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Karlonia.com

Share Ad Space Cleans Out Garbage Sites

March 12th, 2008

share-ad-space.gifRod Baker of Share Ad Space and Million Hits Lotto fame is getting ready to take out the virtual trash, according to a new program update released yesterday. Earnings rates and advertising revenues in the traffic exchange and PTR industries have been declining over the past two years, at least in part because of too many junk paid-to-promote (PTP) types of sites infiltrating the traffic exchanges and diluting the value of credits and purchases for serious advertisers. Such sites are typically littered with banner ads, popups, and sometimes downloader Trojans or other nasties that irritate and annoy surfers to the point of boycotting the programs altogether.

The SAS owner, along with webmasters of related programs, are hoping to clean up their respective niche industries by implementing stricter requirements on what types of sites are allowed to be displayed to the viewers. Hopefully this will result in a smoother surfing experience and better conversion rates for advertisers, which will in turn increase earnings possibilities for the members.

I have had generally favorable experiences with SAS during the three years that I have been a member there. Although not always active with the surfing, I have purchased advertising credits for low rates in the past and have been gradually distributing these among various affiliate pages. The results are nothing spectacular, but I have made enough in commissions through sales of Clickbank products to offset the cost of advertising purchases and still have a small profit left over. After the proposed changes go into effect on April 1, I might start building up more credits at SAS and the newer Million Hits Lotto site so that I can increase the possibilities of making future sales. Meanwhile, here is the full text of the latest update:

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Karlonia.com Traffic Increases to Record Levels

March 11th, 2008

Throughout the first quarter of 2008, there has been a noticeable increase in traffic here at Karlonia.com. After the initial launch of this blog back in March 2007, traffic had been increasing very slowly until I finally reached the 100 visitor mark last December. More recently, however, the pace has really picked up. This morning I woke up to discover that I had managed to bring the traffic levels to over 500 24-hour unique visitors for the first time in the site’s history:

firestats-traffic-report.jpg

Although higher traffic numbers are usually encouraging, the best news about the recent totals is that none of this is low-quality “garbage traffic” such as autosurfs or bots. In fact, after manually counting up the visitors from search queries that Firestats was able to detect and display, I arrived at a total of 242. Additionally, there were another 21 visitors from the Live Search bar that Firestats did not display the full queries for, and there were also several visits in the referrer list from other search engines such as Dogpile, Excite, Alta Vista, the CNN search bar, Technorati, a German search engine called Ottosuch, and several other lesser search engines, bringing the actual organic search traffic total closer to 300. I’m also bringing in more visitors from Entrecard, blog comment links, and “clicks of curiosity” from other webmasters who discover my URL in their referrer stats.

As a benefit to my readers, I will use the rest of this post to summarize and describe what I have been doing to bring in the traffic and provide some tips for newer bloggers to accelerate the traffic building process:

  1. Smart SEO: After the first few months, I realized that it would be difficult to rank for any highly competitive keywords unless I could get backlinks from some major authority sites. But for a site like mine, this is very difficult because I just don’t have the popularity or insider connections to pull off such a feat. However, I discovered that I could often rank well for lots of other keywords that were less competitive but still received significant search traffic.

    I put together a strategy whereby I would do SEO research and optimize my pages for targeted keywords before publishing them, with the goal of bringing in at least 5-10 visitors per day for each page. By doing this, I reckoned, the multiplying effect of having many content-rich pages would add up over time. By the numbers, 5 visitors per day times 200 pages yields 1000 daily visitors, which will hopefully be enough to pass critical mass and allow unsolicited natural linking to occur, thus allowing my SEO operation to run somewhat on autopilot.

    This strategy worked to some extent at first, although I still had problems with pages dropping into Google’s supplemental and omitted results, while others seemed to pop in and out of the SERPs intermittently even when I received good rankings. The big breakthrough came about two months ago when I began aiming inbound links at specific pages that I expected to rank well instead of simply getting more links to the site’s home page like most people do.

    Most of these inbound links have come from blog commenting. After publishing a new keyword-targeted page, I would seek out other blogs (preference was given to DoFollow, but I did not use these exclusively) that had pages with content and keywords similar to my own. Then I read through the other blog’s article, left a non-spammy comment, and repeated the process with a few other blogs until I had at least 5-10 good links pointed at the page. In most cases, I did not attempt to put keywords into the name field of the other blogs; the only exceptions were instances where it was clear that the site owner was openly allowing this practice.

