There was a time when the Free For All link pages were a major source of traffic; surfers would use FFAs instead of search engines to find what they wanted: What could be better than going to a site that had literally thousands of links to various types of sites that you were looking for?
As time went on the search engines grew more user friendly, and the quality of sites that were indexed increased. Surfers started using the search engines more and more to find what they wanted. The traffic to and from the FFA pages started to go the way of the dinosaur. But there is still value in these sites and that is why people continue to have them. Read on and I'll explain an angle that most webmasters don't consider.
When you hear webmasters talk about FFA pages you usually here something like "it's a total waste of time". That may be true, but here's a little tip: The value of FFA pages lies in the way that they are used, and what side of the FFA page you are on matters greatly. Simply posting your sites to the FFA pages will yield little, if any traffic, and the value of an FFA page is not with the traffic that is generated from submissions.
Now you must ask yourself, "why do people even have FFA pages then?" The answer is simple if you step back and look at the big picture. You must own one of these FFA jewels! One of the most important things to success in an online business is the marketing of your Web sites and sponsors. Webmasters are always asking about direct marketing via 'opt-in' e-mail lists, with the buying of lists being either a good or bad thing, and they can be very expensive as well...
Where the list comes from is very important, as well as how the list was generated: some lists are generated using e-mail harvesters, or 'bots' that search pages on the Internet for e-mail addresses. The problem with these lists is that the people have not opted to receive e-mails. When you send to these addresses you are spamming! What if you buy a list that is bogus? There are scripts that detect e-mail bots and can falsely create thousands of bogus e-mail addresses. With all the scams on the web today you have a good chance of getting information that is worthless, and you've just wasted valuable marketing funds. But what if you could send out 50,000 to 100,000 e-mails with your ads for your sites and your sponsors each day without spamming? Would that help you to increase exposure of your sites and sales on the Internet? The FFA pages that were once used for traffic generation are now used mainly as a marketing tool!
Do you see the value of an FFA site now? Probably not just yet, so I'll continue. In the terms of service for your FFA page you state that by posting your sites to the list you agree to receive occasional e-mails from the owner of the FFA site. Now for every person that submits to your FFA page you get to send a "thank you" or "confirmation e-mail". This will allow you to build a direct e-mail list of webmasters yourself for free! You can continue to send e-mails to these webmasters until they choose to opt-out of the list. You potentially have the ability to generate a list of several hundred thousand webmasters, which you can continue to send e-mail ads to, week after week!
Now simply making an FFA page and putting it on the Internet won't get you the results you want either. There is still one more piece to the puzzle, and here it is; there are lots of those auto-submission programs available to webmasters both for adult and non-adult sites. Most of these software vendors want, and welcome, sites to add to the database of sites that the software will submit to. It adds value to their software when they can say, "We submit your site to over 800,000 sites on the Internet!" Guess what? More than half of those sites are FFA pages! Now do you see the value? I certainly do.
Set up a FFA page, submit it to all of the auto-submission programs like submit-wolf, traffic seeker, dump truck, etc, and you suddenly have a site that gets to send thousands of "welcome" or "confirm" e-mails each day! This is why people have FFA sites and that they still continue to exist today. The FFA pages that were once used for traffic generation are now used mainly as a marketing tool!
It's just like anything else, you have to adapt to the changing times on the Internet and real life. If you don't you'll quickly be left behind wondering what has happened to the world today...