Blogrush Testing and Tracking (Updated – John Reese Quote)

 

There has been a lot of criticism thrown at Blogrush and very few of the reports I have read really took any time to analyse how Blogrush is currently working using 3rd party tracking tools.

I am writing this article because I keep on being asked the same questions, not with the intention of beating the drum about Blogrush, or to promote my referral link. In fact you won’t even find my referral link in this article. Go and use someone else’s, or look at one of my previous articles.

I thought about adding some “notice me” links in this post (that was more just to say thanks), but that isn’t my style.

Lots of the people who have been making mistakes in their professional analysis in theory subscribe to my blog, thus I am not going to single them out.
There have been a lot of anti-hype articles, and I also still have some reservations, but that doesn’t justify articles full of criticism that don’t contain facts, or contain interpretation of facts that are so obviously full of mistakes, I am amazed they were written by the person credited.

I thought I would show you a little bit of proof that Blogrush sends traffic to small blogs.

First of all here is the traffic to my WordPress Plugins site which hasn’t really been touched for 12 months.

wpplugins referral traffic

So that is 60 readers, and 131 page views since Blogrush launched – the site is 2 years old, PR5, so it does get a little seasonal search traffic, which is picking up this time of year.

Here are the stats from Blogrush

Blogrush referrers

So when I took that screenshot earlier yesterday to show to someone, I had had 5 referrers. I should have possibly waited with my screenshot, it is actually 75 readers, 179 views and 10 clicks through from Blogrush.

That Doesn’t Mean I Had A Great CTR

That blog hasn’t only received 149 credits, it has gained lots of bonus credits, though it is impossible to tell how many.

Many people really didn’t understand this message on the stats page.

Special Note: All Members are currently receiving BONUS CREDITS that are not yet reflected in these statistics.

Your referral credits are not being used currently… there is no way to allocate them if you have multiple blogs.

Some blogs are in categories where they can’t use all the credits they have been generating.

John Reese said in an email to members yesterday (summarized) CTR problems can be solved with:-

  1. Better titles, and gave some great examples
  2. More categories are needed for better targeting – also of note in that point is that if you have people averaging 0.5% CTR, the widget itself is averaging 2.5% CTR – that is a conceptual difference people might not realise.
  3. Fraud – expect a big clamp down and permanent bans – I hope people weren’t being evil and expecting to get away with it.

I am not going to show off a load of referrals, though I have got quite a few. I am also even more happy that my downline have got referrals and are benefiting from the free credits in the system. Not everyone has had great success, there are some inherent problems, but these things will be ironed out.

Here is an easy way to understand this.

A few people are referring to Blogrush as a pyramid scheme

Pyramid scheme

However there isn’t any money changing hands, and there is another problem with their theory. What happens with all the excess inventory that isn’t spoken for by referral credits?

Free Credits

Until the referral matrix gets deeper than 10 levels, and referral credits are actually used, there are a lot of spare credits that need to be assigned to something, and those are the credits that created additional visitors to my plugins site.

Lots of the high traffic blogs are in the top level of the referral structure, so there will always be a large amount of these free credits. Blogrush had a very explosive start, and there are 100s if not 1000s of blogs in the top level.

A blog with 30,000 pageviews per day in the top level is generating 150,000 RSS impressions, but only gaining 30,000 for itself. Blogrush use 10% to cover their costs.

That leaves 105,000 credits per day for Blogrush to hand out for free. They are not being handed out to an upline that doesn’t exist.

I have no specific details of how the credits are being shared out, but it seems smaller blogs are receiving windfalls (in my estimate) of 1000 credits or more per day.

The Blackhat Threat

Alex Goad pinged me about some of the blackhat games that Blogrush faces. It is true, but I wouldn’t class any venture by John Reese as low hanging fruit.

Over on Problogger John Reese has stated:-

That’s for all the great feedback. We’re working really hard to make some “must needed” improvements due to some unforseen issues we’ve encountered. Fraud has really hurt us in the early going and is dilluting the CTRs across the entire network. We’re moving to a 100% Manual Review Process and this will not only eliminate most of the cheaters but will also eliminate all the low-quality blogs in the network.

Don’t doubt for a minute whether John has the resources to hire 10 or 20 people to manually review every single site if that becomes necessary, but lots of tools are fairly easy to create to make the process much more efficient.

Lots of people have asked me about what traffic I have received. It has possibly decreased over the last couple of days due to the spamming, but here is a screenshot I took yesterday.

Blogrush referrers from Mybloglog stats

So we don’t just trust MyBlogLog tracking, we also should compare it to another source. Google Analytics will do for this purpose.

Google Analytics Blogrush Traffic

I actually waited for a day so that the Google Analytics data could be compared.

How to see this in Google Analytics?

  1. Go to Traffic Sources >> All Traffic Sources
  2. Find source medium [containing] widget.blogrush.com
  3. Click on what is probably just a single result listing containing the combined referrals

Now whilst there is an obvious decline, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is all caused by spammers. It might also mean that the free credits in the system are being applied differently, or that they are being spread thinner.
If they are being spread thinner, that actually makes me happy, because that means more of my referrals are gaining a little free traffic. Maybe it is just an extra 10 visitors per day, but when you have less than 100 visitors per day, that is significant if it is targeted.

