Friday, November 02, 2007

BlogRush out of Beta!

The new blogosphere blog syndication network, phenomenon and wildfire furore, BlogRush, has come out of beta version and gone into phase II!

Initial teething problems regarding server capacity (their quick success caught them a little off-guard, I feel), a network clean-up (thereby eliminating a relatively small number of blogs that were deemed unsuitable for a variety of reasons) and a revamp of the member's admin area (the dashboard, in BlogRush parlance) did lead to some considerable delay.

Regarding the new admin area, John Reese's team has in my view well outperformed expectations (and more improvements and fine-tuning are under construction): the tracking, traffic reporting and other analytics are in my opinion second to none. The BlogRush member dashboard now includes day-by-day, post-by-post reports on impressions, click through rates and traffic delivery, presented in a clear, crisp and transparent fashion. A video in which John demonstrates the various elements of the new dashboard is now also available to members.

BlogRush advertBut the improvements aren't just "cosmetical" either. Whilst the service is free and will always be free, Reese's monetization plans include the selling of traffic to those who want to buy it, presumably on a pay per click (PPC) basis. And in the pay per click scenario (available only for future paying customers, not free account holders, it needs to be emphasized), it is in BlogRush's strong interest to achieve as high click through rates (¿) as possible. Incidentally, this is also highly in the interest of both free and paying accounts, so it should come as no surprise that the team's efforts are strongly focused on cranking up the click through rate (CTR).

Perhaps the most often voiced criticism by the relatively few detractors of the program is that traffic delivery is slow. In my opinion that is a somewhat unfair criticism, motivated perhaps more by unrealistic expectations, as well as by relative ignorance of how the program actually works.

BlogRush delivers traffic to its member sites by displaying the titles of member blogposts in the BlogRush widget which is being displayed on the member's behalf throughout the network on blogs that fall into the same category as the displayed blogpost title. This method is very similar to other Internet context based forms of advertising, such as Google's AdWords or other forms of PPC advertising. Due to the high volume of advertising, as well as the often overwhelming choice of other hyperlinks usually present on a modern website (blog or other), current CTRs are typically quite low and BlogRush is no exception. On my account, CTR averages out at about 0.1% but that's quite comparable to PPC based CTRs (except that BlogRush is free!).

Consider also that BlogRush awards members credits (widget impressions) for referrals, down four generation levels deep! The traffic referral program is automatic because the BlogRush tab at the bottom right hand side of the widget is actually an advert which promotes the referral program on your behalf, even while you sleep! You can also actively promote the program to get the ball rolling a little faster but that's entirely optional. Remember that a little free DIY advertising will not only earn you lots of credits (widget impressions) for those bloggers that sign up directly under you but also credits for bloggers that sign up under your direct referrals and under these, four levels deep!

You may also be thinking as you read this: "yeah, but I bet you hardly get any credits for those higher level referrals, huh?" and you'd be plain wrong, at least going by my own account. My referral network to date is 57 strong, with 12 being direct referrals and the rest (45) second, third and fourth generation referrals. In terms of credits earned and delivered in the last 7 days, only 15.9% were earned from direct referrals, the balance of 84.1% coming from the indirect referrals. Remember: I didn't lift a finger to get the indirect referrals; they came automatically from my 12 direct referrals and cost me neither time, effort or money. Free, effortless AND targeted traffic...

BlogRush works with most known blog formats, including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and Movable Type. A comprehensive help section is offered to those who feel a little insecure about getting the account up and running, a process that takes most people less than five minutes and is totally, 100% FREE. If you haven't singed up yet then do it now or watch a short video that graphically demonstrates how the program works ...

(¿)Click through rate or CTR: an Internet advertising term for a metric that measures the performance of Internet advertising (paid or free). Internet advertising works by displaying a hyper linked advert (text link, classified ad, banner or buton ad) on a website or a network of websites. The number of times the ad is displayed is also know as the number of ad impressions. On average Internet users will click through an ad a certain number of times, known as clicks, for a given number of impressions. The number of clicks divided by the number of impression (for a given period of time) is known as the click through rate or CTR. Usually it is expressed as a percentage. At 0.1% this means that on average 1 Internet user will click through an ad for every 1,000 ad impressions of that particular ad.


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