Entrecard – does it work?

A week ago I decided that I was going to try every piece of technology I came across on the Internet. Not become an expert in it, but at least try it out and report my findings. Today I decided to install Entrecard, a viral marketing “widget”.

First of all let me say there is a LOT of disagreement about Entrecard, it’s value to your website, general misuse, and the concept of “drop and run”. Before I go into these I will explain a bit about what it is.

Entrecard is a system whereby you create a 125×125 pixel advert for your site and “drop” it on other sites that have the Entrecard widget. If the owner of the site likes your advert they will approve it, and usually in turn will visit your site and may “drop” a card on you. This process is repeated over and over until you have approved lots of adverts. These adverts are displayed on your Entrecard widget on your website and a queued up and shown in turn.

The Good

The good thing about Entrecard is people do end up visiting sites they would not have usually visited.

Because the owner has to approve the banner you can assume the advert is at lease vaguely relevant. This is not always the case but more oftem than not it is.

You will get an increase in visitors to your site once you start to use Entrecard, and if you use it according to the guidelines (a lot of dropping) then you should gain a good amount of visitors. The value of these is debatable, and will be discussed further down.

The Bad

Here’s where it starts to get messy. There is a lot of negativity thrown at Entrecard and there are various reasons why.

Firstly, 99% of people who visit your site from an Entrecard link will be Entrecard advertisers. They will load your page, drop their card, and they will be gone within 5 seconds. They will probably not even glance at your posts. The problem with this is twofold. Firstly it takes up needless bandwidth and secondly if you have monetized your site, a visit without any clicks will hit your earnings.

Website success is often judged on visitors per day. Using Entrecard will undoubtedly increase the traffic on your site, but if these people never read the posts and never comment then your statistics are skewed. In my mind the success of a website needs to be judged by genuine visitors per day (not Entrecard) and subscribers to news feeds/newsletters.

The Ugly

More importantly than the above points is the fact that it is seen by many as amateurish and people who otherwise would take your message seriously will see you at attention seeking and unprofessional. For this reason I am unsure if I will keep it on this site.

So, what do you think?

I have only just added the feature to my site, so at present I am unsure how it will work out. From what I have heard you need to put in a lot of effort dropping cards here there and everywhere. I am unwilling to do that.

The reason I am unwilling is I am not going to drop a card on someone if I am not genuinely interested in participating on their site. I think it is rude and defeats the object of networks in general. I know a few people with Entrecards and I will drop on them, but I will also read their posts and comment on them.

For this reason I am unsure if Entrecard will work for me. I will give it a little while to bed in, see how it affects the stats, and will post an update once I have some findings to report.

23 replies
  1. Michael
    Michael says:

    Hi Jim,

    congrats to this well written post about the pros and cons of the Entrecard system.

    I share your point of view. I still have the Entrecard Widget on my blog, but i’m considering to remove it, mostly because of all the cons you’ve listed.

    In addition i’m a proud member of “The Widgeteers” since recently.

    For anybody that wants to show advertising on his blog or website, their superviral global network and their widgets are a good solution.

    Because they allow you to only show ads that fit the interests of your readers / visitors, you can earn for just displaying the widgets or adblocks, and it’s all free. And by promoting your own site, you will receive traffic / visitors, that are interested in your offer, and not just to click on any widget.

    Right now their very successful launch has come to a short-stop because they were swamped by sign-ups and had to upgrade their servers, which caused some glitches.

    It should all be working properly again next week.

    But if you want to take a peak, you can sign up here:

    http://knowhowscout.com/go/a41

    and please make sure to use “30” (without quotes)” as your referrer id, so that i get credited …*-)

    Regards,

    Michael

    Reply
  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    Thanks Michael,

    I am not going to sign up just at the moment, I want to give Entrecard a chance and then move on (whether I keep Entrecard or not). I am very open to suggestions of new technology, and I am sure it will be an interesting experience finding out about all these avenues, but I am still nervous about this one and the negativity surrounding it.

    Thanks for the comment

    Reply
  3. Jim
    Jim says:

    Well it’s been on for about an hour and so far I have had around 15 adverts for approval. All of them were either really garish, completely irrelevant, or some girl in her underwear… mmm, not sure about all this so far!