The decline can also be caused by articles that are just not compelling enough for people to click on them. I am sure this article will not receive a lot of traffic, and will probably only be read by my regular readers.

I don’t write articles specifically to get high traffic from every single one. I just try to provide useful information and title it appropriately.

I have lots of referrals, and so do many of my downline, but those credits are not being used currently, because there is no interface to allocate them.
Blogrush credits used

My guesstimate is that I have probably had 15,000 to 20,000 impressions so far.

  • Do your own testing and tracking
  • Compare it to the value of screen real estate
  • Decide whether it works for you
  • Give it some time, and think of your readers (sharing traffic is good for you)

Update

John Reese responded to the discussion on Alex’s Blogrush post with a couple of comments, one explaining the algorithm a little explaining why Blogrush shouldn’t be looked on as a Pyramid or Ponzi scheme (all credits in the system are earned, nothing is projected forward, upwards allocation of credit), but also made the following statement which I feel is very significant.

The only reason some impressions are “held back” and not immediately delivered are because the system continues to ‘adjust’ based on the network size itself, as well as how many members in each category — because we serve each members’ credits in the category they choose. There ‘can’ be an imbalance of inventory in certain categories, but we’re able to make up that adjustment based on the “breakage” of math that occurs because all the accounts that immediately signed up essentially joined ‘under’ BlogRush — and so the network has a large percentage of surplus; which we are currently auto-distributing to all the members equally to help them get more traffic. We have plans to eventually give most of the bonus credits to our SMALL USERS since they need the traffic the most.

Whilst many people are looking on Blogrush as being a pyramid scam and the rich are feeding off the poor, I am increasing feeling that in many ways this will become more of a Robin Hood scenario.

Whilst the big blogs will generate more credits themselves, and lots of referrals, they will not gain the same CTR as smaller unknown blogs, because people are using Blogrush for discovery.
With John highlighting that the surplus inventory is mainly going to go to smaller blogs in the future, this really is going to be robbing the rich to feed the poor, and a blog like Shoemoney or Problogger probably signed up directly.

Andy Beal being such a smart marketer probably signed Marketing Pilgrim up under his wife’s Hawaii Vacation Blog. Despite the drama, if he removes the widget, his wife’s blog will receive less credits to allocate – what a dilemma to be in ;) – note those credits can’t be allocated currently.
Andy hasn’t yet published any real stats (from 3rd party tracking), but I would love to see what traffic his wife’s blog has received in Google Analytics, and whether that traffic was more worthwhile than the traffic Marketing Pilgrim receives.
I honestly wouldn’t click on one of Andy’s ads, because I am already a subscriber, but I did just see my WordPress Plugins site advertised on his site, and that doesn’t have a compelling title.

 

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. Follow

Comments

  1. says

    Nice write up Andy.. best one I have read to date about Blogrush.

    I don’t see much upside in BlogRush, displaying posts of questionable quality for other sites just doesn’t sit well with me. I might be more inclined to give it more of a chance if the widget wasn’t broken 2/3rds of the time.

  2. says

    Thanks for the comments on ProBlogger, Andy. And thanks for this post. I’m a hobby blogger trying to use what I learn for my nonprofit organization.

    All of this conversation just reinforces to me the need to create some kind of self-determined RSS widget. Surely such a thing exists. I “friend” another blog, and add their feed to my widget. Something like that. Like you said, I need to do more research.

    That’s a bit off topic for BlogRush, I suppose. But then its motives of generating large traffic are different from my motive of creating a community of relationships. (Which is not to say that high traffic volume won’t lead to community potential.)

    There’s a lot to chew on here.

    • says

      Mark there are 2 things you need to decide then

      1. Whether you want to show every post from selected blogs, or only specific articles you have read

      Options:-

      a) Technorati allow you to add favorites, tag them, and then provide you with both an OPML file, or and RSS feed of your favorites
      b) Many RSS readers allow you to share specific articles, and in most cases that then provides you with a shared item feed that can be used elsewhere.

      2. You need to decide whether you want to give links that are followed by search engines or not

      a)Wordpress contains widgets that allow you to share items from an RSS feeds.
      b)if you are not using widgets, there are plenty of WordPress plugins for sharing RSS data in various ways
      c)Even Blogger has a way to share RSS that is indexed as part of your content in the sidebar

      d)If you don’t want the RSS feed to be indexed, there are so many widgets that can work with either a list of blogs in an OPML file, or an RSS feed, that whole sites are dedicated to reviewing them.

      3. You need to decide if you just want links, or a more integrated experience.

      This really depends on above shoices, but there are alternatives ranging from just showing text headlines all the way up to fully integrated RSS readers in your sidebar.

  3. says

    I have some filters set up for a couple of obviously inappropriate sites, and for “Hello World” as a keyword match, which I recommend everyone does.

