It’s a total bla.st

blast2.jpg

My first thought when I received a ReviewMe review request from bla.st was, “dot st?” The .st domain comes from the small island nation of São Tomé & Principe. However, you don’t have to be a resident in order to get a .st domain – anyone can apply – and that is what New Zealander, Tim Bromhead did. You can create a lot of useful name that ends in .st, like coole.st, boo.st, or in Tim’s case, bla.st.

What is bla.st?

bla.st is a free visual card directory. The concept is unique and has the potential be a viral marketer’s dream (like the Million Dollar Homepage). In a nutshell, bla.st is like the Million Dollar Homepage but with unlimited potential. Instead of selling a limited amount of pixels, bla.st lets you display a free advertising card to promote you site or blog. bla.st cards can be online from 1 day to 10 years and can be placed into any categories. Payment is optional, and how much you choose to pay per day decides your card position.

blast1.jpg

Except for the card at the number 1 position, all other cards are displayed as a thumbnail (view settings can be changed). Hovering over the thumbnail will reveal the full size card. Information includes the name and tag line of the site and how much was paid to secure that position. Clicking on the card will take you to the card owner’s website. I’m paying 45 cents per day to secure the number 3 spot on the bla.st front page. I had the number 2 spot but then I told Stephen Fung about the service and he uploaded his card and bid 46 cents to take over my spot (bastard!). The number 1 spot is paying $1.40 per day, so anyone wishing to take over the top spot will need to pay $1.41.

Because bla.st is a new site, only 699 cards have been uploaded (I’m sure that will change after this review). Right now it’s possible to get on the front page by paying only 2 cents per day, and you don’t really have to pay it (more on that later).

bla.st is very flexible, allowing anyone to promote a company, business, event, sale or promotion, product, website, blog, non-profit organization or club. Almost anyone can advertise on bla.st (just don’t upload prohibited content), and it’s easy to do so. Each ad features:

  • Optional main link to a website
  • Map link to an address on Google Maps
  • Statistics, including view count, click count, and detail page views.
  • Keywords and 1 line of detail text

Uploading a bla.st card

Adding a card to bla.st is almost as simple as uploading an image to WordPress. The only requirements are the card must be exactly 270 x 165 pixels in size @ 72dpi and less than 30KB in file size. Once uploaded, you can decide what categories or tags to place the card under. You can choose from all the popular categories or make your own.

blast4.jpg

bla.st will tell you what position your card will show up in based on how much you want to pay. Because bla.st is new, you’ll show up on page 1 for most of the categories without having to pay anything. As bla.st grows and more cards are added, you may be bumped to page two unless you pay.

At my current bid of 45 cents per day, I show up #2 in Advertising, blog, business, internet and most every other categories. However, I’m number 1 in restaurant because Stephen didn’t place his card there. However, I’m sure he’ll do it after reading this!

bla.st stats

blast3.jpg

Stats are listed in the details page and available for anyone to view. You can see I created my card two days ago and so far it has been viewed 700 times on the bla.st main site and 364 times on the bla.st network (bla.st network is bla.st cards on a few other sites including pear.co.nz and the bla.st blog).

My card has been clicked 11 times in two days (5.5 clicks per day). I’m paying 45 cents per day so that works out to just 8.2 cents per click. My friend WesleyTech has received 4 clicks since uploading his card last night and he is paying zero. The CPC rate should go down as more people discover the site, or it could go up as more cards are added.

Blatant bla.st bribery

Right now, it takes 2 cents per day to get on the bla.st front page. Here is how to get it free.

As a way to say ‘thanks for your effort’ we’re offering anyone the following deal: link to bla.st and we’ll add 1c/day for a year to your card OR Write a blog entry or review (positive or negative) about bla.st and we’ll add 2c/day to your card.

Once bla.st sees this blog post, they will add 2 cents to my account and I’ll take back my spot from Stephen Fung (of course, if he blogs about it, he’ll bump me again). bla.st will be an interesting site to watch for the next few months. It has tremendous potential if marketed correctly and it provides another free/low cost adverting medium for sites and blogs to promote themselves.

If you upload a card, make sure you add yourself to the John Chow Network category. I’m the only card there and I’m feeling kinda lonely.


66 thoughts on “It’s a total bla.st”

  1. Ronald Lewis says:

    This is an interesting site — I’ll have to add a card this weekend. There’s also fuelmyblog.com, which is relaunching this weekend with some impressive features. It’s similar to MDH and its free as well.

