Like anything, the Internet evolves. Unfortunately, this is not always for the better andas time has gone on, there have been a myriad of so called “opportunities” and self proclaimed business models that have popped up. One of these such business models, one that is starting to really gain popularity in recent years, is traffic exchanges.
I have a problem not only with the business model itself, but with the type of traffic that it yields and that the various companies in the industry are selling. I am going to explain while I do know they work for people, they don’t actually “work” as anticipated or advertised.
The Three Headed Monster Behind Traffic Exchanges
There are 3 involved role in a traffic exchange. In some cases, these are not exclusive roles from one another as some could act in each role when they are taking part in a traffic exchange. These roles include:
- Someone Clicking. This is what drives the entire business. Typically how this works is that you will click on an website link. You then have a specific time window in which you need to sit on that page before you can move onto the next link. With each qualified click you make, you earn a credit (usually on a 2:1 ratio unless you pay to earn 1:1). You earn credits that can be used to get this same type of traffic to your site, or in some cases, earn money (usually requires some sort of upgrade within the program).
- Someone Selling. You can sell traffic “packages” to others. This is usually in the form of an affiliate program and typically you will be forced into buying one of these traffic packages or credit plans before you can make commissionable sales from others. For this very reason, many of these schemes have been classified as pyramid schemes with one of the most recent ones (and highly publicized) being shut down in Banners Broker (with others likely to follow suit).
- Someone Buying. You can buy ad packages with these programs. Often times when you buy an ad package, you open up the rights to be able to sell these and make commissions off of others. So it is not as much about buying the traffic in this case, it is buying into the opportunity. If you are buying the traffic for the sake of buying clicks, you are almost always thoroughly disappointed as the traffic simply will NOT produce results. It is click monkey traffic.
The Traffic Isn’t Fake, It’s Just as Bad Though.
For anyone with any level of experience online, you will understand what I am talking about here. When you seek out to get traffic to your website and to your respective offers, you want relevant, engaging traffic. Why? Because someone that is already interested in something that a. you are talking about b. you are selling, you are are more likely to generate revenue.
Also, when you know what your audience wants, it is much easier to help them. If this is still a little unclear, I will give you a little bit of insight here.
Say you were looking for help to solve a problem online, say, you were having “lower back stiffness” and you were not sure why, nor were you sure how to fix it. Chances are you would go to Google and look for answers to your problem. A NORMAL, well education marketer would work their butts of to get ranked in Google and target these types of search terms, say “how to get rid of lower back stiffness”.
You would create a page that targeted this, offer people some insights and perhaps a solution, and once you built that trust you could sell them a product or service that would offer them additional help (a cream, ice packs, stretching programs).
Relevant Search => Relevant Website => Relevant Recommendation
That is the ultimate process.
Unfortunately with a traffic exchange, your traffic is what could be deemed as DISENGAGED. By this I mean, totally not interested and having other intentions. The nature of the traffic is people looking to “click for pennies”, they are not going to read your content, albeit they are forced to stay on your site, they are not actively searching for a solution, and they are not looking to buy.
Sure, in some sort of rare circumstance (fluke) they might join a mailing list, they might buy something, or they
Are You Into Selling the Low Quality Junk? Traffic Exchange Are For You.
One aspect of these programs that people get caught up in is “selling” traffic packages. If you have no regard of what you are selling, then it is completely fine to sell stuff like this. You could sell people a empty box and tell them the most amazing gadget is inside if that is the case.
People are so desperate to get traffic to your website, that selling this sort of “fake” hope to them actually works. Sure you can earn money by convincing people that either the idea of “clicking” to earn money is a good idea or worse yet, that traffic exchange traffic is high quality. You are only going to be doing yourself a disservice and your credibility though.
Are You a Click Monkey? Traffic Exchanges Are For You.
If you are looking to make money, traffic exchanges should not be your first option. Not only are you going to be wasting away precious braincells, you are going to be spending time clicking and selling.
