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BlogRush Launches Phase 2 – My First Impressions

Logo-2-1BlogRush has announced it’s Phase 2 launch today and I’ve just taken a look over it.

What you’ll notice when you first log in is a new dashboard (instead of an ‘under construction’ note). The interface is all very nice with new graphs etc. The information in the graphs is all interesting (although not a lot different from what they previously gave).

What is interesting about the new Phase 2 Dashboard is the section that shows how BlogRush is performing on a post by post basis. In this section they show you how many times each post has been served to the widget and how many times they were clicked. Also each post has been given a ‘Buzz’ rating.

This of course is useful in seeing what kinds of posts work best and what doesn’t work.

In the video announcing the Phase 2 launch John mentions that these ‘buzz ratings’ from all of the blogs in the network will be aggregated to provide a new service to show what’s hot across the full network. This new site will be called TrafficJam.com. TrafficJam will be an interesting development to watch – it sounds like an alternative to a Digg like site and if they can get a good user base it could be quite a good traffic generator and reason to keep using BlogRush.

My First Impressions of Phase 2

  • My initial impression is that the reports and dashboard are all very nice
  • The post aggregation information is useful – particularly for those wanting to see what kinds of headlines work. Using the ‘reports’ area shows you which posts worked over a period and which didn’t. I’ve learned a lot in the last 15 minutes from this report – it’s a great way of getting a handle on what kinds of titles people are drawn to click on!
  • Performance is still very very low for me when it comes to CTR. Over the 6 weeks since I started with BlogRush I’ve earned over 8 million credits. I have 6.5 million credits still owed to me so links must have been served up on blogs around 1.5 million times. From that I’ve had around 890 people visit my site. I know that BlogRush has had people trying to scam the system, that some of my blog titles probably could be better and that they’re still improving the system – but 900 clicks from 1.5 million impressions is fairly insignificant I’m afraid.
  • Current Credit Balance seems completely blown out for me. I currently have 6.5 million credits that are unused. I know John says that this number goes up and down – but mine just keeps rising.
  • John mentions there are new categories being added – good move – this should help with CTR
  • The new ‘flavors’ editing is good – it means you can change the color scheme of your widget quickly without having to change code on your blog. There are also new sized widgets (although you’ll need to change the code on your blog to change sizes).
  • Filters is a good move. You can now block posts that you don’t want to appear in the widget (using keywords), block posts from other people’s blogs or block other blogs completely.
  • The glaring missing stat to me is the actual numbers of visitors that you’ve had from BlogRush come to your blog. Seeing how much traffic you’ve earned is great – but unless you see figures of total traffic received it makes it hard to analyze how well it’s going. You do see it on a post by post basis – but not in total unless you’re willing to go in the ‘reports’ area and manually add them all up (like I just did… phew).

I’ve only spent 15 minutes looking over the new BlogRush – there is some good feature additions, nice new reports – and promises of new and interesting developments to come.

However, this system has been promoted as a traffic generation system and unless it is able to significantly improve the traffic that it sends those participating then it isn’t going to be used for much longer by many publishers I’m afraid. I’ve tried to be as optimistic as possible with this one as I think the idea has merit – however now that I’ve seen the results that were blocked to us for the last couple of weeks I’m feeling quite underwhelmed.

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.

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Comments

  1. Mark Avey says:

    I’ve also persevered with BlogRush since it started. However, having now seen the stats with their new Dashboard, it’s actually made me realise that, for me, on my blogs, at this time, it’s a complete waste of the space it takes up.

    Seeing the results on the new dashboard has actually resulted in me removing it from the 3 blogs I was testing it on. The number of people visiting my blogs through BlogRush just doesn’t warrant the amount of exposure the widget gets on my blogs.

    I also tried to be optimistic, and perhaps I’ll re-visit it one day, but for me, it’s farewell BlogRush for now.

    Mark

  2. Nelson says:

    Yeah,, I just login to my blogrush account and saw the pretty nice graphs on my dashboard.. I still get credits from the blogs on my network, even though I removed the widget from my blog, the widget sucks, the CRT is very very low. is a good thing that they are coming out with a traffic generator site like digg, because I don;t think that widget will stand to its promises.. widget bush.. (:-)

  3. Lodewijkvdb says:

    I removed the widget from my blog just two days ago. Too much clutter, to little results. CTR was very very low and to me not worth giving up that much space in the sidebar.

