Friday, April 10, 2009

Of Community, Duty, Cash, EC, Ads and Entrecards

I like fences, especially when I sit on top of them. I can get fresher air and a clearer view of the surrounding, not hindered by any emotional walls. Unless it's deeply fundamental within me.

When the paid ads first appeared mysteriously on my EC dashboard and clamouring for approval, I was a bit dumbstruck by the crowd. Still, I approved most of them. Mainly because as part of a community that have brought me so much, I wanted to do my bits to help sustain it. And also because a lot of the paid ads were from fellow Entrecarders who are doing their bits to help.

I like the idea of being able to exchange EC for cash. In fact, I was a bit disappointed last year when they banned the selling of EC in open market. After all making a side income was one of the reasons I started blogging. So, personally, when they announce that EC would be able to be exchanged with cash, I was overjoyed. The hole on my roof was a proof of it. I would like to see this paid ads work too.

While I was doing my bits to help, it didn't occur to me what that means to my EC-paid ads in the queue waiting patiently to make their appearance in my widget. When I read about the unfairness that they were being dealt with in other blogs, I felt guilt. Although I'm aware of the 50/50 air times, the injustice didn't immediately struck me when I was dutifully clicking "Approve" on those paid ads. So, after approving two days of paid ads, I started rejecting all paid ads.

Right about the same time, I stopped buying ads with my hard-earned EC, not wanting to gamble them on uncertain exposures. Also, the waiting room of my approval-seeking EC-paid ads was starting to have echoes. I thought perhaps the EC-paid ads will die a slow death. I read in the Entrecard forum (or blog?) that, having the value of our ads to decrease accordingly is part of the plan, so that more could afford to place ads. And I agree it's not exactly a bad thing. But before that actually happens, what will happen to EC paid ads that are already in the queue?

I would have gone on to reject paid ads silently too, had I not seen a widget pop up in my queue for approval that was paid by EC, much to my surprise.

With that, I felt compelled to cancel all my previously approved paid ads (which I initially intend to let them run their course) and make an announcement here:

My EC widget will be paid-ads-free.

I'm not sure why Mr Langdon started Entrecard. Fame? Fortune? Community service? But I'm grateful that he did. After reading about the necessity to maintain it with paid ads, I started to wonder how did he manage to keep it up before, and thought he must have done a good job with it too. But I guess he's at a cross road now. It's not easy being the leader or the management of any community. But I guess he has some tough decision to make. And doing something controversial for the sake of being controversy might not be the best way to bring Entrecard towards a better tomorrow. And a better tomorrow will sure sound hollow with a smaller number of following. Ultimately, I hope he has the dibs within him to get us, the Entrecarders, to the next level. All of us.

Entrecard, I can blog with them, I can blog without them. But I will be happier, much much happier, if I can blog with them.



Melissa said...

I am currently accepting paid ads for blogs, and blogs in my category. I am waiting to see on the payout option.

Julie McClelland said...

Okay tell me then - I haven't approved any paid ads - I can't actually see what they are, they only have approve / reject and will they replace my already approved ads?

I thought these paid ads were going to placed along with the our ordinary dropper ads.

Beats me - I think our Mr Langdon could just as well be finding that 'money' is as good a lure as any to invite the 'paying' bloggers

Lenox Knits said...

What a mess. I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. I've let some paid ads of fellow bloggers in but I'm starting to regret it.

Lynne said...

I think the idea of having paid ads on EC is okay and I understand the reasoning behind it. I simply don't care for the fact that the paid ads are superseding the EC credit paid ads and they are not receiving 50% exposure as was promised. This also means that whenever someone clicks through on a paid ad, the ad host (our personal blogs) aren't receiving credit either.
I believe there should be a choice of having a 2 ad widget, one for paid ads and one for EC credit ads, giving them equal exposure.

The Fearless Blog said...

You have eloquently summed up many of my thoughts in this post. I have been rejecting all paid ads, but I have allowed the ones I approved originally to run their course. As I stated in one of the forum threads, I too will no longer accept paid ads. I have decided, as you have, to run only "EC point" ads from fellow bloggers and therefore provide them with 100 percent exposure. I have seen the negative effects of the new paid ads and have decided to remove the aggravation from myself. I became so dishearten in fact that contemplated dropping EC altogether as others have, but I am willing to be patient and wait out the storm. I am hopefully that the EC folks will reconsider and make the necessary changes. Thank you for this post.

