As many folks know, I own a little forum called Net Marketing Forum. This place is a wonderful resource that has been online for years and years. The real strength of this community is it’s members and the wealth of knowledge that is there for everyone to learn from.
Ahhh but there is the problem in some people’s eyes…NMF has had a reputation for being a ‘mean ol’ nasty’ forum because members there tend to tell it like it is. Sure, it’s a traffic exchange centric forum and rightfully so, some of the best owners on the net go there daily to get the news from around the industry. And at least once a week, a new traffic exchange owners comes to NMF and asks for some suggestions.
After the suggestions are heard, usually the would be owner gets upset, yells, kicks , screams and then runs off the forum screaming that NMF is the worst place on the net. Of course, three months later their traffic exchange is dead wood and not delivering what it should be.
But every now and again, there are owners like Hollie St. John that poke around NMF, ask some questions, and then take action. My good friend Steve Ayling suggested that I take a look at Hollie’s new exchange and WOW is all the comes to mind. Did she rant and rave? No, but I bet some of the suggestions where hard to hear. But I congratulate her for taking action and making one of the best looking programs around.
Moral of the story? If you ask for comments and suggestions, be ready for the good and the bad. Anyways, I just wanted to show case Hollie’s traffic exchange a bit because it deserves recognition!
The Traffic Exchange Guy
– Gladiator Hits is still going! In fact, because of the massive launch they had last week, they are now giving away $2.50 just for signing up. Yup, sign up to GH and get $2.50 added to your account right away. This is taking place until they hit member number 2500 and I’m sure they must be close by now…
– Congratulations goes to DeeDee Medcoff this past week as she has taken control of Raining Traffic. Anyone that knows ‘Deeds’ knows that she is one of the best people in the traffic exchange industry with a ton of experience when it comes to customer service. This is a great day for Raining Traffic and all it’s members.
– I need your feedback! As some may know, the weekly S.W.A.T. Traffic seminar takes place on Thursday evenings at 8pm Eastern time. My son now has soccer games during this time slot until late June, so I need to switch around the times for this a bit. Please do send me your suggestions for different times that you would like to have the seminar take place. Thanks so much for your input!
– Congratulations to ‘Wm.’ for winning last week’s copy of Hits, Clicks and Misses. Want to win your own copy of the best selling traffic exchange book on Amazon.com (actually, it’s the only published book about T.E.’s on the planet), simply post a comment about this week’s issue of HEN!
– Splash Page Hall of Fame – I’m starting to become a huge fan of Black Hat Graphics! Check out the new look and design they did for Traffic Heroes!
The Famous Hit Exchange News Top 10 (Disclaimer: These are my top performing exchanges for the past week. Alexa rankings and fancy numbers have nothing to do with how I rank my list. This is based on my results and my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.)
Note: Analysis and Tracking by Hits Connect – The Official Link Tracking Service of Hit Exchange News! Sign up today and get your 30% Discount!
Question: Hey Jon, how come I Love Hits, SWAT Traffic and Click Crazey are never on the top 10 list? Since I own them, I feel it would be a conflict of interest to place it on any of my rankings. (But we all know how great they are anyways lol)
Deep Thoughts – Jon’s Weekly Rambling
Confessions of a Bad Exchange Owner – Guest Article by Michael Coursey owner of Major League Hits.
I’ll give you a brief history of my online business experience. I ran into internet marketing through some forum discussions that I had been a member of back in January of 2007. After opening up a little website on Google and adding in some AdSense code to it I kept trying to find ways to generate traffic to that little site.
A couple of months later an acquaintance of mine told me about TrafficSwarm and from there I ran into other exchanges and online opportunities. After a few months of trying to market online I realized that a good advertising resource was some of the various traffic exchanges out there. In July 2007 I opened my first traffic exchange, HelpHits.
I purchased the script from Rich and Jeanne over at OurTrafficPlace. Don’t stretch your brain trying to think of where you might have seen them because OurTrafficPlace has a grand total of about 800 members now and has been online longer than HelpHits which now has over 1,700 members (more on why that is important later). I then bought some hosting and actually even paid for a halfway decent site design before I started heavily promoting it. How much experience did I have in running a traffic exchange? ZERO. I had no idea how the admin area worked, I knew next to nothing about HTML, couldn’t program my way out of a paper bag, and really knew next to nothing about marketing except that all you have to do is promote your affiliate link on traffic exchanges and then watch the money come rolling in…(laughable). At least that is what I was told.
