It's not surprising: most TGPs receive far more submissions than they can handle, so right from the start, many webmasters who would like their gallery listed for free simply won't get the chance. If you're lucky enough to have your gallery reviewed, you still may not get listed, either because your gallery isn't "good enough" to compete with others in its niche, or the available slots in that niche are already taken.
This excess of demand over supply is further complicated by cheaters – folks who switch the content or linking of their galleries after having them accepted at a particular TGP. This causes pressure on TGP owners who wish to increase and retain their traffic because surfers see the gallery jerking them around and blame the site where they found the gallery, and then leave. As a result, some TGPs don't allow "outside" submissions, and rely on "partners" for submissions and trades for traffic, further reducing the opportunity for a free listing.
But at the end of the day, the industry's hottest traffic pumps can send you an instant, server-crashing flood of traffic – traffic that has value, and is worth paying for – if you know how to use it. While the intricacies of "how to use it" are well beyond the scope of this article, let's take a closer look at paying for guaranteed gallery placement.
One place to start is by visiting Paid Spots, a new site serving as a directory of TGPs offering paid placement and related services. Paid Spots allows you to compare costs and provides easy links to order pages. According to Paid Spot's 'BigFish', "With the growing desire to buy and sell spots on high traffic TGPs, Paid Spots is a fantastic tool that lets you review sites with paid gallery placement. With the large, and always growing list, webmasters can visit the site and easily compare places to buy gallery spots. Webmasters also have the option to rate and review sites that they have had experiences with. The site is easy to navigate and filled with valuable information..."
Another option is to go with an experienced placement service such as CyberCat, which handles advertising for top sites like The Hun, WorldSex, SleazyDream, JJJ's and AL~4A. Want 8 million uniques tomorrow? Contact Mark or Parney at CyberCat and you'll get it!
"We supply traffic... from TGPs using your banners, galleries, and links," said Mark, describing his company's position as a link between major TGP owners and Webmasters seeking premium listings for their thumb and or movie galleries or other advertisements, such as fixed text links. In an arena where the top TGP spots are often pre-paid placements, having Mark's centralized spot-brokering and consultantcy services is a quick and easy solution to turning on the traffic faucet. But beware of the Network-busting flood of traffic you might receive: "Make arrangements with your hosting providers so that you don't get shut off," Mark recommends.
According to Scott from SleazyDream, a popular TGP that only accepts pre-paid premium gallery placements, "Major TGPs will tell you the exact time and date that your placement will go live, so that you can prepare your network for the sudden bandwidth and server load increase."
One benefit of paid placement is that the rules are a little more flexible. For instance, most TGPs don't allow exit consoles on their free listings, but some will on paid listings. The same goes for an "excessive" amount of outbound links. Addressing the number of exits he allows on his paid listings, Scott remarked that "What I look for on paid listings is that they're tasteful and don't take control of the browser," adding "I want the surfer to come back to my site." Mark said that most paid banner placement links were allowed 2 exits, but that no exit consoles were allowed on gallery listings. He added that "A lot of sites use bots to check listings every half hour, and if any changes have been made, the listings are dropped."
On a personal note, while I like the idea of paying for a consistent, predictable gallery listing, I've yet to do so. Being on the cautious side, I want to make sure that my galleries will "pull" – something I can do with the traffic from free auto-submissions – and that my back end can profitably handle the exits. This is something that I advise everyone to do before opening the flood gates, because there's little profit in burning hundreds (or thousands!) of gigs of bandwidth without making a sale!
Increased flexibility and instant results are what paid gallery placement provides. Just be careful about what you're asking for, because you'll get it; so pull out your checkbook, and warn your ISP! Good luck!