2009-10-22

My future with Entrecard

I last wrote about Entrecard here.

Within the past couple weeks, however, I accidentally changed my Entrecard habits.

I had been able to hit my 300 drops in about 1.5 hours if all worked well. Often it would take longer, but that didn't mean I was just doing card drops for hours on end.  I would open about 50-80 tabs at a time, and let them load while I went and did something else.  After 10 minutes or so, I would come back and skim some sites, read others, and just drop and run on others that did not have fresh content.  But for several days I didn't quite have the energy to do that, and once I stopped for a few days, I no longer felt compelled to get back into that rhythm.

I'm not leaving Entrecard.  I'm not angry with them.  Their new approach to paid ads makes more sense than their older one; I don't like it, but I understand it.  I still see value in the service.  I'll continue to drop cards on the blogs I regularly read anyway, and will need to update my bookmarks so I can visit other favorites that I usually just get to by finding them in my Inbox.

My Entrecard use could turn into one of those old flame relationships.  You break up with someone, but still promise to be friends.  You both make the effort, and have a few awkward coffee shop visits.  Eventually  you start to miss phone calls and forget to return one another's voice mail and before you know it, a decade has passed and you find yourself wondering, "What ever happened to her?" You Google or Facebook them and find they have a new family and smile broadly in their pictures, and think, "That's nice." And your genuinely happy for them, if at times a little wistful.

From time to time, I'll still drop a lot of cards, visit new blogs, and hit my 300 a day.  On occasion.  I think. Or is that just awkward coffee shop banter?

What brings this on?

Basically, I  got tired of visiting 300 blogs a day.

It had been a habit for over a year.  And by visiting 300 blogs nearly every day, and placing ads on Entrecard every day, I was able to secure that top 3 spot.

I didn't decide to change my habits -- it just happened.  The triggering event was likely my rant on CSI: Miami where I commented about how I tend to ride things into the ground.  By writing that post, I lost my desire to ride Entrecard to the bitter end. That, combined with increase work schedules, and some spotty broadband performance made opening 50 tabs at once an unpleasant experience at best.

Once I stopped dropping regularly, my rank fell pretty quickly. Over the past couple weeks I dropped from the top 5 most popular EntreCard blogs down to the 60-75th place range.

My daily blog traffic dropped from 350 visitor per day to about 225.

And you know something? Some how the world didn't end.


25 comments:

Sound Sans Sense said...

I went the same route. My other blog was among the most popular blogs when Monkey was lording it over the entrecard popularity scale. It even reached the number two spot at one time. My young friends who were helping me out went dropping crazy to maintain that "popularity" until I had it stopped when I realized it was too much work for whatever benefits my blog was getting.

Anyway,I was suppose to just say, you won't miss all that "popularity". Believe me.

Jan from BetterSpines said...

It's a funny thing, but I recently suggested to a blog friend that she do just that. Retain EntreCard as a means to keeping in touch, without letting it rule her life. The traffic is great, but the time it takes is significant. I am retired, so I enjoy spending that time but a lot of people are not in that position. And as for those with multiple blogs ...

Joby said...

Over the past few months I have dropped 300 and or dropped 2 with no withdraws...

Kathy said...

This was the most well-written post about our back and forth relationships with Entrecard. Well done. I left and came back, as you might know. Hanging in there for a while yet. I did actually miss my traffic, so I went back. I don't actually find it takes me too long to drop, so for me, it's still worth the effort.

lisa@waterstonephoto said...

I've developed a love/hate relationship with EC. I occasionally drop cards but most of the time I could care less. I had way more EC traffic before they offered paid ads... now it's just ridiculous :(

aldon @ orient lodge said...

I constantly reassess whether it is worth it to drop 300 cards. I go through months where I don't miss a day dropping 300 cards, and then I'll go through periods where it takes me several weeks to drop 300 cards. For me, it all depends on what else is going on.

Dropping EntreCards can be fun and can be a good way to boost traffic and popularity. However, it is secondary to doing fun things and writing good posts about doing fun things.

I'll keep stopping by here, no matter how much you drop. I might not show up quite as frequently, or I might even show up more frequently depending on my own blog surfing habits, as well as the content you produce

♥ Gadgeteer ♥ said...

I feel the same. On my computer though, it takes hours to drop 300 and I never achieved anywhere near a top spot. That being said I have found some interesting and cool blogs, and made some gret networking friends. This is a great post I enjoyed reading it thanks for sharing.

Mike Golch said...

I was never that high in the ranking any way.The drops on my site adverage about 200 a day.and I'm fine with that I enjoy visiting new blogs,but that I'm mostly here at home any way and do not go out much.people get upset when they see someone having a seizure.

free recipes said...

entrecard again, i got banned from entrecard

free blackberry apps said...

what entrecard effect if you are offline for many days?

chilly said...