If someone told you that you could make pennies if you “click and stare at something”, would you really take that opportunity seriously? Well that is the same opportunity.
You are better than that and you are far more capable of meaningful activities than spending your waking hours clicking on websites/ads. You are much better than that!
The Verdict On Traffic Exchanges: Not the Best Idea.
I can absolutely see the appeal to traffic exchanges. If you had a choice between playing a Facebook game for two hours or spending two hours clicking links on a traffic exchanges, you might be better off doing the latter because you can earn money with
The thing people tend to forget though is that they can earn money with their time doing things that they love to do. Working within industries they love, and they do not have to resort to “clicking” for pennies. Literally.
There are real tangible businesses that you can create, real businesses that you can create within the online space without “stupifying” yourself. That is, stretching you to your potential and offering you the ability to create a real, substance based business in any niche/interest of your choice.
Here is how the process of building a real business online works, it isn’t overly complex and it definitely won’t dumb you down like a traffic exchange (quite the contrary).
Step 1: Choose a Passion/Interest
Step 2: Build a Website (easier than it sounds)
Step 3: Create Content Relating to Your Niche
Step 4: Generate Income Through Rankings, Traffic, Sales
Anyone that you see around you that truly has a business online and is creating something of substance, is doing exactly this. I can help you get started with this and get you moving in the right direction, but I want you to first check out the process by checking out the post below.
==> Get Started Here With Your Own Niche Business <==
Also, I would love to hear your feedback and experiences you have had with traffic exchanges or click exchanges. Please leave your comments and/or questions below.
I am a Traffic Exchange owner. A lot of what your are saying IS very very right on the money.
I do however find that the way you say it is skewed a little in the “NO! way this works.” Example
“The Traffic Isn’t Fake, It’s Just as Bad Though.”
This whole statement makes me cringe. I get you’re Not a fan But TE’s are without a doubt more geared to online marketing niche. People looking to sell traffic Buy traffic or earn traffic.
So if you’re looking for lower back pain traffic YES te’s are at this time a bad match.
But if you’re looking to test how effective a banner ad is. You might find that a heap of free TE’ traffic is just right.
Actually Im shocked that more TE owners are not here talking about the positives that A good traffic exchange brings to the table. BUT even myself am a year late to this blog post.
I do like the blog post and have bookmarked it to see if I can find ways to fix the issues you see or at the least address them.
PS Traffic Monsoon was not what a traffic exchange is. They put the name on it to hide the true concept of the site. That in effect painted all of us with the same unfairly used brush. Im a traffic exchange owner they were not a traffic exchange.
You haven’t really outlined the “pros” of a traffic exchange. I hear you obviously defending them because you are promoting them, but the very idea that there is such a thing as “quality” within a traffic exchange is something that I have not seen to this day. The people making money within the traffic exchanges, are those that are selling the very concept of traffic exchanges.
Traffic Monsoon was a traffic exchange, but it had an additional layer allowing people that upgraded to promote certain types of “ad credits”, which ultimately ended up in their demise as they were determined to be a ponzi/pyramid scheme.
I have experienced traffic exchanges and I have never had any success whatsoever from clicking ads or promoting affiliate opportunities because the traffic is just too untargeted and poor quality, like you say.
I remember when traffic exchanges first started out as surfing sites, buying credits and referring others. But now they’ve progressed to members buying expensive ad packs and earning from all sorts of complicated commission structures.
Don’t know if you’ve heard on the grapevine but the Traffic Monsoon exchange program has just recently had its assets frozen and is currently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for being a PONZI scheme?!
If this is the case, then do you reckon programs like MAPS and Ad Click Xpress etc, will be next to follow suit? Could it be the beginning of the end for traffic exchanges and pyramid scams?
Yeah, they have moved into the direction of being run like pyramid schemes, in fact there have been many of them that have been taken down as a result of being deemed as a pyramid. One of the more prolific take downs took place in Canada and it was Banners Broker. The owners were actually arrested and put in jail, along with stripped of all of their assets.
