Done With Entrecard

Done With EntrecardThe time has finally come to remove the Entrecard widget from Affiliate Confession and make better use of the sidebar space it has occupied. Over the last couple of months some major bloggers have dropped Entrecard and some of my favorite places to advertise (that have brought me the most traffic) have left as well, but the last straw in helping me make that decision was when Lisa from To Create A Website rejected my Entrecard advertisement because she is also leaving Entrecard.

I’ve had a 9 month love, hate relationship with Entrecard and sang it’s praises when I first installed the widget on this blog at the beginning of December 2007. Through those 9 months I’ve tried massive advertising experiments, purchased credits from eBay and Entrecard itself, won thousands of Entrecard credits and spent massive amounts of time dropping cards and trying to find blogs worthy of advertising on.

And that’s where my main issue with Entrecard comes in. Trying to locate blogs worthy of spending your hard earned credits to advertise on is a huge time waster mainly because 97 to 98% of the blogs in the Entrecard system are one small step above being spam blogs. And unfortunately the pricing system for advertising isn’t based on actual traffic a blog receives, it’s based on how many ads are waiting to be shown in the blog’s que. This sometimes creates hugely overpriced ads that bring little to no traffic.

The process of hunting down blogs in your niche, visiting them to see what they look like, weeding through blogs that have advert prices above 1000 credits, yet have less than 10 rss readers, getting less than quality traffic from your ads and then sticking with that process week, after week, after week is just too cumbersome. Where Entrecard fails in my opinion is that the adverts you place only last for 24 hours. In my last advertising blitz I spent somewhere around 8 hours using up 30,000 credits, advertising on 300 different blogs and did get some low quality visitors to the tune of 250 to 300 oer day. But that only lasted for 10 days and the whole process starts over again.

That just doesn’t work economically for me. If I’m going to spend 8 hours doing advertising for my blog, it should last longer than 10 days and bring better quality traffic. Entrecard is too much like those lame traffic exchange systems where you earn traffic credits for visiting other sites in the system you aren’t interested in just to get people who aren’t interested in your site to visit you. Sadly, Entrecard is not much different than that.

If you have an ad already in my que it will run, but as of today, I won’t be approving any new ads. See ya later Entrecard.

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Harsh Reality 7 – Don’t Count On Your Blog Making Money

If you got into blogging to write about how you already make money online, you stand a much better chance of making money with your blog. The harsh reality is that if you got into blogging just to make money, you probably won’t.

Bloggers that write about how to make money online that don’t already do that, stick out like a sore thumb and have zero credibility. Spend 10 minutes going through the blogs in the Make Money Online section at EntreCard and you’ll know exactly what I mean (It’s one of the reasons I’m thinking of dropping Entrecard). Probably 95% of them are pushing ridiculous traffic exchanges, actually display the fact that they have 10 RSS readers or less, have blog widgets and advertising down their sidebars 4 times longer than the length of their posts and promote lame programs that no serious affiliate in their right mind would join.

Almost all the bloggers that make good money with their blogs have already made substantial incomes online long before they started blogging. Shoemoney made money with Mac games before he started blogging, John Chow was making money writing about tech gadgets years before he started his blog that now makes $30k per month and Zac Johnson made money with his own affiliate offers and earned revenue by monetizing a free MySpace widgets site before staring his blog. All these guys had substantial knowledge, experience and content stored away in their brains before they wrote their first blog post.

That’s also what I’m trying to do with Affiliate Confession. Although I was ultimately inspired to start this blog by the ridiculous income reports from John Chow, the blog is mainly to report on what I do to make money online and also to report on various happenings related to affiliate marketing, yes and occasionally quirky posts about food or whatever strikes me at the moment. I honestly don’t make all that much money with this blog and I’m past the point of that being any big deal because I make my money elsewhere. It’s become more of a labor of love than anything else.

A great alternative to the blogging for money, when you haven’t made a dime, style of writing is what you will find from Elijah and Veronica over at TheAtHomeCouple.com. It is a refreshing thing to read the chronicles of a couple living in Toronto, Canada who are looking for a way out of the college to cubicle, deferred life plan (as Timothy Ferriss puts it) and are trying to figure out this affiliate marketing thing. Nothing pretentious here, just pure honest blogging.

Honesty will do worlds more for your blog and your affiliate business than putting up a front and pretending to be something you aren’t. If you aren’t honest about your blogging, you probably aren’t honest about what you are doing with your business. Where do you suppose that’s going to lead?

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Does Entrecard Work For Branding?

EntrecardA few days ago I posted that Entrecard is now selling credits for $9.50 per 1,000 and suggested a less expensive way of acquiring Entrecard credits through eBay for less than half the price. That post got a couple of interesting comments I though would be worth discussing to see where everyone is with Entrecard advertising and branding.

John from JT Pratt’s Blogging Mistakes commented that rather than spend money on buying Entrecard credits, he would spend that money via Adwords, driving traffic to a niche site and hopefully see a better return on his advertising dollars. This raises a good question on whether Entrecard is a viable advertising medium at all, or if it is just good for getting a little traffic and occasionally meeting other bloggers through dropping your card on their blog.

