The Entrecarder

Internet Marketer?.....Not!  

I suck at Internet Marketing, which statement is the equivalent of a death knell for this blog. I shouldn't be too surprised, as I suck at Sales & Marketing in general. I'm one of those people who would donate items to a thrift store instead of holding a garage sale. I always hated to "ask for the check" when I was a loan officer, which is a sales position of sorts. I've never been any good at Network Marketing, despite having been involved in several different companies, thanks to my mother, who is a good Salesperson, even if she isn't a particularly good Marketer.

I got to a point when I was a loan officer (7+ years) when I realized that it didn't make a difference if I did the loan or someone else did the loan. The programs were all pretty much the same and there wouldn't be a disturbance in the Force if I were to stop selling loans. People would still have plenty of good loan options to choose from and my employer would likely fill my position with someone who enjoyed the competitive sales arena more than I did.

I understand Marketing just fine. What I lack is a bit of that "there's a sucker born every minute" mentality that drives much of sales and marketing. Yes, I can feel the indignation of the few sales types who have bothered to read this deeply (three paragraphs) into this post, but honestly, why do you think sales is the art of persuasion? You're persuading someone to do something they wouldn't likely do otherwise, and most of the time the key ingredient in the mix is lack of good market information. Marketing campaigns focus on highlighting strengths and diminishing weaknesses, which in a perfect market would aid the process of matching goods and services with buyers' specific needs, but in an imperfect (ie - normal) market instead is the manipulation of buyers' needs to match the strengths of what is being offered for sale.

What does all of this have to do with Internet Marketing? From what I have seen over the past almost 6 months is that there are bunches of ways to earn money online and only a few folks actually succeeding at it. Traffic to one's site, just like traffic to one's brick and mortar store, is an important element of success at Internet Marketing. Then, once they are at one's site (or store) the task remains to persuade them to purchase something from you and not from one of your many competitors. And I'm not very good at that.

I did enjoy signing up for the various affiliate ad programs and it was fun to choose ads to go on my various sites, even though none of them ever resulted in an earned commission. I'm not big into Google AdSense, and the $1.91 in my account isn't likely to make it to the payout minimum for another 30 years or so. I did earn a few bucks from SiteHoppin BeerStocks, but I think Max made an accounting error when he sent me the $6 or maybe it was a rebate of my donation to his beer fund. Bidvertiser sent me $25 for doing something, but I haven't figured out what and I actually did make about $20 from Project Wonderful in the course of a month. So, I guess as I think about it, that still sucks when considering how much time I put into my various blogs. The one dimly visible source of light and income in this sad, dark tale has been Entrecard.

From mid-January I have been harvesting Entrecard Credits (ECs) and hopefully when I finally sell off my inventory I will have cleared over $1000. That's still a pathetic return for the amount of time that I have put into my Entrecard efforts, but it's better than nothing. The problem is that credit farming or harvesting is not a favored Entrecard activity, although its negative status has developed over time and wasn't as clearly defined when I started my 20+ Entrecard accounts in January and February. I won't be continuing my EC harvesting activity and most of my accounts will be deleted in the near future. I've discovered that I don't really relish blogging and I'm not sufficiently motivated to do the things that build readership. I feel I've contributed to the Entrecard community more than I've taken from it and my remaining involvement will be motivated not by profit but by a desire to do what I can to help Graham Langdon succeed in his Entrecard venture.

As such, I expect that this will be one of the last entries in this blog, although should I stumble upon (such a fun phrase to use) some winning strategy I'll be sure to mention it here.


Back From the Entrecard Chasm  

I think I see daylight. It's been several months now and I've been so focused on Entrecard that I almost forgot why I joined the community in the first help make money online! And while I did make some money, I spent more time involved with Entrecard than I ever intended to. I'm not entirely done with Entrecard, but I'm wrapping things up and hope to be back to solid ground by May 1st. I've just reapplied with PayPerPost for this blog and am waiting approval. I'm excited to get back to making money online and I learned a lot from my time in Entrecard, but I'm moving on.


Updating Social Network Profiles  

I've got dozens of profiles scattered around the internet on various sites like Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Orkut, and more. Many of them allow for posting links or graphics to blogs and websites and I spent some time recently updating some of these profiles to reflect my current activities. I've stopped promoting Ready Health Products and Goyin, primarily due to my 75 year old mother throwing in the towel and saying "enough." For the time being I'm listing The Entrecarder as my main blog, but I'm not sure how long that will last. I've enjoyed my 20+ Entrecard accounts and have been able to make some money from harvesting Entrecard Credits (ECs), but it's become somewhat of a chore to drop cards and so I'm pulling back to focusing on two blogs, this one and The Entrecarder.

