Sunday, March 9, 2008

Think Tank: EntreCard And The New Blog-Based Economy (III)

As noted in previous posts in this series, the social/business networking service EntreCard will begin buying/selling EC credits in the near future. This reflects an acknowledgement of a "grey" market in EC credits that already exists. So who'll buy, who'll sell, and, most importantly, who'll make money?

In the short term, anyway, I think this is a seller's market. Those who have credits to spare will off-load them to buyers at the best rate possible. I still think 5 US Cents per credit is as good a starting place as any [I got this figure by looking at rates for the similarly-sized ads of the Wonderwall service].

If you've been an EntreCarder for more than a month or so, try a simple experiment; go to a blog you formerly advertised on. Then check what its current ad rate is. In most cases, you'll find the rates have gone up [in some cases by 100 % or more]. When I first noticed this, my reaction was, "Boy, I must have picked blogs just before they began to peak in value [I always try to buy my EC ads at a low rate] !" But then I thought about it. Nobody is that good at picking blogs to advertise on, or that lucky. Then I realized that inflation was at work. In the days before any new economic system kicks in, the value of the form of exchange frequently rises.
Who'll be buying? People who can market the credits. My personal model is something like that of ad agencies, which in the real world frequently persuade the potential sponsor to advertise, create the advertising, then purchase space to promote it. Who'll want to advertise on EC? At first, anyway, people who are already used to marketing their products or services in that way; I have no crystal ball as to whom, but look around at the ads you see on the Internet now, and I suspect they'll be among the Usual Suspects.
Long term, I'd guess [and it's only a guess] that businesses that are well-known already would be next in line. If EntreCard holds to its "blogs of distinction" philosophy, companies would have to establish blogs to be linked to the EC ads. (If you handle marketing for a national fast-food restaurant chain, for instance, this doesn't sound too complicated. A blog that features "Great Moments In The History Of [your restaurant here], for instance, with an internal banner linked to the REAL commercial they want to present probably would fit within the EC guidelines. Of course, the viewer would have to click on the banner. But a free coupon should make that happen)
After that, the options seem endless. How about regional advertising? If EC can tell you which bloggers are "nearest" to you by location, you can tell an advertiser in your town where to advertise. In fact, I'm sure that people more clever than myself are working out the details of this, and other advertising possibilities, while I type these words.
As I've said throughout these posts, I'm really not interested in exploring any of these possibilities. But the changes that they will inevitably bring to EC intrigue and, to be honest, worry me. I hope we can all stay friends when EVERYONE is playing for money...

1 comment:

biz beacon said...


Keep exploring your ideas for Entrecard. So far Graham has been open to implementing ideas that came from the community and I think by so doing he keeps things growing and vibrant. I'd like to see an improved ability to target blogs by locale for a couple of reasons. First, it would enable one to drop a card by time zone so as to improve the odds of getting a return drop, and second, greater capacity to target blogs by region would allow for more local bloggers to join in the fun. Keep up the good work!