Tim Linden

I'm the CTO of TimTech, I love coding with PHP and MySQL.
I'm addicted to tracking clicks and email marketing.

Ranking Traffic Exchanges

There are many different ways of ranking traffic exchanges, each with their pros and cons. I’ll go over a few ways here and give my opinion on them. In the end, it comes down to results which you must track for yourself. But the problem many owners face is members who don’t track their own results, and instead rely on ranking schemes. Maybe by the end of this post you’ll have little faith in all of the ranking methods, start tracking your results, and see them as a bit of fun rather than the list to surf.

Ranking by Votes

So Jon Olson and Paul Kinder recently launched on Affiliate Funnel that allows members to vote. While this has been done before, it hasn’t been done in such a visible way. With these two behind it, it’s catching on. So much so that yes, I stuck their little vote icon on my navigation bar!

The pros of this method is it’s based off what you and I think, not what one person thinks. It’s good old fashioned democracy.

The cons of this method is that it’s based off what you and I think. LOL no really, how many people have you heard say “I get really good results from XY exchanges, and I surf Z because I like the look of the surfbar”. I’ve heard it many times. In reality, people will vote for who they like or whatever appeals to them, not necessarily which works the best. On top of that, each person has a different rating scheme. Do you give a 10 for only the best, or for all the ones you like. Do you give an exchange that’s OK a 5 or a 1? Whatever way you do it, I bet the others aren’t doing it the same!

Ranking by Page Views

This was recently done with the Top Traffic Exchanges on StartXchange, and has been done in other variations by other top sites (Traffic Ranker anyone?). The twist on this one is that it only tracks members logging in, rather than overall page views.

The pros of this method is that you can see how active an exchange is. The more people logging in, the more eyes that are there to see your site.

The cons of this method is it can’t tell you if they are doing the once a month check if their hits were delivered activity. There could be an exchange which shows high activity, but really the members aren’t surfing because their hits aren’t being delivered. It also can’t tell you squat about results. It doesn’t know if those members are all looking at your site, or if they are speed surfing, or if they even are interested in what you have to offer.

Ranking by Traffic Delivered

This is the more traditional way of ranking exchanges. Traffic Exchange List publishes weekly reports free for all to see. You can find out a good chunk of information about the people on an exchange by analyzing the traffic.

The pros of this method is that you can see the type of traffic being delivered. If it’s the same person over and over, or if a variety of people are viewing sites.

The cons of this method is it can be skewed dramatically. There isn’t a way to track ALL traffic unless there was a tracker on the surfbar, and the way it is tracked could be tracking more from some exchanges than others on a different scale than the activity of one over another. The results also don’t tell you squat about results either, as it is based off tracking of the views, not if they clicked. It doesn’t tell you if the person is looking at your site, speed surfing, or if they are interested.

Ranking by Results

The best method of ranking is by tracking results. And you’ll also need to track your own results, as what you are offering will be different from another. So unless you are advertising the same exact program as someone else, take their results with a grain of salt.

The pros of this method is accuracy. You’ll know what works best and increase your ROI.

The cons of this method is difficulty. It can be hard starting out, and it takes more time. It is also tempting to take someone else’s “Top 10 Based on Results” and use it as your Top 10. But remember your results will differ! It’s also easy to make your Top 10 once, and stick to it for life. But exchanges are constantly getting new members, and dropping members, so over time that Top 10 might change!

Conclusion

Track your Results and have fun with the Rankings! If you are just starting out, take the top 20 of each of the different ranking schemes and then start tracking from those.  Then once you’ve got your own Top 10, use them the most while periodically checking back with the others. And don’t be afraid to try a new exchange every once in a while, some of my highest CTR has been in exchanges never mentioned on any of the lists (for my particular ads of course =P)

 
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9 comments for “Ranking Traffic Exchanges

  1. Pingback: StartXchange Traffic Exchange Blog » Introducing Free Upgrade Fridays!
  2. TheWrongMan
    February 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Nice post, Tim and I fully agree with you – other people’s rankings are *mostly* useless and they usually have their own agenda….

    The new Aff. Funnel idea is not particularly new and is open to way too much abuse for it to be of any use (at the moment 20 proxies and 20 clicks are enough to dramatically change the ranking of a chosen exchange….)

    Your latest ‘Top’ list is sort of interesting and does show much of what it claims to show BUT it serves YOU far more than it serves anyone else (c’mon am I really wanting to put a link to my competition in my members area???)

    Hoopla started out with good intentions and was very informative in the early days but unless they manage to get a LOT more people on their team and start using less obvious urls, the current ‘abuse’ (you know what I’m talking about, Tim!) is only going to get worse.

