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Interview with Entrecard’s Graham Langdon

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.

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Comments

  1. It’s a great idea, but is spoilt by the idiots who stop 300 cards a day – seriously, the point of it (I presume) was to help bloggers find other blogs, and those that drop 300 a day aren’t doing too much of looking I’d think.

    The shop idea is a great one, and I’ll be using my credits on that :)

  2. 66tx says:

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

  3. Colin King says:

    EntreCard is the best tool available for a new blog. It is not a magic bullet it requires work, not just dropping cards but also taking part in the community and providing quality content for the readers. But isn’t that what you should be doing anyway?

  4. Katie says:

    Add me to the list of those who have seen a real benefit in traffic to my blog with entrecard. It will be interesting to see how it goes over time. I am noticing a higher calibur of blogs starting to appear which is encouraging because it is true that there are many blogs on the network that are of little substance. That said, I have found a few gems to add to my reads and have gained some subscribers to my blog which is worth so much.

  5. Melo says:

    Can Entrecard credits be sold for real money?

  6. CatherineL says:

    Thanks for the great explanation Darren. I’ve been hearing plenty about Entrecard but this really explains how it all works.

    I didn’t join blogrush, but i think I’ll try this one out.

  7. Frank C says:

    Don’t put EntreCard on a site where you’re using AdSense. If you do, the low converting “drop and go” traffic will cause your entire Adsense account to be “smart priced”. This will cut your Adsense earnings on all sites by 90%.

  8. Kelly C says:

    I’ve been a member of Entrecard for a few weeks now and have found many new blogs I would not have known about. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the future.

  9. Entre card is a brilliant concept.Imagine being able to place an Ad for free on a top Blog or a high traffic blog for free. That is priceless. A tiny Blog like mine can actually get a shot at immortality.

  10. Entrecard not only helped us find new ways to reach our objective of generating more awareness for our small site, it also made us new friends in the process.

  11. For me, this is the best part:

    “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”

    Honestly speaking, I do this sometimes if the blog content is not worth to read, and many will agree with me. So no matter how attractive your Entrecard is, if your content is nonsense, then expect to be great blog for dropping an Entrecard only.

  12. Rome says:

    I’m now up to 400,000+ on alexa because of entrecard. :)

  13. Alfa King says:

    I joined Entrecard yesteday without a clear picture of what it was. After reading your post I now have a better look of what it is. Thanks for the explanation.

  14. Turnip says:

    My biggest complaints about entrecard are too many visitors and the gold color clashes with my frilly undies.

  15. Scott says:

    Entrecard has been great at bringing me some new readers, increased comments left, and has exposed me to a lot of blogs that I wouldn’t have otherwise found. I am very pleased with it.

    SB

  16. Jo says:

    Thy :)
    Great article and perfect explanation :) Seems to be a big thing at the states.

    Do you know if there are any plans for Europe ?

  17. Cecile says:

    I love Entrecard! I have found some great blogs and even added some to my reader. It has increased my traffic. I also like that I can advertise on blogs in my niche and outside my niche.

  18. Will says:

    I find that the chain dropping is not a problem on my site. Yes many leave right after dropping their card, but they do have to stay long enough for the widget to record the drop. If my latest post catches their interest, then they stay and read.

    As with all blogs, the key is good content. Also understanding that interest in your site, no matter the topic, will be limited simply by the vast and differing types of people that will see you posts. In December, I had 5,000 visitors, a new high for my site. I had only 12 posts that month. I received over 100 comments on those posts, many by regular contributors.

    I think they key to determining your blogs success is to evaluate if you have regular commentators that are really taking an interest in your content. If you are as blessed as I am to have that, then it just builds from month to month.

    Entre card is a great tool to find an occasional new visitor that will then return regularily.

    -Will

  19. Madlab Post says:

    Initially, when reading that visiting other blogs is required in order to earn Entrecard points to enable bloggers to advertise, it started to appear as one of those numerous traffic exchange websites that require its users to visit other blogs in order to receive visits in return such as those 3:1 etc. ratios.