    I don’t know how they are going to handle content matching in the future, though I am sure it will improve.

    What classes as spam is very hard to pin down. There are people who feel every paid review is spam, and anything with an affiliate link is spam and hype.

    For me spam is low content to noise ratio, thus posts that don’t contain something “meaty” I don’t want to see. I am happy to see articles that represent a totally different perspective which conflicts to my own or the niche of this blog, as long as the content might be of interest to my readers.

    If I see an article appear about some blackhat spamming technique, or written by someone I wouldn’t normally link to, I am honestly not worried about that.

    I might be tempted to add a headline “I do not endorse links in this widget, but you might find them interesting”

    • says

      No, that means I am endorsing the widget as a viable syndication widget for blogs to maybe get more exposure.

      If I was syndicating a feed from the best SEO blogs and included Matt Cutts from Google among that essential reading, that doesn’t mean when he writes about paid links that I agree with his opinion.

      I had someone from one of Blogrush’s competitors drop a link in my comments yesterday with a challenge claiming they are going to give blog owners more traffic than Blogrush, or pay them $10.

      I almost deleted it as self promotional comment spam, because I saw almost exactly the same comment posted on 20 different blogs, it was as if they were just working their way down a search result and using copy/paste.

      I have left it only because I don’t mind differing opinions, but they claimed that they will send me more traffic without any information on their site to determine how they plan to send me 700+ new targeted visitors without counting my referral credits.
      They also claimed that Blogrush was purely a pyramid scheme, but based on my diagrams it is not.

      How is othersonline planning to send me traffic when in 8 months they haven’t managed to generate any of their own.
      I don’t really trust Alexa stats or Compete, and Compete might have a few additional bugs, but just look at the difference between my low traffic blog and Othersonline

      • says

        Andy I have to object to your example on the grounds that your comparing apples and oranges.

        If you created a syndicated feed of your favorite authors and shared it on your site you are telling your readers “Look here are some people I trust to provide good articles for you”. Blogrush is another animal though because you don’t know who your linking to.

        When readers encounter links on your site they are trusting you to send them to a safe site that has something they should check out.

        Does that mean you agree with all you link to? Of course not. It does mean once you give up control of who you link to you had better trust the selector of those links. Otherwise your squandering the faith your readers put into your site.

        • says

          I currently don’t have my Bumpzee widget switched on, I should do that now, it is only turned off because they had some performance issues.

          Stories on Bumpzee have appeared all the time from sites I wouldn’t choose to link to and there was no way to block them.

          If I included a Digg widget containing my Digg Friends submissions, I doubt I would be interested in more than 10% of them myself, or even if 10% of them would be relevant.

          For a long time I was showing a feed from my Technorati Favorites, and I was reciprocating favorites as a way for my readers to share their content with me.
          Unfortunately Technorati was still only showing the highest rated blogs in the feed.

          I have also used The Good Blogs, that doesn’t give you any control over which articles are shown, and from what I remember it didn’t allow me to block URLs or keywords.

          If you have problems with sharing content that is in some way related to your audience from unknown sources, don’t include any widgets other than something like Google Reader sharing, but I have ethical problems with Google Reader not supporting a way to prevent sharing, despite all my own content being published under GPL.

  4. says

    Thats a whole load of stats to track.

    I guess we should maybe just give BlogRush a little more time to sort things out in order to really see the actual results that they can provide us.

    With regards to the headline “I do not endorse links in this widget, but you might find them interesting”, I think we could even create a meme out of it.

  5. says

    It’s nice to see a reasoned article about BlogRush rather than the hysterical “it’s crap/spam/against Google TOS” rubbish that I’ve seen over the last few days. What did people honestly expect? Receive tens of thousands of visitors every day?

    You mentioned keyword filtering in your original post about BlogRush and mentioned it in the comments above. Just how many of the gloom and doom merchants currently have a BlogRush article as their most recent? How many people have blocked “BlogRush” as a term? Hmmm…

    • says

      Whilst people may block the keyword Blogrush, they might also have a mental block for it too. I have seen lots of negative commentary on plenty of blogs where I respect the opinion of the author, but in this case they were almost giving it a knee-jerk reaction rather than analytical.

  6. says

    I personally believe the purpose of the Blogrush widget is to help drive more traffic to a persons site. There really isn’t any other use for it, that I can see. You do not have much control over the links that are put into the widget, however you can use filter words right now. With what Webprofessor said about putting links on your site and your viewers would trust them is correct to a certain extent. You link to other sites that you trust the author, but you might not agree with what he/she always talks about. How about google adsense then? I don’t trust all the links I see in there, same goes for any other PPC network. Even though the links are not trusted fully, people still use google adsense on there website. You might not condone the links being used in blogrush, but you tell your viewers the widget is a great thing to use for whatever reasons. I think that is what Any was trying to say.

