I was holding off on saying much about the new Entrecard changes, but I am curious as to what others think about what is going on, so here's my soapbox :)
In case you hadn't yet heard, Entrecard is making some rather large changes to the way they do business...they are going to be "monetizing" the system, creating 2 major changes:
1. You would be able to "cash out" your entrecard credits if you like, for real money. No mention has been made yet as to what the exchange rate is going to be, or what limits will be put on it (minimums or maximums)
2. You will have to share ad space with THEIR paid advertisers. Meaning, instead of receiving ad requests just from other bloggers, you will also get them from companies that pay ENTRECARD to have ads placed.
There were two major complaints that have since been addressed with changes to the requirements:
They were going to require that all Entrecard widgets be placed "above the fold" - meaning when you get to a blog you shouldn't have to scroll down to find the widget. There was a HUGE response to this, as many blog designs make that impossible. THE GOOD NEWS: They have now changed this rule and now have a "one-page down" rule...I think it's better, but it will still mean that I have to change my own placement if I want to stay with Entrecard...I'm still holding off to see if things change again.
They were also going to charge an ad rejection fee (if you rejected one of the outside advertisers' ads you'd get docked some credits). This has since been removed - thank goodness. This was probably the part I had most issue with - I can choose what (if anything) to advertise on my blog with no penalties from every other ad network, why should I be penalized if I don't want ads from Entrecard's folks? I'm not making any money if someone clicks thru to their ads, Entrecard is. Glad they got this one fixed.
Overall, I'm not hugely impressed. I don't like being told where I "have" to put my widgets, especially for someone else's advertisers. I'm not told where to advertise by any other third party group (and I am the one getting paid if they get click thru's!) and I still feel that's a little demanding. But I DO like the idea of not having to scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN the page to find the drop widget...there are some blogs I spend more time looking for the widget than I do actually reading. I don't drop a lot because I DO take the time to read blogs instead of dropping and running, and by keeping the widgets higher I can read more and hunt less. I DO like the idea of being able to get cash for my unused credits, I just don't know if the tradeoff will be worth it.
I was sorry to hear that many of the awesome blogs I found via Entrecard would have to bow out just because of this - for ME, Entrecard has been a great way to connect...I like the advertising, but I like discovering new bloggers even more. I'm reserving judgement until I see what the final result is - I'm glad Entrecard listened to the complaints and made changes, but I'm still not crazy about where they're headed.
What do you think? Will you stay or leave?