My peers, Rich and Jeanne, had promoted their most of their affiliate associations through their membership enticing them with large amounts of extra credits and free JV Partnerships to advertise their exchanges on. So I figured that is what a smart exchange owner does. I even thought of this great promotion, the first 100 members get a free Pro account. What a concept!
OK, so the first 100 members joined up pretty fast. Now what? You have to have a gimmick to attract anyone online these days. Everyone knows that, right? What about $5 and 1,000 free hits just for joining? Oh, and how about everyone gets 1 to 1 surfing, too! And there, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of my journey into becoming a bad traffic exchange owner. For just about any new exchange on the market the surfing activity is good. Everyone in the exchange is trying to build up credits and get more traffic. What happens when you take this incentive away? An exchange dies, or another thing happens- it sells itself out. My exchange almost died.
I won’t bore you with the process I took to get my exchange back on track or how costly it was to take it to the next level and fine tune it to the traffic generating machine it is today. What I will tell you is that you DO need to beware of traffic exchanges that promise you too much when you first sign up. They are not good resources for your advertising and certainly are not your friends.
Here are some things that I consider before joining a new traffic exchange:
– Size of membership- more members mean more people to see your
opportunity, therefore, more potential customers.
– Membership growth- this is a measure of how well the exchange is
doing to attract a larger audience for you to advertise to!
– Site design- While not a complete measure of how well a site can do
for you, it shows that the ownership is willing to invest money into
their business and make the site attractive and appealing. A good
site design is an indicator that the owner is in it for business and
not a hobby, therefore, they are more likely to provide you a good
– Take the 7-day test- This is MY litmus test to determine if an
exchange is delivering traffic in any quantity I might consider good.
Surf the site until you have built up 100 HITS (note that 1 credit
does not always equal 1 hit at every exchange). Assign all of those
hits to 1 URL. If you come back in 7 days and all of those hits have
not been delivered, I HIGHLY recommend you take your business somewhere
else. 100 hits in 7 days is about 14 hits per day. You can’t build
any kind of business with traffic flow that low unless it is LASER-TARGETED.
Why should good traffic exchange owners be concerned about bad traffic exchanges? I’ll give you one statement- Because they can bring ruin to the industry. A little history lesson-
In the early 1980’s in the United States a new financial institution began cropping up all over known as the Savings and Loan. These little “gems” were institutions that were charging very high rates to people that they loaned to at very high risk and sharing this with their customers who had savings accounts. It was fairly common during that time to find normal savings account rates as high as 6-8%. Try finding that today in this market, if you find anything above 3% that isn’t a long-term CD please let me know. Traditional banks started seeing these S&L’s stealing all of their customers so they started exploring these same markets and offering high-risk loans and giving out high interest rate savings accounts to their customers. Then in 1987 all of that changed and regulations and defaulted loans forced thousands of S&L’s to close their doors. Along with that went many strong banks. What was left were only the strongest financial institutions who usually bought their previous competitors outright or just watched them die a painful death in bankruptcy.
That was 20 years ago and before the internet was even a dream to most people, but the same thing could happen to traffic exchanges today. Want recent internet proof? How about when a certain payment processor cut off all of the Bux sites in January of this year? Poor practices, shady tactics, and a business model that did not work allowed these programs to fall behind in paying their customers, therefore, this processor just dropped them all together.
How many traffic exchanges have that same service as their primary payment processor? How many of them would be devastated if they just cut them off? Poor exchanges that operate as investment surfs disguised as good exchanges, or offer commissions that can’t be paid to the members can ruin the reputation of the good traffic exchanges out there. So I am calling out the ClownHits, OurTrafficPlace’s, SwimInTraffic’s, and ExchangePilot’s out there. I want to see an industry with a reputation to be proud of, not just a few TrafficSwarm’s and Logiscape Technologies, Inc. programs left over after the payment processor bans us from using them.
I do have to disagree with Jon Olson on one point. Jon calls traffic exchanges an industry. Traffic exchanges are not an industry because an industry generally has a set of guidelines that a group of owners adopt to help moderate how business is done. No such guidelines or owners’ group exists for traffic exchanges. It is time to make the stand against poor business practices and poor service to the customer and start working to make this a real industry with real standards. Only then will traffic exchanges become the strong resource for advertising and regain the respect of marketers and businesses alike that have shunned us as a resource in recent years.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm…
– Click Ranch added it’s 5000th member this past week.
– Traffic Wonderland has been online for just over two months and already has 3500 members! Most new exchanges don’t do this in a year, these guys did it in about 9 weeks. Wow!
– How big is the Fast Flipper Fortnight promo? It’s so big we even have joint venture partners taking pot shots at me in their weekly updates…