    And looking at an under construction page for three weeks, that keeps on saying ‘in the next couple of days we roll out…’ just did not make my feeling about BlogRush any better.

    I need to be re-convinced before I add it again.

  4. I much agree with Lodewijkvdb, when I first signed up for blogrush, I received a lot of hits, but then the service became too cluttered and it stopped working. I foresee this happening with many other services, including Text Link Ads.

  5. doug m says:

    i’m glad they finally rolled out this new phase, it seems like it has been forever since they announced it. the new graphs and credit balances do seem slightly buggy still but hopefully they will straighten it out fast.

  6. Yes my click through rate is appalingly low as well. It’s still on the blog for now but I’m one of those people who has it quite low down. However I’m changing my theme over the next few weeks and if things have not improved by then, it’s gone!

  7. markowe says:

    Ooo, boy, my “CTR” is also appalling! I can’t believe that my posts could have been syndicated THAT many times and yet see so little reaction. There could be something else amiss, I mean looking at Darren’s CTR (he has a few more credits than me :)) you would expect more clicks even if they were clicking by ACCIDENT!

  8. D Lawrence says:

    The new graphs are slick, but the results are still unimpressive…maybe there’s a better way! At anyrate, at redesign time, if results haven’t improved, its gone gone gone!

  9. Blogrush looks pretty sweet but I am not sure if it will deliver the promise that it promised in the beginning.

  10. Charles says:

    Darren, I do not see the Blog Rush widget on this site. Which of your sites uses the widget?

  11. Court says:

    Even though the CTR is terrible, I’m a little surprised that people aren’t looking more at the total number of visitors from it. I’m averaging about 1,000-1500 unique visitors per day, and about 50 are from BlogRush. Even though the CTR is really bad, that’s still a very significant percentage of my traffic, and I didn’t really do much to get it.

    I personally could have had a lot more traffic up until this point if we would have had the filter this whole time. Now I know for a fact that I’ll be able to raise the CTR. Now that I can see how well each post has performed, it’s going to be easy to know when I should filter one.

    I think the changes are a pretty big improvement.

  12. maneesh says:

    I had stopped using blogrush after John’s lengthy mail about the scam which I didnt really understand and an under construction dashboard every time I logged in. I have placed the widget again today to see how things go.. unlike Darren I am a king with bonus credit (the poor bloggers weapon!) and have around 8k of em.. guess I would be using it up soon…

    looking forward to some relevant traffic

  13. Deborah says:

    Yes, I was watching the video a bit ago. It really did help to explain a few questions I had.

    The post by post is a real eye opener. A lot of mine are in the cold zone. I think I can change that around with better titles though

    I am sticking with Blog Rush and I think I’ll be moving it up in the sidebar as they advised. I don’t want to be removed from there program.

  14. Bill says:

    Yeah, I just signed up a week ago, and couldn’t even login until today. I like the interface, though I have nothing to compare it to previously. I am willing to keep the widget on my site for a while and see how it performs.

    The trafficjam.com site seems like it might be something to watch – as always finding new places to look and watch from your posts. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Pete Moore says:

    I think the problem is most blog owners are not willing to give the widget a prime viewing location so even though your great headline is being shown it is right at the bottom of the sidebar so it will get less exposure than it obviously would in a viewing hotspot.

    I think it is a good idea BUT thats the problem with traffic generation programs everyone wants to gain the traffic but not give any away.

    Pete

  16. “Underwhelmed” is a good way to put it. I had actually written a post about how throughly dissatisfying my Blog Rush experience has been, and taken the steps to remove it a few weeks ago but then decided to make the post private and put Blog Rush back on my blog just so I could see how phase 2 looks. Before too long the post will go back up and the widget will get removed.

  17. I think BlogRush is not worth the real estate on blogs!

    As you’ve mentioned as well, the click thru rates are really low. Given that, do you really think its worth giving it the real estate on your blog?

    I don’t think so….

    I guess it has received far too much hype than it actually deserves…

  18. ChrisB says:

    The new slimmer widget might help on CTR as many people (like me) were putting it at the bottom of their page because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else. I’ve now moved the widget up considerably, so my readers might actually see it.

