Entrecard's New Pricing - Recap of My Forum Posts  

"It was awful" was Phirate's comment about the transition to a new Entrecard pricing system that launched at 11 PM (ET) April 7th. While a few of us had been prepped by what we heard in the Developer Chat sessions last Saturday, most Entrecarders were caught unawares and the forums were full of angry and confused folks trying to figure out the new system. I've compiled some of my forum posts from the past few days, just in case you missed them.

Seems quiet... almost too quiet...
Do you mean like the new Ad Pricing system?


Twitter had this answer for us:

Graham Langdon: Looks like today is the day for new Entrecard pricing 39 minutes ago from web

New Pricing of Ads
2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512...

If I'm getting this right, most active Entrecarders will have 6 ads in their queue at a minimum and only a few will have more than 10.


I'm jumping the gun of course (blame Graham for letting the cat out of the bag before there was an official explanation) but aren't most ads going to cost either 128, 256, 512, or 1024 ECs? That's not a lot of variety or choice. Those with lower prices will get snapped up out of desperation alone, and those with higher prices 2048, 4096, etc., will only be available to the EntreElite. Combine the new pricing system with an artificially propped up EC value and you have to decide if it's worth $2, $4, $8, $16 a DAY to advertise on someone's site. $40 a month will get you space on some pretty good blogs if you buy it directly from them outside of via the Entrecard system, and there's no 75% tax charged to the blog owner.


It is hard to imagine someone forking over 500ECs or more for a spot on any of my blogs as I don't have the traffic to support it. On the other hand, 4096 ECs would be a bargain to get onto Chow's site. Nothing has been mentioned yet about how the current queue system that allows for up to 6 pending ads will change. They can't all be charged the same rate, so what happens when the guy who paid his 512 ECs to apply for an ad gets rejected and the guy behind him who paid 1024 moves up in the line? Occasionally rejecting an ad could double or quadruple your ECs earned from ads. (Did that make sense?)

Also, since John Chow's ads expire at the same time everyday, if there is no pending queue then everyone will be hovering around waiting for the price to drop in half. Same applies for any of the popular blogs. While that happens now to some degree, whether or not the situation gets worse will depend on how they handle pending ads.


I haven't been buying many ads at all (2 in the last month) due to the desire to see how well I could build my return drop rate and numbers via my own card drops. My ad price is at 515 ECs at the moment and has been steadily climbing. I've been hoarding my ECs from my various Entrecard accounts and am still waiting for the new Credit Exchange to determine what I am going to do with my 43000+ ECs. I might buy an ad on Chow's site just so I can say I did...or not.

You gotta like change if you're going to enjoy Entrecard!

New pricing switches on today
I agree that the competitive aspect of making the Top 3 in category or the Popular page helped stay focused during the many tedious hours of card dropping.

I do hope they keep the Popular page as determined by number of drops received. And why not add a page for top Reciprocal Dropping percentages? There is no denying that placement on "Top" pages gets one "bonus" traffic.


I think the value of advertising on Chow's site is tied into one's emphasis on branding and how well their Entrecard graphic tells their story.


I don't entirely share your enthusiasm that this change will reward real traffic numbers. The "market" will still operate without perfect information and popularity, graphics, marketing, and other factors will continue to offset writing quality and blog content.


Biggest problem I see with CTR info is that not everyone clicks through to get to the next site they will visit. I'm sure many of us would like a peek at some additional Entrecard database info.


I don't advertise enough to write credibly on the subject, but I would be interested in reading about Entrecarders' experiences advertising on the A listers' sites. Maybe Graham should spearhead it as the numbers seem to support the idea that ads on many Popular page blogs deliver more visits via Entrecard ads than do ads on A listers' blogs.


I brought that point up in the other thread in the Features and Ideas forum. As there is no longer a pending queue, what would stop someone from canceling a 512EC ad in favor of the next one in line at 1024EC? Double your return. Maybe Phirate should program it to default it so everyone's ad price drops down to replace the canceled ad.

