Traffic Exchange Sites
by: Bryan Quinn
Traffic Exchange Sites are websites where you get page views of your own site in exchange for visiting others. Many such sites are available. However, choosing the right one or a combination of them can be a very time consuming process.
Basically there are two types. Manual surfing and Auto surfing. Some Traffic exchanges cater for Manual surfing only, some cater for Auto surfing only and some cater for both.
Manual surfing - This requires your input by clicking a button after a specified time period, generally 15, 20 or 30 seconds, although there are a few other variations. With manual surfing, the surfer is expected to view each site. However, with most exchange sites, it is possible to minimize or resize the windows. This defeats the purpose because it allows multiple sessions to be run simultaneously. On the better exchange sites, security measures are often used to deter this. These are normally random prompts that require user input. For example, after x number of page views, you may be required to enter a code, select a color or image or perform some other variation of this.
Auto surfing - This requires no input. However in reality, your input may be required because of popup or frame breakers. Some traffic exchange sites require that the pages run are maximized and although you can minimize the page yourself, it will automatically maximize at the next refresh. You will also find that with some exchange sites, pages will run on top whereas with others, pages will run quite happily underneath, allowing you to do what ever you like without ever viewing the page content.
Both manual and auto surfing will bring traffic to your website, but there is a much greater likelihood of your web pages being actually seen with manual surfing.
Credits - As well as surfing, credits are usually acquired for subscribing, for referrals and for any winnings associated with exchange site lotteries, games or competitions. These credits can then be used to increase the traffic to your site. Some exchange sites will also allow you to sell your credits to other members.
Free or Paid - The majority of Traffic Exchanges offer a paid option. This option may give you a better surf ratio, bonus credits, money for referrals or other benefits. Before paying however, it is important that you test how targeted the traffic is that you receive. There's no point in paying for extra traffic if it doesn't generate any more income for you.
Click for Credits or Buy Credits - Is it worth buying credits?
This can depend on a number of reasons. The two main ones are time and money.
Let's take an example
At the time of writing the cost of 2000 credits for free members of a well known Traffic Exchange Site was $40. This works out at $0.02 a click. For pro members the same $40 bought 2200 credits.
With the number of clicks limited to 250 per day and page views of 20 seconds this means that in theory it will take you 250 X 20 = 5000 sec or 83 minutes 20 seconds to view the 250 pages. However in practice you must allow extra time for clicking the next button, clicking the title of the page you will be viewing and any sites worth looking at.
Since I am a firm believer in practical results, I viewed the 250 pages. It took me 2 hours and 12 minutes to accomplish this. During that time, I accumulated 854 credits. To buy these credits would have cost $17.08 as a free member and approximately $15.53 as a pro member. Allowing for rounding up, this equates to almost 390 credits per hour or $7.80 per hour cash value.
Now ask yourself this. Would you work for $7.80 per hour?
I must emphasize that this is only one example and that other results will differ because of the random allocation of credits. It is shown here only as an example and to give you an idea of the cost implications for one particular traffic exchange site. The cost of credits may differ dramatically for different exchange sites. If you buy or intend to buy credits from a traffic exchange site, you can apply what is shown in the example. There's no need to click on a large number of websites to find out if your exchange site is giving you enough credits for your money. A sample of around 20 sites should give you enough information to produce a rough value-for-money guide.
If you enjoy this sort of thing or want a break from train spotting, you could expand on this. Increase your sample size, increase the number of samples, select a good representation of traffic exchanges and tabulate your results. Choose enough sites and you will be able to create your own league table. There's a market for everything.
Whether you use traffic exchange sites or not in the quest for more visitors to your site, you should at the very least know what they are and what they do. But don't totally dismiss them. They are part of an expanding market. I recommend that you try at least one traffic exchange site. You could read every book on the subject, but without active participation, you will not be qualified to comment on their worth or suitability. The time taken for a few mouse clicks is a small price to pay. If it works for you, you have learned. If it doesn't work for you, you have learned.