a secret multi-million dollar industry
Traffic exchanges are one of the most under utilized and misunderstood methods of marketing in the world today.
Unfortunately, this is vastly because the name traffic exchange is misleading and its partly from lack of education.
What is a Traffic Exchange?
- A traffic exchange is a type of marketing platform in which a person surfs other peoples websites and offers in exchange for credits. Those credits, can then be traded in for advertising of their own.
The average traffic exchange has various credit earning ratio’s based on the level of membership one is. Free members of most Traffic exchanges earn between .33 and .5 credits for each page that they view.
This means they have to surf 2 to 3 pages for each 1 page view they get in return.
This is the simple concept behind a traffic exchange.
Why do most people fail at using Traffic Exchanges?
The fact is most people, don’t look beyond the basic premise of the exchange. Instead they are taught all sorts of misinformation such as “the money is in the list”.
So instead of using traffic exchanges properly, they go out get an auto-responder, some lead capture pages, some splash pages, and a bunch of other things they don’t actually need.
No one ever teaches them the truth that — this is not how to profit from a traffic exchange.
Instead, as with all things marketing, one should stop and realize that a traffic exchange, is nothing more than an extension of social networking with other marketers.
How to properly utilize a traffic exchange
The first thing one should do when they join a traffic exchange, or if they are already joined they can start this practice immediately is simply — reach out to the owner of the exchange and say hello.
You have to of course do this tactfully. No spam. Just a simple message such as follows:
I am new here and love what I see so far. I was wondering if you had any tips of tricks I should be doing specific to your exchange? Also do you guys have a skype room or a place to interact with other members and do you have a personal means of interaction?
Frequently just because you reached out and said hello you will get bonus free advertising credits, but more importantly you have opened communication. If there is a place to interact with other members… that’s what you are looking for.
A place to interact with the members is the key to utilizing traffic exchanges. That’s exactly what you should be doing if you are utilizing traffic exchanges. The truth is the magic is not in showing your sites to other.
The magic is in utilizing a traffic exchange is to brand yourself — and using that branding to help build reputation with the people you interact with that also use the exchange.
The thing to keep in mind is these are all do it yourself marketers. They are thirsty for earning money. They want partnerships. They want to help others grow their businesses in exchange for getting help.
This is what you should be utilizing to your advantage. Don’t just share ads back and forth as if “exchanging” no matter what the site is called. Instead reach out to people and set up dates and times to speak with them.
That is what you should constantly be doing. Building audiences, setting one on one communications, prequalifying, and if appropriate invite them to what you do. That is marketing 101 right there.
How to Brand yourself with a traffic exchange
First let me tell you the bad advice you are going to hear everywhere you go. You are going to hear the following:
You brand yourself by adding your picture and name to all your splash pages and landing pages so people recognize you by name and face.
That advice is out of this world incorrect. It would take showing your pages to people hundreds and hundreds of times before they associated your face to a webpage… and then whats that really do for you?
No that is not branding. Branding is the practice of ensuring that you or your company are not easily forgotten by the user.
Whereas a face doesn’t hurt, its not what is important — being memorable is.
On a traffic exchange, the best way to do this is to wake the user up from their typical surfing patterns. This, is not easy — but its also not hard.
You need a shock headline at the top of your page that says something the user literally needs to do a double take on, and see what its all about.
Fake media news is great at this technique and its actually something all marketers can use. Say something incredibly shocking to the user.
An example of a shock headline would be something such as following
DONALD TRUMP IS TRYING TO STOP THIS BITCOIN COMPANY!
And then immediately follow up with smaller print
“actually he isn’t but if he new about it he would…”
This is a headline that makes the user curious. They suddenly stop their clicking to the next site to see what company it is that Donald Trump wants to ban.
Now because its a shock headline, it won’t be easily forgotten. So if you also follow that headline up showing your name and face in the message, in the future when people from the exchange interact with you they are going to be thinking “thats that guy with the donald trump ad”.