I have caught wind of the Traffic Monsoon situation and I have no doubts that others are going to follow suit, it is a matter of time and resources for the SEC/FTC put more emphasis into traffic exchange programs because in most cases they are a huge facade for what they really are, pyramid schemes.
Hey Kyle! I did an article on this exact same thing! I’ve tried these before so I could review it and they are HORRIBLE. I’d rather spend that time working on my site than getting bad traffic. Cheers!
That is exactly it Jason, too many people will spend hours upon hours “clicking” on sites so they can earn credits from others clicking on their sites. I am not sure how any sensible person would be able to determine that this is quality traffic or anything other than bogus traffic. The audience is not engaged and the results are almost always NULL.
Then to try to sell this traffic to others, that is pure robbery and those that are selling ad packages are just as liable as those running the programs themselves.
Gosh I wish I had seen this when I was looking into traffic exchange sites. You explain really well why it is just as good as fake traffic and now I feel a bit foolish. The internet tends to do that to me. I think there’s probably a good rule of thumb to go by: if it seems to easy or too good to be true, it is.
I tried it and I did get a lot of traffic which my thinking was that it would propel search engines to think I had a lot of traffic and therefore give me more traffic or rank me higher so I could be found naturally and then get more real traffic that way from people actually looking for solutions to their problems.
It didn’t seem to work like that though. Do you agree?
You are not a fool at all, many of these programs are very convincing and very elusive as to what their program/scheme really is.
A lot of traffic doesn’t mean a lot of quality traffic. Quality traffic will lead to revenue and unfortunately when your traffic is drive as a result of people getting paid or earning credits to click on websites, the level of quality is about the worst you can get.
No, it does not work and the only reason companies like this are still around is because people get sucked into the pyramid side of these schemes, promoting ad packs and other people to come and join them in their “clicking” activities.
Thanks for this article I’ve definitely wasted a lot of my time on traffic exchange sites. It is not quality traffic like you said they are not engaged just clicking ads like you are to get more credits for their sites like you said. It sucks but it seems like you have to pay for traffic if you want quality targeted niche traffic.
Exactly. And then when you go to pay for this sort of traffic, you are getting people like yourself “clicking for credits” on the other end that will only end up costing you money, with typically no return for the traffic you paid for.
These types of programs are usually taken down by the FTC eventually, Banners Broker and Traffic Monsoon to name a few. Be forewarned before you get involved in traffic exchanges that you may be part of the problem and you might be involved an illegal pyramid/ponzi scheme (often times without knowing it).
Thank you for this Kyle. I’ve been wondering about traffic exchanges for a while. I personally don’t use them to bring traffic to my blog, as I know this can be quite harmful to the blog. However, I do send that traffic to squeeze pages. I have had a few sign ups to things (however, like you said, I think they are flukes), and I am now beginning to see that it’s not really the way forward. I think there is a place for them somewhere, however, I could definitely be spending the time I do on traffic exchanges, building real quality content for my blog, and therefore getting real quality traffic. Thanks again for your insight into traffic exchanges.
Yeah, you will sometimes be able to get leads from this traffic, but again, they are totally disengaged and more often than not they are using fake email addresses just to check out what you have. Sure, there is absolutely some circumstances where by fluke, these folks could lead to some sort of transaction but it is few and far between and is not a path to creating a long term or sustainable business.
Real quality traffic (search) is the way to go.
This reminds me of the rev share schemes. I followed them for a while and every one of them failed due to the “owner” running off with the loot or Paypal shutting them down. Those seem to be the biggest scam out there right now because they keep popping up.
Yeah, they are popping up everywhere and this business model (if you want to call it that) has become acceptable because so many people are doing it. There was another program called Banners Broker that got shut down last year and the owners were arrested for running a ponzi scheme. I have a feeling more of the same is going to happen in this industry as programs continue to emulate this pyramid-like business model with their traffic schemes.
I have been using Trafficmonsoon and Getpaid.social with success. Both in generating traffic and making money too.
