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Friday, 16 February 2007

Traffic Exchange Programs

Traffic exchange programs have been around for longer than I can remember (admittedly that’s not long...). Over the last month or so I have been playing around with a few of them to see it they are worth all the attention they get. For those of you who are unfamiliar with traffic exchange programs, they are very simple. You sign up, create an account and enter the URL of your site/s. Normally there is an option to 'surf for credits', which involves browsing the other sites listed in their database. After a given time on one site (e.g. 30 seconds) you can click a button that takes you to the next one. You earn 'credits' for each site you surf which are converted into hits for your site. There are usually other ways to acquire credits but these depend on which site you use and vary from buying credits to earning them by making referrals.

With what I have said to far you probably think they sound great, but there must be a reason why we don't do them all the time. Here are a few pros and cons of traffic exchange programs.

- Bring targeted traffic to your site at no cost to you apart from your time. (Unless you chose the paid option).

- Expose you to more websites, some of which may be interesting/useful.

- Can be fairly effective for gaining referrals for online schemes, because the users of the traffic exchange program will be web users and possibly affiliate marketers.

- You don't actually have to read the page you are surfing to earn the credits. I confess I often have a traffic exchange programs running while I am doing something else and I just check back occasionally and click the button to earn the credits.

- It is against many advertising programs TOS, namely Google AdSense to have a site on a traffic exchange program. In my opinion this is the single biggest con.

- The traffic may be targeted, but as I said you don't have to read the page to earn the credits so many people won't even read anything of what you have written.

- People learn to filter out the crap AND its BORING!. Meaning that on the rare occasions I surf 'properly' and read what I am browsing, I cannot help but be sickened by all the crap and spammy worthless pages that are floating around on these programs. This normally results in me switching off and just mindlessly clicking the button. If you want to know what its like to be a robot performing mindless repetitive takes you will love traffic exchanges.

- The presence of so many worthless sites shows that lots of the people using them are worthless as well lol. i.e. they couldn’t build a site of value if they tried so do you really want them to be your referral?

- Some of the sites are 'dodgy' and do who knows what to your computer. Many of the sites I have surfed using these programs have made my computer go REALLY slow for a while and do other nasty things to it, I have reported the sites that did this but there are still a lot out there, so beware.

Ok so those are a few pros and cons. I am a member of these 3 traffic exchange programs.

TrafficG - If I must pick a favourite this would be it. The credits earned here get used up very quickly, which shows that they have the most users. This means they there is the potential to surf all day and not build up a surplus of credits so you can get the most traffic with TrafficG. They also have the best quality traffic because the minimum surf time is 30 seconds. As well as that they also have a decent system where you get rewarded with a better ‘credits – hits’ ratio if you do a lot of surfing.

Blog Mad - have a minimum surf time 25 seconds which I suppose is a happy medium. However they do seem to have fewer users and I have been able to build up a stockpile of credits too easily.

AdSence Elite Team - have a minimum surf time of juts 10 seconds with makes surfing feel more productive but the quality of traffic you will receive will be much lower.

All in all there is not a huge difference between the different programs. If you are really going to get stuck into traffic exchange programs it would be best to use all three anyway. Also do not think these are the only ones, there are plenty more out there.

My advice would be to only use traffic exchange programs in the very early stages of your blog, if at all. There are lots of other more effective and rewarding ways of getting traffic, like building quality content. If you don't have a developed site and you are just promoting one affiliate program then you may find them more useful, but remember you cannot have AdSense ads if you do use one .


Linden said...

Just remember, advertising sites with Adsense on them in an exchange can get you kicked from Adsense. Google doesn't like it.

Also - you forgot to mention StartXchange ;-)

matt608 said...

I did say a couple of times that you can't use adsense with them, but thats for heads up about StartXchange.