    However, Entrecard seems to be worth checking out and of course….it doesn’t hurt that it is being mentioned on ProBlogger. If it were some run of the mill blog or even just one that doesn’t have this much clout, I probably would not pay too much attention to Entrecard. Thanks for profiling this website Darren.

  20. I’m a big fan – it seems to work pretty well.

  21. Sounds like I’m on to something…

    :)

  22. jesie says:

    A friend suggested I signed so I did. I was busy and there was inaction on my part because I didn’t understand how it worked.

    Today I started to drop my card and see some traffic coming from Entrecard. I have also discovered some new sites. I think the introduction of Entrecard gives us a reason to visit more bloggers who we probably would not.

    I believe nothing comes easy. We have to visit others and do some work to see the results.

    Thanks for so much information and comments from this post which are so helpful.

  23. shanec says:

    Entrecard has been great for me! Can’t wait to see what else is in store for it…

  24. Sergey says:

    i wonder if graham really read all the comments left. )

  25. OPEN GIGA says:

    thanks for the information and maybe this will work for me on right way…

  26. SEO Rob says:

    My page views have went down %48 but my traffic has increased 1,914% in the last couple months. I’m getting tons of backlinks and I never used to get comments, my latest post has 28 comments. I love Entrecard!

  27. I am getting more and more readers just for Entrecard.
    Thanks a lot for the interview.

  28. kid blogger says:

    I created a blog yesterday, made some friends and got 50 visits from entrecard. You are the best ever.

  29. Dutchboy says:

    I love it. Not just because of the fact that my blog’s traffic has increased by about 2000%, because let’s face it, my blog isn’t that good, but also because of the interesting blogs that now lie at my fingertips with all the cards that are dropped on me.

  30. Leon says:

    I’ve used Entrecard for just under 2 days now, and I have to say I’ve gotten more traffic during this time than my three blog exchanges have given me in 3 months!

  31. Paul says:

    I have definitely noticed an increase in traffic.

    As with anything in life, you only get out of it what you put in.

    I’m looking forward to what will be added, tweaked, and changed in Entrecard over the next year.

  32. i am really satisfied with the traffic that i get from Entrecard. The service is much better than Blog Rush

  33. For me, entrecard has been great, and I’ve had a lot more fun networking with other bloggers than previously with mybloglog, stumbleupon, blogcatalog, bumpzee, or the myriad other “social” blog services.

    I’m hoping that the new car smell doesn’t wear off -and that it continues to shine for a few years…

  34. I love Entrecard. My blog is less than one month old and I have seen a great increase in traffic. I know for a fact a number of them have become regular readers and I have 20 subscribers. For a very small blog, I don’t think that’s bad.

    Also, the community aspect of it seems genuine. The cream rises to the top. It’s easy to tell you is looking to making connections and who just wants to drop cards like crazy for the traffic.

    Lastly, I’ve been introduced to a good number of blog of which I am now a regular reader. I don’t know that I would have foudn them before. I’m interested to see how it grows.

  35. webduck says:

    I am totally impressed with Entrecard. My blog now has more traffic, and they have found that I actually write good and interesting blog posts in my genealogy niche. Spending a few hours a day dropping cards and making comments is practically effortless. By the way, thanks for doing this interview article. I see great things for Entrecard and I am proud to be using it.

  36. Tom Bonner says:

    I have to say I am very pleased with Entrecard. It is the real deal. During the six weeks I used Blogrush, I only saw a hand full of visitors from their widget. In contrast, I have seen several hundred visitors from Entrecard in the two weeks I have been using it on my blog.

    The system is diabolically clever, because it forces you and your readers to visit each other sites — over and over again.

    Of course many of these are chain droppers, but I don’t care. I have discovered at least a dozen new blogs that I never new existed before Entrecard. I have bookmarked or joined the RSS feeds of these formerly unknown sites. I assume the same thing is happening when users come to my site. Many will just move on, but some will discover me for the first time and return. Some may even become regular readers.