    1. Allen.H says:

      I just took a look at fuelmyblog.com, and with that or anything simillar to it there is no way they’re going head to head with bla.st.

      Allen.H

  2. bryce says:

    W00t First Card!

  3. HA! I see you up’ed your spending to $0.47!! Nice move – take that Stephen!

    1. Some how I missed the entire paragraph on the free $0.02 offer 😳

      1. Stephen says:

        Yes you did. You did! 😉

  4. Eli says:

    Very stylish-looking website 🙂

  5. skintube says:

    Hey John. Quick question…what plugin are you using to get the up/down votes in comments? Thanks in advance!

    1. skintube says:

      Doh! Comment Karm it would appear. Search is a good thing…*blush*

  6. Just added my card, although I am cheap and went with the free card but did just write a review of bla.st on my site.

    And of course I had to join the John Chow Network.

    1. I went for the card as well – but I blogged about and just got my free two cents for a year!! Now I’m right next to John, I can feel the evilness rubbing off on me! 👿

      1. You beat me to it as now I am right next to you, share the evil!

          1. Oh man! I got bumped pretty quickly!

  7. Gareth says:

    Looks like you’re network is slowly growing. No doubt it will be huge in no time at all!

  8. HMTKSteve says:

    Too many new ways to promote my blog… information overload!!!

    Let us know if your CPC goes down.

    1. when it rains it pours, eh?

  9. Shawn Knight says:

    Great find John! I just signed up as well; curious to see how my small investment works for the next month. That, and I need to get my blog entry up to earn that extra .02 per day…

    1. Ali says:

      umm…he didn’t find it. they paid him to review it if you read the article you would know it 😉

  10. David says:

    Interesting site…I’ll have to get a card

  11. Matthew says:

    definitely something i will look into, thanks

  12. Sean says:

    This seems really fun! Going to see how it turns out. bla.st review here I come!

    http://dinnerpics.blogspot.com

  13. Allen.H says:

    Very interesting idea, there are over 720 cards submitted now and the site seems to be growing quite nicely.

    Allen.H

    1. It’s amazing how many more were submitted after John wrote this article, there weren’t that many when I first read this post – now there are 730+!!

      1. Ryan says:

        I’m sure this is great for the owner of bla.st, but with so many people I doubt much targeted traffic is visiting the ads!

        I guess there’s always the PageRank link love. 😀

      2. Check out my stats now: Views: 1117, clicks: 5, click-through rate:, 0.4%, average per clicks/day: 2.50

        Looks like most of the sites on there have pretty low click-through rates, I don’t know if advertising on this site is worth it…

  14. Marc says:

    Yeah, that’s a great business model. Excellent link bait too. I’m impressed.

  15. Nomar says:

    That site looks great, great concept

  16. Ian says:

    Ok, I see how this is great for advertisers and all but I fail to see any real benefit this site provides for the user. The only reason the MDHP was a success was because the idea was a novelty which attracted the attention of the media, but as a stand alone business model it was a failure – proved by the hundreds of copycat sites that completely flopped.

    Call me a sceptic but it seems to me that all the ‘buzz’ around this site is from webmasters and bloggers looking for an extra way to promote their site.

    1. Yeah, the stats so far are not very impressive: My site had 661 impressions with only 4 clicks – that’s only 0.6%!!

      John had 2652 views, 27 clicks for 1.0%!

  17. chrisjos says:

    I must say that’s great business idea….Viral Marketer’s having a bla.st…thanks for the headups john

  18. I really don’t know how you do it John, but once again I found myself a few minutes after reading your blog opening The Gimp and creating my Blast card… should I hate you??? 😉

    1. Don’t hate him – you are now a member of the John Chow Network of Evil! 👿

  19. Debbie says:

    That’s a great idea, John. Thanks for letting us know.

  20. Chris says:

    I decided to up the ante and took top spot with http://www.videogame-news.com @ $5 a day 🙂

    1. Allen.H says:

      I don’t think anyone can claim a John Chow review isn’t worth it from now on! the site’s owner is now making decent money with his top 5 advertisers!

      Allen.H

  21. Lisa says:

    Hi John, thanks for the info about bla.st. I created a card and it’s in the John Chow Network. It’ll be interesting to see if I get any hits from it. I just paid for 30 days to see how it works out for me. Thanks again!

