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Interview with Entrecard’s Graham Langdon

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of January 2008 Pro Blogger Interviews 0 Comments

MeEntrecard is a blogging service that has quickly emerged (or exploded) onto the scene over the last couple of months. Entrecard widgets are popping up on thousands of blogs around the blogosphere – including here at ProBlogger since they became a ProBlogger sponsor.

I get a lot of questions about Entrecard and how to use it most effectively to promote your blog – so I thought I’d approach Entrecard’s Graham Langdon with some of the more common questions. Please note that while Entrecard is a sponsor of ProBlogger this is not a paid post. It emerges out of your questions of a service that I know many of you are curious about and using.

One of the first questions that I get from readers most about Entrecard is – ‘what is it?’ – From what I can tell Entrecard has a number of features that bloggers love – how do you describe it?

Put simply, Entrecard is a free social advertising network for bloggers. Everyone knows that the 125×125 has become this semi-official “ad of the blogosphere.” What Entrecard allows you to do is :

  • Advertise your 125×125, for free, on any blog in our network
  • Pay with Entrecard Credits instead of real money
  • Earn Credits by visiting other blogs, and leaving your card for the owner (through the widget) much in the same way you would hand someone your regular business card
  • See 3D statistics of traffic from ad campaigns and from our site, as well as stats for cards given and received
  • The whole service is incredibly easy to use and intuitive once you give it a try

So far, Entrecard has been quite effective at sending traffic to members’ blogs. Imagine a user that has a free ad right here on ProBlogger for a day, as well as ads running on 10 small to medium sized blogs. The traffic benefits can be significant. And on top of the advertising network there is an active social network, complete with a forum, messaging system, and more, that our members are actively taking part in. Bloggers have great information to share with each other, and we’re happy that so many are choosing Entrecard as an outlet.

When you place a free ad on someone else’s blog, how long does it run for? Are there other ads in rotation?

When you place an ad one someone’s blog with Entrecard, it runs for a full 24 hours, solid, with no other ads in rotation.

Following is a screenshot of the Entrecard Dashboard:

Regdashboard

Where did the idea for Entrecard come from?

I’d have to say the gears started turning when I witnessed the massive launch of BlogRush. The take home message for me was that bloggers everywhere were craving a widget that could bring free traffic. My ensuing thought process went something like this: First, I thought of those fish-bowls in restaurants where you drop off your business card to win a free lunch. So I started thinking of a system where bloggers could drop their digital business cards to each other to earn some sort of reward. Then, I thought about how some “brick and mortar” businesses actually let other small businesses around town advertise their business card on their cashier counter, or on a window sill.

Once I translated this thought process to the world of blogging, I knew what I needed was a widget that could simultaneously serve as a way to not only exchange cards, but advertise other members cards. A Credit system, with varying cost to advertise based on the size and popularity of one’s blog, was the final piece of the puzzle, and thus, Entrecard was born!

You launched two months ago – how’s it been going so far? What milestones have you hit? Can you give us some insight into how many bloggers are using it and what benefits it’s bringing them?

Our launch has been nothing short of amazing so far. We’ve hit the following milestones:

  • Over 2,000 free ads are now placed daily through Entrecard.
  • Since launching, our members have exchanged over half a million cards with each other.
  • As of writing this, Entrecard proudly offers free advertising on 1700 unique blogs.
  • We’re now consistently ranking under under 2000 on Alexa (I hate to use the ‘”A” word) daily.
  • In the last 30 days, we’ve done over a million page views on our website.

In terms of benefits, reports are abound on Technorati and Google Blogsearch that bloggers are not just receiving significant traffic, but also an increase in comments, a boost in Alexa rank, and more RSS subscribers. Not bad for a free widget that takes up just a little more space than a 125×125! However, I will say that results vary depending on your level of involvement in the program.

What type of blogger will benefit most from it?

