The biggest issue facing Entrecard today isn’t spammers, falling credit prices, reciprocating dropper clubs, inflated ad prices, or even dropper burnout. The #1 issue is a lack of any real incentive to advertise. For the last month and 1/2 I haven’t advertised on any sites other than a few 2 credit new sites, and a couple of sites in the old “shortest wait” category. Yet my ad price stays around 400 ec and my brand is just as recognised as ever.
As other’s have pointed out, you can sell your credits and buy ads on Project Wonderful for much less. This was a very good business until others started to dump their credits. The only reason they have a glut of credits is because they aren’t buying advertising. The price per 1000 cr varies from $7 on eBay to $10-$11 on widgets like mine. This is down from a high of $15. While lower ad prices would encourage more ad buying, I don’t believe that’s the only solution.
For sites established in the Entrecard community, it’s tough to make your site more recognizable. You’d be more productive writing a letter to every quality new site than buying an ad everyone has seen before. In fact, several Entrecarders do message every new site. I know, because every so often I submit a new site as bait just to see who bites. That’s also not the solution.
What is needed is some other incentive to pump credits back into the Entrecard System. At a certain point Entrecard becomes more of a social site than an advertising service. The top members can simply show their faces, socialize a bit, and pocket their credits while still remaining on the “most popular” list. No matter how many ads I buy, I’m not going to greatly increase my Turnip Brand.
I do have a few ideas how to provide ad buying incentives. One would be to factor credits spent on ads into your own ad’s cost. I think that alone might inspire me to advertise more. Not to mention helping the credit economy, because gamers would want to buy credits to “buy their way to the top”.
Another idea I had was a contest idea. Perhaps a few of the marketing blogs could all be assigned a no name blog, either singularly or in teams. Then they could compete to make the blog go from nothing to something in 3 months using all their marketing talents. If we kept both the new blog and their sponsors secret, this might be great fun. It would pump credits into Entrecard, give a couple of marketers bragging rights, and help numerous blogs just starting out with advice, readers, and publicity.
A third idea would be for Graham to publish a list of who spends the most on ads. To me this shows more support for the Entrecard system than “Most recommended” any day. People who like to appear near the top of a category have one more to shoot for. Graham could offer additional rewards to these people like spots on the front of the site. Anyone have another idea on how to get established blogs in the Entrecard community to buy ads and put their credits back into the economy?