Tumbling Dice

Back in 2006 I wrote up a report card for the major blog traffic exchanges in play at that time with the goal being to share my experiences and opinions of them and also to get your feedback, as users on these exchanges.

Well that was 4 years ago and the landscape for bloggers who are looking around to find a community to join & get exposure to, has changed quite dramatically. There are new services popping up all the time. A couple of the players are still in the game, however even they have now changed to what they once were all those many (4) years ago.

What I have done below is looked at the five major Blog Traffic exchanges and rated them based on my own personal experiences in the categories of: Description, Pros, Cons and Other. After that, I have listed and overall grade of each one.

Arguably there may be more (or even less) blog services out there to rate however, since I have only had first-hand experiences with these, they are the ones I deemed as 'major' and chose to include. These are: Blog Explosion, Adgitize, Expose Your Blog, Entrecard and Tribal Blogs.

At the bottom I have then put a quick poll for all of my readers so you can rate these services based on your own personal experiences.

Your opinions are also welcome as this may help new users get a better idea of these exchanges and if they want to be a part of them based on all our feedback. If I have missed any great service that you may use or know about, please feel free to share it here as well.




Blog Explosion

Description:
Time based system where the user is given credits to view a blog for 30 seconds. The credits are then used to buy advertising, banners, etc. This service is one of the "old timers" in the blogoshere and has been around at leat 5 years.

Pros:
Blog Explosion has one of the most user friendly layouts and additional services being offered by any of the Blog Exchanges.
In addition to the usual blog rotations, they offer services such as Battle of the Blogs, Blog Rocket and other ways to increase your traffic and win credits.

Cons:
At one time considered to be the 'cadillac' of all the blog exchanges, this service has now essentially been abandoned by ownership. As a result it is cluttered with with old & deserted blogs, broken services and now has very few active members.

Other:
Forum is overrun by spam however there are still some volunteers courageously keeping vigilant and answering users questions whenever possible. This is the only support offered.

Traffic Generated: Very Minimal (and dropping)


Rating: F (NOT Recommended)



Adgitize

Description:
A service which began in 2008 and has publishers and bloggers interact on the Adgitize Ad Network. It is advertised as providing an alternative advertising platform for bloggers. Essentially you purchase advertising and can also place (optional) code on your blog to earn points which is later converted into cash.

Pros:
A very simple concept where you can have your ad appear on others blogs and vice versa. The more points you have the larger the payout to you is.
There are a couple of different ad sizes to work with as well as excellent reporting and tracking.

Cons:
The service isn't free and will cost you money (currently $14/monthly plus optional extras for more ads). This isn't necessarily a con as if you participate, you should get your monthly fee back and more. Previously had a good user forum however it seems to have disappeared a few months back.

Other:
Ken, the owner of Adgetize, appears to be very involved and hands on. Questions, etc are answered and resolved extremely quickly. There is also a blog maintained with updates and news.

Traffic Generated: Good (possibly only to click on the widget code)



Rating: C+ (Recommended)



Expose Your Blog

Description:
The new kid on the block which just started up in mid-2010. This is another time based system where the user is given credits to view a blog for 25-30 seconds. These credits are then used to buy advertising, banners, etc.

Pros:
A very nice service which also offers some good extra ways to advertise such as buying banner and text ads. They currently also have their own radio station you can promote your blog on and they also use Twitter to advertise their members.

Cons:
The surfing screen still seems rather 'cluttered' to me as there is advertising on both the top and bottom of the pages as you surf. Documentation is lacking however if you rummage around the forums you can find answers to most things.

Other:
Both Don, the owner of Expose your Blog, as well as the administrators are very active and very hands on. Questions are responded to and resolved immediately and the forum is quite active.

My personal opinion is that I hope this service does well as it has a great deal of potential.

