For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Rod Baker Announces Internet Wakeup Call for Traffic Exchanges

July 25th, 2009

share-ad-space.gifShare Ad Space owner Rod Baker sent out an Internet “Wakeup Call” on the status of the traffic exchange and PTR industries yesterday, urging members to actually pay attention to the advertisements they are surfing through instead of just breezing through them in multiple tabs to collect the credits. From my standpoint, his message is decidedly unsurprising. Although I was a frequent traffic exchange user from 2004-07, since the last time I reported on the happenings at Share Ad Space my focus regarding traffic building has shifted almost exclusively toward keyword targeting and search engine optimization, a strategy which has brought me much more success than I ever had with any kind of traffic exchanges or paid-to-click types of sites.

About two years ago, these industries began to experience significant decline, and the quality of traffic from these sources has become notoriously poor, as the SAS owner’s message seems to bear out. Also around this period, AdSense and other revenue-generating programs began to seriously distrust them because of the poor quality of traffic and the potential for click fraud. Although I played around with traffic exchanges somewhat during the early days of this site, I was ultimately forced to come to the conclusion that the extra exposure derived from these sources (including even Entrecard, which is not much more than a glorified traffic exchange) was definitely not worth the time and effort required to keep the “hits” coming. In the process, I have also protected myself from potentially crippling bans on my main revenue generators.

Nevertheless, I can sympathize with Rod Baker’s dilemma; the whole downward NWI (not worth it) spiral among members, advertisers, and program owners is very difficult to reverse once it reaches this stage. Frankly, I’m not sure that there is any way out of this mess without completely changing the business model. Until we can figure out how to create some real value for both members and advertisers, I really don’t see this industry being much more than a place to kill time when one has nothing better to do. But when you’re like me and struggling to bring your income up to a respectable level, it seems that there is ALWAYS something better to do!

Meanwhile, here is the text of the SAS owner’s message:


Hello members,

I am not one to complain about the responsiveness of members in regards to how each of you react to advertisements you see on the site or while surfing. I am well aware that this email may be met with negativity but I would like to bring to your attention something that I have been noticing over the years and a little experiment I performed this week.

We’ve all heard the stories from advertisers and even members here and around the industry that have been complaining that no one is really looking at their ads/pages and getting little to no signups, purchases, leads, whatever. So, I ran a little experiment. I’ve been a strong believer that sites like SAS can serve a niche targeted group, you just need to know what the target audience is looking for. To me, I think some of the target keywords are: make money, website traffic, get paid to, surveys, web design, blogs, etc. I know everyone has different interests depending on your lifestyle, age, gender, etc. but the keywords I mentioned above are a safe bet that at least one of them pertain to all of us that are in this industry. Otherwise, why be here, correct?

Therefore, I created an XML feed to my banners and targeted those specific keywords. You may have noticed these text link banners in our currently run 468 banners, skyscraper banners and the 300×250 rectangle banner spread throughout the site (and on the surfers themselves). So far today, there has been around 19,000 impressions and ZERO clickthroughs. No, I am NOT asking you to click nor making any threats of any nature. Also, I am NOT making any policy changes in regard to this. This is merely an observation of everyone’s surf habits across not only ShareAdSpace but I’m guessing across all sites in this industry. For the record, I couldn’t compare the clickthrough rate with the normal internet standard because you need at least 1 clickthrough to get a percentage. Lets assume I did get 1 out of 19,000 impressions. That would be a CTR of: .00005 … The internet average is around .003 to .005 … Notice how much different that is? 1/100th of the internet average. Pretty dismal, huh?

Have we become so accustomed and narrow focused on our task at hand (sign in, hit the surf button, wait for the timer to countdown, move to the next page, repeat, repeat, repeat) and having multiple tab browsers open so that you can do this across 5 or 10 sites JUST to get that 1 credit? Do you REALLY want to do this forever for that 1/10th or even 1/100th of a credit? Do you realize this mindset is going to either drive more advertisers away or, at the very least, drop the value of each view?