    Reply
  4. A.
    A. says:

    To tell you the truth, I’ve had a lot of doubts too, and I’m not in blogging for business reasons at all. There are the negatives you mention but there have been a few very good positives as far as I’m concerned, and they have tipped the balance very firmly in Entrecard’s direction. I have made contact with some very great people and broadened my horizons considerably. Give it a little longer than an hour 🙂

    Reply
  5. A.
    A. says:

    Sorry, a PS. I used to be very picky about ads, and I still reject any I find particularly bad, but an irrelevant ad doesn’t matter to me any more. There is no reason someone reading my blog can’t be equally interested in a totally different subject.

    Reply
  6. husac
    husac says:

    Well…after using entrecard for a while (more than a month) i have to admin that it’s not a hit; according to google’s Analytics the avg. time on site it’s of 12 seconds…so, i will leave entrecard aside but i wish you good luck on your campaign! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lyndi
    Lyndi says:

    I for one will be watching the comments on this article carefully. I am also confused about EC. I cannot figure out if it is really worth the effort.

    I have recently asked this same question on my blog but I received a type of split vote. Half of the respondents were pro and the other half against EC. At present I feel there might be something in EC for new blogs (maybe up to 3 months) in that it is a quick way of getting some visitors. I am not at all sure if there is any real benefit for more established blogs.

    With regards to the advertising via EC I do not really have a problem. As far as I am concerned this cannot be considered to be advertising. It could be classified as branding at most, but definitely not advertising in the accepted meaning of the word.

    Reply
  8. Jim
    Jim says:

    Thanks for your comments

    @Lyndi: As you know I follow your blog regularly (nice2all.com) and it was the discussion on there that gave me the idea to try it out myself.

    Not overly impressed with the masses of email I have got so far, with new banners, it’s practically taken over my email account. I assume I can turn it off, I haven’t done it yet.

    so far I can sort of see the point, but it looks like it does require some work. I could see the attraction of something on a smaller scale for good quality blogs though, but EC just seems to take time, which I can better spend elsewhere.

    As A. said though, I have only given it a few hours, I will keep ploughing on with it and give it a fair shot before I give up on it.

    Reply
  9. Lyndi
    Lyndi says:

    I am still dropping but I do not know for how long. I seem to be enjoying StumbleUpon quite a bit these days and I am finding some great sites through them. I do however suppose that they also have their problems.

    Maybe one day we will grow our blogs so big that we can just sit back and wait for the visitors to come to us, we are allowed to dream are we not?

    Reply
  10. Jim
    Jim says:

    Indeed we are… just keep motivated, keep putting out great content, and in your case great themes too, and the visitors will come!

    Stumbleupon is great, I occasionally get stumbled and there is a massive spike. Again, not many stay but it’s fun to watch and takes a lot less effort to maintain. I reviewed Stumble a while back and find it to be a great product! It’s fun for showing people fun sites too, you can just send the link with a comment and it comes up in their stumble list 😀

    Reply
  11. Work At Home Mom Tara
    Work At Home Mom Tara says:

    I have been an EntreCard user for a few month. Though it may have some cons, the pros are there too! I have found many very nice blogs while dropping my card, and have had allot of new readers find me via Entrecard.

    As with anything, there will always be some BS, but I really think Entrecard is worth it!

    Reply
  12. Jay
    Jay says:

    “the success of a website needs to be judged by genuine visitors per day (not Entrecard) and subscribers to news”

    That would my the ultimate goal BUT we have to understand that to get to this point, it has to start with a VISIT, and that is what EntreCard provides me in my early stage of blogging now.

    Reply
  13. Jim
    Jim says:

    @Tara : I am seeing this is a quite common theory, and certainly there have been more comments since I added EC. Whether the commentors came in via EC or other means I don’t know, but it is a pleasant surprise so far.

    @Jay : Yes, you have a point there. This goes back to what Lyndi commented above, that EC is great for bringing in people to new blogs, but probably makes less of a difference to established ones.

    This has been an interesting experiment so far. I am going to keep with it for a while and see how it progresses over the coming weeks.

    Thanks for the comments everyone! 😀

    Reply
  14. The World's Worst Stock Picker
    The World's Worst Stock Picker says:

    1. If it was not for entrecard I would not be commenting on your blog.

    2. Before entrecard my traffic to my site was less than 10 pages per day. Now is about 200 and growing.

    3.Any type of traffic is good.

