Where Have The Business People Gone?

I remember the first time I stumbled upon a traffic exchange. The year was around 1999-2000. I had joined some random paid to surf opportunity and the guy I joined under recommended to me that I try to site to generate traffic to my affiliate links.

He recommended first a site called 2u2me (at least I think that’s what it was called) which didn’t last long and literally disappeared the week after I joined but then I was introduced to Hit Harvester.

During the early years of the traffic exchange industry there were the big three….ClickThru, NoMoreHits and finally HitHarvester. These programs were filled with unique sites, business opportunities, old school MP3.com fan pages and everything in between. No matter if people were looking to build a business online or just generate traffic to their homemade website, people put in the effort. Sites looked unique, and that was the big thing. Every site was unique….

As time went on, sticking out from the crowd became goal number one for any traffic exchange advertiser. The standard affiliate pages started to invade and the ‘creativity‘ started to disappear.

People seemed more concerned with how long they promoted, rather than what they promoted. And with that I mean….Success was determined by how many times one would ‘click’ rather than what they actually did with all those credits they were earning.

It’s been tough to watch.

I recently did a live surf party where I started to click for about 30 minutes. In that span of time, I saw only a handful of squeeze pages and very few ‘professional’ brands while surfing. There were zero blogs as well, no live stream videos and it was just a waste land of standard affiliate pages or banner farms.

And we wonder why business is down in the industry?

Oh sure, we could blame the PayPal fiasco from last year but that’s just it…It was last year!

There are still hundreds if not thousands of new surfers joining every week, so finding customers isn’t the issue. The issue, I truly believe, is the culture we have created. And I say we because I am the first to raise my hand and include myself in the ‘we’.

The culture we have created is not business focused. It’s not about driving traffic to your squeeze page and build a mailing list. Or to build a brand for your website. It’s about ‘how long you can surf’ and getting your buddies to pat you on the back for it.

We used to surf with a purpose.
We used to actually do something with all those credits we generated.
Heck, we used to have pride in what we promoted.

Where has that gone?

If traffic exchanges are to survive the next few years, focus must be brought back to surfing for a purpose. We need to attract people that want to build mailing lists. That want to build personal brands and interact with the thousands of surfers in the industry. If we don’t do that, the results will continue to shrink and these programs may not survive.

It’s up to us…Let’s get out there and teach our networks and associates about the power of branding your name and building your mailing list in the traffic exchanges. Start developing attention grabbing squeeze pages and start pulling in better results.

The culture is ours, let’s see what we decide to do with it…

Jon Olson

I'm Jon Olson, I've been publishing Hit Exchange News since 2003 and been involved in the traffic exchange industry since...Well, the beginning :) I'd love to network with you as you browse the pulse of the traffic exchange industry! I am also a HUGE fan of reading your comments. I will respond to every single one! Poke around and enjoy the 'News! And thanks for hanging out...

21 thoughts to “Where Have The Business People Gone?”

  1. The ‘business’ people have, for the most part, left the building. As you pointed out, surfing ‘just to surf’ is now the thing to do it seems. It’s no longer about results, building a list OR your business, but how many pages you can cram in using multiple TEs (some of dubious value) on 3 second timers.

    Allow me to ‘raise my hand’ as a contributing factor in today’s environment as well. What we thought, at the time, would add value has been carried so far to the extreme that it no longer does anything more than dilute effort. This has to change, or, as you wrote Jon, TEs will continue to spiral downward as a viable resource.

    It’s not to late to see benefits again. It will, however, require a change in mindset and effort. Effort by both the owners and users. Results, other than amassing credits, can still be had. Step up your efforts, demand/provide better quality, and build a strong future for all involved.

    1. Oh I agree…This can be turned around and I know how powerful these tools can be. Just need to get more people thinking the same way. Brand and Build 🙂

  2. Hi Jon. This is sad but true. We need to get people to build their brand again and their list. You just gave me a great idea for a blog post! I recommend in my adkreator guide to use Rocket Responder for an autoresponder. The guide can be downloaded from the Adkreator member area by clicking the green button on the left hand side menu 4th one from the bottom – ADK E-Book Guide.

  3. I don’t know man. Ever since I got into the ownership side of the business I’ve been promoting the hell out-of my TE while promoting my squeeze pages to build my lists to the members of my TE. And as far had how I promote my own TE I don’t use the standard affiliate pages that ate offered. I use a page I made with video. Now there is two versions of the page. And the results have been Mind Blowing

    1. And to be honest, I mentioned that I surfed that surf party and you were the only one I saw actually promoting a brand via video and your squeeze page. I mean, it’s fantastic for you and you will reap the benefits…But i think the more people we get thinking like you, the better.

  4. Hi Jon

    I agree with your assessment. My investment in TE’s as far as buying credits to advertise my squeeze pages is way way down.(I’ve never been a huge surfer but I use to surf a hell of a lot more in the past.) Because people are focused on seeing how long and how hard they surf to win competitions, with little regard to what they see means the results aren’t there. What I pull in from Safelist compared to TE’s is night and day. So most of my money time and effort have moved over to safelists and mailers and also to paid solo ads. And I do use video, and I do use my own lead magnets that I spent the time to write myself.

