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…