Entrecard's Trying To Make Money
I've seen numerous comments about how the tax is necessary to avoid inflation, but I can't recall anyone backing their statements up with proof or even a good example. What's the concern? Too many ECs in the system? So what? A new Entrecarder can't advertise on many sites as it is unless they buy ECs. If the concern was that the "rich will get richer" ie, the most popular blogs will be able to command a higher ad rate and therefore earn more ECs than other Entrecarders, haven't we just taken a step in that direction? If I were Graham I would be blasting out tweets to all the A-listers telling them about how they can now get the respect they deserve for their traffic. Then, if they remove most of the tax, these A-listers could be earning some real money from Entrecard. Don't get me wrong...I'm no A list sycophant...I just think Entrecard would benefit from the inclusion of more of the A listers.

And I hope that Entrecard is making some money! Hire some assistants for Phirate. Plan on more servers. Do some direct marketing. The more Entrecarders the merrier!


I'm willing to let a few days go by and let the prices settle down to their market driven levels. My first choice would have been to let us set our own prices. My opinion is this new system doesn't offer enough choices between 128 and 512 for it to come close to reflecting a demand driven vehicle. There is nothing magic about the ad cost progression that Entrecard chose to use and I believe the factor they overlooked was the cap on ECs that one can earn via dropping credits. Dropping 300 cards a day will generate about 400 ECs (more or less) when return drops are considered, and that isn't sufficient to buy an ad on most of the top 3 in category sites. We still don't have good CTR info (which Entrecard could provide if they wanted to) and are left to base our ad choices on popularity and demand, which might mean something for the two ends of the spectrum, but lose meaning for most blogs.


Honestly, my biggest concern for the community is that folks will just leave as a result of this change and not bother to say why, but end up bashing Entrecard in their blogs. As I have mentioned elsewhere, this change should have prompted Graham to personally contact the A listers and let them know that Entrecard had gotten closer to a market driven economy. This isn't a case of just a few people being unhappy with the changes. I'll bet there are 20 people who don't like it for every one who vents in the forums.

Ad pricing out of synch with ability to earn
It's kinda funny that the new search feature is part of the reason that this new pricing system might fail to please most Entrecarders. Previously it was arduous to sort through the different categories to see the low priced ads, and then it was a crap shoot as to whether or not they were active. Now, almost all of the ads have been bumped up to 16 or 32 ECs and I predict that we'll be seeing 64 to 128 as a minimum on most accounts. Compared to buying an ad for 1024, buying 33 ads at 32 ECs seems like a better deal. So, the bottom end of the scale will be gobbled up and we'll be looking at choosing between sites in the 128 - 512 range, because hardly anyone's site will be allowed to drop below 64 or 32 EC. Based on the feeding frenzy last night, I'm betting there are dozens of Entrecarders who are hovering over the search by lowest cost, just as they used to jump on the Recent page. And since Entrecarders can purchase ECs to use for advertising, those who choose not to are at a distinct disadvantage. Entrecard has the ability to make modifications that could help:

1. Let us have access to CTR data. We get it now when we run an ad on someone's widget, why not let us have it for sites we would like to advertise on?
2. Reduce or remove the tax rate to let Entrecarders keep more of the ECs that were used to buy ads on their sites. That might encourage some folks to improve their content so as to get more people interested in advertising on their site.
3. Change the ad cost progression to provide more options in the 200-500 range, so that Entrecarders have more chances to "exchange" a day's worth of card dropping for ads on sites they are interested in, without having to come out of pocket to buy ECs.



Thanks for chiming in. Those of us who were fortunate enough to participate in the Dev Chats and get an advance word about the pricing change were likely less rattled than the majority of Entrecarders who logged in and got blindsided. Glad to hear you are implementing an improved messaging system for broadcasts.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: One of Entrecard's best features is the access we have to the powers that be and their willingness to make requested changes that benefit the community as a whole. My suggestion to anyone that is frustrated at the moment is to A) Get up and move away from your computer; or B) Write a stellar post on a topic of interest to you and remind yourself why you wanted to be a blogger in the first place.

Something different...

I'll second the motion about having the ability to search by drops on us, and how about adding how many times we've dropped on them? As it is, I'm having a good time with the expanded pages that allow for 60 results per page. I'm going through the "popular" sites one by one and am surprised at how many of them that I have dropped on regularly haven't returned more than 1 drop in the last 30 days. Card dropping strategies that favor folders full of bookmarks are quickly becoming passe as we get better and better information at our disposal. Keep up the good work Phirate!

Are you mad enough to quit Entrecard?
If so, send me your credits!

