Well there has been a lot of talk around the TE and Mailer business of change over the last month and half as this PP issue hits more and more sites and even those that have not been hit have seen a massive down turn in sales and activity and this then raises a point of what do you think should change in our area of business.

I am someone who always has strong views on a variety of things and after doing a lot of research into this as you will see from the last couple of posts I believe now is the time to change things for the better so lets start with what do I think should change.

The down turn in activity is mainly down to the fact that people who surfed for cash prizes etc and bribes like that are not surfing as much because more than likely they was just topping up a bit of an income to their PP account and now a lot of sites cant use that they have gone off to concentrate on the other sites they use to gain a little income.

The one thing we do have still is the actual reason for these things existing and that is to trade advertising and that has not stopped or gone anywhere but the down turn in activity highlights to me that the majority of the people that have been around this niche for a while now have been focused on the making a few pennies more than the actual advertising. 

This is one thing I have been very passionate about and that is the real power of these things, I t has always baffled me why people used to concentrate on surfing for a few cents per day and owners encouraged that too by paying it when instead members could have used the traffic to promote their own sites or affiliate links and earn a much better income via a new customer or a lead that earns from an affiliate program.

To me it seems odd because most people come online to build up a business and an income and yet a lot have ended up chasing the pennies that is more like a job than building a business through gaining customers etc. If you here to build a business then build one, why work at something that is like what a lot do and want to get away from.

Anyway so back to the point, I think we need to concentrate more on the advertising as that is what we are an advertising service and people using a good advertising service can as mentioned before make a lot more money than if they surf for other reasons by building their own business.

So that being said my view is all the fluff, games and cash rewards etc all need to go, there nothing more than distractions and bribes and we should not have to bribe people, if the advertising is good quality it should sell itself. This is important for another reason, if you have all this fluff and bribes you get people in there that are attracted to that and not the actual advertising. More than likely most of the people now seeing your website are  not actually looking for your sites but the fluff and bribes. If the site was full of just people doing the same as you, swapping views of their sites then the quality of views would be so much higher again.

I understand some like the gamification and opening up to the world way however thats what sites like stumble upon are for, general viewing. This traffic swapping niche was very much just people with their own websites showing each other their sites and then using each others services. Opening to the world just dilutes as a lot are there causally looking and your ad site will not appeal to a granny looking for knitting patterns will it. 

Second thing in my view is the income opportunity that a lot of us have portrayed and I am as guilty as anyone here for this part. Lets start by saying that we have not done anything wrong or anything illegal but what we have done is focus on one part that makes it seem like an income opportunity to others.

This in my view is why some people like PP are looking at our sites and saying its an income opportunity because sometimes different percentages of commissions are paid on different memberships etc meaning it appears that some take an upgrade just to earn more commissions so you can see where there thinking comes from. 

The majority of affiliate programs online and safe ones are one flat rate commission and the affiliate program is separate from the main parts of the site too. I think thats why things like JV Zoo and the like are not affected by this as the affiliate program is separate. That to me really needs addressing also. Remember the time when traffic exchanges never even had affiliate programs?

So lets sum up my views here. Address affiliate programs and the actual need for them, Aim back at advertising quality and that as the main/only service, remove the fluff and bribes that attract people that do not want to ad swap.

Now, what do you think, please comment below as this is what could adjust and shape the end plans I have for my sites and the future. Not having your say now could mean the sites change away from what you want.

P.S. Happy thanksgiving to all those in the US and if you login to my sites today I have a little gift for you, no sales (They come tomorrow as today is about giving)


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  1. audreysorg says:

    You are absolutely right Steve. Bringing penny clickers into the Te/safelist/mailer industry is just bad business. It gives false click-thru rates, it appears like a lot of activity when in fact it is just penny chasers. Also it leaves the owner in debt, because people eventually stop promoting the site, and the owner is just left with a bunch of people clicking for pennies. Also, About 5 years ago, I had people opting in as I was mailing out. Not anymore and I believe it is largely due to sites coming online with bribes and distractions.