    Within a few days of gaining the backlinks, search traffic to the target pages increased, but better yet, this traffic has remained and become more reliable because the pages have attained a certain “stickiness” and are not dropping in and out of the results anymore. Another beneficial side effect of this strategy has been an increase in crawling frequency to non-targeted pages, which has caused older pages that I had completely forgotten about to gain a foothold in the SERPs and bring in traffic for all sorts of interesting “long tail” queries.

    The main disadvantage to this method is that it requires a fair amount of time to find relevant sites, write comments with substantial content, and set the links for each page, especially since I have over 300 pages and am publishing a new one every day. However, I am hoping that once the traffic to the site reaches a certain critical mass, other sites will begin linking to my pages naturally without me having to expend so much effort to acquire the needed links.

  2. Entrecard: Participation in the Entrecard system has provided a nice boon to Alexa rankings and has complemented the search traffic nicely by drawing in visitors from the webmaster community along with members of the general public who are arriving at this site through the search engines. In order to increase Entrecard traffic, I have used multiple tactics including reliably reciprocating drops, purchasing low-cost (in terms of credits) advertising at lots of different sites, and dropping on popular or active sites. I will also occasionally drop on “newbie” blogs in order to get some fresh faces in front of my site and increase the chances of gaining more repeat visitors in the future.

    I try to use up my maximum allocation of 300 card drops per day whenever possible, which allows me to rack up more credits and purchase more advertising on other people’s widgets or through the shop feature. Amazingly, as of this writing, I have managed to climb into 5th place out of 197 blogs (based on advertising price) in the Internet marketing category. There are still a few more things I can do here, such as actively participating in Entrecard’s forum or getting an article published on their blog, but I am only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day.

  3. Scratchback widget advertising: I am beginning to pick up a significant amount of traffic coming from the various sites where I have purchased text link ads through the Scratchback widgets, and these ads may be having a small favorable effect on SEO as well. Scratchback is a system where you can make a small donation (tip) to another site owner by clicking on an open link in the appropriate widget. These donations are small cash amounts, usually in the $1-5 range, although they can be as high as $25 depending on the preferences of the site owner.

    In exchange for the tip, you are allowed to place a text link ad for your site and even choose the anchor text. The main limitations are that you only get 20 characters of text and the links are nofollow (in order to avoid being penalized by Google for paid links). However, not all search engines recognize nofollow and it still provides a good avenue for traffic, especially if you can find a relevant site for your text link placement.

  4. Social directory and community sites: The BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog widgets on many sites have provided an opportunity for me to gain much exposure by simply visiting other sites that are members of these particular networks. When the other site owners see my little avatar appear on their widgets, many of them will click through to my profile page and eventually my blog, resulting in a steady influx of new visitors.

    Meanwhile, I have had many people add me to their friends lists at BlogCatalog and leave messages on my profile pages, giving me the opportunity to visit other sites and leave appropriate comments. Although I haven’t been nearly as active with these types of sites as I have with Entrecard, the traffic is ongoing, and my brand name (Karlonia) is steadily being distributed onto an increasing number of other people’s profiles and lists.

  5. Blog commenting: Although I have tended to regard blog commenting as a relatively convenient SEO tool, the original purpose of this medium was to allow the commenter to give feedback to the blog owner and join in a community style discussion similar to a forum or bulletin board service. Even though I have now established my own site and become semi-addicted to SEO, I have not completely forgotten about the original spirit of commenting. I have occasionally left rather lengthy and informative comments on other people’s blogs whenever I found a post that really interested me or saw an opportunity for me to contribute some of my ever-growing store of knowledge to the readers.

    Because there is the ability to place links back to my site in the URL field, a well-placed and useful comment can be a decent source of traffic from curious visitors to the other site. Over time, if one can leave enough quality comments on lots of other sites, the accumulated hits can add up to a significant and diverse traffic flow.

  6. StumbleUpon: I am relatively new user of this particular venue, but I have received some nice bursts of traffic from it occasionally. A few of the other Entrecard members have Stumbled this site and a small sampling of its pages; however, I have yet to explore the full potential of this system. From my experience, it works very much like a manual traffic exchange with no timer on it. By clicking the “Stumble” button on the toolbar, you can keep surfing through a nearly infinite number of web pages and can even control which ones you see to some extent by choosing preferred category tags. Actually doing the stumbling can eat up a lot of time that could be used for other tasks, but it is still a good way to gain exposure to new websites that would otherwise remain undiscovered.