Without a doubt, the small to medium size blogger will see the most benefit from Entrecard. It is an excellent system especially for bloggers trying to attain their first 2000 RSS subscribers. It’s not the only system these bloggers should be using of course, but it will absolutely help. Most of our users report traffic of around 20 visits per day, and as many as 150 to 200 per day with particularly effective ad campaigning. While this amount of traffic may not be significant to some of the top bloggers, many bloggers would find themselves greatly benefited from this source of traffic.

Are there any restrictions, limitations, or guidelines for joining the Entrecard network?

Yes, we have a number of basic guidelines for Entrecard membership. We only allow blogs of reasonable quality into the network, so if you only have one post, or if your site is considered “spam” it will not be allowed in the network. We also only allow blogs written in English, though we hope to expand to facilitate all languages as soon as possible. Finally, you cannot have adult content on your blog.

We rely heavily on a flagging system, where users can flag any blog in the network that appear to be spam, offensive, or of poor quality. All these flags are reviewed promptly and proper action is always taken to keep Entrecard a high quality network. So far, this system has served us wonderfully, and has given an equal voice to everyone as to what they do and do not want to see in the Entrecard network.

What tips would you give bloggers who want to get the most out of Entrecard?

With Entrecard, you get out what you put in. So you’ll want to spend some time leaving your card for bloggers in your niche and in related niches to get them visiting your site. You can start buying as many ads as possible on related blogs. Finally, you can hold a contest on your blog and give away Entrecard Credits. This is becoming a very popular trend for our members, and provides a terrific incentive to get others commenting on your blog posts.

Another fairly large element that plays a role in your success with Entrecard is your blog’s content. Members with quality content, well written and useful articles with images, will find that Entrecard enhances their statistics more so than blogs with lesser quality content. And of course, blogs with terrible content simply get removed from our network. But if your content is good, simply participate as much as possible, and I can guarantee you’ll be happy with your results.

You’ve just opened a ‘marketplace’ (pictured below) – what’s this?

The blogger marketplace, which we call the Entrecard Shop, is the next step forward with the Credit economy we’re establishing. Cumulatively, our members are earning thousands of Credits every day, and while it’s nice that you can spend your Credits to advertise on over 1700 blogs, we have a bit of a larger vision.

So we’ve opened a shop where bloggers can buy and sell blogging related products and services for Credits. We have people selling exclusive WordPress themes, Blog reviews, SEO consultations, Blog makeovers, unused domain names, and more. The benefit for the seller is that it dramatically increases the amount of credits you earn, thus increasing your purchasing power as well. The benefit for the buyer is that now you can buy much, much more than network advertising with your Credits.

Ecshop

What is the most unique item available in the shop? What is the most useful?

I’d have to say that the most unique item in the shop is a Shakespearean Sonnet. A blogger, who recently enjoyed a class in Shakespeare, will write a sonnet about your blog for 50 credits, and post it on her blog. As for the most useful item, someone is selling a complete hosting package for your WordPress blog. This gives bloggers the opportunity to finally move off Blogspot or WordPress.com and onto their own hosted account, and pay with credits instead of money. I find it really satisfying to see such unique and useful items being sold in the Shop, which is only just a week old.

Are there any criticisms of Entrecard you would like to address?

Well the system isn’t perfect, and although we’d like everyone to read a full post and leave a comment before dropping their card, some people simply don’t. Some users will stop by your blog just to drop off their card, and then go off to the next one to rack up credits. Now this doesn’t include everyone; we have a lot of quality readers out there on Entrecard. In fact we’ve found that the majority of our users have reported discovering new blogs they now read regularly. But you could very well find, because of some chain droppers, that across all your Entrecard traffic, the average time spent on your site is slightly lower and the bounce rate slightly higher when compared to the rest of your traffic. Regardless, this is still real traffic and you still have the opportunity to command their attention when they stop by. And finally, even for the Entrecard members that do stay only just long enough to drop their card, you still earn a credit for each one of these “chain droppers,” which you can put towards advertising, graphic design for your blog, blog reviews, SEO consultations, hosting, and much much more in the Entrecard Shop.