Dorothy said...

Very interesting things I hadn't even considered. Thank you and for visiting our blog.

Dorothy from grammology

Patricia Rockwell said...

I see that there are many problems for Entrecard to solve. So far, I have decided to let things ride and am accepting most paid ads. I checked out my own blogs and it appears that the regular EC credit ads show more frequently on the widget than do the paid ones--which is as it should be.

sheila said...

I don't accept any paid ads, there is no way I'll let someone pay over 3000 credits (which comes out to $18 for 24 hrs) and then cut their exposure in half, BUT - I still want to contribute to entrecard, I know they have bills to pay - so I've bought paid ads for my blog - I think people should do one or the other to support the community.

Mr. New Dilemma said...

I also am not accepting paid ads, so that those who have been waiting all this time to be on my widget get the exposure they hoped for.

I think a little more brainstorming should have been implemented while they were hammering out all the details. What I see here isn't a major problem, it's a lack planning, and now they will be forced to react while losing vital members of this community.

In the long run, it will eventually settle, with those who disapprove leaving and those who do approve ushering in a new era for Entrecard, or will it be it's demise?

Buzzing J said...

No matter how attractive the payout option is, I personally think that the main issue is the fairness between the EC-paid ads and paid ads. I'm waiting to see the payout option too. It'll be interesting to see what it'll be like after the mass protest.

They won't replaced your already approved ads. If you did approve any paid ads, they are supposed to share the appearances on your widget with the EC-paid ad of the day on a 50:50 basis.

That's what I did too, letting fellow Entrecard bloggers in. Because I think they were trying to contribute in their ways too. Odd thing was, there were a few paid ads which were already waiting in my approved EC-paid ads when I let them in. That's why I thought it doesn't make sense, and was one of the reasons I cancelled all my previously approved paid ads.

I think that's the most popular solution proposed by the members in the Entrecard blog and forum - a 2 ads widget. Let's see how the administrators respond to that.

Let's not consider leaving Entrecards at this point (although the thought did cross my mind a few times too). I think we all agree that Entrecards is something that is too good to not be a part of. Let's hope the EC folks will come out with a better solution.

Yeah. You can catch all the "actions" at the Entrecards blog and forums too.

Patricia Rockwell:
I read in some blogs that they had done a "unscientific" test, ie refreshing their own blogs a few times to get a percentage of the exposure between EC-paid ads and paid ads. The result? Inconclusive. One observed that paid ads get more than 50%, while the other, like you, observed EC-paid ad get the greater chunk.

I guess we all agree that paid ads might not be the worst option to sustain Entrecards. We can all live with that. So it's good that people who can afford it are buying the ads to support the community. It's the way the ads are shown that's the main problem, which I think you also agree, as you also do not accept any paid ads.

Mr. New Dilemma:
Lack of proper planning could be the major problem. It's almost like they're testing the water with this implementation. But then again, it's never easy to lead such a big group of followers and satisfy everyone.

You know, sometimes I had the sneaky suspicion that there are thousands or millions of applicants waiting for approval to join Entrecard at their door steps.

It'll probably settle down like you said. Let's hope it'll settle down with most, if not all, of its memebers staying put. Demise? Let's hope not ...

Nancy said...

I think the whole point of Entrecard will be done away with with the paid ad system, which was to drive traffic to your blog in the first place, dropping and earning credits gave people a "reason" to stop by. If people pay for the spot no need to stop by and drop. Soon Entrecard may be a thing of the past.

lina said...

I approve some of the paid ads earlier but after seeing that it shared time with those who paid by credits, I'm having second thoughts. I think it is fairer if the widget has two spots - one for those who paid by EC credits and on for those who pay by $$$.
I still enjoy being an Entrecard member and I certainly don't want the paid ads hoo haa made me part ways with it.

RE Ausetkmt said...

J, in your always eloquent way you have summed it up quite nicely.

there won't be paid ads on the EC widget because we respect the time it takes to drop, and not the money you pay to supercede those hours of manpower.

we got 2plus million hits last month and only 3000 of them came from entrecard, so we have data to support our decision this way.