    So I go where I’m getting results.


    1. And if any traffic exchange owner reads that, they should take that as a huge judge of the pulse of the industry….We are losing customers like Nick in droves.

      That is the issue folks….Don’t ignore that comment above!!!!

  5. Great Post Jon and something of concern. For a few years now I have had sort of a love hate relationship with the TE’s. I run in a little bit different space than most of the surfers but it has always been a desire of mine for the MLM world to take the TE serious as a viable means of marketing. But it truly seems that many have lost the true sense of what marketing is all about and rather than caring if someone fills out the form on a capture page they worry more about clicking for prizes and pennies.

    For me it is all about building Relationships and at one time the best place to do that was in a TE chat. In fact I still work with people to this very day that I met in chat over 8 years ago. Today it seems like chat is all but dried up as most are buried in getting as many clicks possible, and it’s like pulling teeth to have a healthy dialogue..

    I still honestly think the Traffic Exchange can be the type of place we all want it to be but it’s going to take a shift in the mindset of Surfing and Surfer

  6. Great post Jon… Unfortunately we have been dealing with this issue for quite some time and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress being made. At SiteXplosion I have started banning the banner farms but I think it’s time to take things a step further.

    When I sell solo ad clicks I review the buyers lead capture page and sales funnel before I send traffic to them. If I don’t feel their page or funnel is going to provide the results they want, I do not accept the order.

    Perhaps it’s time to do something similar with TE’s?

    1. LOL Good idea. When I see them in rotation, I’m starting to get them out too. Also, the ‘co-ops’ are starting to get banned as well and all PTC / PTP models. Time to clean it up!!

  7. WOW as I was reading this post I was thinking that it has sooooo changed since I started back in 2006 and why I got into traffic exchanges was looking for a place to get people to my Ebay store – more eyes on what I was selling. But then I was soon discouraged because at that time the Ebay links caused framebreakers so us sellers from Ebay got a bad name. Then I also use to advertising my blog and even blog more because I had a place to promote my blog and THEN the word got around that TE’s were NOT for bloggers and again me and my blogging friends got shun away.

    So you are right, over time, TE’s have pushed some people away – people that were business owners and wanted a way to promote their business. Then surfers thought people who owned TE’s were rolling in money and what happened is that every member (Tom, Dick, & Harry) bought a TE and what happened is present day we have TEland and not TE exchanges – the only thing getting exchanged today is another TE.

    I would love to see more business owners start coming back to the TE World and if we work together we can bring back the TE to something where people get results.

    1. Oh absolutely. We literally, pushed the people away that these things were originally designed for. And that’s the biggest issue….We need to remember, what a TE is….And how effective they can be.

  8. Well, not to be a party pooper but . . . I have heard the “if we work together we can make it great again” discussion more times over the years than I can keep track of.

    Talk is cheap. And that seems to be about as far as it ever gets. So, how to approach some ‘action’ for a change?

    1. I agree….I like what Shane said above, he’s actually starting to ‘ban’ some things that dont help any of us….That’s a good thing, let’s see more action like that!

  9. Outstanding post Jon! It’s exactly what needs to be discussed in the industry. Even when I am surfing for a contest or something my mind is on getting more eyes on my ads because more folks are surfing for the contest. That has not turned out to be true, and after reading your post I understand more why that is.

    I hope the industry finally gets serious and once again starts to shine the light on what TEs really are for and what they can really do. There has been so much talk over the years, but not much action. The question is, what action should we take? How do we effectively approach this issue? In the small audience I have I try to shed a light on the true nature of online business and that we need to work hard promoting and developing our brands and building our lists.

    Great food for thought Jon.

    1. Oh I know how it has to happen.

      People need to talk about building lists more. Building personal brands more.

      The problem is that ‘leaders’ don’t. And seem to be more concerned about how many times people can click, rather than what they are doing with that traffic they are earning.

      Simple fixes man, this can be turned around.

  10. Great Blog Post, I have linked to it in my latest blog post 🙂 It is time to turn back and realize we all went down the wrong road a couple years back. It is not too late, there is nothing wrong with tracking back your steps right back to the turn in the road and then taking a different path. Traffic Exchanges will be great again, they have to be because there are people like us that love them so much we just cant let them go.

  11. Funny thing, Jon…

    Two years ago, I was so disgusted with the state of the TE industry, that I created a custom-scripted TE of my own (TrafficExchangeOnSteroids.com).

    It quickly overflowed with “penny surfers” asking when they would receive their pennies… lol

    Just as quickly, when they realized that wasn’t gonna happen at TEOS,..
    the “penny surfers” abandoned ship, leaving only the serious surfers with business on their minds.

    That “serious” trickle slowly turned into a stream, and the stream is steadily growing into the kind of exchange I had envisioned.

    Action “builds” it’s own rewards.

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