How to Succeed with Traffic Exchanges
by Bruce Whitehead

One of the most popular ways to generate free traffic to your 
website these days is to use a traffic exchange service. Traffic 
exchanges, whether in the form of popunders, banner images or 
text links, all share the same basic principle - they allow you 
to generate more traffic from your existing website visitors.


The basis is quite simple. For each visitor who generates a 
popunder, or who clicks on a banner or text link on your site, 
you are credited with traffic back to your website. Typically, 
exchanges work off a 2:1 ratio, which means for every two 
exchange visitors you create, you get one back on the network.

A great many exchange services exist on the Web today. For this 
article, we will explore popup, or popunder exchanges, systems 
that create and deliver visitors that launch from member websites 
to generate millions of browser windows across the Internet with 
generally beneficial results.

Large exchanges include the TrafficZap Exchange, ExitExchange, 
TrafficSwarm and W3Exit. Many smaller exchanges exist to attract 
business from niche traffic markets, although the large exchanges 
allow you to categorize and target your traffic on their networks.

The traffic inventory controlled by the exchange is sold back to 
its membership, and to outside advertisers, which supports the 
entire service. The larger networks generate a lot of pages and 
many have become dominant marketing forces on the Web. The 
TrafficZap Exchange, for example, has registered more than 35,000 
websites generating millions of new visitors back to its members 
every week.


Please be aware that there are some numbers to keep in mind when 
shopping for an exchange service, besides just the traffic ratio 
or the size of the provider. Since visitors can be defined in 
many ways, be sure to know the exact details of what constitutes 
the traffic you are getting for the exchange service you are 
considering joining. 

Raw visitors are just any and all visitors, while unique visitors 
are measured within a defined period of time. Popunders visitors, 
for example, should be unique within 4 hours or more to ensure 
the same person does not view your exchange traffic over and 
over again, effectively destroying the value of your investment 
in traffic from your site.

The point is a visitor's value is relative to his or her 
"uniqueness" - a quality that can be interpreted as a 
measurement of time. Some exchanges do not set time limits, 
which as we have just learned obviously diminishes the 
effectiveness of your promotion. 

This is also important in terms of the user experience at your 
own website. If you join a popunder exchange that does not track 
unique visitors, you will be popping so many windows it will 
make your head spin. So be careful that you read all the terms 
and conditions before you join an exchange service to make sure 
you know what you are getting, which should be qualified, unique 


The terms of service for popunder exchanges may include 
restrictions on membership for sites that already have popup 
ads. This is important, because if your website is popped open 
from a site that is already spawning multiple ad windows, your 
site will simply be lost in the shuffle. The same applies to 
background sound or javascript error messages, which will appear 
to come from the launching site if these are not restricted by 
the exchange. You are investing in the exchange, so be sure you 
fully understand what the return on that investment will be.

The idea is to find a service that meets your needs in terms of 
how you want your own site to behave, as well as how you would 
like your ad or website to be presented on the exchange. Also 
look for targeting options, which normally come in the form of 
categorization of the member sites of an exchange. Be sure to 
check the exchange's policy on adult content to avoid any 
unpleasant surprises. And check out the customer support or 
contact links to see how they handle inquires. You have a right 
to ask questions, and they should be answered in a timely manner.

Referring others to the exchange should also benefit you, so be 
sure your exchange offers a referral program. Take advantage of 
your referral status. All it takes is one large site in your 
downline to create a stream of new visitors back to you.


While you should never be asked to pay a fee to join a traffic 
exchange service, you may want to buy additional traffic credits 
from your exchange. Make sure the service you choose has multiple 
ad packages, especially low-cost purchases that will allow you 
to test the waters without having to empty a boatload of cash. 

Most major exchanges will sell visitors for less than ten 
dollars on a starter package. Remember, your goal is to make a 
return on your investment, so there's nothing wrong with testing 
small levels until you've nailed a winning formula and can 
really open up the traffic floodgates.


Fraud on the Internet is unfortunately even more prevalent than 
in most other areas of society. Protect yourself by measuring 
your own stats against those of the exchange, but take care that 
you compare apples to apples when it comes to how traffic is 
based for any given exchange service.

The best advice is to start small and judge the value of the 
traffic you buy in terms of sales coming from your campaigns. 
You may wish to create a "landing page," a page specifically 
built for a particular campaign, and which you track separately 
to gauge performance.


If your goal is to create more traffic without spending money, 
traffic exchanges offer fast and reliable solutions for sites 
that already have an existing traffic base, large or small. 
So do your homework:

- Read the terms of service
- Investigate and understand the numbers
- Make sure there is a referral program
- Locate the customer support system
- Track your own stats

There's no problem testing different providers, but don't run 
them at the same time. Before long, you'll appreciate the 
benefits and be able to judge which system is right for you.

Bruce Whitehead is the founder of, an online 
resource for website owners, ranked among the top 2,000 most 
visited sites worldwide. Trafficzap offers a number of free 
services and hundreds of links to quality traffic-building 
opportunities. (