The best thing our members can do to minimize the chain dropping, is to understand that this is not Entrecard’s intended use, and to really make an effort to read a post and leave a comment on blogs they visit while dropping cards.

Where do you hope to take Entrecard in the coming year? Do you have any more features planned that you can tell us about?
Over the next year, we’re going to expand the social networking features to include favorites, a news feed, and even more bells and whistles. We’re going to enhance the advertising network by adding greater control and analytics. Finally, we’re hoping to expand the marketplace to hundreds, if not thousands of items, and roll out a seller feedback system similar to eBay’s. By the end of the year, I plan on securing either an angel investment or venture capital. I’ve already had some interest from a few angel investors, but I’m looking for an investor who is well connected in an industry that would be of benefit. From the looks of things so far, Entrecard could become big. Very big.

Note from Darren: As a little companion post to this interview in the next day or two I’m going to do a little competition to give away my own Entrecard credits (there’s over 3000 of them). Stay tuned for how to win some of them for yourself to help promote your blog.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Arpit Tambi says: 01/10/2008 at 7:03 am

    There is some formatting problem with the last question, correct it…

  2. Entrecard is pretty cool. Especially the shop.

  3. Well that was a long thing to get through…. but well worth it!

    It’ll allow me to see if i can improve my own internet business prospects with my own future project

  4. I think the service is great, but it can get boring after a while. The shop sounds like a good idea and looks like it will bring momentum back.

    Currently, we are in development of something that will rock the widget world. I’ll give you first dibs, Darren ;-)

  5. I have a blog that is lagging in traffic. Sounds like I should give this a try. Thanks for the info.

  6. I love Entrecard.. It is a great way to visit other blogger’s sites. :)

  7. I’ve seen a good increase in traffic from entrecard so far and it only looks like its going to get better. Of course, the amount of sub-par blogs I’ve come across as well is higher, but I’ve found a couple of gems as well.

    I’ve managed to drop 600 cards in the past two days which has helped me build up some pretty good traffic that actually hangs around and looks at the stuff on my site too.

    EntreCard is worth the effort.

  8. I found that the code snippet was slowing my site down a bit so I removed it after a short test.

    Also, if this venture becomes successful, maybe Graham can pump some money back into the Million Dollar Wiki. That thing’s been pretty much left for dead.

  9. Entrecard has been the most motivating widget for me this year. I’m dropping as many as I can. I’m also enjoying the various types of link-loves and contests being held.

  10. I have also benefited greatly from Entrecard. I can network more.

    I have found more interesting blogs.

    I can advertise.

    People’s ingenuity is amazing. Many people are giving away credits in order for people to sign up to their RSS. Clever.

  11. Entrecard is a joke. I feel like it is flopping just like BlogRush did. I refuse to put this rediculous contraption on my site because the quality of the traffic is so insignificant. I would feel lucky if I got 5 RSS users from it, but I didn’t. I think I will actually give away my credits in a contest I am running now.

    Justin Dupre
    http://www.blogosis.com

  12. I have been blogging for a while, but haven’t got into to the traffic dynamics until recently. Of everything I have tried, Entrecard is by far the best and may be one of the only ways a new blogger can get a shot at appearing on a blog like this one.
    I have to admit I chain drop, but I do read the posts. It’s just the easiest way to navigate the system. And since it’s an active system unlike Blogrush, I kill two birds with one stone. I get traffic via Entrecard and my actually visiting the blogs, more chances to comment.
    Both my comments and traffic have increased at my blog since signing up.

  13. Darren,

    You forgot to ask him:

    “Will EntreCard ever sell some premium accounts or vip accounts OR will it be always FREE”

  14. even i got good traffic using this entrecard….. thanks entrecard to give such services..

  15. The comparison to BlogRush is unfortunate. BlogRush is a failure, in the opinion of many people and myself. I’m glad I read this interview, because now I see that it’s not like BlogRush at all.

