Forget the security issues or the pyramid scheme accusations (MLM-tier scructure to syndication credits.) There is a fundamental problem with Blogrush that needs to be fixed if its going to have any future.
Blogrush only sends a small handful of visitors, as evidenced by multiple reports:
swollenpickles, on WickedFire.com webmaster forums — “I joined up 5 days ago, just logged into my stats and have nearly 10,000 impressions and only one click. Has anyone actually seen any traffic from using BlogRush or is it a dud?”
Via Technorati: Caroline Middlebrook did a little better, 5,800 impressions and 14 clicks. With just 384 impressions, another blogger received an unsurprising zero. HowToGeek reports 3 clicks out of 7,231 impressions.
Most telling of all is John Chow’s report: 27,293 impressions, for a whopping 91 clicks. John Chow is sitting at the top of the pyramid, ranking in the top 50 internet blogs. The post is now a few weeks old and I am sure he has received many more clicks. Whats important is John Chow’s results represent “best case scenario.” If 91 clicks gets you excited, you probably have not been in the business for long.
Is the clickthrough rate really the problem? John Reese has acknowledged it, and said they are working on it.
John writes — “…weâ€™re also in the process of rolling out â€œPhase 1â€³ of some of our major changes â€” like moving to the 100% Manual Review process which is going to greatly improve the QUALITY of blogs in our network which will also raise the click-rates for everyone. (i.e. more traffic!)”
One minor problem, getting rid of the “bad players” will also drop the number of impressions. Lower impressions and high clickthrough rate hardly is a guarantee of more clicks. It could even be less, as early arrivals bail out of the system.
Take a look at this full view of Shoemoney.com.
Several have attributed bad headlines to Blogrush’s low clickthrough rate. You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me. Headlines don’t matter when no one can see them.
I did not write this to bash Blogrush, or John Reese (or Jeremy for sticking his Blogrush widget in no man’s land.) Rather the post was made to illustrate what works, what doesn’t, and why. And, most importantly, to show how simple the concepts of “working” online really are.
Want to really fix Blogrush? Here is how to do it:
Mandating that Blogrush be displayed only above the fold is not the answer. I have not used Blogrush, I do not understand exactly how their syndication credits system works. Whatever it is, syndication credits must correlate directly with outgoing clicks. Any measurement by impressions is horrendously flawed. Yes, the system will be gamed, and counter-measures will have to be put in place. No one said this would be easy.
Blogrush needs a better display system. If you have ever used Adsense you know a simple border can kill your ad clickthrough rates. The same is happening here, and then some:
Just as bad as having borders, syndicated headlines & blog names are being chopped in half. Bloggers just are not going to change their site names or headline posts to fit in with Blogrush, nor should they.
So just how should Blogrush look? I got an idea. It involves ditching that sexy Web 2.0 widget and returning to plain old text. It is not nearly as lucrative from a free branding standpoint, but it will work.
Here is how Blogrush should look:
Yes, its that simple. Users should be able to set their own font & size. Users can drive as much or as little traffic as they want — and be rewarded accordingly. This is the same way it works for big PPC syndicaters. Integrate, blend in, and drive the traffic (and it this case, receive it back, for free.)
If a blogger stuck that in their header, they could drive clickthrough rates anywhere from 5-25%+. Toss in an update for RSS subscriptions, and now you’ve got a real blogosphere pull. Beyond this is contextual & user targeting; you basically end up with an ad network.
John Reese is smart. He knows damn well what he is doing and he understands very well how things work online. I think he will figure this out, and he probably already has. But geeze, why hasn’t any of the big bloggers bothered to point this out with all the free coverage they’ve given?