    Well, that about wraps it up for the major traffic sources that I have tapped into thus far. Of course, there are still more promotional avenues out there that I have not gotten to yet, such as PPC (pay per click), email lists, various offline advertising methods, and the relatively new Project Wonderful. Meanwhile, if you have any other useful traffic building tips to share, feel free to use the comment section to describe your discoveries.


EasyHits4U Still Going Strong

February 23rd, 2008

easy-hits-4u.gifIn traffic exchange news today, EasyHits4U continues to make a strong showing in the rankings and has proven itself to be one of the most effective advertising venues in this particular genre. As with all manual traffic exchanges of this type, it is advisable to use simple, quick-loading splash pages as opposed to sending visitors directly to a sales page or your main website. Many Internet marketers also use opt-in pages for this situation, as it can be a good way to generate free leads and gradually build up a large and potentially profitable subscriber list.

Below is the latest progress report from EasyHits4U:


  1. Our current Surfing Contest goes very well. Your surfing activity is simply overwhelming this month!
  2. EasyHits4U traffic exchange is #1 at TrafficHoopla / Hit Exchange Report 10 weeks in a row and #1 at Top Traffic Exchanges 5 weeks in a row.
    Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your continuous support!

    It’s a well-known fact that personal tracking is very important but HOW can you analyze 100+ popular TEs and choose those which perform very well right now? For certain you can get the whole picture on current activity in top traffic exchanges only using a mix of rankings from Hit Exchange Report (TrafficHoopla), Top Traffic Exchanges, Traffic Exchange List, HEN report, Alexa and so on.

    After choosing some exchanges from those lists, you can start surfing and/or purchasing hits from them. It is recommended that you track your own campaigns. There are free services out there that give this opportunity. Otherwise, if you get some bad experience with one or two randomly chosen, you may mistakenly decide that TEs are unworthy to use.

    By the way, have you seen updated Hit Exchange Report already? It has been well improved during last few weeks: tracking of referrals and signups, new Top 10 referrals and, of course, raw and unique hits, % of unique hits and sitting balances on Top 20 traffic exchanges. Their report is updated every Tuesday and actual price of such report is only $2.50 :-)

  3. Our huge block list with 500+ sites/domain/patterns helps us to clean our database. But we believe that it’s not enough and we keep working hard to get rid of hard-to-find framebreakers and nasties in the rotation. Unfortunately we cannot just set up SafeGuard or HitsConnect Approval system like some other exchanges because our system is built on unique custom scripts.

    That’s why our programmers have started working on our own site checker which will detect nasties in our database and remove them automatically.

  4. And the last note about annoying framebreakers: When some site tries to break our surfing frame, new JavaScript popup appears. Press “OK” button if you are leaving our site or just trying to refresh browser window, or press “Cancel” button to report a framebreaker.

    Alternatively please try to remember site URL or catch site ID in new pop-up window and just email it to us. We will do everything we can to find and remove such web site.

    If you report site, it will be excluded from surfing immediately and checked by one of our admins faster than if you just email details on framebreakers to us

  5. This week’s buyer drawing winner is “oldstockcerts” who already received 2000 bonus credits! Drawing continues — any member who purchases at least 1000 credits is automatically entered into current drawing.



Crazy-Traffic February Contest Begins: Chance to Win $25

February 2nd, 2008

Although I do not have much time for writing posts today (I need to straighten out an important issue with my bank and hosting company), I just happened to receive this email from Crazy-Traffic about two hours ago announcing a new surfing contest:

Welcome Karlonia

Crazy-Traffic is having a surfing contest until MARCH 1, 2008

1st place gets $25.00

2nd place 1 Year INSTITUTIONALIZED upgrade

3rd place 1 Year INSANE upgrade

As you can see, unlike certain other traffic exchanges Crazy Traffic prefers to get straight to the point and doesn’t mess around with full-length articles for emails.

Unfortunately, upon logging into my account I discovered that the 6 month upgrade that I won back in July has now expired (wow, has it really been that long?), so I’m back to free member status with a somewhat less favorable surf ratio. However, the surfing is pretty quick and smooth here, so I might as well try to win this contest and possibly regain the old upgrade. Of course, first place would nice also; I’ve never won actual money from a traffic exchange before, and I could always use the extra PayPal funds.


Press Release Tip: Webwire.com

January 16th, 2008

webwire-press-release.gifYesterday I received a nice little email tip from one of my big marketer guys about a potential source of traffic that most of us are probably not using. It’s called Webwire.com, an online news service that distributes press releases to major Internet media outlets such as Google News, MSN News, and the like. I’ll let the email speak for itself because it does a pretty good job of summarizing the pros and cons. Meanwhile, if you decide to use this method but aren’t sure about how to write press releases, you can check out my previous article on this topic, 10 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases.


