A traffic exchange is a membership website where the members can promote their own web pages by earning or buying “credits”. Credits can be earned by viewing other members’ web pages – otherwise known as “surfing for credits”.
To surf for credits all you need to do is to log in to the traffic exchange and hit the “Start Surfing” button. You will then be shown a member’s web page and a countdown timer. How long you will have to view the page varies from traffic exchange to traffic exchange and also depends on your membership status, but typically the timer takes 10 seconds to run down. When it hits zero you will have earned a credit and will be able to view a new web page. To do that you usually have to complete a simple “icon matching” task with a click of your mouse.
The more you surf, the more credits you will earn. And with some traffic exchanges you will also stand the chance of winning bonus credits and even cash prizes.
As your credits accumulate you can allocate them to your web pages, which will then be shown to other members of the traffic exchange.
Most traffic exchanges operate a “surf ratio” policy. This simply means that you need to surf more than one page in order to generate enough credit to have your page viewed in the system. Some traffic exchanges offer a 2:1 ratio, 3:1 or a 3:2 ratio, with a 1:1 ratio reserved for members who upgrade.
Another option for traffic exchange members is simply to buy credits. Traffic exchanges often hit you with “One Time Offers” where you can get a lot of credits at discounted rates if you buy straightaway.
As well as page viewing credits, traffic exchanges also offer “banner ad” and “text ad” impressions. Banners and text ads are shown above or below pages that you view when you surf for credits. You can get these impressions at a much cheaper rate than standard page-viewing credits. On the other hand, click-through rates are typically quite low.
Typically, a traffic exchange is free to join and has several “upgrade” options where you must pay a small monthly fee to secure the benefits.
So what are the benefits of upgrading?
It could be all or any of these benefits:
1. You get several hundred credits added to your account each month.
2. Your “surf ratio” improves.
3. The countdown time decreases.
4. You get new members randomly added to your “downline”.
5. You earn more in credits or commission whenever you recruit a new member for the traffic exchange.
Yes, traffic exchanges are also online affiliate businesses and when you join one you are allocated an affiliate number. If you check your member’s area you will see that there is a section devoted to promoting the traffic exchange. You can go there and get banners for your website or blog, and other promotional material such as email letters and so on.
Since you will be given free credits whenever you recruit someone to the traffic exchange, it makes sense to devote some space on your website or blog to promoting the traffic exchange.
You will also be encouraged to promote the traffic exchange on other traffic exchanges.
A lot of people join several traffic exchanges to gain extra exposure for their web pages, and also cross-promote their traffic exchanges in order to generate a lot of credits in the form of commission when people join traffic exchanges through their links.
When you use a traffic exchange to promote your website, here are a few common pitfalls that you will want to avoid:
1. Don’t promote pages that take a long time to download.
2. Don’t try to promote your main product with a long sales page. Keep your pages clean and simple with a basic message and either a sign up form for more info, or a “click here” button that will open up your main promotional page in a new browser window.
3. If you use a video promotion, don’t take more than ten seconds getting to your main message.
4. Make sure you do not run out of bandwidth – it is amazing how many times you see a “bandwidth limit expired” message instead of a member’s page when surfing traffic exchanges.
5. Do NOT promote XYZ traffic exchange on XYZ traffic exchange!! This sounds unbelievable, but a number of clueless people try to get traffic exchange members to join the traffic exchange that they are surfing on and are therefore already members of! Duh!
Traffic exchanges offer website owners a cheap and cheerful method of promoting their website pages and can be very effective if you know how to work them.
To Your Success