Friday, February 27, 2009

Entrecard Market - Am I Missing Something?

I must be the Official Nay - Sayer when it comes to EntreCard. Don't get me wrong. I am glad to have EC as a promotional service for my blogs. Sometimes I can even work up the energy to do reciprocal drops, and do a little reading and commenting. But frequently, when it comes to other services Graham and Co. offer, I just don't get it.

Take the new "Market" section. I've made a couple of visits, and there is an interesting array of goods and services on offer [I even ordered Jenelle's CD, I like new music, and a little gamble that doesn't involve actual cash is fine by me]. Some services, by definition, probably would be of interest only to EC users [EC/website redesigns, for instance]; what I'm not exactly clear on [and I am far from the brightest crayon in the box] is what the seller gets in the exchange. Sure, someone offering goods or services could save the EC credits tendered, then sell them for cash [and does anyone besides me remember when EntreCard, at least informally, discouraged such transactions?]. But most casual EC users are probably not too interested in that extra layer of effort for compensation [and, by the bye, what is the going rate for EC credits, anyway?]. I can see someone wanting to build up credits for advertising or purchases in the Market. But how much advertising or purchases will the average EC'er want to make?

Let's return to Jenelle's offer [I actually have a bit of interest in this one; I'm hoping to market a CD sometime this year]. In exchange for your 1000 credits, you get a recorded CD of original music. Fair enough. But what does she get? Well, to order a CD [and, I'm guessing, anything else], you have to give out an e-mail address. This is in case there are any problems with your order. If the seller gets access to these addresses, s/he has a list of potential purchasers of future items, which could be marketed directly to those on such a list. Remember, unless the seller plans to re-sell the credits, s/he has yet to make any money on the transaction. And, in the case of physical goods, there are expenses related to making, packaging, and mailing the product offered [of course, this is not as important when offering non-hard goods (125x125 cards, guest posts, etc)]. Then again, a few Market offers involve buying ad space for extended periods on specific blogs. Doesn't that go against the whole EC principle of buying ad space on a variety of blogs with credits acquired through drops? [I understand where the Sellers are coming from on that one; I wish I'd thought to do that myself. See "Entrecard Exploited" for an early experiment along these lines]

As I said at the outset, I remain a supporter of the basic principle of
EntreCard; I just wonder where Graham and the other administrators are going with some of these new services.
[Image at right from, via Google]

-Mike Riley