM  

    I was invited to join several of these reciprocal drop groups - Lee's included, but here's my take on the whole deal.

    I'm not online enough to see everyone who drops on me. The inbox only holds 98 and when a new one comes in, one drops off. That means unless I'm on top of it every few hours or so, I'm going to miss someone.

    I like to drop on the blogs I've purchased ads from. Since I may have 100-200 ads purchased at any one time, that won't leave me many "extras". I do drop on every card in my inbox, but they come after the people who have advertised on my site and the people who I've purchased ads from.

    Margaret

  • maline
    April 4, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

    thanks for this nice post! i am not a member of any group, but first thing i do when i log in to entrecard is to drop back to anyone in my inbox. But of course, given the limits of entrecard system,i can't reciprocate back to all because the drop inbox space is limited to 98 members.

    I also stayed away from other entrecard lists like Ahkong's (and the other one i forgot)because it limits the sites i go to everyday.If i create a list of 300 entrecard members so i could save my self time in dropping cards, i also miss the opportunity to discover other blogs because i limited myself only to those 300.

    Entrecard members have grown, so it's an adventure to see new entrecard sites everyday.

    Funny, i just dropped lee doyle's card, and there's no udrop-ifollow badge under it. hmmm

  • Mrs. Mecomber
    April 5, 2008 at 6:44 AM  

    Great post. I'm also glad to be on it, because I d try very hard to drop, drop, drop on those who have dropped on mine. Some days I get over 300 Entrecarders dropping! There's no way I could recip-drop since Entrecard site only shows you the most recent 100 or so. But I try! I think that's the thing... that we try.

    Also, there have been some complaints about blogs not having their EC widget up. I wonder if this is accurate-- every evening (EST), the EC server seems overwhelmed. I get a lot of pages not showing up, and EC cards are frequently missing-- if I wait and refresh, the EC widgets show up. So I don't think people are taking down their widgets-- I think the EC servers are slow and not always displaying them.

    Thanks for a great post! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have 200 more drops to make....

  • maline
    April 7, 2008 at 7:12 AM  

    just after i left a comment here,i went to my inbox and i'm not sure if it's been there too long that i didn't notice or it's just a new feature of entrecard drop inbox,but i think the drop inbox is enough to reciprocate to those droppers.

    plus, it has a feature to see the sites i haven't dropped cards on. cool enough for me. :D

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