    The exciting thing to me is that most Entrecard visitors are other site owners. Most likely they won’t click on ads or buy anything. Because most of them are bloggers, however, there is a good chance that some of them may link to one of my posts. That is the real advantage of Entrecard in my opinion. By actively participating in the Entrecard community your site or blog will be on display to other site owners. They in turn, will blog about your site — which will bring in the kind of traffic you are looking for. The site owners aren’t your target market — but they can be the key to good traffic.

    Entrecard is nothing like Blogrush. And that is a very good thing!

    Tom Bonner
    http://alphatracks.com

  37. Just got into it. Pretty goddamn cool.

  38. StanHayes says:

    Entrecard is as addictive as crack.

  39. Descartes says:

    EntreCard has been a very interesting experience. It is much interactive, and therefor addictive, than something like Blogrush which just sat there. EntreCard requires active participation, you have to go to other blogs, and that means finding some bad blogs and finding some good blogs and once in a while finding a great blog. I have found a number of blogs that I visit regularly that I would not have seen otherwise.

  40. EntreCard has taken over as my number one source of traffic. The down side is that the bounce rate is pretty high. the store helps and just the awareness of other blogs is great. What I wonder is will it last?

  41. EntreCard is a great service! Keep up the good work!

  42. Raj says:

    I am totally impressed with it.

  43. BroTee says:

    Sincerely, Entrecard has been the best traffic provider I’ve ever had as a newbie blogger. It’s advantages are quite overwhelming. Whether someone drops in just to drop a card or spend time reading the posts and dropping comments is not top of priority to a newbie blogger. The first thing is the awareness that the BLOG even EXIST!
    Also, I have discovered that even when you go on “dropping spree” you cannot but get attracted to some blogs or some posts with great contents that force you to pause long enough to read up the entire article and then drop your comment.
    I guess, members should concentrate on working on means of arresting the attention of “professional droppers” instead of presenting it as a flaw in the system. Thumps up to Entrecard!

  44. Chris M says:

    I’m a user and fan of Entrecard, but the only thing I find about Entrecard is that it kills your analytics bounce rates. So if you’re a bounce rate follower, then the service isn’t ideal, otherwise it’s great for extra traffic!

    Well done!

  45. Entrecard has helped me in part to increase my RSS readership. At first I thought the visitors were useless as they come and drop cards, but I noticed that my viewership and RSS subscribers steadily increased since participating.

  46. Rob Thayer says:

    It’s a fantastic, addictive idea. The main problem is that the traffic you do get is not always targeted; people are really just visiting your blog so they can pick up an easy credit. Still, it is helpful in introducing other people to your blog so you can pick up a few regular visitors here and there. Well done, Graham!

  47. John Hood says:

    Entrecard is adding further value to social media networking!

  48. It’s amazing how Entrecard works for me. I’ve given already 2000 Entrecard credits in my previous contest. :)

  49. Sue says:

    I am back again to say thanks for this great review of Entrecard. I truly believe in the system as it has created a lot of traffic for me that would have taken months to achieve on my own. The more traffic I get from Entrecard, the more people know about my existence and the word is spreading. The system is free if one does not mind a little work (dropping cards is not difficult) and we get a chance to see all the great things other bloggers are doing. The whole Entrecard system helps us build better sites and I applaud the people who dreamed this up and got it started. Well done Entrecard and well done interview by ProBlogger Darren.

  50. Wogan May says:

    I remember signing up and Entrecard, and being completely lost as to how the whole thing worked. I eventually figured it all out, though, and set out to do what most Entrecarders do – drop cards.

    I ended up subscribing to a whole bunch of RSS feeds too. Since Entrecard has that whole “Quality blogs only” thing, people actually make an effort to keep their blogs at a high standard. Which made it easier for me to subscribe.

    All the card-dropping, adspace-purchasing and linked posts drove my brand new blog (less than 36 hours old) from 2 unique visitors to over 100 in less than 12 hours. And since then, I’ve only picked up the activity.

    My AWstats won’t update for the next few hours, but I’m sure I’ve broken even _that_ record already.

    I think that Entrecard is an excellent way to capture traffic, and I can easily see how it makes life that much easier for newbie bloggers.

    Keep up the good work!

    ~ Wogan