Marketing Tip: http://www.webwire.com

Postives: Fast indexing (2 days), on par with ezinearticles, little competition, easy to use once familiar.

Negatives: Cost $19 (which to me is actually a positive because it will keep a lot of competition away)

-Results short lived. 1 to 2 weeks. (great to use for new product launches)

Summary: Webwire is a press/news release service. This means Google, Yahoo and MSN bots visit frequently. The price keeps out the riff raff that most free sites get…and I “theorize” that Google gives it special points because of this.

To stay “clean” you need to submit a press release, which is really easy guidelines are here:

http://www.webwire.com/FormatGuidelinesOptions.asp

I do notice though…that they are not very tough on the “guidelines”.

However…I would highly recommend that you follow them because

1. You won’t have to worry about getting your release pulled.

2. My experience with press releases is that they convert very well…because it is NEWS and not a pitch.

Webwire is a great little tool to keep in your arsenal.



Yet Another RoyalSurf Update

January 7th, 2008

Yes, they’re at it again. The Royal Surf owners have sent out several more updates since the last one that I posted here where I managed to win the free squire upgrade. I haven’t actually posted them all because I don’t want to overdo it with any single program, and there is always plenty of news on both the Internet marketing and Libertarian fronts that deserves coverage. But it’s hard to turn down the free content that conveniently arrives in my inbox, especially since my search engine checks reveal that no one else is publishing these updates so far (thus avoiding the duplication problem) and the RoyalSurf administrators themselves probably don’t mind the free advertising that they are receiving here.

royalsurfbanner3.jpg

This time there was apparently some sort of error that caused the cron job to run early, resulting in an accidental reset of the jousting quest stats for the current week. The program owners are compensating for this by increasing the bonus credits links and bronze coin awards that can be found during the quests. Meanwhile, the frequent updates and program tweaks seem to be working well for them in terms of increasing membership and delivering higher quality traffic. I should probably surf this exchange more frequently because the overall advertising potential here is on a definite upward trend, especially with all of the free upgrades and bonuses being awarded to active members.

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RoyalSurf Awards Random Upgrades

December 28th, 2007

Although I wasn’t really planning on doing another program update, it seems that I have received an unexpected random upgrade award from Royal Surf today, so I might as well take the opportunity to celebrate and let you catch up on the latest news:


Greetings Karl,

Before we get started, you might want to grab something to drink…and maybe even a snack. This is gonna be a long one. Go ahead, I’ll still be here when you get back. :-)

All set with beverage and yummies? Didja grab some leftover turkey or ham? Ok. Let’s get started!

royal-surf-banner.gif

The first thing I want to give you is the recipients of the Christmas Day gifts:

User ID Gift
234 6 months as a Royal Squire
304 3 months as a Royal Squire
6007 3 months as a Royal Knight
79 6 months as a Royal Knight
2459 $15 Cash added to your RoyalSurf account
2469 $10 Cash added to your RoyalSurf account
8331 5000 Credits added to your account
471 2500 Credits added to your account
537 15 Royal Coins
467 10 Royal Coins

Thank you all for being loyal members of RoyalSurf. The King and I hope that these little gifts will show our appreciation to you. Your gifts have been added to your accounts. :-)

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RoyalSurf Overhauls Site Design, Provides Better Incentives

December 20th, 2007

The medieval-themed traffic exchange Royal Surf has recently made major changes to the design of its site. The program owners have also added various surfing and referring incentives in order to make membership here a little more interesting. Six weeks ago, the program revamped its jousting game to make it more like a mini-RPG (role playing game), complete with strength bonuses and boss monsters.

royal-surf-banner.gif

The new design changes make the site look a little more “medievalish” than before, but what seems more enticing are the additional rewards. There is now a small cash bonus for surfing 1000 or more sites in a day as well as cash bonuses for direct referrals. There are also many more opportunities for winning awards from random drawings, even for members who do not surf large numbers of pages or win many of the regular quests. The actual details of the recent changes are spelled out below:

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SAS Retires Debt, Considers Referral Replacement Feature

December 19th, 2007

share-ad-space.gifRod Baker, the owner of Share Ad Space, has been one of the more dynamic program owners in the traffic exchange and website promotion industries. His latest proposed tweak to the SAS program involves the idea of allowing members to replace inactive or “dud” referrals after surfing a certain number of pages. While there is no guarantee that the “fresh” referral would remain active, it does represent a significant step forward in combating the problem of inactive and worthless referrals. Meanwhile, Rod has also managed to officially retire the site debt from the previous version of SAS that was derailed last July by an unfortunate lightning strike and subsequent loss of data by the hosting company. Details of this latest update are posted below:


Hello everyone,

A new poll has been setup at our forum. Here is its contents:

A new idea to present to the masses.