This is what branding is all about — being memorable. Because you are memorable, others will be asking you advice. In this instance they would be asking you advice about bitcoin — because that’s the ad they remember.
Running Your own Traffic Exchange
The true magic in traffic exchanges, exists in running your own traffic exchange. As the owner of a traffic exchange website, you have the ability to make all sorts of deals for free advertising.
Its really rather simple. You start a traffic exchange, you join other peoples traffic exchanges, you reach out to the owners of those exchanges, and you ask for swaps.
Traffic exchange swaps happen in all sorts of ways but the most common are swapping advertising credits and swapping upgrades.
Its fairly obvious how it works, you offer an amount of credits to the owner of one site, in exchange for that many credits on the other site.
You can utilize the credits to advertise absolutely any offer you want — though you should at least utilize some to advertise your traffic exchange.
Until recently, traffic exchange software was vastly limited to a couple expensive scripts — or a couple cheap script that were rather dated and filled with security problems.
Open source marketing platform however changes all that. With OSMP anyone can download the script and setup their own traffic exchange at absolute no cost — well the only cost being the cost of their hosting. The script is free to download.
Is OSMP better than paid scripts?
Better is obviously a rather subjective terms. It has a lot less features than larger competitors but its also brand new.
However it also has considerably better security than existing scripts.
A problem that has always plagued traffic exchange owners is bot surfers. Bot surfers are people that setup automated programs to automatically surf for them when they are not actually sitting at their computer or view the pages.
Most traffic exchange script attempt to battle this. Image matching captcha’s is generally the popular method of combating bot surfers. The problem with that is bots can simply attempt to find matching images on the page and auto-click them.
Another method of captcha images used is a word to image match. These are considerably stronger but still owners of bots have found a way to cheat these systems by download the images and writing the correct match into their bot software.
We did it differently with OSMP. We created a randomization encryption algorithm.
What our system does is grabs one unique random email address from our database. It then generates 3 random email addresses.
It send all 4 email addresses to gravatar — thus the images can never be downloaded or predicted as they can with other systems. The image returned that matches the users email address, is then modified and the words “match me” are written over top of the image.
This is displayed to the user, allow with an unmodified version of the image, and the 3 random images. This makes it incredibly hard for a bot to match, because the image contained the words “match me” so their is no unique image to match.
This means, although not impossible, out system is a LOT more difficult for creators of bots to work with — meaning its incredibly likely they will bypass administrators using OSMP in favor of easier sites to cheat on.
OSMP Advantages for Advertisers
As we can see from the screenshot above, which is what a typical traffic exchange looks like, we can see the advertiser, is incredibly limited in the space they have to display an ad to a visitor.
There is a top “surfbar” which contains the image captcha and a banner, there is a bottom surfbar telling a user how many pages they have visited and all sorts of other stats.
Then there is a sidebar chat window.
All of these things cut down on the space an advertiser has to display in on most traffic exchanges set up with most scripts.
With OSMP scripts this is NOT at all the case. The advertiser actually gets more than 98% of the browser screen from OSMP exchanges.
There is a star on the top right of the page allowing a user to favorite a site and come back to it later, and there is a image matching captcha that only appears on the page after the user has visited for an allotment of time.
There are no counters, no banners, no statistic bars, no chat windows, nor anything else that will distract the visitor away from the advertising site.
So overall whether OSMP is better than alternatives is an incredibly subjective thing, but there are certainly advantages to OSMP, and the fact it is free open source software with some pretty innovative security features means, if you would like to run a traffic exchange, it doesn’t hurt to test free!
To download a copy of OSMP please join the Marketers Cooperative website.
If you would like to be part of the OSMP project, please do join both ADSactly and the Marketers Cooperative and reach out to both teams. We jointly created this script and are planning a repository for development in the near future but for now the easiest way to get involved is join both sites, learn what we are both doing, and ask us how you can help both sites jointly with this project.