Entrecard Out, CMF Ads In
I have recently switched my advertising at the top of my right sidebar from Entrecard to CMF Ads. While Entrecard was great to me when I started my blog, I felt it had run it’s course and it was time to switch.
Similar to Entrecard, CMF Ads allows me to display ads from those wishing to advertise on my site using a square 125px banner. While many may look at the widget and think it is the same as Entrecard, you will be mistaken. In this post I will look at CMF Ads and discuss the differences between CMF Ads and Entrecard.
What is CMF Ads?
CMF Ads was founded by three former Entrecard members (Turnip, Stan, and Ben) who wanted a better way of managing advertising on blogs. While there are many advertising networks available to bloggers, many of them lack certain features that the blogger’s would enjoy having.
While Entrecard did have promise, it never could live up to the expectations. CMF Ads has picked up where Entrecard has left off. There are many features in CMF Ads that Entrecard currently does not offer. While a credit system is available in both ad networks, CMF Ads’ credits actually have a monetary value.
Before going further, let’s look at a brief comparison of the two networks:
|Cost||Free||Free for publishers. Advertisers need to purchase credits.|
|Blog Approval Process|| Used to be automatic, which led to many spam blogs appearing in the system. Has|
since switched to a manual approval process.
|Manual. No spam blogs right from the start.|
|Ad Pricing||Determined by Entrecard.||Determined by the blog owner.|
|Earning Credits|| 1 credit for dropping your card.|
1 credit for receiving a drop.
25 credits for a blog post.
Various number credits for accepting an ad minus 75% for tax.
|Receive 100% of credits when an ad spot on your blog is purchased.|
|Purchasing Credits||Through Entrecard at a rate of $6.00 for 1,000 credits up to $125.00 for 25,000.||Through CMF Ads at a rate of $10.00 for 40 credits.|
|Selling Credits||Credits can’t be sold (to other members), and are pretty much worthless ($1 for 1,000 credits).|| You can sell your credits back at 50% of the purchase price. At this time it is|
$10.00 for 80 credits.
|Ad Run Length||24 Hours.||30 Days.|
|Number of Ads That Can Be Displayed at One Time||1 ad per day regardless of the widget that is chosen.||From 1 to 4 ads depending on the widget that is used on the blog. See comments below.|
|Investment Time|| Drop cards.|
Participate in forum (if you wish).
|Participate in forum (if you wish).|
|User IDs|| An Entrecard ID is required to use the system, and additional one is required to log|
into the forums, and a third to submit a problem ticket. For advertisers, there is an additional login ID required. You could possible end up with four login IDs to use Entrecard.
|A single ID for both the system and the forums.|
Both Entrecard and CMF Ads use their own internal credit system for purchasing/selling ad space on the blogs. How credits are obtained is completely different between the two systems.
As indicated in the table above, Entrecard has many methods of earning credits. While this makes earning credits quite easy, it also leads to inflation, which has decreased the monetary value of the credits. This makes the advertising space on your blog worthless. When I had stopped using Entrecard, I had over 130,000 credits. I have since been giving them away in 25,000 increments (the most allowed per week) to whoever I think deserves them, until my account is removed or I am out of credits.
CMF Ads solves the inflation problem by allowing only credits purchased (through Paypal) to circulate through their system. This puts a value not only on the credits, but also the ad space that you are providing on your blog.
What is the value of that ad space on your blog with CMF Ads? It’s up to you. With CMF Ads, you specify how many credits are required for an advertiser to pay before displaying the ad on your blog. Entrecard, on the other hand, determines the value.
If you wish to sell the credits you currently have earned through advertising, you can do that with CMF Ads. They will pay $10.00 for 80 credits. If you have only sold the ad space, and haven’t purchased any credits to display your own ad, then you just earned $10.00.
Shoppinh With Credits
Both systems have implemented a shop that you can use to buy items offered by other members in exchange for credits. With Entrecard, anyone who is a member can be a seller, which can lead to some issues with regards to credibility of some of the sellers. There is a mediation button if there is a problem with a transaction, however, there have been many reports of the mediation button not working and many of the sellers being stuck in mediation.
When making a purchase in the Entrecard shop, their is an additional 12.5% tax on the purchase, which I believe is a way of controlling the inflation issue.
With CMF Ads, you need to first buy credits before you have seller access, although members can receive access if they have an item to sell. Unlike Entrecard, there is no tax on items sold in the shop, so the price listed is the price you pay. Also, there is a similar method of mediation as there is with Entrecard, however, the CMF Ads mediation works properly and is actively being monitored.