  16. Yes would be nice to have read about his future plans for Entrecard.

    Also i prefer the term I heard used in the forums, “drive by dropper” to “chain dropper” :)

    Toni x

  17. Honestly, I love Entrecard. It is a great way to get traffic.

    To those who say the traffic is worthless, I say traffic is only worthless if you don’t know how to monetize it. What did you do to make this group of people stop and think “Hey, this is cool! Maybe I should subscribe or comment.” In most cases, you did nothing. And that is your problem, not Entrecard’s.

    I have had hundreds of comments from Entrecard users, quite a few Technorati favorites and some great RSS subscribers. Why? Because I monetize it. Entrecard works great for me and my website.

    Maybe those who bash it should step back for a second and ask themselves why it isn’t working, and improve on it from within their website first before going public and claiming the service sucks.

  18. Being a teenager with a blog doesn’t seem that easy, trust me. There are those who believe that we love nothing more than using “txt spk” and Myspace, that’s not the case with me. As a girl who’s just started her journey to becoming a problogger (in August), it’s amazing how one month of Entrecard has made a difference. Not only are my rankings way up in the 700,000’s, but I’ve been able to establish myself and now am close to making money in the $1,000 mark. That’s not bad for a not even nineteen computer geek!

  19. Excellent review! EntreCard is an amazing community of bloggers and despite criticism of traffic quality I have made numerous friends and recieved hundred and hundreds of unique visitors… many of whom now read my web magazine on a daily basis!

    Darren, PLEASE start approving / rejecting your advert requests, there are alot of us who would love to advertise on your widget!

    All the best,

    Mark Fulton
    DotSauce Magazine
    http://www.DotSauce.com

  20. Entrecard has totally helped me to kickstart my blog. Sure, I “chain drop”, but I also leave plenty of comments and read a bunch of really great posts on related blogs.

    This has helped me contact a lot of new and cool bloggers, and I’ve really enjoyed it. To me, this is more important than the traffic aspect.

    Now, I have a small readership that is developing, and my blog is growing everyday!

    Definitely a must have for all serious new bloggers.

  21. What a great idea! I love it but on their end I see a small problem. How are they making money? If everything works on credits, they cannot really take a portion of transactions and convert it to cash. I don’t see the profit potential. Any ideas?

  22. My site is nearly two years old but the current focus has only been around for a couple of months. Entrecard has helped my blog immensely by doing the initial promotion and attracting a decent amount of traffic to the site. I know it’s quality traffic and not just “drive by droppers” because my feed subscribers have increased and many of the visitors leave a comment.

    If a blog don’t get any good quality traffic from Entrecard, perhaps they should ask whether their content is up to scratch or whether they are writing in a niche that is already too popular. People will only leave a comment if they read a post that provokes them to comment. If they’re not commenting, don’t blame Entrecard!

  23. Darren, where is your Entrecard? I can’t find it any longer in the Entrecard interface.

  24. What I would like to see is a better looking widget.
    The current golden ‘drop yours’ clashes with my web site something terrible.
    I’m trying to keep my blog professional-grade, and I don’t know if I can get that to work. :-/

    Possibly have a text version of the ‘drop yours’ ?
    But still keep it below the ad.
    That way it would be the 125×125 ad with simple text link below the ad (styled by the site) saying ‘get one/drop yours.’

    Or, if someone wasn’t selling ads at the moment, a text and/or image way to still have a card dropped through the web site?

    Like I said, at this point I don’t want to put the ad on my site because that golden ‘get one/drop yours’ doesn’t work with my site.
    If there was multiple versions and/or a text version, then I would defiantly add it to my site.

    Oh, and here’s another idea.
    What about the ability to leave custom ads for a particular web site?
    For example, I may want a web site to advertise on my site, but not with their current ad’s look. While that ad’s look may not be bad, it just might not work with my site’s color scheme. If they were able to give me a custom ad that works with my site’s color scheme, then I would allow their ad on my site.
    (I’ve already denied one such ad)

    Also, a referral program would be a good thing to have. Refer someone, get points.
    That would offer more incentive to spread the word and put the ad on a site/blog.