That said…. My main focus is on my site with the techniques taught within Wealthy Affiliate and Trafficmonsoon and Getpaid.social are only a SMALL part of my over all marketing, SEO, and traffic efforts!
They do work in terms of allowing you to get traffic in exchange for clicking on other sites. They also do work in terms of earning you revenue if you are able to sell these “low quality” traffic packages. Unfortunately the person on the receiving end of the transaction is getting the short end of the stick and getting nothing more than “click monkey” traffic that will produce little, if any, results.
I would keep them as a smaller part of your overall business, most of these companies are very transient in nature and will lead to very little benefit for those that are actually making use of the traffic.
I can say they are a smaller part. The click monkey low traffic I can’t yet confirm. I had 38 free signups to WA and a thousand visits to the WA free signup. There are free users from this that are active in the community.
Yeah, it comes down to quality, not quantity. A referral is not just a referral, unless they are taking action and actually doing something at the end of the day, the traffic and the referrals you can generate are not all that useful.
By all means you can get some people out of 1,000 that are sitting on a page for 5-10 seconds to join something in particular if it is relevant (all these people are looking to make money), but be careful about attracting people that are not informed or that are not in a position to follow through or it may be false hope.
Low quality traffic doesn’t interest me and actually seems like it would hurt more than it would help. Would Google penalize you for using these techniques?
The traffic exchange websites do spin a great web and make it sound like you can get so much traffic to your website and improve your search rankings, don’t they?
Thanks for pointing out to readers that traffic exchanges are just a waste of time and money. I prefer to pay for Facebook ads myself because this converts at a much higher rate.
Google hasn’t explicitly announced that they use Google Analytics information as part of their algorithm, but you would have to think if they have the data available, the could absolutely be using it. How do you think it would look in their eyes if your traffic is only staying on your page for an average of 5-6 seconds. Not good. It means that your content is not at all engaging.
Traffic exchange websites make you think that what you are doing is some REAL, tangible way to get traffic…and surely, it is traffic, but you might as well pay a robot to sit there and click on your website all day. It is bogus traffic and will lead to little, or more often, NO results.
I am a fan of twitter, but I notice it is a breeding ground for people selling short cuts to get more traffic. Buying traffic is like buying bubbles.
I’m glad you took the time to review this crazy system. The marketers promoting traffic exchanges are very good at sounding convincing. Im hoping Google algorithms will find a way to weed out this method and save us from so much junk on the web. Janelle
They are always going to sound convincing as is anyone promoting any scam. Why? Because they have financial incentive to do so, whether or not this is ethical.
It really has nothing to do with Google as this is an independent form of getting traffic, but those that get involves in these types of schemes should be fully aware about the drawbacks of being part of these illegitimate traffic exchanges.
I don’t see the point in bothering with low quality traffic. It’s not like you’re going to gain anything from it really. They’re not going to buy anything or share any content. They probably won’t even leave a comment on a post!
Useless if you ask me. I would just rather let traffic build up naturally over time by making quality content and promoting it on social media. Facebook ads is a pretty good method I find. Cheap too.
Yeah, that is exactly my point. Traffic is just a imaginary number, you could get a million clicks to your website but it is meaningless if it is all manufactured traffic like the type traffic exchanges yield.
Quality traffic is what you are after and to generate this properly and in a sustainable way, it takes effort. Once you understand the process of getting it you have a long term business on your hands!
Thanks for this awesome information. I am new doing online business and it is tempting to look at options to bring lots of traffic to my sites. I surely appreciate the heads up explanation on how these services actually work.
They are selling an empty box is the best description!
Those that do use this service, does it actually help increase their rankings in search engines? Or do search engine algorithms have the means to sniff them out?
I also read your linked post on “Starting your own online business” and truly appreciate the value of being able to try before you buy. Once people see and try a service for free, a good product like the one you describe will then sell itself.
Good stuff Kyle
An empty box is a good comparison of this. It is often times beautifully wrapped and looks like a wonderful traffic opportunity, but at the end of the day when you get so excited to see the result of opening up your box, you find out there is nothing in there (and often times you are paying good money for it).