  19. Travis says:

    I think blogrush is way too far gone to salvage at this point. The launch was underwhelming to say the least, and it hasn’t gotten any better since then.

  20. Dan Schawbel says:

    I don’t see the value, therefore I don’t think it’s acceptable to deliver that much traffic while recieving a small fraction.

  21. I was on BlogRush right at 12 when it went live. I had that much anticipation. I posted my 2 cents on my blog as well. So far, the phase 2 seems to be doing very well. I hope I can get a couple of blogs back into the network though. I lost like 25% of my blogs after the whole quality audit thing.

  22. I’ve been a supporter of the Blogrush widget ever since it first came out. My first impression of the dashboard is that it’s been so long in development that it should have bells and whistles on it. Unfortunately it’s pretty poor. The promotional video where John Reese explains the dashboard is pretty dull as a result, since there is so little that needs explaining.

    It is interesting though to be able to see which of your posts are being syndicated and how many times. It would be nice if you could have more control over this. Unfortunately the most widely syndicated of my posts is one with a misleading headline. It is one of the weaknesses of the widget that a reader is supposed to make a judgement on a post purely from the headline.

  23. Darren did you watch the video explaining the changes?

    I mostly agree with your assessment, but there were a couple of things mentioned in the video explaining phase 2 that I thought had potential.

    The first was John’s mentioning how while clicks are low, they are probably coming more often from other bloggers. That might make the traffic a little more valuable since other bloggers are more likely to talk about you and link to you. So one blogrush click could conceivably lead to many more links and clicks from other sources.

    Is that what will happen? I don’t know, but I can understand the thought process behind it.

    The other thing mentioned was the concept of your hot posts. It wasn’t entirely explained what made a post hot, but some factors would be how often it’s seen and clicked and how long people who do land on the post stick around to read it.

    There’s going to be a second site launching (in a month?) that will be a list of hot posts. I guess it’s a new spin on a social news site where the content is submitted based on what people are interested in on the BlogRush network.

    Assuming the second site does present good content and gains traction I can see where it would have the potential to drive a lot more traffic than the widget. A couple of my posts are catergorized as hot even with just one click so you don’t need clicks to go hot and be included on the proposed new site.

    Again will this work? I don’t know and it will certainly need some work and time, but it does sound like it has more potential. That potential might be enough to keep the widgets around for at least a little while longer.

  24. My first impression upon visiting phase 2 was that they purposely buried the visitors stat, making it hard to access and use. They’re aware that it’s a terrible clickthrough rate and they appear to be trying to distract publishers by showing them their THOUSAND OF IMPRESSIONS WOO!!!

    It’s pretty sad.

  25. Darren Rowse says:

    Steven – yep I watched the video and heard John’s explanation about how clicks are more valuable than people think. I agree and don’t take the 900 or so extra readers that went to my blogs for granted – I agree with him, however I’m sure even John would admit that 900 visitors from 1.5 million impressions isn’t really that great a conversion.

    Like I say in the post – there are a few promising signs that they will improve and it’s just early days for BR – but even I (the post patient and optimistic man in the blogosphere) am getting a little weary of waiting to see conversion.

  26. Bob Blick says:

    I dropped it last week. I just was not seeing anything significant happening and felt the categories weren’t helping much either. The idea sounds good but for now, I’m out.

  27. Stefan says:

    Does BlogRush lower your PageRank since it may display links to websites with non relevant content? I bet.

  28. Snoskred says:

    I’m not using Blogrush and I never have used it. The reason for that is I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t get sucked into the hype for things – I’ve always been that way. For example – I won’t go to see a movie if it’s shoved down my throat during ad breaks.

    I have to say that this whole Blogrush debacle made me lose respect for a few of the bloggers I used to respect. I can’t lie and say you’re not among the people I lost respect for. I just felt like every blogger in the universe was trying to shove this thing down my throat in order to benefit themselves because of the pyramid thing, and you were posting about it just like everyone else. Although you weren’t quite as “this is the best thing since sliced bread sign up now by clicking this link” about it as many of the other bloggers were, it did add to the echo chamber effect.

    That’s a difficult thing to say, especially to you, but I wanted to make the point because I feel it is really important for all bloggers to realise what kind of effect their posts can have.