    There.
    I’ve given my three cents.
    Those first two particulars (mainly the first) are keeping me from placing an Entrecard ad on my blog.
    Although I’m still signed-up, I’m not taking full advantage of the service. Do something about the first and I’ll be the first to add an Entrecard Ad it to my blog.

    Looking forward to where Entrecard goes!

  25. Oh, and getting points for reviews would be good too.
    Then there’d be more incentive to write reviews.

  26. Entrecard is helpful and highly addictive!

  27. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Entrecard. I’ve gotten a HUGE amount of traffic and not just chain droppers. The average EC visit stays for three minutes and visits 2.53 (?) pages. I don’t consider that bad at all considering most complaints I’ve seen of the service is that people aren’t reading the content and/or staying longer. Of course, I have no ads to click, so I can’t rave or complain about that particular aspect.

    I do want to address two things from Brian Purkiss:

    For example, I may want a web site to advertise on my site, but not with their current ad’s look. While that ad’s look may not be bad, it just might not work with my site’s color scheme. If they were able to give me a custom ad that works with my site’s color scheme, then I would allow their ad on my site.
    (I’ve already denied one such ad)

    There is a way to do this. The potential advertiser can switch out their card with a new one for as long as it takes you to approve their ad. Then they can change it back and the new and improved ad will appear on your widget.

    Oh, and getting points for reviews would be good too.
    Then there’d be more incentive to write reviews.

    Entrecard doesn’t want their to be incentives for leaving recommendations. They prefer that recommendations be made honestly and without benefit to whomever is leaving the recommendation. This is a benefit as far as I’m concerned because I’ve got some excellent recommendations from bloggers and I know that those opinions are truthful.

  28. I like the fact that a small to medium blog can potentially advertise on the larger blogs, such as yours.

    I try to scroll down a blog to see what it is about before I drop and run. I have encountered some blogs I liked and have subscribed to there RSS.

    I don’t leave as many comments on a bloggers Entrecard as I should that can be a goal for 2008.

  29. I must agree EntreCard is highly addictive. I have found some really good sites through Entrecard and it has given my traffic a boost.

  30. EntreCard is both a curse and a blessing. A curse because it’s an addictive, obsessive/compulsive enabler that attracts other similar types to your site. A blessing because it does increase traffic and, every once in a while, allows new and interesting blog discoveries.

  31. Since the first day I put ENTRECARD on my blog, I’ve been doing nothing but supporting it. I have written, at least, a half dozen or more articles on how people can maximize their efforts and newcomers are finding them very useful all the time.

    The football you see in the graphic above is mine – it’s the most unique, and lucrative, form of contest going so far but all the others are still fun and definitely worthwhile.

    All in all, it’s been good but there’s been so many more people who have been WAY more helpful to Entrecard than ProBlogger so I’m a bit mystified why those others have not gotten this kind of helpful attention.

    Sam

  32. I just love Entrecard !! it give good traffic!
    best thing is that some sites ask for Money to place a 125X125 Ad, whereas entrecard does the same thing for free !!

    great concept !!!

    Ankit

  33. Great timing….I was surfing ProBlogger for ideas on gaining readership. I’ll give EntreCard a try. Thanks for putting this infromation together.

  34. The Credit economy is what’s interesting to me. We’re all desperate for traffic, but many social blog networks fade once the initial frenzy and traffic benefit fades. The Credit economy is their long-term, sustainable advantage, not the traffic alone.

    You will know it has hit the big time when you get a buy Entrecard Credits spam like the whole World of Warcraft gold sub-economy.

  35. I was pretty skeptical of Entrecard at first as it seemed like another banner link exchange program from the ‘arly days of the net. But now that I’ve tried it out, I’ve discovered that the value of EC is not where I expected it.