Great post, awesome read! The same kinda happened with me in a way. But I got tired of spending so much time dropping and trying to stay on top. And I saw one day, that to get the traffic out of entrecard, you have to drop 300 a day every day or your traffic falls off fast. That thought took the fun out of blogging. So right then, I decided to do what I feel and let the chips fall where they may. Blog when I want and if people want to stop by and read, they well. With or without entrecard.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You're saying exactly my story. Not only am I surviving, I'm getting some very good writing done. I think my groupies will be pleased.

Mom's Cafe Home Cooking said...

I left entrecard just before the paid ads in the spring began over a very rude comment on the forums. I removed all 5 of my blogs. I decided that associating with EC in would not be in the best interest of my blogs. I did see a drop in traffic but that is right back up there and it only took a couple of months but the quality of the traffic is better and I don't miss the dropping at all :)

turnip said...

Let's assume a minimum wage of $7. 365 days * 1.5 hours * $7 = $3832 if you had worked those 1.5 hours daily instead. I understand the whole popularity chase and the challenge to be #1 in a game or network. But at the end of the day you aren't really selling anything. No cromley e-books or cromley online courses. Your domain name is a blogspot domain, so you can't even sell the domain. At best you can make some pocket money from adsense and social networks like CMF Ads and Adgitize. Do it if you enjoy it. BTW, I used to be able to drop 300 cards in 18 minutes. No tricks, just opening 50 sites at once in tabs from a bookmarked list.

Flo said...

Wow, seems like a lot of people feel the same way. I went through something very similar. I worked to drop every night but then my life changed and so did my habits. As a result I'm only dropping for about 45 minutes a night and what I do I do, that's it. Oh well, I guess that's how life goes....

Eli @ Business Sphere said...

Wonderful post. Your attitude about dropping cards and the way you look at EC popularity rating, traffic, time consumed on dropping 300 cards, etc. should be a good way to be adopted by other EC users.

It's true that there's traffic in Entrecard, but there's more fun and life outside of Entrecard. It's all a matter of perspectives.

Do the things you enjoy most. If dropping 300 EC cards daily is no longer fun and enjoyable, then what the hell are we doing? Drop just 10 cards or 50 cards.

After all, EC is not the sole generator of traffic, there's CMF Ads, Adgitize, PW, and more important, search engines.

That's why posting good quality content and updating it regularly help a lot in generating blog traffic, without the high bounce rate.

Cromely said...

@Sounds Sans Sense: I hope your right about not missing the "popularity." I guess if I ever want a high rank again, I know what to do.

@Jan from BetterSpines: I think moderation will be my key going forward. Apparently, I'm not the only one. I have a second blog in the system, but never actively dropped from it.

@Joby: It's a habit some pick up.

@Kathy: Thanks. The thing about dropping is that it goes really fast in theory, but if I have any 'net problems that night, or if I'm tired, or if I just get distracted reading posts, it can blow that whole theory away.When I go to museums, I'm the guy who has to read all the placards, so visiting 2,100 blogs a week provides way too much distraction potential. But I'm not removing the widget and will continue dropping on sites that I read anyway.

@Lisa: I can see the love hate thing. I never tracked the numbers in detail, but it looks like there was an overall drop in numbers for the top 5 in the Spring after that paid ad debacle. I seem to recall popularity ranks over 3,000; now I think they're more often in the 1800-2500 range. But I don't really have the data to back that up.

@Aldon: Thanks. Entrecard definitely has it's stong side, but lately I'm seeing the other side of that coin (to brutally mix a metaphor). But your right -- content always must be king.

@Gadgeteer: Thanks. I appreciate the comments. There are a lot of really good blogs in the network. Most of the blogs I read (that are written by people I don't know from meatspace) I found through Entrecard.

@Mike Golch: Sounds like you've got a good plan you stick to. Any venture like Entrecard does benefit from setting a plan and determining desired results.

@free recipes: Was that part of the big Spring time kerflufle earlier this year?

@free blackberry apps: There are a few effects for being offline for a few days. Two days probably won't do much. 3-6 days will drop your traffic significantly if you are in the top 5. I imagine the impact is less significant if your traffic is already lower than that. Your posting schedule can also have an impact. If you publish every day, and people simply expect there to be a daily post, going off line for a while can get people out of the visit habit. I like to set post to auto post when I'm offline for a while. Remember, though, Entrecard traffic may or may not be your regular readers. If you return to your old on line presence, your relative Entrecard number is likely to return as well.

@Chilly: Thanks for that. It certainly appears form these comments that I'm not alone in changing habits.

@Susan Helene Gottfried: There appear to be many of us. I'm glad your happy with the writing improvements. I may try to shift back to a "write only 5 times a week" schedule.

@Mom's Cafe Cooking: Glad your traffic picked up. I imagine your site draws a lot of search engine traffic with your niche.

@Turnip: I run numbers like that form time to time, but they make the most sense assuming I'm in an either/or situation. Such as choosing to work or drop, instead of dropping while I do other stuff (though the multitasking isn't always so pure -- damn shiny blog posts). The key for me is that Cromely's World is all about the writing and ranting (obviously not the embarrassing typing). That, plus of course the ego. And Entrecard/Google Analytics/Sitemeter are some way to keep score and make sure I'm "winning," whatever that means. Still, $3K would buy quite a few network ads on CMF.