Seriously folks, we are in a transition period that will take a week or more to get through. Yes, things are messed up at the moment...and everyone who has bothered to read the official Entrecard statements and forum posts would know that confusion was expected and patience was hoped for. It's my view that there will still be some problems that have to be addressed, but this is a move in the right direction, ya know, progress!


Two weeks from now the only reason a blog with low traffic (or exclusively Entrecard traffic) would command an ad price of 2048 ECs would be due to the ignorance of the advertiser. Up until this recent change, low traffic blogs (like mine) had an artificially high price due to dropping lots of cards. Now the two functions have been separated and while that doesn't mean that some people won't continue to confuse popularity (as defined by card drops) with traffic, we ARE moving towards a point where it should be easier to discern whose blog is the better value.

New pricing vs EC's earned
If you don't mind me asking, how many cards did you drop today? Normally I drop 300 cards and get about 200 back, yielding 500 new credits a day, plus 25% of what my ad price is. The last two days, for whatever reason, I've received back 300 card drops, which gives me 700+ new credits for the day.

One of Entrecard's best features is that the field is level for everyone when it comes to the maximum number of cards they can drop each day. Before the recent changes there was a wide range of return drop percentages that Entrecarders were receiving, but what with the improved drops inbox and drop information that is now available on an Entrecarder's profile, I think return drop percentages will improve.

It does take time and I have more than once thought "is this what my life has come to?" while dropping cards day in and day out. It really doesn't make much sense from a business perspective, and even MMO bloggers would be hard pressed to not categorize their Entrecard activity as a hobby.

Average advertising price update
I just might be eating my words regarding my prediction that the minimum ad price will hover between 32 and 64 EC. As of the moment there are plenty of 16 EC sites available, which could be a result of a)market forces; b)buyer fatigue or dissatisfaction; c) lack of available funds to advertise with after the feeding frenzy of the first day or two; d) better information about a site's "popularity"; e) most Entrecarders who live in the US are asleep.

Regardless of the reason, it's good to see that reason is returning to the ad prices.

New Ad Prices Starting To Win Some Fans
Even when the dust settles, there will continue to be a problem with blogs of dissimilar advertising value carrying the same ad price. I think the problem is exacerbated by the credit = money dynamic. I wonder what would happen if we were restricted in the number of ads that we could have running at any given time?

You drop I follow What is the point?
Please remember that it's been less than a week that we've had the improved Drops inbox and drop info on profile pages. Prior to that the Reciprocative Dropping groups had greater utility, at least if everyone did in fact return the drop. For much of the time that I've been active in Entrecard, it wasn't unusual for folks to complain that they were only getting a 10%-33% return drop rate, especially if they were Powerdropping. Figuring out ways to improve one's return drop rate was a high priority and these Recipro groups were very useful. I expect they will fade in popularity now that one can see just how often someone has dropped on you. And hopefully Phirate is coding the next improvement, which would be a display of how many times in the last 30 days that we have dropped on a site, so we can compare the two numbers.

So whats the point now? (My thoughts on EC V2)

Lee, I appreciate what you are saying and also feel that something intangible was lost with the new system and the additional data that we have been provided. However, I'm finding that I spend more time in the forums than I previously did and as such am becoming more involved in the community. I look forward to a time when I have developed a group of "favorites" that I have as my core connections in Entrecard, and work out towards the general community from there. I mentioned in another thread that I felt the Reciprocative Groups were less useful to me than before the recent changes, but I believe that you could continue to interact with your Followers to your mutual benefit. You've got a great thing going and maybe just need to redefine the group's focus a bit to flourish under the new system.


This community could end up becoming useful to a large percentage of its members by providing them an opportunity to interact with each other, encourage each other, learn from each other...in small groups of like-minded people or along niche lines. The previous "land rush" mentality of dropping cards to earn credits and rise in the ranks took many people away from many other important aspects of this community. I've contemplated selling out (my blog, not my soul) and leaving Entrecard entirely, but I'm sure I would still frequent several Entrecarders' sites on a regular basis. (Yo, Sitehoppin!) At the end of the day I still think it's pretty cool that a few dozen folks read my blog and didn't complain too bitterly.


My return drops are up 20%, which I attribute to increased effort in writing quality posts, increased participation in the forums, and greater accuracy in my card dropping due to the additional information that is available to us now.

What next?

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