Traffic Trading: Taking Surfers For A Ride

Anand Ramchandran

One of the best ways to build your traffic is to trade traffic. Simply put, you send a visitor to someone's site, and he sends you one back. The question is, how ethical is it? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of traffic trading:

To be able to run a traffic trade, you need to host your website with a host who allows you to run scripts, such as CGI scripts written in Perl or PHP scripts with a mySQL database. There are traffic trading scripts which you can download for free which will help you implement a traffic trading system. Once you are done setting up the script, then you need to visit the traffic trade pages of other webmasters and sign up for trades. Generally, you need to send 10-50 visitors before you start seeing any return.

Be very careful when you set the trade script's options, read all documentation and monitor all of your incoming traffic carefully – the traffic trade arena is rife with cheaters. The adult industry has all kinds of people, some good and some bad, who take advantage of loopholes, trying to make a quick buck. It's pretty much the same situation as in every other industry, but the problem here is that because of the sensitive nature of our business, it has become a public nuisance – and it's now attracting attention from people who would rather see online porn disappear altogether.

The Problem
Site A is trading traffic with site B. A visitor to site A clicks on a link hoping to find a page or website related to what the link text says, but instead the poor surfer is sent, screaming and kicking, to site B, which then quickly dispatches him to site C.

What we are forgetting when we talk about traffic trades, hits, page views and impressions is that these are real people. They can remember – and once your site wrongly redirects him to a page which says "INSTANT ACCESS" and very little else, he won't be coming back to your site in this decade (that is, unless one of your traffic trades dumps him back on to your site.)

And as far as I'm concerned, linking thumbs to trades is highly unethical. When a surfer clicks on a thumb, he wants to see the full picture – is that so difficult to understand? I'm sure you can think of other ways to make money off the visitor than shoving him off forcefully. The visitor you get has in turn likely been shoved off from another thumb, so, what's the point?

Traffic trades can also be done using exit popups. I won't argue about the merits of popups, but it seems to me that a single exit popup is better than a site full of blind links. With so many adult sponsors giving free content and hosted galleries, I see no reason to waste your traffic – correction: "your valuable customers" on blind links.

If you are smart enough and do a little bit of research, you can easily find traffic trades for every link that accurately matches the description of the link.

Traffic trades, if used correctly, can turn out to a great booster for your traffic and revenue. Maintain a certain standard for your trades: put a little bit of effort into finding good trades and tailoring your site to match their links, and demand that your trades do the same – both of you are likely to benefit from it.