I also spent some time cleaning up my presence in MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog, as well as creating an Entrecard "community" on Ning and publishing an Entrecarder lens on Squidoo. Rosemary Smekal introduced to and I established a profile there and recorded my first podcast, which can be accessed via the widget in the sidebar of this blog. I've still got plenty of updating to do on various sites and only time will tell whether or not I stick with this approach to publicizing my blogs.

Counting all my blogs I have created more than 100 original entries since the first of the year, some which took a minute of two and others which took over an hour to write. Just as when I was a radio talk show host, I can honestly say that I haven't been bitten by the "bug", that thing that drives one to keep at it and continue to want more. I'm starting to think that I'll look into developing some of my websites, a more difficult task than mere blogging in that I have to bone up on on html. The idea of having more static content is becoming more appealing at this point.

Overall I expect that I'll pull back from my internet marketing adventures and seek to spend more of my time in more traditional (and reliable) income production. I've been having fun...but more money means more fun and I need to focus on money more than I have been so far this year.


Blazing My Own Trail  

It's both a strength and a weakness, my propensity to do things my own way. I'm one of those folks who can analyze quickly and change path accordingly, which sometimes is good and sometimes isn't so good. Admittedly, I have been far too distracted by the Entrecard community and have been having loads of fun building a money machine for harvesting and selling ECs. That's good, I guess. The downside is that I'm not really building any long-term value with my Entreniche blogs.

I see lots of advice about making money online in the emails I get from blog subscriptions and the blogs I visit while dropping cards. I read it, comprehend it, and then proceed to ignore it. I don't read John Chow or Problogger and I'm not a student of blogging or making money blogging. I tend to follow my own muse and am more than happy to not do the same things that everyone else is trying to do. From past experiences I have learned I enjoy idea creation more than idea implementation and that's not likely to change.

Even the way I write my blogs goes counter to the experts' advice. Honestly, I'm bored to tears by most of the blogs I see, what with their carefully formatted regurgitation of somebody else's ideas. They might end up making more money with that approach than I do with mine, but it's not a road I care to travel. Truth be known, I still write primarily for myself and the few folks who care to follow my musings.

Over time I expect I'll find some additional ways to make money online and they likely won't be the ways that the crowd has chosen. And if that means that I spend most of my time off wandering on strange unmarked paths, hatchet in hand, then so be it. After all, it was adventure I was seeking, not fame or fortune.


One Buck Wiki & Keywords  

One of the prizes that I won as part of's "One Heck of a Giveaway" Contest in January was 200 pages from OBW uses a similar model to Graham Langdon's Million Dollar Wiki, only the pages currently sell for $1 instead of MDW's $100 per page price tag. How do these pay per page wikis work? From MDW's FAQ page we read:

Every page is dedicated to a unique word or phrase. The content on each page is controlled by the page’s owner. Owners use the site, and specifically their page, as a vehicle to generate traffic, revenue or publicity.

And from the same FAQ re Why Buy A Page?:

There are many of benefits in purchasing a page. As a page owner you:

* Secure an exclusive niche in a growing micro-economy.
* Raise awareness of your website, product, or service.
* Own a keyword or phrase that perfectly represents and brands your business.
* Cultivate a heightened web presence.
* Share traffic generated by the entire community.
* Join a resourceful community of motivated entrepreneurs.
* Receive storage space on our server for your page's content.
* Link quality content to your relevant website for better SEO.

There are also many ways to directly earn a profit from owning a page.

* Sell products or services off your page.
* Sell ad spots or use Google AdSense.
* Resell your wiki page (developed or not) at a later date.

So I was pretty happy when Max, from sent me a congratulatory email and I started on the task of picking keywords that I wanted. It took hours to come up with about 190 keywords and keyword phrases! Some of my chosen words related to sites that I have started or will start in the near future and other keywords I lifted from the MDW's most popular list.

Even if One Buck Wiki never reaches critical mass and my 200 keywords languish and fail to develop any real value, the exercise of choosing them was a valuable one. I've been so focused on the Entrecard / blogger aspect of my internet marketing adventures that I needed to pull back and remember that blogging is just a small part of a larger picture.


Entrecard, Project Wonderful, Spottt, Adtoll, & More  

I've been busy reorganizing blogs and structuring my internet marketing adventures. Entrecard is still my main activity and I've now expanded to a full 20 active Entrecard accounts. 11 of them fall under the Biz Beacon umbrella and are designed with the Entrecard community as the main audience. I'm using The Entrecarder as my main blog for recording what I've been up to with Entrecard and won't duplicate too much here on this blog.