    TrafficExchangeList is probably the best of the bunch right now – the number of hits you’re posting is too high for you to do on your own (or for an exchange owner to dramatically alter by filling his exchange with tetoolbox rotators) so it’s a fairly good indication of an exchange’s activity and the ‘Reach’ stat is definitely an interesting one but it still doesn’t tell anyone anything about results which is what, in the end, we all want to know…

  3. February 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Great post Tim. I was planning to do an explanation like this in the future, but you beat me to it and much better than I would have done anyway, haha.

  4. February 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Hey Tim, great article and thanks for adding the logo – I’ve been a little hectic so hadn’t had a chance to chat with you. Sorry bout that!

    Is this not the first time a viable long term business has given surfers the chance to rank exchanges in this manner. Unless something was around prior to 18 months or so ago? This is nothing like those clicky rankers. Very different beastie.

    The Wrong Man. I’m not entirely sure you understand the AF concept. Clicking the link on the home page makes no difference to the rankings. Perhaps it’s worth taking a fuller look at the system. Sorry if i misunderstand your comments.

    Just to add, we have just under 10,000 members and are growing fast. A non-member vote carries a low weighting (compared to members) so it would soon be obvious if somebody were trying to cheat. Add in the fact that we are not exactly new to the TE business. Jon and I have an idea of what to expect from these rankings and they’re looking pretty accurate already. Not perfect by any means, they’re only a few days old. Tim’s Start Xchange will rise this week for example, I’m absolutely sure of it.

    I agree that Tim’s TE List is a good ranking system too. And that is not just because Traffic-Splash.com is number one! LOL

    I disagree with the earlier comment about rankings being just for fun. They are important tools for newbie surfers. A guide to help them reduce the trial and error research period.

    Your own tracking will ALWAYS be better than any ranking system but it doesn’t hurt to have a little guidance in the early days. Does it?

    I can’t think of a better system than the combined votes of thousands of surfers. Well, not until we introduce the next stage of the Affiliate Funnel Surfers Choice system anyway ;-)

  5. February 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I find it hard pressed to find any kind of ‘con’ to this. Reason being , we are putting the votes in the members court. Here’s a little snippet I mentioned in another forum:

    There is no ‘science’ to traffic exchange rankings. In fact it’s wool being pulled over people’s eyes that ranking can even take place. It’s opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. This is a massive opinion poll, which we call the Surfers Choice. If you have a solid relationship and treat your members good, they will vote for you. Put it in their hands and see what happens.

    So the question would be, what’s wrong with putting the voice in the surfer’s court? Are there owners that are afraid of the outcome, so they don’t embrace this? I’m sure there is!

  6. Doug Ellsworth
    February 18, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Tim, it was a pleasant surprise to land on your blog via your TE and to see the comments from Joe and Paul. You three gents are the owners of my favorite TEs, more or less, and here you are talking to each other around the water cooler like rock stars.

    Actually, I grabbed Traffic Grenade just yesterday, not long before coming across this article. I have also only decided to get back at it with the TEs, work more practically at tracking my efforts, improve my overall TE focus and efficiency. I want to say “Thanx, gang!” for providing such terrific TE services and for the sincere guidance I have found from this source and from Joe’s writings as well.

    A funny thing, synchronistic and coincidental perhaps, but Paul, you have ended up on my personal list for List Bandit, that is, if you are the same Paul Kinder who signed up for LB on 06-19-2007, so I guess you will be hearing from me at times through List Bandit.

    Anyway, all, happy surfing. And again, thanx for the great TE services you all have been providing for those of us enamored of Net marketing. Later on.

    Doug Ellsworth
    Proud Member of the Golden 25, or 13, as the case may be.

  7. February 23, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Just a thought.. it would be cool to see an average of all the different styles of rankings. Perhaps an average from AF, hoopla, HEN, & TEL. Of course this average would be the most disputed amongst all ranking systems because one ‘bad’ ranking method in one persons eyes throws off the validity of the average.

    Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see.

  8. March 8, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Great post! I have been using traffic exchanges to advertise my squeeze page.There are a lot of differences in the TE´s, but so far startxchange, Trafficswarm and Webbizinsider have produced the best results.I´m the best person to “rank” the exchanges, I only use those that get me results.

  9. March 18, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I’ve heard lots of good things about TrafficSwarm and Webbizinsider but only discovered StartXChange in the last hour and here you are saying it got you results … so I guess I’ll be signing up with them.

    Cheers!

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