I have to keep repeating that any way you look at it, advertising on Entrecard is a lot of work. I’ve purchased 25,000 credits or so in the last few weeks, spent about that many and have spent a considerable amount of time looking at blogs to advertise on. And the main problem I see with this method is that, even though I’ve generated some 200 to 250 extra visitors every day, in 8 to 10 days you have to start the process all over again because every bit of your advertising is used up. I think this is the achilles heel of Entrecard. Too much time spent for too little results.

But what about the branding aspect of Entrecard? Over the last 2 weeks or so, more than 300 blogs have displayed and who knows how many thousands of people have seen the AffiliateConfession.com 125 x 125 banner and domain name. So if anything else, the name of this blog is getting in front of more eyeballs on a daily basis.

The sole purpose of buying Entrecard credits for me is to brand Affiliate Confession. That’s where I’m at with this present effort. I’m not really trying to earn money by sending traffic to this blog through Entrecard, my purpose is to get as many people as possible to see the AffiliateConfession.com url and name and get that burned into people’s brains. The money from this blog will come later.

While branding through Entrecard is only one of the channels I’m working through, I don’t honestly know if it is worth it. Marketing your brand is hard to track since there aren’t really any dollars being generated directly from the efforts. I am seeing increased rss subscribers, comments and questions sent through my contact form, but it remains to be seen if this increased activity is due to the time, effort and money spent at Entrecard.

As John suggested, the cost is also an issue. With $100 you can buy roughly 10,000 credits through Entrecard itself or you can buy roughly 25,000 credits through eBay as long as someone is selling them. This is why I suggest going through eBay and saving more than 50%. Alternatively, if you price your keywords right, you may be able to send 500 targeted clicks to a niche site, or even your blog, through Adwords for that $100.

What do you think? If you were in the process of branding yourself, would you rather spend $100 for 10,000 to 25,000 Entrecard credits or spend that money on more targeted clicks from Adwords on something else?

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Buy Entrecard Credits On eBay

Entrecard Ads 

I’ve been doing a lot of advertising through Entrecard lately and have had some pretty good results. As you can see in the image above at the height of my advertising spree after accumulating 30,000 credits, I had 48 ads running at one time. I have also increased my traffic by 200 to 250 visitors a day via ads.

I still think it takes way too much time to find good places to advertise coupled with the fact that your ads only run for 24 hours. It is quite time consuming to maintain a level of running more than 30 ads a day. However, Entrecard has made it easier to visit the blog you are interested in advertising on by being able to go directly to that blog from the category rather than the individual users profile. This saves you a click for each blog you are interested in placing ads with.

Entrecard has also made it easier to get credits because you can now buy them on the site and they are priced at $9.50 per 1,000 credits and sold in bundles of 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 credits each. So, 10,000 credits will end up costing you $95. It would take you over a month to earn that many credits by dropping the limit of 300 per day. So, in some ways, that is a fairly decent way to spend a little of your advertising dollars.

But it gets even better when you find out you can get Entrecard credits on eBay for less than half of what Entrecard sell them for. I purchased 5,000 for $22 and 10,000 credits for only $40 recently and as I write this post there’s a Buy It Now offer for 10,000 credits for only $30 and there are usually 10 to 12 auctions or sales of Entrecard credits going on at any one time.

Pretty simple math, if you want to do massive advertising with Entrecard and save a bunch of money on the deal, buy Entrecard credits on eBay.

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Entrecard New Features, New Ebook And Contests

EntrecardLots of things are changing at Entrecard besides their new home page design. One of the changes they recently made that’s really the most significant since Entrecard’s inception is that you can now add multiple blogs to your account up to as many as you want. For those that don’t know, Entrecard is a blog widget advertising system.

You can add other blogs to your Entrecard account in one of two ways. You can either just simply add a new blog to your main Entrecard account or you can link accounts together. Many people have added Entrecard to their multiple blogs by creating individual accounts, so if you now have 3 or 4 accounts, you can merge them all together which will make keeping track of multiple email addresses and passwords a thing of the past. This is a very good move on Entrecard’s part.

And to encourage you to add additional blogs to your account, Entrecard is having a drawing for 15,000 credits in each of 5 different levels of adding multiple blogs to your account. If you add anywhere from 2 to 25 blogs you will get a chance to win one of 5 drawings for those 15,000 credits. That many credits can get you a bunch of advertising and will bring a decent amount of traffic to your blog.

Entrecard has also come out with an ebook as well and I know you’re probably thinking, what do we need an Entrecard ebook for, all we need to do is click, drop and buy advertising, how difficult is that? I thought the same thing, but found out the ebook does have a lot of good info in it. One thing I learned was that clicking on the Entrecard logo on the Entrecard widget on someones blog will take you to their profile. I’ve been wondering how I could quickly advertise on someone’s blog I like, without having to search Entrecard to find them. Here’s your answer.

I still wish Entrecard ads would run for 48 hours instead of 24 because I think it would be much more economical for the time spent on finding good advertising, but I am pretty impressed with the amount of features they keep adding to the service. Unlike many other blog widget deals, the constant development and tweaking of Entrecard is a big plus.

If you aren’t a member of Entrecard, you can join here and you can get the details of all their new features and the contest on their blog here.

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