Tuesday, 29 January 2008

What Value 'Artificial' Traffic?

I confess to being no expert in search engine optimization but during my first few days of blogging I used a traffic exchange. You know the type of site; click on a few sites, earn credits and use them to have yours viewed in return. My theory was that at least having some activity couldn't hurt in terms of page rank and who knows maybe the odd visitor may be of value.

I no longer use these exchanges for my blog but continue to make use of one for a referral program I am involved in. It was whilst clicking for credit the other day when I was presented with a page from Associated Content. As most of you will know by now AC and Helium pay writers according to page views. My first thoughts were what an excellent idea this was but would this be considered acceptable conduct?

I scoured through the terms and conditions at both AC and Helium to see if there was any indication. Both sites state that driving traffic to articles by automated means such as spiders and auto refreshers are deemed a breach. Helium goes one step further in specifying that utilising 'pay to surf' sites is also unacceptable.

I would interpret this as the use of traffic exchanges would be taken a very dim view of by Helium but perhaps more acceptable to AC. If it is done in the form of an advert which has to be chosen I believe it is less likely to be an issue.

Of course some of these exchanges are better than others. I first used Trafficswarm which while I quite like the format I found would be more appropriately named were it to be called Traffictrickle. Having tried a few, I have found Clickthru to be the most effective for a relatively small investment of time. Whilst 'pro' upgrades are available most of these sites can be used for free

I will let you decide for yourselves as to their value and the morality of their usage. Comments as always are welcome.
, , Network!


Ashok said...

One thing that's definitely worth a post is this: Is the long-term audience most bloggers need really out here on the web?

It is probably true that for every hundred people surfing the net, 1 creates or does something of note that contributes to life on the net. But it also seems that 1/100 isn't merely you or I, it's also, for the most part, the people we need as an audience.

Yeah, I'm dodging the issue of traffic exchanges. I'm not big on them myself and prefer not to use it. What I'm using to track audience engagement is subscriptions to my blog, I love having subscribers because even if they forget about me, there was some genuine interest shown for a little bit.

Matt D. Barnes said...

I am inclined to agree. I feel that unless you are using a viral scheme that actually works (if such a thing exists) that they are of little value to a site.

I do feel, however, that they could be of some potential use to those who generate an income based on page views or in generating referrals for certain types of programs.

Azlan said...

it depends on how you apply it to be consider as allowable.. if you use it for brand building purposes, I don't think it's anything wrong.. for example if it is use to burst traffics so it would seams to be popular to the eye of your actual visitors hence would create their interest to know your site more.. I've seen few of well known sites did so in their early promotion campaign and gradually decreasing the traffic once the actual traffic starts to drive up...

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The Spewker: said...

I personally don't like these kinds of programs. The whole idea of a blog or eZine is to build reader loyalty. People who jump in and out of websites are noted in analytics and that drives down the value of whatever it is that you're writing. Bad for SEO and bad for growing your audience.