    Steve

  7. says

    Scott isn’t the blogrush widget a form of advertising as well though? It is nothing more then links put in a box that is rotated on the network. That is how I see it though, to me they are both have the same concept of marketing the sites listed. Just one you pay for and is run by the internet giant. lol

    Steve

  8. says

    I’m still not sure why but the whole thing doesn’t interest me whatsoever. I think I find it a bit like a cry that I want more traffic as I can’t get it elsewhere or something like that.

    • says

      Glen I can really relate to that, because you have had a lot of success with social media.

      Skill has a value, and honestly that is why you have been hired to work for a company in South Africa.

      Some people haven’t got that skill, or it is difficult to apply to their content.
      Also social media is difficult to turn into something useful.

      The first 200 subscribers to any blog are really the hardest, and this is just one way to help the process.

      Remember there are A list blogs that have never been on Digg, they built their readers up slowly, virally.

      The people marketing Blogrush (the ones with massive email lists) grew their lists by learning to leverage traffic backwards and forwards from one site to another.

      The Blogrush site itself has had 4 Diggs and was probably buried as spam.

  9. says

    As of yesterday I have received a total of 0 click throughs with several hundred impressions. It’s really hard to analyze traffic when you have so little of it. :-(

  10. says

    I did a cursory look and I’m afraid Blogrush isn’t bringing much traffic. The only two metrics I care about are:

    1) How many incoming visits referrals compared to total unique visits and 2) How many pages do these people read.

    On the gaming of the system we are reading in articles over at sphinn: I think Blogrush will fix those. It should be pretty easy to fix the exploits described. I also think Blogrush should give us a mechanism to include or exclude certain posts from displaying in the widgets.

    Almost everyone goes “off topic” sometimes. It can even be good for community building. Should I decide to post photos from my brief vacation so some visitors can see the beauty of Wisconsin, that’s not a post I want highlighted on the widget.

  11. says

    I’m glad to see these issues being addressed. The headlines were so spammy and atrocious that I dropped the widget because nobody could possibly want to click on them. I had a lot of respect for John, but this was so disappointing. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do my readers want this? Not, will I get traffic?

  12. says

    Hey Andy,

    Thanks for the mention. If this were the first post I had read on Blogrush, my perspective would have been different.

    Your capacity for synthesis never ceases to amaze me.

  13. says

    Andy, thanks for the article. I certainly progresses the debate. I think a system such as this needs to evolve with the marketplace.

    The new issues that are thrown up when going live are infinate and can never be planned for. As far as I know John Reese he will be monitoring and tweaking as needs to be.

    I have my code up to analyse rather than for the traffic.

  14. says

    For anyone interested I have updated the post with more insight from John Reese about how the surplus credits will be distributed in the future, to smaller blogs.

  15. says

    GoVisitHawaii.com isn’t seeing anything better than MP. Less than 10 clicks in total.

    You are right that I signed up under her referral–why not? ;-)

    One thing to consider, she gets all the credit from everyone who signed up under my referral code. That’s about 1500 credits a day right now. I could pull the plug on BlogRush and she–and I–would still benefit.

    I’m going to take it day by day and look for improvements.

    • says

      You are probably gaining more credits for free from the system than those referral credits. I would have expected you to be in the 100,000 per day referral category.

      Remember the referral credits are not being used yet.

      I bet 10 targeted visitors to Go Visit Hawaii are a little more noticeable than 10 visits to MP, but if it is really 30 + 30 that is quite a difference.

      If a couple of those 10 visitors turned into subscribers, that might increase subscribers by… 2%

      Between this site and my plugins site I am now close to 100 clicks, which is 3x more than is displayed in the Blogrush interface.

      It is not massive traffic, but walls are made out of bricks

  16. says

    About those “free credits” generated by first liners & waiting to he given out as bonuses; I’m trying to figure out how it’s then possible for the system to eventually serve ALL of these surplus credits?

    Since there’ll not be sufficient blogs around to serve them?

    • says

      Well apparently there has been 40,000,000 widget views so far which equates to 200,000,000 RSS headers displayed.

      That is a finite quantity, there is no promising forward built into the system.

      From those 200,000,000 RSS headers

      40,000,000 credits for the site that served them
      20,000,000 credits because probably half were referred by someone (1st tier 1 credit)
      10,000,000 if and only if the 3rd tier has as many people and as many page views it as the 2nd tier currently, which I doubt (2nd tier 1 credit)
      1,000,000 for the 3rd tier, though again I doubt the 4rd tier is so large currently (3rd tier 1:4 credit)
      1,000,000 for the 4th tier (4th tier 1:4 credit)

      I doubt there are many people on lower tiers other than those gaming the system for all it is worth.

      20,000,000 for the Blogrush management to sell

      By my maths, which are not perfect, half of the served credits are free currently so Blogrush were able to give out 100,000,000 free impressions, maybe more.

      John has claimed that the free impressions are being distributed evenly.

      If Blogrush has 20,000 members currently, that equates to 5000 free credits per blog.

      A 0.4% CTR (2% for the widget) would equate to 20 clicks per blog for free.