    I joined to get visitors, but to be honest, unless you can manage to get into some of the bigger sites’ queues, the time it takes to earn the traffic you get would be better spent crafting great articles for your blog.

    The REAL value I’ve found is in the EC community that is intrinsic to the ad infrastructure. I’ve found a few sites in my niche that I now read, and they have reciprocated. It’s a very basic and ad-driven form of stumbleupon just for blog owners.

    Anyways, I’ll stick around primarily for the other blog owners because the ad-for-time value (unless you’re a smaller blog as Graham mentioned) is not there yet…

  36. I’ve been with Entrecard for a little over 3 weeks and can identify increased traffic.

    I’ve discovered blogs I’d never have found if not for the need to “drop cards” to increase my EC amount.

    I believe that Entrecard will return what you put into it… sometimes in credits, more often in knowledge, and even more often because you’ve meant some awesome people.

  37. entrecard gets my vote for widget of the year!

  38. I love Entrecard! I’m so happy I found out about it! It’s better than the other blog traffic exchange networks I’ve used. This was an excellent idea. I’m looking forward to more features to this service.

  39. I love this service and it makes you check out other blogs to get ec points. Great Idea!

  40. I really like Entrecard. I am a chain dropper but I am trying to stop longer and read post and comment on them. I found some great blogs by dropping cards.

    Entreholic Dave

  41. I have found Entrecard to be an excellent tool for a new blogger like myself who is trying to build some traffic. I find it sort of sustains itself after the initial output of time. I have gained a lot of subscribers and found a lot of good sites along the way. I can not recommend it enough.

  42. lol I had to check the date of this posting because I felt like it was posted specifically for me (theres that ego centric thinking..)

    lol I say this because I only realyl started to use Entre Card last night.. problogger being my first card drop of course

    I was thinking about how neat of an idea this was and wondering what I should do on it.. came home.. and saw this posting awaiting

    I love this idea.. I hope it really helps the traffic on my blog seeing that I am putting real heart into it :)

  43. I have found entrecard to be an amazing addition to my blog. I am so happy that after less than 15 days my blog is at the top spot in its category. I drop 300 cards a day and advertise all over. Such a great program!

  44. Great interview with Entrecard !

    If you want to get more traffics to your blog, this will be the one tool that I suggest to you.

    But in condition, you must participate in the community and play your good role in your blog (good contents).

    This is another good example of Web 2.0 !

    Kent

  45. At first I was skeptical about entrecard but I just do it (like nike!) and after 1 month I begin to believe in the system. why? because you could advertise in other blogs without any rotation for 24 hours. This is really cool.

    The best part is a lot of good blogs and seasoned bloggers are here too so I learn a lot from them including you, problogger.

    Cheers and Happy New Year from Malaysia.

  46. I love entrecard I think it makes about i/3 of my traffic now everyone has to get on entrecard and see how well i am doing

  47. One thing I am interested to see in regards to Entrecard is how Graham will actually make it profitable. I think that is the step that many web startups struggle the most with after they hit these levels of success.

  48. During the publishing of this post, it is my blog’s entrecard that is being published here in Problogger.net. I thank Darren for such an opportunity. I drived near hundreds of visitors to my site.

  49. I have been pleased with the results of Entrecard. This is a novel application which is much more pleasant to use than other link/banner exchange type programs, because of its interactivity and being able to contact other members. I like the ability to choose who advertises on your site and vice versa. I can pick sites with content of the most relevance to my readers.

    The only problem is that certain sites I would really like to advertise on are full (eg Problogger) and not accepting any more ads as yet :-) I need visit them more regularly on Entrecard, methinks

    Now I know some of the Problogger readers that are on Entrecard I am going off to drop mine on their sites now.

  50. Wondered when you’d be talking about entrecard Darren. It has brought me some good traffic, some subscribers and allowed me to find some really great blogs that I don’t think I would’ve without it.

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