I've mentioned before that one of my goals is to drive traffic to Ready Health Products' website and to that end I've restructured how I'm working with Project Wonderful. I had a skyscraper of 6 125x125 boxes on the Entrecarder site and it ended up being a lot of work to manage it. I had followed the advice of others and set the minimum cost at "free" and only had a few days when the bids got up over $.03, with maybe 27 cents being the best day. At the same time I was bidding on a number of sites and got some decent traffic through to the Ready Health Products site. Pretty cost effective for a small budget, seeing as how I spent about $2 (net) over the course of a week. Still, I wasn't really ready to run an indepth campaign and so I took the skyscraper away and emptied out my funds and let my PW account sit idle for a few days.

Honestly, I was getting bogged down with all the card dropping and maintenance of the Entrecard sites and wasn't overly enthused with this whole approach. I was a bit flattered when "coincidentally" someone started using my idea for guessing locations that were presented using Google Earth. In fact, I started rejecting ads and stopped dropping cards, sold off my Entrecredit stash, and was ready to take a break from everything Entrecard-related. (As has been common for me, I get my best ideas in the early morning and have had to learn to not make decisions when I'm tired at night.) It was just a day or two later that I realized that I had an asset--multiple established Entrecard accounts--and I just needed to reframe how I was approaching things.

That's how the Biz Beacon Advertising Co-op came to be. I had another 7-10 ideas for blogs that were in various stages of development (most of them brand new) and I quickly set about the process of registering them, finding or creating a graphic for the Entrecard, and getting them all tied together in a group of 20 blogs. The idea was to provide a service that might be needed on Entrecard...the ability to do a scheduled ad blast across 20 blogs. Full details can be found on the Coop site. No one has taken me up on the offer yet, but that's ok...I can put my own ads on the Co-op sites at no expense.

It's funny how random things can happen as if they were orchestrated. Just as Entrecard was experiencing some VERY slow response times, we caught wind of Spottt, the new link trading concept from AdBrite. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who took advantage of the break from Entrecard to check out this new service. I signed up for a couple of accounts for my different blogs and was amazed at the number of impressions that I got in the first few days. What does that mean for my traffic? Nothing. I'm not tracking traffic and haven't made it a focus yet. Naturally, the guys at Entrecard see Spottt as a competitor, but I don't see it that way. Why not have both on your site(s)? That's what I decided to do, in addition to an ad that someone can purchase by the week via the Co-op and the Project Wonderful ad, which defaults to an ad for Ready Health Products when no one has ponied up for the minimum bid amount.

AdToll also made a splash recently by unveiling their Peel Away ads, which caused me to try one out on the What Do YOU See? site. I find it interesting that some of the purists in the blogger community would prefer that a blog have no ads on it whatsoever. I don't like a page full of obnoxious ads anymore than the next guy, but even PBS has learned that a little income from ads can go a long way towards paying the bills. I intend to keep trying ad programs in order to see what works best for me. But before I go too far down that road I know that I have to continue to create content, refine the look of my blogs, and get listed with directories, etc. And in the back of my mind is that nagging little voice whispering "SEO...SEO is the way to go." I'll get there one day. The huge broad market is full of opportunity and my ultimate goal is to press beyond the blogger community and present sites that will add value to the masses of search engine driven consumers.


I'm Growing Money Trees  

I'm not the nurturing type who fusses over plants. My typical approach to growing things is to get them started and move on. Oh, I'll water and weed the garden often enough. (It's under a foot of snow at the moment.) But I think the plants know that I'm not really committed to their success. As I look at my internet marketing activities, I am hoping that they know that I DO care about their success. I care because I see them as little money trees, albeit just barely sprouting at the moment.

Part of the reason that I'm choosing to look at my blogs this way is that I have 20+ active blogs in my orchard and will likely continue to plant more. That's 20+ money trees that I am hoping will mature and bear fruit for at least several seasons. It helps to envision these sproutling blogs as future money trees so that I don't expect too much of them in the short run. I need to feed them and care for them if they are to mature and develop.

I know that what I am doing is somewhat unconventional...and that's ok with me. I find it both challenging and satisfying to have so many different blogs and am energized by the opportunities I encounter each day. I am confident that my little money trees will bear fruit if I am diligent in caring for them. And I am grateful for the advice and knowledge that I am gleaning from my fellow gardeners.