  22. Thanks for the mention John, Although I would have preferred a direct link to my website of course. 😀

    Here’s my quick review that got my a 2cent credit.
    http://webchief.blogspot.com/2007/02/blast-review-visual-image-card.html

    Afterwards, bla.st changed the promo rules to state that the review needs to be done on the website that the card links to. >-D

  23. Edward says:

    This site is going to be popular soon , with so many bloggers trying to advertise their blogs

  24. Tim Bromhead says:

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for all the great cards, reviews and feedback, it’s all been fantastic.

    We’ve had 68 cards added since the review so far, which you can see on the new page:

    bla.st/site/new/

    You can also see which cards are the most popular:
    bla.st/site/popular/
    Switch to “big” view to get access to the stats for each card.
    This will give an idea of what to expect for clickthrough rates. Generally 1% or over is good, less than 1% and your card might need some work. Keep in mind there are over 100 other links on the page! Generally long term cards will work better, although you are welcome to take advantage of the buzz by paying to get onto the front page.

    Regarding Ian’s comments above, the usefulness of bla.st for general users is our primary goal- it’s in the interests of both bla.st and the advertisers for the site to be useful, and interesting.

    The great thing is, the more cards that are placed, the more useful the site becomes. Our first goal is getting cards onto the site, which is why the site needs the webmasters/bloggers buzz to succeed. Hopefully the buzz will continue to grow, thus helping all the existing advertisers.

    So what makes the site useful? Categories and search basically. When there are enough cards, it will be searchable like a YellowPages directory. Here are some example categories that are already useful:
    http://bla.st/mac-software/
    http://bla.st/t-shirts/
    http://bla.st/hosting/
    http://bla.st/illustration/

    Thanks again, and any more feedback is very welcome.

    Tim Bromhead

    1. John Chow says:

      I’m glad you like the review and good to hear it’s working out for you.

  25. Nate W. says:

    This looks like a great new site. Their prices seem excellent, too!

  26. Colleen says:

    I was tempted to outbid you for your spot, just so you’d call me a name in an upcoming blog entry.

  27. Ajith says:

    Just went to blast thats really a cool service thanX

  28. Chris says:

    I’ve been on the top spot for some time with videogame news now and traffic isn’t that good. I’ve had …

    1510 views
    20 clicks
    1.3% CTR

    I doubt the $ per day will get much higher.

  29. Cory OBrien says:

    Just signed up. The service must be gaining popularity quickly, as John’s card is already moving down the list. It looks like there is a lot of potential, but I’m interested to see some final numbers on CTR.

    1. Tim Bromhead says:

      Hi, you can check out current cards click through rates by switching to “big” view, and clicking “details” under the card you want to inspect.

      The popular section shows the cards with the highest click through rates.

      Generally, the more specific and targeted they are with categories the better. Also the site is primarily visited by users interested in marketing, blogs and technology at the moment, so cards on other topics don’t do so well.

      Personally I would go for longer term ads, as we’re not getting a huge amount of traffic yet. On the other hand you never know when a popular site links to the front page.

      Hope that helps,
      Tim

  30. Hi John,

    thanks for the review. The idea of this site is really intresting and the design is also quite nice.

    Andreas

  31. Impressive review – I think this review has the most screen shots yet. Did bla.st ask specifically that you would post screen shots?

    Well, this service looks interesting – I might give it a try even though the prices have “inflated” after your review 😉

  32. Aaron Cook says:

    Personally, I dont’ see this one working out in the longterm. It’s untargeted traffic – and based on the stats I’ve seen from many people so far, CTR is extremely low.

    Stats like this mean a negative ROI for an advertiser.

    Though I hope it works out (I hate seeing anyone fail), I dont’ see the “current” business model surviving long.

    Shine on,
    Aaron

  33. Aaron Cook says:

    Personally, I dont’ see this one working out in the longterm. It’s untargeted traffic – and based on the stats I’ve seen from many people so far, CTR is extremely low.

    Stats like this mean a negative ROI for an advertiser.

    Though I hope it works out (I hate seeing anyone fail), I don’t see the “current” business model surviving long.

    Shine on,
    Aaron

  34. Brian says:

    I’m strangely tempted to sign up. Thanks for the informative post.

  35. Pingback: bla.st Is Crap?

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