    I don’t blame the bloggers for it as much as I blame Blogrush for putting in that ridiculous multi-level-marketing style pyramid referral system. That is precisely what caused the problem because bloggers felt like if they didn’t post about it and encourage people to sign up using their referral then they would miss out on a lot of traffic. I believe that is quite unethical for any company to do that. They created themselves a lot of buzz – and then it backfired on them.

    If a blogger supports something new, something untried and untested and it turns out to be the dismal failure that Blogrush turned out to be – and there is no denying it is a dismal failure – then bloggers who post about it like it is a cure for Cancer put their reputations at risk.

    I have no doubt you’ll earn that respect back as time goes by. That’s why I am still here reading. Many of the other bloggers will not be able to earn it back and I will find myself questioning their motives with every post they write now. I’ll be thinking “Why are they telling me about this” and “What’s in it for them”.

  29. I’m sticking with BlogRush for now. It’ll become clear in short order whether the upgraded system will be of value and it’d be shame to miss out just because the service seemed weak at the start.

    I also find the prospects more interesting than MyBlogBlog which has been around for many, many months and still sends little traffic my way. I actually just wrote a post speculating that MyBlogLog would be replaced by BlogRush (website link above points to this post).

  30. Nick Dalton says:

    @Stefan
    The BlogRush widget is rendered entirely by JavaScript so it is not seen by search engines. Therefore it should not affect your PageRank in any way.

  31. Etienne Teo says:

    I have removed my blogrush after 5 weeks of experiment. I find that this widget is not meant for me, it is not worth putting another widget to add extra loading time, i rather i save that few milli seconds of loading and stick to other social marketing to generate traffic.

    I seriously don’t get much traffic from blogrush alone, i guess even if i were to just drop a comment on a blog, i can easily hit the traffic given from blogrush to me. That is how bad it is, so it’s out for me.

  32. geomark says:

    I ran the widget for a while on one of my blogs, gave them 10,000 impressions, and received exactly 0 visitors back from it. No brainer, I removed it.

    Then the phase 2 email comes so I think I might try again, log into my account and see they disapproved my blog. It’s a 3 year old blog with 1400 posts and updated regularly. WTF, I can’t say much positive about these people.

  33. Andy Beard says:

    Darren it is important to differentiate between earned credtis, bonus credits, and credits from your referral network.

    There are some problems with the stats still, maybe they were not tracking bonus stats correctly in the early days.

    When I added it up yesterday, the internal stats show 202 visitors with up to a 0.5% CTR, and even more current posts achieving 0.25% (which is over 1% for the widget possibly)

    The thing is my 3rd party tracking reports over 260 visitors.

    Don’t forget you can use plugins to optimize feeds used by Blogrush so it possibly points to a highly converting landing page.

  34. markowe says:

    Well, one thing you can say is that this whole topic is sparking off some emotion! I think it must be something to do with our expectations. We don’t like to feel that we fell for someone’s “empty promises” or were used or manipulated in some way.

    There’s got to be a happy medium somewhere – to give any new service (or anyone in life, for that matter) the benefit of the doubt, yet not go all the way and commit blindly to something that is not tried and tested.

    I would say there is not much in life you could fully put your trust in (in fact I think I know what Darren would say if it came to the crunch, and I would agree), but I’m all for giving something like Blogrush a chance, and even recommending it to others, at the same time without building unrealistic expectations in myself or others. When we trust in something on the basis of our own expectations, that’s generally a recipe for disappointment..!

    If that something does disappoint, we don’t have to feel stupid for having “fallen for it” – we just gave it the benefit of the doubt and it didn’t measure up… The jury, I see, seems to be making a fairly rapid return after its deliberations on Blogrush. I’m going to give it just that little bit more of a chance – the same as I would like others to give me…

  35. Sara East says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t too happy with the results. It looks pretty but I will give it more time. We will see what happens with it in coming months.

  36. Michael says:

    I don’t see how BlogRush could be useful, it has such a low CTR that it isn’t really worth anyones time.

  37. Ed says:

    it seems there was a lot of hype at first, but now people are realizing how useless it is.

  38. Paul says:

    How about a review of Arkayne?

    Its a way better service than BlogRush, its based on content.

    http://www.arkayne.com

    These guys are doing everything BlogRush is not, mainly caring about your content and the users.