      In the future when these free credits are only given to the lower traffic blogs, I think we will see that 100,000,000 or more credits continue to be distributed to the smaller blogs, though it will be spread a little thinner.
      This is because the probability of someone signing up higher closer to the source remains quite high.

      Thus Blogrush possibly equates (based upon 0.4% CTR on average), about 1500 visitors to a blog over 12 months without doing anything at all for the smaller blogs.

      There will always be excess credits in the system, the challenge will be improving the CTR and targeting.

  17. says

    Hi Andy, not sure how Others Online came into your commentary, but I’ll go along. I’m the founder.

    First off, you’re off on the .4% click-thru rate (CTR). I’ve been compiling stats from people who have reported their CTR in the blogosphere (I’m up to 46 so far, including your .37%) and the average CTR shows to be about .10%. 6 of the 46 are doing as good or better than you, and 31 are getting zero to .05% (might as well be zero). At the end of the day, this was sold as a way to get traffic. Perhaps this data suggests why many folks are disappointed.

    Secondly, you’re entirely CORRECT that we haven’t generated much traffic to our Web site. But did you evaluate BlogRush on the same basis before you decided to promote them? We haven’t even actually “launched” — we’re in “hiring” and “write software” mode. (That said, I’m admittedly not good at promotion/hype. I’m much better at substance.)

    It all comes down to user value. The primary value is in clicks — it makes no sense to look at your syndication credits. The way the system is designed, won’t there always be an overhang of credits to impressions? Granted, there’s also value in exposure but only if the user has control over the exposure and it works — we allow our users to keyword-target their visibility, measure their results and also influence their rank. We also optimize their profile for them automatically (if they use our tools.) They have the same level of control over who shows in the widget.

    I think CTR will ultimately determine the fate or success of BlogRush, and so far it’s not good. Look at what people are reporting. Look at YOUR BlogRush outbound CTR, within your stats. Yesterday 50% of my outbound clicks were thru our widget. The day before it was 41%. Granted, those are uncommon days but still … across the board we’re achieving >5x more CTR than BlogRush. On an apples-to-apples basis, people engage with our widget better than BlogRush and it drives higher CTR. Just add users …

    I’ll try to post some of this data later on my blog. Back to work.

    Peace,
    Jordan

  18. says

    Oh, one other thing, we want real authentic users with a personal voice wanting to *connect* with others online, NOT bloggers stuffing their entire blog with affiliate links, how to make money online, etc.

    It’s not interesting to me and I think it’s less interesting to the general population. Know what I mean?

    • says

      Jordon maybe you forgot the comment on my previous post.

      You seem to be quite sold (vocal) on BlogRush, though I don’t know if it’s on merit or whether you’re involved somehow. No matter — you’re a believer and spreading the love.

      I hadn’t heard of BlogRush until just recently (like most folks), but my company has been working on some fun software that is already beating BlogRush on click-through stats (by a lot). I’d like to take advantage of this meme, put some money on the table, earn some valuable feedback from the blogosphere, and have some fun.

      Here’s a fun little challenge: If we don’t provide you with a better click-through rate than BlogRush, we’ll paypal you $10. The details are on our blog.

      Let the games begin?

      Then I noticed the same comment cropping up on other blogs where I had commented, and subscribed to comments.
      I look on your previous comment as self promotional, and the blog post I read was very much trying to jump on the bandwagon and profit from any negative press Blogrush was receiving.

      Whatever stats you have collected are fatally flawed because no one other than the people behind Blogrush can say how many credits have actually been allocated, and 99% of people reporting stats are just going by the click stats shown in their console… or didn’t you read the article?

      Even the number of credits in various places in the console don’t quite add up.

      Blogrush with maybe 20,000 users (plus who knows how many blackhats) within 7 days is facing problems, because people want better categorization.

      It grew virally, possibly faster than expected, but in many niches there might not yet be much uptake.

      The way the system is designed, won’t there always be an overhang of credits to impressions?

      The way the system is designed, there is the exact opposite. There is always going to be excess display inventory that they can give away to the smaller bloggers.

      You are in beta just like Blogrush is. I seem to remember you had a writeup on Techcrunch some time ago, Jan/Feb time, in fact not long after MyBlogLog were purchased.

      Blogrush has been launched by people involved in affiliate marketing who know how to do product launches (Maybe you should read the Product Launch Formula)
      John Reese has been discussing his Income.com project for at least 10 months, and Blogrush is part of it.
      He even shut down his very successful marketing forum 10 months ago to concentrate his resources on this, and I have seen a few other friends on his also shut down some of their sites, so I assume they are working with him in some way behind the scenes as well.

      Bumpzee was also launched by people who are involved in Affiliate Marketing, and is growing slowly but surely.

      Blogcatalog (who I have a small stake with as a consultant) grew very fast because they were willing to pay for promotion, and had a mailing list of 40,000 people who had listings to work with.

      The widget with faces on blogs market is very conjested. Each of these sites have differentiated themselves and provided additional value, but as a major user of each of these sites, I know how much traffic they have sent me, compared to what I have sent them.

