Around the end of July 2008, I placed an Entrecard “advertising widget” on my blog, and also started pushing the Computer Aid blog on a few web2.0 sites.
The interesting thing about Entrecard, is that you can advertise on other blogs, but you also need to advertise other blogs on your own blog. All this mutual advertising is done via a virtual currency (EC)
Whats also nice, is that a blog owner can choose to be “active” to whatever degree they like. ie you can go around “dropping” up to 300 virtual business cards (per day) onto other blogs (you earn 1 EC per “drop”). You can then spend your earned EC by buying ads on other blogs.
I started off slowly, and gradually increased how active I was, over 6 weeks, until I was spending 30 – 60 minutes a day “working” on Entrecard (dropping cards).
I eventually thought: Am I getting any benefit from doing all this work?
So I decided to try an experiment:
Since I was very active with Entrecard, I would suddenly stop doing anything on Entrecard (for about 8 days). I would still display adverts on the Computer Aid blog, but I wouldn’t buy ads (although I still had about 2-3 days of pre-purchased ads), nor “drop” cards on other blogs.
After that, I’d go back to being partly active for 8 days (“drop” my maximum allowed cards every day, but not buy any ads on other blogs)
After that, I’d also start buying ads as well.
I’d then look at my traffic stats (alexa, google analytics, and awstats), and see what effect Entrecard is having.
Here are some Entrecard graphs, which clearly show that dropping cards onto other blogs actually affects the number of cards that get dropped on me, and the number of clicks from the Entrecard website to my blog. What doesn’t show, is that the entrecard”popularity” rating was also affected, dropping from 923 down to 211… but after a month of lots of dropping and advertising, I managed to get an EC popularity rating of 1662.
And a few days later:
Since I already have a healthy amount of traffic from other sources, the lack of Entrecard traffic actually had a small (but noticeable) effect on my overall traffic. The only exception was Alexa: my Alexa rank dropped rapidly, followed by a rapid rise.
Given that the Alexa rank is well known to be inaccurate at best, I wasn’t worried.
At the end of it all, I’d say dropping cards has a greater effect than “EC” advertising on other blogs.
So, I’ve tuned firefox and bookmarked a select group of EC blogs, so that I can drop 300EC in 20 minutes. To do this, I’ve found that having fast internet and a fast CPU are both important, as many blogs somehow chew up the CPU power (probably due to badly written scripts).
I’m now going to scale back the time-consuming task of advertising on up to 200 blogs per day… I find its just not worth my time.