For the Bloggers

February 2nd, 2008 | by TJ |

I don’t know how many of you have made it over to the new Blog Azeroth forums, but I posted this there a couple of days ago and realized that I had been intending to post something like it on my own blog for quite some time, so I may as well duplicate it here.

You may have noticed the little ad-like thing running down at the bottom of my right sidebar. For reference, it’s not a paid ad of any kind, and from now on, I’m going to attempt to run ads from WoW Bloggers – up to this point, I didn’t run anything that I wouldn’t read myself, but still, I’d like to keep it as relevant as possible, so I hope those of you who read this will consider signing your own blogs up. However, I have also discovered some great non-WoW blogs through this system, that I definitely enjoy and read on a regular basis, so will most likely continue to include those as well. Again, I don’t put anything there that I don’t think people would enjoy.

This is really only of interest to the WoW Bloggers, so feel free to skip on by if you’re not into reading all this blogging-mumbo-crap-o.

(And those of you reading through RSS, don’t worry, I haven’t cut my feed. Just this one entry.)

All right, so I’ve been promising this post to a bunch of people for a long time, but there was a reason I waited to post it!

As I said in another post a while back, I’ve been experiementing with EntreCard for a long time, and I feel that while there are definite flaws within the system, it can easily be leveraged for advertising within the WoW blog community.

What it Is

An EntreCard is like a business card, and the EC system is basically an unpaid ad exchange for bloggers, with its own economy. Basically, you gain EC credits by visiting other blogs within the system and “dropping” your card. You also gain credits when someone visits your blog and drops a card on you. You then can use these credits to purchase ad space on other blogs. The ads run for 24 hours on the widget of the blog selected, and the cost is determined on a sliding scale – the number of cards dropped on your site per day determines how much it “costs” to advertise on your site. The more active you are within EC, the more cards will be dropped on your site, the more credits it will cost to advertise on your site, the more credits you have to advertise on other sites.

A Bit More

When you join EC, you’ll need to create a pretty standard 125×125 image. This will be your “business card” that will be displayed on the sites you choose to advertise on. You then install a simple widget on your site, you can see mine down in the right sidebar on my site, and that is where ads will display on your site. You notice the gold bar at the bottom of the widget – you travel from blog to blog and click on those gold bars to “drop your card” on other sites using EC.

About EC: The Good

- Extremely simple to install and use.
- Free advertising for those who are not interested in paid ads.
- The ability to pick and choose not only where you advertise, but who advertises on your site.
- Discovery of new and interesting blogs through dropping cards and following links.

About EC: The Bad

- The system is largely dominated by “how to make money from blogging” bloggers.
- Some people feel that the system encourages a kind of “drive by” attitude where people drop their card and immediately move on to the next site.
- Many people are “gaming” the system – the highest traffic blogs, the ones you would think would cost the most to advertise on, are usually down near the middle of the pack, while the blogs running gimmicky “contests” to boost their RSS subscribers and hits are climbing to the top.

Getting Started

Here are some of the basic things you need to know to use EC, though it’s extremely easy and I don’t anticipate anyone having any problems. Create an account, upload your 125×125 image, all very simple. From your dashboard, select “Campaign,” choose a category, and start visiting blogs. You can choose by category, popularity, etc. Go to blogs and click “Drop yours” on the EC widget on each page. Each page will be advertising another blog, so you can follow it like a chain if you’d like. You’ll gain one credit for each card you drop.

Your dashboard has 3 columns on the right. The far right column lists the current ad running on your widget, and the ones queued to appear over the next 9 or 10 days. The middle column lists where you have purchased ads, and when they are scheduled to appear on other sites. The far left column lists those who have requested ad space on your blog and are awaiting approval. Across the top of the dashboard are the 15 people most recently to drop cards on your site. This is usually a good place to start visiting blogs and dropping cards.

When you first create your account, the price to advertise on your widget will be 2 credits, and you will quickly be filled up with requests to advertise on your site for that price, as it is very low. Those requesting space will appear on your dashboard and you can approve or deny their request. These first requestors will likely be quite indiscriminate about whether or not their ad is appropriate for your site, and are just interested in taking advantage of your low price.

When you have gained some credits (1 for each card you drop, 1 for each card dropped on you), you can go to the campaign section and start choosing blogs on which to advertise. They are broken into categories to make it easier to choose where to place your ad – where you feel your ad would fit, where readers who are likely to enjoy your site are likely to see it.