      I saw the potential of Blogrush at face value at the same time as everyone else did, around 7:00am CET last Saturday though John had released some information the day before.

      I have another post coming that will help people understand how to get better traffic from Blogrush, because I do analyse these things very carefully as with everything before I write about them.

  19. says

    Sphunn ya! No matter where one falls on this debate, the post is worthy to me because 1 – it shows numbers 2- it points out fallacies without berating anyone (You didn’t really “berate” Beal, I felt you were just pointing some things out.) 3- You showed one thing that people hadn’t been stating that is really important… John Reese is listening to concerns and has the resources to address them. :)

  20. says

    Hi Andy, of course I recall the comment I left on several blogs. I just hadn’t left it on this thread, so reading your post it seemed out of context.

    Like I said, I’m not an affiliate marketing/promotion/hype machine. I’m just a guy who feels the advances in contextual/behavioral marketing technologies can be harnassed to offer value to others online on a person-to-person basis (with control on either end), rather than a B2C basis. I suspect if you took half the time you spent writing this post to look at Others Online, then you’d understand how we’re not at all about “who’s the last person on this page”. I would invite your frank and educated opinion (though somehow I suspect you’ve arrived at a judgement already), and expect I’d agree with many of your comments.

    I’m very happy for you, John, Bumpzee, … and the entire affiliate marketing industry. It’s not my cup of tea, but clearly it’s important to your annual income and you’re an important guy in the space.

    Whatever stats you have collected are fatally flawed because no one other than the people behind Blogrush can say how many credits have actually been allocated, and 99% of people reporting stats are just going by the click stats shown in their console… or didn’t you read the article?

    Yeah, I read your article twice actually, but I still don’t understand a lot of it — no offense, but it seems like a bit of hand-waving and distraction tactics. Credits, and the allocation thereof, are different than impressions. I’m just talking about clicks as a % of impressions, which has nothing to do with credits. Credits are just unserved impressions, yes? That click/impression data, fatally flawed or not, is coming from BlogRush.

    The way the system is designed, there is the exact opposite. There is always going to be excess display inventory that they can give away to the smaller bloggers.

    That’s not exact opposite. (again, more hand-waving) You’re saying the same thing I am, that there is always going to be an excess of credits over impressions, but simply adding that they may re-distribute this overhang to “smaller” bloggers. But that Robin Hood theory doesn’t make sense. Why would they take credits from one person and give them to another, with no basis or formula, or user terms, especially when also treating these credits as currency?

    But back to the point, given their pyramid-shaped reward scheme, how can this aggregate overhand NOT grow indefinitely? If it can never be fully depleted, then isn’t it really just a red herring, to keep people trying to build their downline? It quickly becomes a silly number that, even if all new user regisrations stopped, would take months or years to fulfill. And then if people start pulling the widget, there are no more impressions left to deplete the credit balance.

    What do you think BlogRush will do then, BUY ad space until every last remaining credit is used? doubtful …

    You sure were right about one thing … it “doesn’t add up”.

    • says

      The number of impressions are unknown, because Blogrush doesn’t report all of them, and people are reporting clicks again from inside Blogrush and the number is about 30% of what they might receive, depending on how significant 5000 free exposures might be per day.

      This isn’t hand waving, you are trying to suggest totally inaccurate data is factual, and it is not.

      The total credits earned from referrals as an approximation is less than 20% of the inventory used so far. I agree if 20,000 or more blogs removed the widget in the next day, it would be hard to allocate those earned credits, but I hardly feel that is possible.

      If a friend of mine has a worm farming blog, how many worm farmers can you send him for your huge user base?

      You would hit the same problem as Blogrush, but it would be exasperated by the fact you might only have 2000 active users instead of 20,000. (I don’t know your numbers, just a guess)

  21. Andy (another one) says

    Hi

    I’ve been using Blogrush on my small personal blog since today. I actually signed up a few days ago but only got around to installing it today. Initially I’m testing it to see how it fairs and then I intend (if it works out) to write a plugin for using it. (I use the Lifetype.net blogging system btw).
    Thing is I’ve noticed that the quality of most of the links I saw today were to what I would call the ‘Idiot’ crowd. Those using it to spam basically. And probably most of those are the ones giving the negative reviews, not all but most. After only what 5 days? Anyone giving an negative review is imho just using the Blogrush name as a traffic feed, thinking that it will quickly die out but at least I got some traffic from it.
    Thats painfully obvious if there rushing so quickly to judge in the short space of time that it has existed. Before any real comparable review could be given, I would say it would have to be in use for a good month/two months and be given chance to iron out a few bugs that will obviously be present, tell me an app that does not go through some start up bugs? None that I’ve ever come across anyway and anyone canning this on that score is part of the idiot crowd I mentioned above as basically they don’t know what there talking about and only trying to squeeze a bit of traffic.
    I read the e-mail today and from that I’m going to leave it in place just to see what does resolve. I do hope that the majority of the spam is removed as there is quite a bit. I’d have to say that out of the 20-25 or so blogs/sites I visited today, that only 1 in 4 of the urls fed were worthwhile to visit. Some were just outright blatant! There a sad bunch to say the least.
    It’s early days yet and I for one am going to monitor the roll out and give it more time as I think given the time, the help of people like yourself giving solid, valid reviews such as this and it will become a very good tool for the blogging community as a whole.