Using traffic exchanges absolutely DOES NOT help with your search engine rankings either, if anything it will have an adverse affect if you are using platforms like Google Analytics (that give Google insight into the sort of traffic you are getting and the referral stats).
Hi Kyle, I’m left feeling frustrated and a little silly to be honest after reading this article.
I’ve spent literally hours and hours (just ask my partner) clicking away on some of the top traffic exchanges such as Traffic Monsoon and EasyHits4U and whilst true to their word, I’ve been receiving traffic to my site, I haven’t seen any results whatsoever and I was struggling to understand why.
After reading your post, things kind of clicked. As you said, people using these sites are there to earn credits for their own site just like I was, not actually to get information or make a purchase.
It really does make sense when you think about it logically.
You also mention that the proper way to do it is to create content and generate an income through rankings, I assume you mean rankings in search engines such as Google?
If so, isn’t that virtually impossible for the average person to achieve?
Yeah, I would never deny the idea that these types of sites actually deliver the “amount” of traffic they say they do, the problem is as your experience, the QUALITY of that traffic. People are doing exactly what you did to get this traffic, clicking on ads with no purpose other than to earn credits. This traffic won’t convert and you might as well have bot (programmatic) traffic coming to your site.
And yeah, the average person is what makes up the entirety of the search results in Google. You can get ranked just as easy as the next person and there are BILLIONS of keywords that you can get ranked under as a marketer (and that people are searching for every day). That is exactly what we teach and what we can help you with at Wealthy Affiliate.
Hi Kyle! You did an outstanding job really spelling it out clearly to readers that involving yourself in traffic exchanges is a waste of time and money. I did this once years ago trying to get traffic into my business – this was before I joined WA as a member.
It is everything that you stated, and the final result for me? I did not get people buying into the product that I was promoting because as you said they were not targeted traffic. I just threw money away in this scam – for that it exactly what it is!
People are still out there looking for some magic formula that will build up their business financially. They want to do it the easy way too, pretty much along the lines of participating in a traffic exchange gimmick.
You laid out the 4 steps that one SHOULD BE following in order to build a profitable business, very much the foundation and methods taught at WA. It’s all about trying to provide a solution for a person who has a problem in his/her life – back trouble in your example. You create highly relevant content, based on keyword research that would be intended to provide an answer to the problem that a person did have – most likely conducted through a google search as he sought how to fix his/her nagging back.
Still there will always be people out there looking for the easy solution in building an online business and also owners of various traffic exchanges and other scams looking to reel in the “suckers” with the lure that they can provide the quick/easy answer for them.
Thank you Kyle for writing this article as many people need to read it!
Jeff (WA member)
It will always be the case Jeff, people are looking for a magical traffic formula that they can simply throw money at and “poof”, their business will skyrocket. The easier it seems, the worse the results will typically be and that is definitely the case with traffic exchanges.
If someone were to honestly want to pay for traffic, by all accounts the best sources of paid traffic are Google Adwords, BingAds, and Facebook Ads (that latter can be the toughest to break as people are typically disengaged on Facebook as well).
Within any space that there are a large number of people looking for a solution to their problem, there will be people that are willing to take advantage of those folks. Internet marketers that are looking to get more traffic are definitely being taken advantage of, and in many cases, lied to by traffic exchanges.
I would rather earn my traffic through quality content than rely on spammy techniques. It’s more rewarding that way as well.
I definitely agree that helping people is what we’re trying to do, not make money. Money is secondary to helping others.
Wouldn’t Google also penalize your site in term of rankings?
Nicely written article overall.
It is not only more rewarding to get real traffic through mediums like search or social, these people are going to be far more engaged and will lead to a “sustainable” business. The problem I find within any business environment is that people are looking for a “quick fix” to their problems, traffic being one of the main ones with any online business.