EntrePOD will run paid ads, because we feel we need to give it a chance to see what benefit it gives us. so far we've noticed it's dropped our popularity rate, in addition to our organic drops. those are two regrettable consequences to the experiment; but we're willing to try it.
we will reassess the effectiveness of showing those paid ads on may 1 for entrePOD.

Recycledfrockery is going Paid Ad Free on April 15th when the present crop are expired. it didn't help us at all, stats or popularity wise so we've decided that Recycled Frockery has to stand on it's own merit, like

we honestly believe that entrecard deserves capital, generated "the right way."

Shu Fen said...

I hereby declare that MY BLOG WILL BE EC PAID ADS FREE TOO!

Vicissitudes of Life

it's unfair that my advertisers get 1/2 the exposure. no way!

Buzzing J said...

A reason to drop by - I think you've pinpointed the essence of Entrecard.

I could have just bookmarked everyone that's been visiting me and visit them in the future without Entrecard. But if there's no reasonable expectation that the blogger I've visited will reciprocate the visit, the incentive will not be so great. Let's face it, driving traffic to our blogs is still the main incentive in any traffic exchange program. Finding quality blogs and loyal readers, which are our main purposes, will be achieved amids these flows of traffic.

Sure, I'll still visit my favourite blogs on a regular basis. But without the communal duty of giving or returning a drop, the daily visit will be reduced to a 2 or 3 days cycle, or even on a weekly basis.

The sense of community coming from dropping card is what tilted Entrecard towards a great program from a good program. That's the beauty of Entrecard.

Let's hope Entrecard will be able to ride this storm into a better tomorrow.

Widget with two spots - I think that's the most popular solution to this mess.

Let's hope we all will be staying in it. It'll be a sad day to see so many fellow bloggers leaving such a great community.

Glad to know you're supporting Entrecards in more ways than one.

My apologies for not joining the No Drop Friday. I'd already decided not to join before your invitation. Just didn't see the impact it would have on the folks running the Entrecard. Sorry.

Shu Fen:
Way to go, girl!

Da Old Man said...

I'm letting my paid ads expire, sadly sometime next month, as I embraced "doing the right thing for EC."
No, it looks as if that was the wrong thing. I've noticed quite a few of my frineds have alreday left EC, and many more grumble that they are ready to leav. I think Mr. L has made a very bad business decision, and one that could be easily corrected with a dual widget.

Buzzing J said...

Da Old Man:
"Doing the right thing for EC" by approving paid ads. I think that's what the majority of us did. And many regretted the decision later. And subsequently reject all paid ads.

It seems that more and more bloggers are taking the stance of no-paid-ads-on-my-widgets. I'm afraid if this spread any larger without any satisfactory solution soon, the whole paid ads system might just die on its own with no blog to display them, even though most of us agree that paid ads are perhaps the way to sustain Entrecard.

Dual widget - let's see how Mr L and his staff respond to that.

I do sincerely hope the won't be an exodus of good bloggers out of this mismanaged launch.

The Fearless Blog said...


Jena Isle said...

At first, I was reluctant to approve all ads. I just click on one or two. Eventually however, I realized that they have to generate revenue to be able to maintain the site. It is a big site and it would need money to do so. So what I did was to go to my adverts and clicked on accept all paid ads. The paid ads no longer appeared and cluttered my dashboard. I have to trust them in the selection.

I don't know if this is coincidence, but this never happened before. My visitors increased and now my writing blog is the most popular in its category.

I'll just have to wait and see what would happen next.

Buzzing J said...

I think they got the message regarding the ads widget. For some reason, they seem to regard that not as the best solution.

Jena Isle:
I think everybody agrees that the paid ad might not be the worst thing in Entrecard. But the implementation of it is what brought the wrath of a lot of bloggers.

I guess we're all waiting ...

Paul Baines said...

I think Graham has ruined Entrecard, I've even made a badge to protest. I reject all paid ads but still drop like before, I do buy ads with my hard earned ECs but I guess I should save them for the marketplace. The cash payouts are a joke, they barely make enough at EC to cover their costs, the profits will be equivalent to a few 100 dollars for the whole community for many many months. Something like 5 cents each I guess. I'd rather they let people opt out - who can program scripts? We need a new entrecard competitor!

Buzzing J said...

Give Greg from a visit. He's trying to start up an Entrecard-like website.


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