    Andy

  22. says

    Andy, I must have missed a few reads. Can you please provide links to where BlogRush tells users their impression and click count data is totally inaccurate and not factual?

    If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the total credits earned are less than 20% of total impressions delivered. How are you arriving at the 20% number? Based on the stats I’ve compiled from people who’ve reported them (again, from their BlogRush reports, which I understand you purport to not be factual), on average the credits earned are 450% of the impressions delivered. That’s only a sample size of 48 users though, to be fair.

    Oh, and I’m afraid you’ll have to tell your friend that we don’t have anyone in our community showing an interest in “worm farming”, although we do have the following for other potentially relevant keywords/tags? (posted first page of result set only)

    Count Keyword
    44 farmer
    31 lopez farm
    30 farm cottages
    29 state farm
    23 farm animals reptiles
    18 de farmece
    17 farm insurance
    17 frances farmers revenge
    14 farmhouse
    13 link farm
    13 the farm
    12 farmhouses
    12 holiday apartments farmhouses
    12 plymouth farmers
    11 dairy farm

    Count Keyword
    18 tapeworm
    15 roundworm
    14 heartworm
    10 roundworms
    10 storm worm
    9 book worms
    9 worm explanation
    9 wormers
    8 roundworm cats
    7 guinea worm
    7 cat worms
    7 heartworm tapeworm
    7 wormer
    6 bookworms
    6 ring worm
    6 ringworm
    6 wiggler worms

    Our index is entirely keyword-based, no categories, so the targeting and community is also keyword/tag-based which provides a much finer degree of relevance, user-control and utiliy. It’s also explicitly AND implicitly driven.

    For instance, I had no idea we had users with those interests because I NEVER INDICATED the interests myself, either explicitly or implicitly. That’d be like showing a “wiggler worm” ad to someone who’s interested in “retirement savings”.

    • says

      Jordan – it is in this article, as a specific quotation, and as soon as you log into Blogrush you see the stats page, but from when it was first introduce, and it is still the case, it has had very clearly at the bottom of the page.

      Special Note: All Members are currently receiving BONUS CREDITS that are not yet reflected in these statistics.

      Anyone actually reviewing Blogrush would point this kind of thing out, either from when they released information about how credits were being allocated, or when the stats went live, because it was obvious that there was a discrepancy in the numbers, and that large numbers of credits were being given away but not in the stats.

      Apparently they will eventually have the stats included

      http://www.income.com/blog/2007/09/21/more-categories-bonus-traffic-reporting/

      I broke down how the referral credits is most likely working here.
      http://andybeard.eu/2007/09/blogrush-free-traffic.html#comment-79807

      Whilst there might be small % differences in what I listed, the idea that somehow Blogrush are giving out 450% of the credits actually being earned in the system is… I am actually lost for words because I can’t think of a way of writing it that wouldn’t sound at least minimally insulting.

      I am not using any complicated mathematics or voodoo magic to come up with the numbers.

      As for relevance, that looks like a MFA keyword list.
      The first on your list was farmer, yet it doesn’t pull up any results
      http://www.othersonline.com/search?q=farmer

      Your tag for farmer is also empty
      http://www.othersonline.com/profiles/tags/farmer

      You are not filling me with confidence if you are giving examples which don’t actually help me.

      If you are using auto-tagging, on this blog I have used paris hilton, britney, credit cards, etc for tagging various content, that does play havoc with relevance.

    • says

      Hi Mike,

      There is actually a link at the bottom of the page just below the download link, but no worries.

      It only nofollows links within the content. To nofollow other links you need to make extensive use of the add_link_attribute plugin. I am not using it as much as I should be.

      There are examples within the main SEO Masterclass article on how that works.

  23. Andy (Other one) says

    hi All,

    Oh well I knew it would be to good to last. I’ve just had a porn blog link in my widget. Only one granted but considering the kind of system I run, one is one to many.
    I’ll need to remove until the situation concerning porn blogs are clarified. I’ll retain the link for reference and e-mail it to the parties concerned who own blog rush if they see this as inappropriate linking.,br/>
    I’m no prude but I have kids that have blogs at my place and I can’ allow links of that nature.
    Andy

  24. says

    I have to say I’m not a big fan of services like Blogrush. They just feel like a pyramid scheme to me. I think services like this will only serve to harm blogging. More bad than good.

  25. says

    I asked for where BR tells users their impression and click data is totally inaccurate — you point to the obvious statement they have regarding CREDITS. I know you know that credits are different from impressions and clicks.

    You’re not telling me anything I haven’t already read and considered.