    4. I really have not felt the effect of stumble upon or digg. The jury is still out on those.

    5. I think that entrecard is a great idea that will get more popular as time goes by.

    Reply
  15. Jim
    Jim says:

    @TWWSP : Thanks for the comment. You made some good points there, thanks for visiting and thanks for the pointers.

    I must say I am pleasantly surprised by the positive comments, I am definitely happy I tried this out, it’s looking like I will be sticking with it.

    Thanks everyone!

    J

    Reply
  16. DownUnder
    DownUnder says:

    A very interesting and apt post, I think you make some valid points as to the pro’s and cons. I am with TWWSP and others here.

    If you did not have EC i would not be reading your blog and posts, but where i differ is i just applied to advertise on your blog with EC and almost instantly i was sent a declined from you.

    Most people may see this as bad but i do not, i wanted to visit the place that declined me so that i could learn and improve upon what i do ( everything has a positive )

    What I found a little funny is how by skimming over the surface in short a time that these decisions are made. I have gone to extra levels to not only place the EC into the blog but also into the blog section of the directory, placed the EC into the support section and home page banners as well.

    The site as along with what others say is to serve one purpose, to promote those who choose to advertise there in the best possible way and like many we have now promoted many varying topics and will continue to do so with our goal to become the very best we can become at it.

    As others have also mentioned our visitor rates have gone through the roof and we do not look like slowing down.

    So yes people do use EC to find and read about blogs ( we read every blog that advertised ) but can i also ask that people not be to quick to judge, you never know where your next regular visitor may come from.

    Reply
  17. Jim
    Jim says:

    @Downunder : Thank you for the visit and thank you for taking time to comment in detail.

    I do get quite a lot of advert requests and 99% I have declined. This is usually either because the card doesnt fit in with my subject matter, or the design of the card doesn’t fit in with the site. I did look at your site when I first got the request and I was confused as to what it was about (it looked like a car racing forum), hence I declined the ad. I didn’t mean anything personal, it just didn’t seem to fit with the subject matter I am writing about.

    I am not usually quick to judge, and perhaps I was a little hasty. Where must I look on your site to find the content? I am happy to look again and if it fits with what I write about I will happily advertise your site.

    Thanks again for taking time to comment

    Reply
  18. DownUnder
    DownUnder says:

    Jim, all is good, This valuable information is good feedback, you ask where is the content, ? and i think this is where it throws people. It is a web directory, but taken to new levels, and when first seen it is confusing.

    the home page is soley dedicated to the new people in the system ( no little whats new here ) and the rest works like a directory but with added fetures, / promotions for those advertising in the directory etc. Our goal is simple, promote to the best of our ability those who choose to list with us, but we also have a long way to go like many.

    Mate all is good and I will continue to, like we all do, learn and improve.

    end result is I like your blog and have bookmarked it, keep up the great work.

    Reply
  19. Jim
    Jim says:

    hehe, well you’ve got a couple of links home from these comments 😀 If you fancy advertising drop your card again and I’ll accept. I was a little hasty (sorry) and am sure people will be wondering from these comments what your site is about anyway, so we may as well have your card on there. Your card was the red arrow, yes?

    As the days go on I must say all this is a very pleasant (and big) surprise.

    Reply
  20. A.
    A. says:

    Accepting that yours is a professional blog, I still think that someone visiting for professional reasons may nevertheless be interested to see an advertisement for a photographic blog for instance, or some other unrelated subject. Disclaimer: I don’t have a photographic blog! Your advertiser today has a card showing on his own site that has nothing whatever to do with web design. Granted there is a lot of dross out there, but there are some excellent blogs which shouldn’t detract from your own image. You are entirely entitled to pick and choose your advertisers of course, and I don’t think anyone is trying to suggest otherwise, merely that you could possibly stretch your boundaries a little.

    Reply
  21. Jim
    Jim says:

    @A: You are completely correct and I think I overdid the point a little. Photography is a perfect example of somene that should be advertising here, but I haven’t had too many. I seem to get a lot of weird adverts cropping up that really wouldn’t be suitable (sexy chinese girls was the latest LOL).

    Thanks for the comment 😀

    Reply

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  1. […] have been running with the Entrecard system for a few weeks now and have been largely impressed with it. I like the way it brings new people to the site, and […]

  2. […] to various people about various marketing strategies over the past few weeks, as well as trying out Entrecard. My findings have been very interesting. The debate has largely been about whether different […]

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