We have already seen this happen. Just a few years ago, rates were in the 1/2cent to 1cent per view. At that time, members complained when 1/4cent ads showed up. Today, 1/4cent ads are the high valued ads and some say those are few and far between. We can say it is the economy or that rates have been dropping across the board but I disagree. The kind of the mountain: Google Adsense still have very high rates per click. Other lower tiered ad agencies still have rates many times higher than the rates we have here…and they have held steady over the years or, in some cases, have increased. Not our industry. The only go in one direction: DOWN …

Why does this concern me and what motivated me to send out this message? Naturally, I want “my” site to succeed but it goes way beyond “me” and my sites. The industry is spiraling out of control. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, there really won’t be any advertisers left and subsequently, none of our sites will exist anymore for you to have someplace to even start your own online earning strategy.

This, in my opinion, should be the reason why each of us are here. No one wants to click for 1/100th of a penny. What we all should be doing is looking at a longer term goal. Starting your own website(s), creating a blog you are passionate about, learning some sort of skill to help service other website owners (design, program, marketing, writing, etc). Those are GOOD SKILLS to earn a living online. $8/hr to $40/hr with one or more of the above skills is not just a pipe dream, its a reality. I know, that is what I have done over the past 5 years. I even found 2 jobs right here in my local area on Craigslist (for designer/programmer skillset).

I didn’t go to school for these skills. I learned them by surfing sites, finding interesting ads on those pages, clicking on them and then checking out what they had to offer. I often bookmarked many of these sites and to this day, still go to them for code snippets, tips, or even problem solving on a task I am struggling with. Your path may not be exactly like mine. Maybe you just want to blog and market your blog? Thats fine… our paths will still be similar…learn tips and tricks, find interesting subjects, etc and you can earn MUCH MORE than 1/100th cent per click.

Use our sites as a stepping stone if nothing else. You still need traffic to your blogs and websites and since you already know how to earn credits here, great, use them for your site(s). But, here is the catch: YOU will then want the surfers to be interested in YOUR advertisement, just as I have mentioned above. But if everyone continues to stay focused ONLY on that timer bar, multitask with 10 browser windows open, trying to reach that “500 credit limit before bed time” mentality, each of us are contributing, on our own small part, to the demise of the industry.

My suggestion: slow down, take a few extra moments to actually VIEW the page in front of you, see if any of the banner ads strike your fancy, check it out, bookmark it if you find it interesting so that you can come back to it some other time if you still want to be focused on that 500 credit mark (although I honestly think you shouldn’t focus on that and if you hit just 50 credits that day because you spent a half hour on a site that you really wanted to investigate, that would still be better for you in the long run).

Seriously, think about that for a moment. If you DIDN’T surf that extra 450 pages in that half hour, what did you actually lose in money? 3 to 5 cents? But what you gained in KNOWLEDGE for that extra 1/2 hour with that other site could potentially earn you dollars, dare I say hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you apply that knowledge to your own ventures.

Sorry for this long message. All I am asking is that we, as members, should help “complete the loop”. Advertisers advertise at our sites in hopes of getting interested viewers. Program owners created their websites to connect advertisers to members. What members should do is at least give the advertisers what they were hoping for, at least a small part of your attention to see if you are interested in their offer.

Without all 3 of these sectors working cohesively with one another, the system breaks down and what has been occuring over the years to the point where its almost not worth it being in this industry (for none of the 3 groups: advertiser, PO or member).

So, do you want to rise above this downward spiral, do your part and at least “look” at the ads before you? Before anyone gets offended by this, yes I am well aware that some of you do but lets be honest, MOST don’t. They do exactly what I described…focus on the toolbar, run multiple tabs…virtually become a click robot. Can’t learn much that way, can you?

Thanks for your time and if you have read this far, congratulations, there may still be hope for us afterall… LOL
Rod Baker

PS…feel free to post this message anywhere you wish, forums, blogs, whatever. We really need to get this message out to the masses

Rod Baker, admin

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