    Whilst there might be small % differences in what I listed, the idea that somehow Blogrush are giving out 450% of the credits actually being earned in the system is…

    I don’t know where you came up with that idea. Let me point out again what I said specifically:

    Based on the stats I’ve compiled from people who’ve reported them (again, from their BlogRush reports, which I understand you purport to not be factual), on average the credits earned are 450% of the impressions delivered.

    I’m not sure how much clearer this can be. On average the total credits earned were 4.5x the number of impressions delivered. I suspect your “total credits earned over the last 30 days” stat exceeds your “impressions delivered over the last 30 days” too, yes?

    The list I provided is not MFA. It’s from our own system, based on our own algorithm, and represents the interests our users have shown in their blogging and browsing behavior, not necessarily the interests they explicitly added to their profile. There’s a bit of science there to explain (auto-tagging, relevance ranking, etc.), but something tells me you’re not interested in that sort of substance.

    I’ve long concluded there’s very little I could say to inspire you with confidence — you appear locked into your perspective and unable to open your mind to anything else. That said, I was willing to go down the road of your silly “worm farming” game/example. I already admitted “failure” in this example, and feel this angle of yours is simply indicative of an intention to subjectively single out weaknesses rather than objectively consider potential strengths/benefits.

    • says

      Jordan

      The referral credits are not going to take a huge amount of time to distribute through the system, because the amount of free credits that Blogrush can arbitrarily distribute any way it likes are far greater per day than any in the referral system, at least currently.

      Just using their own 10%, plus half of the free to allocate credits, it will probably take around 3 days to burn through existing reserves of credits, and there is certainly nothing preventing them being used more gradually.

      If I was in John’s position I would also clear up my database as a first priority before allowing credits to be used, thus preventing “illicit” earnings to give some additional profit.

      I haven’t got a closed mid to OthersOnline, but I will add the following.

      1. The the website doesn’t tell me enough information about why it is different
      2. I already have 7 toolbars in Firefox, adding another would be a huge inconvenience.
      3. Trying to leverage some support for Othersonline with statements like “amway-like pyramid scheme in reference to Blogrush” isn’t going to help you. The other widgets in the space have achieved their growth without having to attack each other.

      The statement still remains there, totally unmodified and without any real qualification as to exactly why you are making the statement.

  26. says

    I think it’s a matter of perception whether I was “attacking” BlogRush or not. I don’t think anyone can refute that, like Amway, there’s a motivator (and reward mechanism) for establishing a “downline”. The people at the top are rewarded the most, and this reward scheme takes a pyramid shape. This is fact — let’s call a spade a spade. I’ve done my best to stick to facts rather than opinion, and even though these tactics aren’t something I would employ I am envious of their successful distribution/launch.

    In short, we agree on the following:
    — Our web site doesn’t differentiate us well enough. I’m not a very good marketing person.
    — Gaining support for *anything* by attacking others does not work.
    — toolbars aren’t for everyone (ours is optional BTW, but using it increases your visibility and CTR significantly)

    • says

      There was a motivator for MBL as well, otherwise people wouldn’t have been giving away Zunes for people to join their community.

      Potential additional traffic, more powerful links, as linkbait… you name it, there were all kinds of motivations.

  27. says

    Wow this is good information. I am in the process of setting up my first wordpress blog and keep on hearing about BlogRush. The post was great and the interaction and information in the comments section is just as useful. I will be trying out BlogRush with my new blog for sure.

  28. says

    Just received Blogrush’s recent e-mail about major changes and I have to say that if that is the way they are going to go, then I’m all for it!
    I don’t like cheaters and think they are the bain of the internet. Yes, everyone wants traffic but that traffic (and subscribers) should be gained on the merits of what you write not on automated services and other viral tactics to bolster your CTR.
    If what you write is good enough and reasonably clean then it will get the coverage it deserves. I don’t think the odd spelling mistake affects anything if the article is good quality and informative. It will stand on that alone and instead of the viewer being just one of a myraid number of traffic, they will become subscribers and that in itself is what will make your blog/site successful.
    I’m also pleased to see that they are not wanting teh pornography blogs in the system. Thats not that I have anything against them, they serve the purpose of some for what they are. But if you have a service where you host other peoples blogs and you have kids in that system then you can’t morally use a tool that will bring them into contact with porn. Least I don’t think so and as I fit in that category of hosting blogs via my system and have kids as young as 14 – 15 on there then I have to be morally aware of what content I allow in my system.
    I’m waiting to see what the changes will be but if the e-mail that I received today is anything to go by then Blogrush is going to be a good tool that will send quality traffic and be a very good asset to the blogging community.
    As I said previously it’s early days yet and like any new application bugs have to be sorted out and fair play to them for pointing out the ones they have already found and are dealing with. Plus they cared enough to apoligise profusely for the issues they found. That gives them good kudo’s in my book and I’m going to give them the time to fully develop the system and see how it matures. I think it’s going to be an excellent feature as it does.
    Time to start developing a simple plugin I think… :)

    • says

      There isn’t an effect on Adsense revenue, I would be more worried about sticking social bookmarking buttons on a blog than Blogrush, as in I am not worried at all.

Trackbacks