Yet again there is another traffic exchange doing the rounds with widgets appearing on blog sidebars. Of course people are asking if they should join in. Here is my advice …
- Is it really free? – OK, in most cases you don’t actually pay money to be a part of it, but in return for the hope of traffic you have to give valuable attention away to people you do not know nor endorse.
- Does it work? – By all means try it, but in my experience they don’t tend to work as well as advertised once the initial hype has worn off
- What will it look like? – The widget itself could be a distraction (after all, the idea is people click on it rather than read your content), but if the images are not moderated are you going to be showing seedy pictures? Hopefully there would be some checks in the system but even the biggest
well-funded services such as Google and Facebook allow saucy stuff
through, and I still see NSFW avatars on MyBlogLog even though it has
improved a great deal.
- Who are you promoting? – Other than the service owner I mean. If you put one of these widgets on your blog you are sending your hard-won readers away to destinations unknown. Who are the most likely to want free and easy traffic other than smaller blogs? Yup, spammers, scammers and other less-than-quality publishers who wouldn’t get voluntary links. Could you be sending your prized audience to bad neighborhoods? Would they thank you for that?
- Can you trust them? – This might seem the most cynical reason of all but really, can you trust them? If you can trust the current owners, how about the people who buy the service?
On the positive side, these schemes are a great insight into what works right now in viral marketing and spreading your ideas. Think about it, the people getting involved in these schemes are giving away valuable real estate, promoting another persons asset for free, potentially risking their own brand, in return for the hope of some visitors from it. How do they get otherwise rational people to do this? That is where the real value lies …
By all means try any service you think has potential, you might find an actual good one, just please please monitor it carefully for what appears and where you are sending your loyal readers.
Have you had any success with traffic exchanges? Am I just bitter and deluded? Please share your experiences in the comments …