    • Steve Ayling says:

      Yes, very good points to add to my post about owners in debt etc. Hey send me a skype I actually have some dollars for you 🙂

  2. Good blog. As one who had their paypal account restricted 2 months ago, it was not even a site that paypal previously targeted but I guess, now, everything internet related is fair game. I don’t join sites anymore that only have paypal but most are switching away to payza/stp/bitcoin. PayPal did me a favor. I lost about $50. per month from my own sites but stopped paying $150. – $200. per month for other sites that I had joined where I was paying, monthly, from PayPal subscriptions. PayPal has created an industry shakeup and people have to get back to the advertising side of things, rather than clicking for pennies. I joined a site that paid $0.03 – $0.05 per click, so I did not mind clicking. 100 sites per day was a $3.00 – $5.00 income. Within a week, they changed it to $0.005 per click. I haven’t clicked on an ad at that site since.

  3. Steve again a great post. I seen this ending badly a year ago. As an advid surfer and recent owner. I feel what started all this mess was a few promoting owning a safelist to get rich. When I seen people launching a new safelist saying they will pay you upwards of $2 just for joining. That really sent a red flag to me. How can any owner of any site pay people just for joining? I knew they did not actually get paid. What kind of members are you attracting doing that? As an owner I also do not like the one click join all. Again how many sites can anyone person keep active in?

    As an owner I understand that people think they need to send to thousands in order to get singups. It is a numbers game they say. But which do you focus on? Sent to or actual hits? i was amazed at my hits from some sites with the larger numbers of members.

    As a owner I feel it is important to delete inactive members. Not by the way the script is setup. Instead by the stats as owners we see. People that have not logged in or sent out an email in the last 120 days. Not really sure where to draw the line. When the site claims they have 4000 members but your inbox gets 10 or 15 emails a day something is wrong. Right?

    The biggest mistake about the new safelists is giving cash out advantages so people can get around the reason safelists first started. You look at mine and I will look at yours. That is when it was worth the time to surf. Simple strategy that worked.

  4. David says:

    Hey Steve, some good points here, but I am not fully sure about all the changes. I believe the whole business has moved on from ‘you view my site / I view your site’ – here is one credit.

    Advertising has moved on from that & there is so many ways people can advertise now, they don’t need to sit in from of a computer & surf for an hour to get a 1,000 views! I have a new site (I want promote in this comment, as that is not the right thing to do) but it’s all about being active, yes I can away prizes & the site has many games BUT, if you are not active, by viewing advertising & having your own advertising in there, then you get nothing! I don’t give monthly credits, or sign up credits, I don’t even give credits for surfing…you have to win credits for being active.

    I don’t think the ‘penny surf’ is the problem, I believe the problem is with upgrades & credits, I have joined many sites over the years, with giving away 1,000’s of credits as a monthly bonus for upgrading…well that just means I don’t need to view any ads, the site gives me 1,000’s of credits a month for a one-time upgrade. So all you do is login once a month, add the 1,000’s of credits to your advertising & that’s it! Then do the same next month.

    For me, this is the problem, there is no need for people to surf , click banners etc for credits, because we as owners, give credits away like crazy, I remember some sites giving away a million credits to new members – what was the point in that!

    I think we just need to stop giving so much away with upgrades & instead reward members for being active (that is free members as well) & not just giving them a monthly bonus because they can afford an upgrade.

    As for upgrades, the easiest way to fix this is either everyone is a free member or everyone pay’s the same monthly fee and everyone has the same fixed rate commissions – like other advertising platforms have.

    People will always need advertising for different reasons – that is a fact.

  5. Claudiu Pop says:

    Quality views are a very good thing and should be the main purpose of a TE.But cash prizes,games and all this “fluff” can also increase the quality of the views,if used in the right way.For example,you have Zubee Coins which make people be careful to not miss the zubee coin prize page.Same goes for Viral Traffic Games,Emerald Hunter and a lot other games.I think that bribes should NOT BE DELETED from the TE Industry,but instead what needs to be changes is the WAY owners offer prizes.

  6. I agree with you, Steve. I would rather have a few people take a serious look at my sites than have hundreds of visitors who only view it to earn a fraction of a penny, win a badge or sticker, or qualify for a few extra points in some third party game.
    Some big-name TE owners are now saying they plan to re-focus their sites and drop all the fluff and distractions, and I for one will welcome the change.
    There is one site I tried briefly then dropped, where you are not rewarded as much for viewing ads and considering their content as you are for commenting on the graphics, and then (even worse) commenting on those comments. To me that site epitomises what has gone wrong with the industry – the focus has shifted away from what should be the core activity – the sharing of information and resources.