Since the advent of the free referrals this past month, while many are excited with the new features, many are upset that so many referrals are inactive.

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How Can I Get Free Text Links?

December 5th, 2007

free-text-links.jpgOne of the most important aspects of website promotion is the procurement of more inbound links to your site. For many webmasters, this has become a real challenge, especially in light of Google’s recent actions which have penalized many sites that sell text links or have participated in sponsored review programs such as Pay Per Post. Moreover, many of us may not have a lot of money to spend on text links and would rather do it in the bum marketing fashion, which for those not familiar with the terminology roughly translates to “promote your website for free”.

So how can you get free text links without having to resort to obvious spamming or black hat tactics? Well, there are a few different ways to do this that will actually work as long as you’re willing to invest a little bit of your time:

1. Post in relevant forums that allow signatures. Most bulletin board services, known more commonly today as forums, will allow users to place at least one link to a website of their choice in the signature. This signature line appears at the bottom of every post made by any user that enables this feature. This presents a good opportunity to obtain many one-way backlinks from the forum site after you make posts there. For best results, choose a forum that is relevant to the topic of your site; these links will generally carry more weight with the search engines.

2. Post comments on blogs. Most blogs that allow comments will have a URL field above the place where you are supposed to type in your comment. By placing your site’s URL in here before posting, you can get a free link back to your site. It is advisable to make sure that your comments are relevant to the topic of the blog post and add value in some way; if the comment appears too “spammy”, the blog owner may delete it.

In order to save time in finding relevant blogs, you can go to your favorite search engine and use a very specific query such as this one:

“your favorite keyword” “powered by wordpress” “leave a comment” -”comments closed”

This will tell the search engine to return only WordPress powered sites that allow comments and have your chosen keyword somewhere in their content. Because WordPress is one of the more search engine friendly blogging platforms, this will make your job easier. If you want your comment links to also pass PageRank in addition to providing traffic potential, you can add the words “dofollow” or “nonofollow” to the above query to increase your chances of finding blogs that do not use the dreaded rel=”nofollow” tag.

In order to make sure that a blog is properly following comments, you can look at any posts that contain comments while having the Firefox Search Status plugin enabled. If the blog in question is using the nofollow tag, the URL of the commentator will display with a pink box around it. If you don’t see any pink boxes around the commenters’ names, then these links should be able to pass PageRank.

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Viral Website Promotion Method

December 3rd, 2007

While browsing through a relatively new online auction site that is being promoted by Royal Surf, I ran across an advertisement for a viral website promotion method that can supposedly result in a steady increase in traffic to the targeted site. While I think that some of the numbers used for potential traffic volume better represent theoretical hopes as opposed to realistic projections, there is no cost to use the system, so I went ahead and joined the program to see how well it works.

The system originates with a membership site called T-2000 Ultra. I’m not sure why the creators of the site decided to give it a name that more resembles a newfangled vacuum cleaner than a marketing technique, but frankly if it can bring some much-needed traffic to this site, I’m not going to worry about what name they decide to put in the title tag. Upon arriving at the site, the first 80% or so of the text explains how the system is supposed to work and basically sells the idea that it is a good thing to get more traffic to our sites so that we can make more money (as if we really needed to be convinced of this - duh!).

The important part where you can actually start to promote your site is located near the bottom of the page. There are six text ads of other people’s sites down there, all of them displaying with the familiar blue hyperlink color. Below that are six little boxes for entering the ad codes, along with a short registration form that you’re supposed to fill out after you input the codes.

To get the ad codes, you click each one of the six text links and view the site for at least 10 seconds, after which a five-digit code will appear in a bar across the top of the screen. After collecting the codes and entering them in the boxes, you can then enter your site URL and preferred link text, along with name, email, and password in the appropriate fields and click “Submit” to begin the registration process.

At this point, they will send two confirmation mails to your email address. You will need to click the links in both of these to fully confirm your registration as part of the opt-in process (apparently they’re wanting to make extra sure that there are no problems with spam complaints). Most of this information, including the funding source for the site, is explained fairly well in the welcome mail:

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