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.
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
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:-
- Better titles, and gave some great examples
- 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.
- 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
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?
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.
So we don’t just trust MyBlogLog tracking, we also should compare it to another source. Google Analytics will do for this purpose.
I actually waited for a day so that the Google Analytics data could be compared.
How to see this in Google Analytics?
- Go to Traffic Sources >> All Traffic Sources
- Find source medium [containing] widget.blogrush.com
- 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.
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)
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 â€œheld backâ€ and not immediately delivered are because the system continues to â€˜adjustâ€™ based on the network size itself, as well as how many members in each category â€” because we serve each membersâ€™ credits in the category they choose. There â€˜canâ€™ be an imbalance of inventory in certain categories, but weâ€™re able to make up that adjustment based on the â€œbreakageâ€ of math that occurs because all the accounts that immediately signed up essentially joined â€˜underâ€™ BlogRush â€” 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.