I probably would have never heard about this if so many blogs wouldn't have posted about it. I've probably seen it before in the sidebars, but haven't paid too much attention to it. It was just one of the many other plug-ins that help you build a network and "bring in thousands of visitors". So I decided to give it try.
I could tell right away that there's a lot of activity there. One minute after I've signed up and placed the code for the widget on the blog, I already had a few cards dropped in. It's like it's an ants nest over there, everyone just waiting for the next victim :). I also approved a few advertisers that appeared soon after. Not more than 30 seconds later I think. But I never had the chance to learn what it's all about. So I read the informations that were on the website, but I got bored pretty fast. And then I went back over the posts of the bloggers that made me join. I've seen a lot of contests out there that give away EC (Entrecard currency) if you perform certain tasks like linking to their website/blog, write a short post about it, subscribe via email, write comments or other stuff like that. And the prizes are somewhere between 500 and 1000 EC. To buy ad space on one of the higher blogs enrolled in Entrecard costs you around 200-300 and some might reach 400EC or more. The ad (which is actually a picture of your choice) is placed on the website where you where approved for 24 hours. If it's a web site with many visitors per day, then you can get quite a lot of hits if your add sparks interest. Apparently the easiest way to get EC is to drop your card on other peoples widget. You get one EC and they get one in turn. That would explain why people hold that sort of contests. If you have a lot of people that drop their card on your blog daily then that sums up to a lot of EC. Instead of a one day box on another website, why not encourage people to link to you? Those links are of a more permanent nature and they're backed up by a free review. That looks like a good deal to me.
The problem with people earning EC just by dropping their card on your site is you don't get a real visitor out of this. They just come in, drop it, and leave fast so they can drop it somewhere else. In my opinion that translates most always to a 100% bounce rate, thus making this system useless. I'm not saying that it doesn't get the job done, it just doesn't do it the it planned for it. You can still create a network through Entrecard because you find very easily people/blogs from your niche and that way you can discover new things, find out about new programs or who knows what other stuff you would normally find the traditional way. So it's still good for something. As I said, I haven't had the chance to study it more so I don't know everything it's capable of. But so far, thing look pretty nice. If not for anything else, you can use it to waste a few minutes of your day browsing in a different manner.
As I was writing this a thought came to my head on how to prevent the 100% bounce rate. People just come in, drop the card and leave. That's not nice of them. How could we keep them for longer? Well for them to leave as fast as possible, they need to drop their card, so they need to find the widget. What if you placed a display:hidden attribute on it? I mean enclose it in a hidden div or something like that. Would the widget disappear? Just imagine the people in a hurry to drop you their card and wander mindlessly on your site to find the widget :). Of course this way you would lose the EC that you would normally win, but I guess it's worth it for a good laugh. It was just a thought anyway.