The remedy for this situation is the avoidance of hard links and the use of a traffic trading script to 'equalize' your trades.
Trade scripts (among other things) allow you to screen out various forms of "bad" traffic, while balancing its flow, so that instead of the unequal example above, you have a situation where a website sending you 10 visitors is only receiving 10 visitors back. Trade scripts can also be used to add top lists to your website, allowing you to reward those sending the most traffic to you with a higher volume back.
Trade scripts come with varying levels of complexity and feature sets, some of which are overkill for many site operators, who may never master all of the script's features. To address the needs of those seeking a simple solution to monitoring and increasing traffic, barring cheaters and running top lists, Vendzilla from TGPAsylum and kaktusan from Cheapest Adult Scripts got together to release TradeZilla, a simple and functional trade script ideally suited to the needs of smaller sites, entry-level users and beyond. Best of all, it's free...
Script setup can often be a difficult, confusing and time-consuming process; but not so with TradeZilla. As long as the web server that you're installing to is configured properly (that is, has PHP4, PHP register_globals, MySQL and Zend Optimizer installed), then the whole process is a breeze. The following installation steps illustrate just how easy this is: First, you upload all of the files in binary mode, then set permissions to 777 for the 'toplists' folder and the 'ztinfo.inc' file, then finally, run the install file from your browser.
Once you run the install file, a screen displays the results of the script's tests to determine whether or not your web server is properly configured for this script's needs. If all of these test results check out, then you're ready to proceed, otherwise, you'll need to contact your web host to have the necessary changes made to your system. To proceed, enter your MySQL hostname, database name, username and password. Once again, if you do not know this information, contact your web host for help. Finally, enter the admin password you wish to use for the script, and hit the 'install' button. That's it! The whole process should take less than five minutes...
After this simple installation process, a note to delete the install file was displayed – a note that I initially ignored, but upon entering the admin area, a warning dialog instructing me to delete the install file was displayed, which I then did. This is a necessary safeguard, as without it, malicious hackers could re-run the install process, wiping out the contents of the database, including all trades, settings and trade information.
Now, one of the most intimidating sights for a new user is the main control panel of a high-end traffic trading script: There are often so many features and settings that getting things to run properly requires the climbing of a steep learning curve. Not so with TradeZilla.
TradeZilla supports both PHP and SSI for top lists and traffic counting, making integration with most websites as simple as a quick one-line of code "copy and paste" job. An online form for webmasters to sign up for trades with your site is easily toggled on and off, allowing you control over how new trades are added.
The main admin panel displays stats on your trades, plus provides information on bookmarkers and no-cookie traffic, allowing you to send these visitors to alternative URLs. For those wanting to skim traffic to their trades (such as is common with TGPs), skim percentages are easily set, as is the option of allowing the visitor's first click to always hit the desired gallery, while sending him to trades on a percentage of his further clicks.
The set-up and operation of any trade script, even one as simple as TradeZilla, is beyond the scope of a brief article such as this, and while first-time users might be dismayed by the lack of comprehensive documentation, Vendzilla provides excellent support, answering any questions promptly, or even installing and setting up the script for those who might encounter difficulties. There's also a support forum for TradeZilla at TGPAsylum, moderated by the script's author.
All in all, TradeZilla is a decent, basic traffic trading script that is easy to install and use – and one that should satisfy the needs of many users. Download a free copy and try it for yourself: You'll be trading traffic and increasing the number of visitors to your site in no time at all!