My Personal Experience with EC

Personally, I’ve found EntreCard extremely easy to use. I’ve found several blogs that I’ve added to my feed reader and enjoy reading. I’ve also found a lot of absolute crap. There are -tons- of people whose only mission is to make money from their blogs. They run contests, repeat the same information you see everywhere else, and do anything they can to increase their traffic and RSS subscribers. EC is largely dominated by these kinds of bloggers.

My personal ‘rejection rate’ for those applying for ad space on my site is very high. Some people accept any and all ads. Personally, I do not accept ads for sites that I wouldn’t read myself, or that I think my readers wouldn’t be interested in. It’s a personal taste thing. For me, that means no “How to make money from your blog” bloggers, no gimmicky bloggers, no SEO optimization, nothing. For the most part, I stick with personal bloggers who are funny, interesting, and that I enjoy myself. Your preferences of course may vary.

How I Think EC Can Be Leveraged for the WoW Community

I have not found a lot of WoW bloggers on EC as of yet. Should enough WoW bloggers sign up, those who do will have a pool of relevant blogs to advertise on and relevant blogs to choose from. You know that the readers of the blog where you place your ads will be interested in WoW, and you know that those who place ads on your site write things your readers will be interested in seeing. Also, it provides something kind of like an old school ‘blog ring,’ allowing readers to travel from blog to blog and discover new things. They are completely unpaid, using only the credit system, so those who are not into paid ads do not have to have any concern about that. EC as it stands now is not as friendly to WoW bloggers as I would like – as I said, it’s largely dominated by certain kinds of bloggers – but should a significant portion of this community join, it can be put to extremely good use.

Why I’ve Waited So Long To Post This Even Though Matticus Has Been Harassing Me For Days

As I said, when you first join, you’re going to get a lot of requests immediately from those who are not necessarily right for your site, but want your low price. And you’re going to need advertisers in order to gain credits enabling you to place your ad on blogs.

In thinking about this post, I wanted to make sure that joining and getting started was as easy as possible, so I’ve done several things:

1. Stopped accepting any new ads on my site – this has freed up my queue so that the next ads I accept will start running in less than 24 hours.
2. Stopped visiting blogs to drop cards and stopped placing ads – when you stop participating in the system, your blog does not get as noticed and not as many people will drop cards on your site. When the number of cards dropped on your site goes down, so does the cost to advertise on your widget. I’ve essentially driven my own price down as far as I can.
3. Held on to all my credits – As I’ve said, I’ve bought no ads for some time, and have accumulated 1100 credits.

What that means for you:

1. When you join, you will immediately have at least one blog within the community you can place an ad on, to get you started. Here is my card. Since I’ve allowed my queued up ads run itself through without approving any more, I have space to accept new advertisers.
2. Driving my price down has made it reasonably affordable for a person new to EC to be able to place an ad on my site.
3. It’s affordable, but since you start with 0 credits, it’s not right out of the box – I’ll give away as many credits as I have to those who choose to participate, enough to get you started.

So, if you decide you want to use EC, sign up and contact me. Email me, IM me, message me through EC. I’ll place an ad on your site, and send you some credits so that you can begin placing ads on others, including mine if you so choose.

I believe this covers EC, but if there is anything I have forgotten or any questions, go ahead and ask.

5 Responses to “For the Bloggers”

  1. By Euripedes on Feb 2, 2008

    Oooh….

    Pwetty…. Gonna have to get me one of those.

  2. By Evil Sheep on Feb 2, 2008

    Done and done, now I just gotta figure out yet another dashboard control system and get everything sorted. My love/hate relationship with the WordPress software continues…

  3. By Game Dame on Feb 3, 2008

    TJ, this is some awesome, awesome information. I gotta get in there and get my card up. Thanks for walking us through this; it’s a HUGE help!

  4. By Xeln on Feb 3, 2008

    Dammit TJ, quit posting things that make me want to actually start a blog. I have enough reasons already, I don’t need more. If I thought I had the time (correctly read as: If I wasn’t lazy as hell, and spending all my time trying to level as many toons to 70 before the next expansion) I’d start one up right now, if I could access any of the blog support sites through my work internet.

  5. By Game Dame on Feb 3, 2008

    One thing to add. I tried to get this going for my site but I can’t run the script on WordPress.com. I’d have to switch to self-hosting. GOSH!

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