  7. tactical2k says:

    The first item is I tryed surf sites for 12 months you know how many sign ups I had less then ten.I also used the what was supposed to be the top ten such as Easyhits4u..Well what a waste of time.I was surfing the others too in the top ten.I stoped surfing it takes to long and the pay back is small.I went and payed for upgrades one time fee and commission sites such as the ones you use Nomarketing leftbehind,Thankyoupageconnection,PSclickpower,Instantads4u you know the ones by Frank S.Well the commision sites I have over 200 referrals.The fact is depending on the programs the mailers work 20 times better then the surf sites.I also believe in paying one upgrade but do not like the monthly payments sites.I would like to have marketers get away from the surf sites they do not cover the time spent dollar wise.

  8. Garry Smith says:

    Great insights Steve and it certainly reflects what a lot of my fellow marketers are thinking. The quality of traffic is a way down and there is very little “true” traffic anymore due to no one really looking at the ads just getting enough clicks to get that penny or bonus or whatever

  9. Rose says:

    I agree as well but the problem is that we will all be looking at the same opportunities and there wont be sales. With my 2 sites people sign up but idont pay commission so they dont come back. PP has caused a lot of headache.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I like the idea of games such as hangman or spin the wheel as it does take away the monotony of surfing. You got to admit, surfing is boring, lol. I do agree that we have went by the wayside with penny surfing. There was a time when I never would have considered giving away cash at my sites but I finally did relent when I saw that activity had greatly fallen at my sites as members were going to other sites that offered cash. This was a mistake on my part. I do hope TE’s including my own can get back to our roots.

  11. Traffic exchanges have lost the luster they once had. We are living in an age where people are more interested in being entertained by playing games and interacting on social media. I started to see a downturn when many traffic exchanges became social sites. I venture to say that 99% of surfers never look at the page being displayed. I’ve often wondered …..if a site was developed giving away a $500,000 home to the first person that clicked the link would anyone see the page to claim the home.

  12. add2it says:

    A few comments on comments of others…

    1. Paying for free signups is easy for site owners that know their numbers. When you e.g. know that each lifetime member earns you on average e.g. $10 (some free members upgrade or purchase one-time offers) … why not spend $1-2 to gain new members?

    All you have to do is to continue to monitor the average lifetime value per member. If it starts to drop too low, you simply stop offering to pay for free members.

    2. You can pay per view without risking going in debt as long as you make the payout depending on your income. For example, you can pay out only on paid advertising and give only a credit reward on earned credits.

    3. Regarding getting low number of emails from large list mailer sites… that’s possible if you not all members are allowed to email. At ViralURL we e.g. have over 50,000 members, but the average member gets only 9 emails per day. How is that possible? Only paid members can email every 3 days and not all do all the time. The majority of members are free members that can only email if they buy mailing credits or receive them as rewards for activities done. And then they earn 50, 100 or 1,000 mailing credits for tasks then take multiple days to complete. The reason they would even bother for that is that it’s tasks that we want them to do and they would do anyway if the like the tools they get free access to (regular logins, traffic to their cloaked links and referring active members). 🙂

  13. add2it says:

    Ooops… Totally forget to address Steve’s original post. 😛

    I do agree that it’s sounds like a good idea to limit surfers to people interested in what’s offered on the pages they see.

    You could do that though by asking surfers about what topics they are interested in and then show them only the pages that are in those categories.

    Of course that would require advertisers to define the categories for their pages, but I believe that could increase the quality of traffic a lot.

    The bigger risk with paying for the views is that it will proportionally attract more surfers from low income countries that are willing to spend their time on such a low paying activity.

    The only work around that would be to either not allow signups from certain regions, or to limit the payout to just members that can afford to make an advertising purchase.

    Of course that would further upset SJW payment processors such as PayPal.

    I thing that TE site owners should focus more on features that make surfers pay attention to the content of the page surfed.

    I have seen once a site that asked a question about the site content in order to continue to the next page. That seemed to me like a better feature to improve visitor quality.


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