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Ad Prices are Going Up!  

When I first cooked up the idea for the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op I knew that it would be a more difficult sale if my 20 blogs had an average ad cost of 100 ECs. I had purposely risked the ire of fellow Entrecarders by rejecting ad requests left and right and proceeded to not drop many cards for 5 days. At that time one could have advertised on my 20 sites via the system for about 600 ECs total. I had one paying customer and one who stiffed me. (Now I require payment up front.) Today, the system charges 2013 ECs to advertise on my sites and most of them have a line of approved ads to run. While I'm not going to try and sell my 20 widgets space for concurrent placement, I figure that I will throw it out there to the occasional reader (versus dropper, who didn't make it this far down the page) who might be interested in advertising on my sites:

Make me an offer!

The system gives us 25% of the ad cost, so if all my blogs' widgets are purchased I get just over 500 ECs a day right now. That's about $100 a month at wholesale prices and $150 a month at retail prices for ECs. That's good...but it could be better. The more cards I drop, the higher my ad prices, the more ECs I get, the more money I make. PLUS...I'm not advertising on hardly any sites right now and those ECs from ads on my sites and from card dropping are starting to build up. In theory, with 20 Entrecard accounts that each dropped the 300 daily max and got a 66% return drop rate, that's 10000 ECs a day...in addition to my ad revenue. Well, I'm not dropping 300 cards a day, mostly because I don't have the time, but also because my ad prices would go through the roof. It keeps me busy dropping 100 cards a day (on average) per account and that helps keep my ad prices more reasonable. And if any of you are thinking of advertising on my sites, just remember that ALL the traffic I get is Entrecard driven.

Here's an offer in case you couldn't think of one:

As my sites' ad prices go up I will consider accepting and then rejecting your ad after a 23 hour run. You have to go through the normal process of advertising on my site(s) and then send me 2/3 of the ad price you paid via the Entrecard "Give credits to this site" system, followed up by a message letting me know what you did. (For example, if the system price is 100 ECs, you'll send me 66 ECs separately.) I'll run your ad and when it is about to expire I'll reject it and you will get the system price back. You end up with a 33.3% discount (actually it is less than 1/3 because its run was only 23 hours instead of 24, but you get the idea) and I end up with more ECs. And Graham has already okayed this approach!

I should note that I'm not going to be getting up at 2AM to reject your ad so we'll have to make sure that your ad run starts and ends at a time that I can reject it at the right time. IF I fail to do so and you don't get a system refund, I will refund the entire system price that you paid.

Don't like my offer? Fine...make me an offer that suits you and maybe I'll accept it.


Da..Da..Da..Da..Da..Da.....Down in Flames!  

It didn't work. Well, at least not as of yet. Phirate was right when he said that my plan to accept ads across all 20 Entrecard accounts at the same time would be labor intensive and likely not worth the effort. There are a couple of other reasons why I pulled the plug--temporarily--on that idea. First of all, I chose the witching hour of midnight Eastern Time to make the switch. Bad, bad idea. It made sense from the standpoint of having a "new" day to run all the ads in, but that is not a good time of day to try and do anything on the Entrecard system. SLOW.

Speed is important because I had to log into 20 different accounts and reject the ads so that my advertiser would get their credits back. If I missed the 24 hour cutoff then they would end up paying for the ad twice, one via the Entrecard system and once to me directly.

Another potential downside to the "advertise across all 20 Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op sites" plan was that I was having to reject lots of potential ads in order to keep the space available. Some folks were not happy and expressed their discontent in the Entrecard Forum. Negative publicity.

I was charging 500-600 ECs for the opportunity of advertising on Entrecard widgets that carried a system price of 800-1000 (1200 as of this writing) ECs. Good deal for the advertiser and good deal for me. So, I'm not going to say that I won't try it again. Honestly, I'm surprised that the sites on the Popular page don't use this approach. If my site had a price tag of 400 ECs a day and the system kept 300 of that, it might be worth 5 minutes a day to use my approach and pocket the potential $3 that I was missing. That's $90 a month extra if I could sell the ECs at current market value of $10 per 1000. And many of those Popular sites have no problem with someone ponying up to spend 400 ECs a day to place their Entrecard there. Just a thought. (How many ECs would you pay to get on Problogger or Chow?)

The other part of the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op is scheduled to start tomorrow. I've placed a 125x125 ad under the Entrecard widget on each of my 20 sites and have now sold that space for 700 ECs a week, or 5 ECs a day per site. This is obviously way below the system price for space on 20 Entrecard widgets, but it should be as one doesn't get credit for a drop or experience some of the other benefits of advertising on an Entrecard widget. I feel it is a better deal than Project Wonderful in that you can count on having the space for the week and don't have to worry about being outbid. I will likely adjust the price of this program based on demand and the total system cost of my Entrecards.


Partial Day Ad Blasts  

While the plan of the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op is to provide the opportunity to better control your ad campaign, there will be some times (like now) where I can run your ads for a few hours at a time and then reject them, resulting in your receiving a refund through the Entrecard system. For example, if you have a contest that is just about to end or some other time-sensitive event that you want to get the word out on, I might be able to help you out. It would still work better if you scheduled your ad campaign in advance so that I could make sure that I drop my cards for the day before its scheduled run on all 20 sites.

As a backup plan for someone who is trying to get the word out in a hurry, of course there is the Entrecard Promotions Forum, but there is also Project Wonderful to consider. Search for Entrecard accounts and place high enough bids to get your ad to run for a bit and then cancel your bid. Pretty inexpensive way to get some targeted impressions quickly.


The Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op  

At midnight Saturday night I completed registering my 20th active Entrecard account...this one. Each one now includes a note in the description that it is a member of the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op. A search on the Category page for "Biz Beacon" will show all 20 sites that are participating in the Co-op.

So what is the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op?

It's my solution to some of the challenges that I have found with Entrecard. For example, it's hard to run an efficient ad campaign when you have little control over when your ads will run. While this might not be important for many Entrecarders, there are some who have a contest that they would like to promote, a particularly special post they want read, or some other reason to want a lot of traffic to their site on a specific date. Until now it has been a haphazard venture at best, seeing as how your ad could run immediately or up to 13 days later...if approved at all. All of the sites involved in the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op will run the same scheduled ad beginning at approx 12:15 am (ET) and ending at approx 11:45 pm that same day.

Q: What happens when your ad is canceled before it has run for a full 24 hours?

A: You get a full refund.

Q: Why am I doing this?

A: Because I am going to charge an appropriate amount of ECs to make up for it.

Let's say that the going rate to advertise on all 20 of the Co-op's sites is 2000 ECs per day. Entrecard gets 1500 and the Co-op gets 500. By canceling the ads before they complete their full 24 hour run the advertiser gets their 2000 ECs back. I'm going to start by charging an amount of ECs that is less than total of the individual ad spots, but if the concept catches on I will likely end up charging a premium.

Q: How do I sign up for a specific day?

A: For now, just send a message to this account's Entrecard message box. Do not submit an ad request via the Category listing as I will be rejecting all ad requests except those that are approved for participation in the Co-op program.

Q: What sites are included in the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op?

A: Here's The List:
1) The Entrecarder
2) The EntreBank
3) My Internet Marketing Adventures
4) Entrecard Polls
5) Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op
6) Affiliate Ads & Referral Programs
7) Top Blog Communities
8) I've Entered the Contest!
9) Reviewing for Money & Other Remuneration
10) Resources for Entrecarders
11) My Favourite 11 Blogs
12) Intunique: The Art of Smart
13) The Backseat Driver
14) What Do YOU See?
15) Where on Earth am I?
16) New Product Ideas
17) I'm Losing 60 Lbs!
18) Madame Goyin
19) Ready Health Products
20) Double Oh Adventures

Q: Do I have to advertise on all 20?

A: Yes. I'll make an exception to exclude a particular site that you really hate or have other reasons why you don't want to have your ad on it.

Q: Can I get my site included in the Co-op?

A: Not at this time.

Q: What about traffic?

A: None of these blogs have traffic outside of what is generated by Entrecard dropping. Most all of them are newer blogs and don't have a lot of content. (I'm scrambling to add original content as fast as I can.)

Q: So, what traffic am I going to get if I purchase the block of all 20 Co-op sites?

A: My plan is to drop 100 cards a day from each account, although I reserve the right to drop more or less. I am in the process of creating 20 lists of active Entrecarders so that I can drop on as many different cards as possible and increase the exposure for the Co-op's advertisers.

Q: I want to do this but don't have enough Entrecard credits to advertise on each site--even though they will get refunded--and pay the Co-op's fee. What do you suggest?

A: There are a number of Entrecard vendors listed on the EntreBank's site. Also, I might be able to sell you ECs directly, depending on the amount you need and the rate you are willing to pay.

Q: Remind me...why would anyone want to do this?

A: To better control the timing of your Entrecard advertising. If you have a contest or specific event or even a post that you really want people to read, buying a block of ads for a specific day will result in targeted traffic.

Q: What else should I be considering?

A: I have put most of the Co-op sites on "ads disabled" status and have not been dropping recently so that the ad costs would come down. As I start to drop cards again on a daily basis the overall cost of buying the Co-op's block of sites will go up. Also, I expect the fee that the Co-op charges for the right to advertise on all 20 sites will go up as more people seek to use this valuable service.

Q: Wait a minute...what does Entrecard think about this?

A: I submitted my plan to Entrecard and got the following response:


Entrecard Ad Campaigns  

One of the advantages to having multiple Entrecard accounts is the additional data one can twist and turn in order to develop strategies for driving traffic via Entrecard. One of the most interesting results that I was able to see from recent activity was the impact that buying ads had on the number of cards dropped on my site.

While dropping 300 cards a day is a very good way to drive up the cost of advertising on your own site, most Entrecarders learn rather quickly that 25% of the revenue doesn't really make that big of a contribution to one's Entrecard Credit total. And unless one's Entrecard is in the top 3 of its category and gets featured on the Category Main page or featured on the Most Popular page, having a high ad price might be good for one's ego, but not necessarily good for one's traffic. There are plenty of open ad slots for sites that cost 100 ECs or more and some of these more expensive sites end up displaying their own Entrecard when no one steps up to buy their spot.

So, you drop hundreds of cards for a couple of weeks and the credits in your account keep climbing. Now what? (This question was just asked today in the Entrecard Community Forum.) Do you try and buy an ad on Joe Tech's or Saphrym's blog? Do you bottom fish and try and grab the noobs when they first hit "submit" on their new Entrecard account? Do you use the ECs to buy 125x125 ads on sites via the Shop or Promotions Forum? Do you sell the ECs on ebay or elsewhere?

A lot depends on what you are trying to do with your blog, the nature or your content, and what stage of development you are at with your blog. I enjoy working on ad campaigns and have come up with a few ideas that I will share in this blog that might be of interest to my fellow Entrecarders.