Don’t get me wrong, the goal in business is to make money. The process in which this is accomplished and the way you “make money” in a long term, reputable way is through offering people HELP, offering them quality, and putting them first. Unfortunately when you are buying traffic exchange traffic, you are buying low quality traffic that is totally disengaged into what you are offering on your site and yes, Google could penalize you for getting traffic where the average time on page is less than 10 seconds EVERY time.
Sounds similar to the dreaded rev share schemes. Its amazing how many still have hope even when Paypal shunned them after so many disputes. Great post!
Yeah, there are many of those out there as well. Paypal eventually shuns any company that is running an unethical operation and MOST of these traffic exchanges or rev share schemes cannot use Paypal (many of them are consider pyramid programs in terms of their structure).
Nope…I won’t fall into the traffic exchange trap. If my site isn’t getting legitimate traffic I need to figure out why and correct it. I think these things take time and patience and good coaching. I appreciate the lesson you’ve posted here.
Yeah, people are always looking for a quick “hit” for their business, unfortunately they are going to be very disappointed if they do decide to pay for traffic exchange traffic in their form of their ad packages. People get excited about “clicks” when in actuality, the excitement should based around the results of those clicks.
It is a very good post, it actually clears out some misunderstanding about traffic exchanges. I have tried some of them and I even tried auto traffic exchange hoping to increase the traffic to my website. After a month or so, I discover that google analytics showed negative signs like reduction in bouncing rate and a huge decrease in average session duration. so I decided to stop using them at once.
Thank you again for your helpful information, keep up the good work.
Well naturally, if you are paying for this sort of traffic your average visitor time is going to go down the gutter. Although Google doesn’t make it clear that this is part of their ranking algorithm, if they have access to this sort of data and the find that most of your visitors coming to your website are only sticking around for under 10 seconds, that doesn’t bode well in terms of the quality of your content.
Not only is traffic exchange traffic bogus in the sense that it is contrived of click monkeys, it could have adverse impacts to your business that stretch far beyond the actually wasted time/money for the traffic itself.
This is great. Finally, an article addressing the issue of traffic exchanges. Iâ€™ve tried a few traffic exchanges, and quite frankly, I have determined that they are a waste of my time. Disengaged is exactly the word to describe this. People just click through without paying much attention to what is actually displayed on the screen. I agree, that this is a very â€˜emptyâ€™ activity. There is no real substance, it is all fluff. The only gain is an empty financial payment to those who created the exchange. As I like to say sometimes, â€œâ€˜tis all madnessâ€. I very much appreciate your words, â€œyou are better than thatâ€. This article is encouraging and exposes traffic exchanges for what they really are. Thanks so much for taking time to thoughtfully produce this post.
At the end of the day, if you are using these sorts of traffic exchanges you are basically feeding the monster and feeding the “owners” profits. These programs are also very confusing by design as they are often times masking a ponzi/pyramid style scheme and the more layers they can tack on top of their programs, the greater the facade and the less likely the investigation.
Well that is only partly working, a few individuals were arrested just in the last year for running a traffic exchange that was deemed a ponzi and I have a feeling that this may be just the start of the investigations into these types of companies.
Anyone reading this is truly “better” than a traffic exchange, your time is more valuable than clicking on ads and your brain is absolutely capable of something special and in fact, substantive within the online world.
Thank you for explaining what traffic exchanges are and the reason why they do not work, or at least, will not work for me. Your review is very comprehensive and you make me aware of staying away from it, since I will be wasting one of the things I value the most, my TIME.
One co worker told me once, if you do what you love, you won’t have to work a day in your life. I am definitely trying your number 1 recommendation!
Definitely the case Juan, unfortunately if you are click on websites on all day earn credits, or if you upgrade and pay a monthly fee, you are going to feel like a click monkey working for pennies. Many people are willing to do this though simply because they don’t have any idea as to the REAL world there is outside of traffic exchanges where they can actually start a business online.
Focus on a niche that you are passionate about, build a website/foundation within that niche, and there will come a time where you have a long term and very sustainable business on your hands!