In today's lesson, we're going to discuss one of the major sources of traffic for affiliates – exchanges. If you're unfamiliar with exchanges, you will want to read this over carefully and consider printing it out.

One of the best ways in which you can promote affiliate programs is through various traffic exchanges. Almost all well-defined, robust niches on the Internet have some form of traffic exchange. For instance, casinos, gaming sites, niche forums, and Internet marketing sites all have some form of traffic exchange system. IM, in particular, has dozens of exchanges.

A traffic exchange can serve multiple functions; however, in most cases, it does two important things: 1) it allows you to surf sites, gain credits, and then cash in those credits; and 2) it allows you to put banners or dynamically-generated link boxes on your site that will generate credits, which you can then cash in. Cashing in credits, with most exchanges, results in a certain amount of traffic being drive to your site via the exchange site or via banners on other sites that are members of the exchange.

A good place to start when working with traffic exchanges is to determine which ones are most reputable and which ones have reasonable point systems. For instance, some traffic exchanges allow users to cheat and some have bad systems of exchange, which heavily favor paying members over non-members. You will want to find the best possible exchange given the amount of money you are willing to spend and the product you are marketing.

I suggest using the following sites, which list top traffic exchanges: and
Additionally, you may want to talk to friends to see if any particular exchange has worked well for them. There are hundreds of different exchanges available. The key is finding the one that will work best for your particular situation.

One exchange you may want to consider is Traffic Round-Up. You can find it at the following URL: Like most exchanges, it offers several different types of programs, depending on how much you are willing to pay. If you select a completely free membership, you will have to view three sites in order to have one visitor sent to yours. While the views will only last 10 seconds, the same will be true about yours (unless you are able to persuade visitors to stay longer). If you purchase access to a higher level program, you will get free views and you will only have to view 2 or 1 site in order to have 1 person view yours.

As you check out Traffic Round Up, as well as the other exchanges included in the recommended lists, you will want to take the following things into consideration: 1) what is the input-output ratio for each traffic exchange; 2) how much traffic does this exchange actually receive; 3) how quickly will they place my ads after they are setup. On the first question, you will want to find an exchange that minimizes the amount of time you have to spend surfing and maximizes the amount of credits you receive. For the second question, you will want to make sure that the exchange you select is bustling with traffic from the right places. Last, you will want to find an exchange that puts your ads up in a matter of hours (or a day) – rather than one that could take as long as a week or several weeks.

Now, once you have selected an optimal exchange, you will want to determine the best way in which you can use it to maximize the amount of high-quality traffic you extract from it. You will want to answer the following questions to aid yourself in determining this: do I earn credits from impressions or clicks? And do I lose credits based on impressions or clicks?

This is important to ask, as different exchanges have different policies on this issue. If you lose credits based on impressions, you will want to make sure that you get the absolute largest amount of clicks per impressions. This will involve over-hyping your ads and creating flashy banners (if they allow them). In contrast, if you are getting charged per click, you will want to make sure your ads ONLY appeal to the most interested buyers. Whichever route you take, make sure that it is matched up with a model for maximum revenue generation. You should never take a middle-of-the-road approach. Find out the exact details of the exchange; and then carefully construct a good strategy for your particular situation.

The last thing you will want to consider when using a traffic exchange is precisely what you should promote. You already have a product in mind – probably an affiliate product – but how will you promote it? Will you direct visitors to the affiliate page? Will you direct them to a page on your site which features the product? Or will you direct them to an opt-in form, which will capture their information and then coax them into buying over a period of time?

There's no “best" way to answer this question. In some cases, you will get a higher return if you market the product directly, rather than sending visitors to an opt-in form. In other cases, you will need to make multiple contacts with visitors before you can expect a sale. For this reason, you will want to test, rather than applying any sure rule of thumb. However, starting out, you may want to first try direct sales (to see if the product even sells) by sending the visitor to your affiliate link. If – and only if – people make some purchases, then consider investing the time in an opt-in page, a membership to and a high-quality autoresponder series.

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