Both systems allow you to display a square 125px banner on another blog using credits that you either earned or purchased. What you get for those two credits are totally different.
Entrecard displays an ad on the blog you chose for a full 24 hours. Only your ad is displayed during that time, and only one ad can run at one time. This means you can wait for several weeks after your make the purchase before your ad is displayed. The interesting thing is that, the way Entrecard calculates the price, is the longer you have to wait, the higher the price of the ad.
The latest problem to appear with Entrecard is the fact that they are now offering partial page views to paid advertisers. This means that Entrecard members who paid for an ad to appear on a blog with credits only get about 50% of the pageviews because of the paid advertisements. There have been numerous bugs reported with the system since it was implemented, and there doesn’t seem to be any solution.
With CMF Ads, ads that are purchased on a blog run for a full 30 days. Since there are different sizes for the CMF Ads widget, a blog can display up to 4 ads at a single time. If there are more ads purchased than ad space, the ads are alternated in the widget with each page view. This allows the blog to display all the purchased ads, but means the page views are split between them.
As of writing this post, most blogs seem to offer advertising for 5 credits. This means for a full month, you can advertise on a blog for $1.25 (40 credits = $10.00).
Both Entrecard and CMF Ads have an active problem resolution ticket system. Entrecard’s system is more full-featured, which uses Kayako, however, after visiting the Entrecard forums, there appears to be huge problems with the system. There are several posts in the forums regarding issues with problems not being resolved for weeks at a time. This means if you have an issue, you could be wasting your time submitting a ticket. Perhaps asking someone in the forums for help may be the better option.
While not as full-featured as Entrecard’s system, CMF Ads also has a fully-integrated ticket system. There doesn’t appear to be anyone complaining about the ticket system in the CMF Ads forums, and from what I have seen, issues seem to be resolved rather quickly, meaning within a day. The one great benefit of a single login ID (see below) with CMF Ads is that once you submit a ticket, those responsible for handling the tickets know exactly who submitted it. With Entrecard, the multiple user IDs may be confusing when a ticket is submitted.
Have Multiple Blogs?
At this time I only manage one blog, but I know many others have many blogs that they manage. For some advertising systems, it may be a pain to manage multiple blogs as they may require you to create a separate ID for each one. On CMF Ads, your one account can contain many blogs.
Not only can you see all your blogs in one place, but potential advertisers can also see a full listing of all your blogs, and then choose which one to advertise on. CMF Ads makes it easy for the publisher as well as the advertiser.
Time Effort Required
One of the biggest issues I had with Entrecard was the amount of time that was needed to drop my card on other blogs. While you don’t need to drop your card, it is hard to build traffic through Entrecard without doing it. Trust me, I know. I was regularily getting over 200 card drops and visitors from Entrecard. Once I stopped dropping, my visitors dropped to just over 10.
CMF Ads requires very little of your time, excluding any forum chatter you wish to participate in. You simply setup your account, display the ad space widget on your blog, and that’s it. No more spending time earning credits by dropping cards.
How Many User IDs is Too Many?
We currently have many user IDs and passwords to remember. Last thing we need is more IDs. With Entrecard, they have implemented a new forum, but that requires a separate user ID to use from your Entrecard ID. To make life easier, you can just make the two logins the same, but your Entrecard ID is your e-mail address, which is not recommended for a forum ID. Just imagine the amount of spam you will get once you display your user ID all over a forum, especially one that is viewable to the public.
Entrecard has introduced two other login IDs: one if you wish to be a paid advertiser, and one if you wish to submit a problem ticket. In all, you could possible end up with four separate login IDs to use one system.
CMF Ads uses one ID for both the forums and the system. Once you log into CMF Ads you can access the forums and your control panel by simply clicking the links.
While I had used Entrecard for over a year, and it definitely helped generate traffic for Technically Easy, I found it had too many shortcomings, and promises that were never realized.
With CMF Ads, I can see that many problems that not only plagued Entrecard, but also other ad networks, are in the process of being fixed. CMF Ads may be very young, but it does have a lot of potential for both publishers and advertisers alike.
If you are looking for a blog advertising network, or would like to advertise your site, then I recommend you look at CMF Ads.
Have Your Say
- Have you used, or currently using, Entrecard? If so, has it helped your blog’s traffic?
- Do you think CMF Ads would be something you are willing to look at for advertising on your blog?
- What do you look for in a blog advertising network?
Update: I have added the 75% tax in the comparison chart for Entrecard.
Update (July 20, 2009): I have added a bit more detail, and have also updated some of the information.