Cromely said...

@Flo: It's more common than I thought. The key is finding a plan that works for you. I'm still defining my new one.

@Eli: Thanks for that. I'm not sure when it began shifting from fun into a chore. But by then, I was well into my pattern. I'll be interested to see how the traffic hold up now. But you're right. It needs to be about the content, and it needs to be fun.

Sharkbytes said...

I wrote a long comment last night and blogger crashed just as I tried to post it. Basically I agree, but I gave more details. Not feeling chatty enough to try to recreate it.

I like your gardening posts.

Dorothy said...

Your so right....what is important is what you get from your blog mine is like my passion in my soul and brain.....I love it and I really don't care how many it's the quality and enjoyment of the ones who comment from their hearts to mine.

It's been quite a journey....

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

SANDY said...

No the world didn't end. My story is similar except I really dislike all the changes they've made and the shove it in your face mentality they've developed. Not to mention the total lack of respect for bloggers with all their censorship and closing the forums, and closing comments on their blog. Clearly they have no interest in what their public thinks. I'm not talking about people just bad mouthing them. I'm talking about having a good dialogue of ideas...some they should have listen to. So I purposely stopped dropping and buying as did many. Work was super busy and so spending time doing something that they benefited from bothered me immensely. Out of one side of their mouth they said they are stopping paid ads because it was clear the public didn't support it. A few short weeks later with the same mouth (who apparently totally forgot what it said), they mandate paid ads. Ok.......

Out of one side of their mouth they talk about the inflation and the need to clean out, rid, decrease the number of EC's in the system, a few days later they post a hurry and buy ec's ad...apparently again forgetting what it was the mouth had previously spoken. If they encourage people to buy more ec's....hello, they are putting more ec's back into the system. So, no I do not agree with or understand their logic. It seems to me the mouth on Monday does not have the logic it had on Sunday, just the day before.

I'm doing some again, to see how it goes. I may do as many have done and vacate. I do note many have made dropping pretty difficult with putting their ec's on the bottom of their page. Sooooooo, we'll see.

I went from the #2 spot in my group to well back on the 2nd or 3rd page. Not that I'm sure that really means anything.

Sandy

Ms. Marie said...

i feel the same way. some days i'm able to do 300. but other days i'll just not be in the mood. i'll get around 100 or so, because i drop while i do adgitize clicks, and sometimes i will keep going, but those days don't come around that much.

ohh, and i've been meaning to ask you. how is life in seattle? i live in bremerton, you might now where that is, some do, some don't. but just in case, its across the waters from you. anyways, my point is that my fiance and i plan on moving out to seattle or bellevue sometime next year. i was just wondering what its like over there.

WillOaks Studio said...

Wow, you know? I could have written this post except I was only #1 in the art category and am now #4 instead...and I have no idea where I sit in the whole count. EXCEPT my approach to dropping is totally relaxed these days, and comes in relationship to the blogs I actually read, for the most part. So thank you for eloquently expressing my current attitude to EC!!

Cromely said...

@Sharkbytes: That's unfortunate. Glad my post resonated with you, though. The Gardening posts have slowed down a bit, but I have a few lined up as I wrap-up the season. After all is done, I'll have harvested about 1500 tomatoes, which is just insane.

@Dorothy: Passion is the key, especially for the long term. We often think of passion as a flame that is temporary, but it's actually the opposite. It's that long term slow burn that drives us to do the thing we are passionate about.

@Sandy: I got lucky on the forum issue. My tendency to lurk occasionally meant I avoided most of that. I guess I learned most about the forum troubles from the rants other people published. The whole thing struck me as just petulant and childish. They are floundering as an organziation though, as they try to raise cash somehow. The new owners have been there for a couple months I guess and they have a mess to clean up. Unfortunately for them, the way the system was created, it's really tough to monetize it without taking away something people have gotten used to getting for free. They don't seem to have a long term strategy. The inflations issue was an interesting one. I know alot of people complained about it and about how expensive some blogs were to advertise on. I always saw the problem of overly expensive blogs to be a self correcting one. People would only pay it if they felt it was worth it. And inflation really just encouraged people to spend ECs rather than hoard them. It might be interesting to know just what happened at the site/offices/finances they day Grant left.

@Ms. Marie: I like Seattle a lot. I'm much more of fan of it than I am Bellevue. Bellevue is much more suburban and car-based than Seattle is. I can live in rural, I can live in urban. The suburbs drive me nuts. I really like being able to walk to most of the places I need to. The politcs drives me crazy sometimes, but that will happen any place. I'd be happy to talk with you you folks aobut it in greater detail. Fell free to drop me an email from my profile page (link in the upper left green box).

@WillOaks Studio: Your welcome, and thanks for telling me that.

turisuna said...

my visitor number from entrecard was never stable, sometimes I feel tired to visit the blogs one by one and drop the entrecard, I hope there's a fun way to maintain the traffic.