Traffic Generated: Minimal (probably due to being new and few members)


Rating: B (Recommended +)



EntreCard

Description:
A service which started a couple of years ago, this requires you to place code on your blog/site and click on others in order to get points (300 max/daily). With these points you can buy advertising on others blogs/sites and others can buy on yours, using their points.

Pros:
This service will definitely increase visits to your blog or website and there appears to be quite a few active members using this. The documentation is good and the site is very well laid out for navigation.

Cons:
Lots of cons for this service. You do get lots of traffic from this service, it is mainly people just clicking on your widget in order to get their 'point' and then they move on.
Although you can decide who to "rent" to, these ads are rotated with paid advertisers to EntreCard which means essentially you cannot control whose ad is being displayed on your blog.

Other:
Forum at one time was very active however ownership has now closed this with no plans to re-open. Support is poor. I opened a ticket to test this a couple months ago and still the issue is neither corrected nor responded to. This service gives me the feel of being completely motivated by money and members take a back seat.

Traffic Generated: Very Good (see comment above)


Rating: D (NOT Recommended)



Tribal Blogs

Description:
This is another new service which began this year that describes itself as a professional blog network for writers who want to take their blogs to the next level. This is a network where you can choose to surf for free or pay to have your blog included in their surf bar.

Pros:
Of all the blog services, I found this one to have for me, the best collection of blogs. The community, albeit still quite small, is very active within the forums. There is no code to put on your blog and no time limitations to view other blogs which allows readers to enjoy visiting and reading at their own pace.

Cons:
As with Adgitize, the service is not free. If you choose to put your blog in rotation, it will cost you $6/month, which is the advertising fee for the service. Unlike Adgitize, you do
not get any money back.

The biggest con with this service is that in order to surf, you must download and install a 3rd party toolbar from Conduit. The reason I say this is a con is that in the world of blogging (or even web surfing) people hate downloading and using any additional toolbars, gadgets, plugins or whatever. As a result of this, many potential members will avoid this service like the plague. And if that fact is not bad enough in itself, the rotator is quite bad and displays the same sites numerous times over & over, while ignoring other sites.

Other:
Jennifer, the owner of this site is obviously very dedicated and hands-on. Questions/issues to her were responded to within minutes. So the support is excellent as is the forums. I did test out the support on the Conduit toolbar and sent them a question approx. 4 weeks ago...I still await a response at time of writing.

I do strongly recommend they ditch this third party toolbar for either a button or something that actually works and they control.

Despite this one issue (I dropped their overall rating by one letter grade as a result), I still recommend this service as it has some great blogs, great ownership & good potential.

Traffic Generated: Minimal ((probably due to being new and few members)


Rating: C (Recommended)


Now its your turn. Let me know what your favorite blog service is and leave a comment with your views and opinions.





What is your favorite Blog Exchange service?
Blog Explosion
Adgitize
Expose Your Blog
EntreCard
Tribal Blogs
Other
pollcode.com free polls

Results Open in New Window

25 comments:

Anji said...

Thank you for the good things you said about ExposeYourBlog!. They are true! Membership is growing daily so hopefully there will be fewer repeats during surfing sessions in the near future

It's sad to see BlogExplosion in the state that it is in, despite all of the effort that members (including yourself) have put in over the last 18 months.

I remember the passing of BlogMad and Blog Soldiers. Do blog exchanges become too big to handle or are they sold on to greedy people who don't care?

Jamie said...

Just joined "Expose your Blog". I hope it's worth it and get some new readers! You could write more entries like this in the future, since we're all looking forward to more ways to get our blogs out there and read.

Annie said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your thoughts on these traffic exchange sites. I am currently looking at the best ways to gain good traffic for my blogs. I have been using EntreCard for a few years now but I don't count on it for solid traffic as much as I like being part of a community so to speak and I learn a lot from my fellow bloggers. You learn quickly who is on there to interact and who is on there for points only. I will be doing a post soon on www.anniessavvycafe.com in regards to some traffic exchanges I have been working with so I hope you will stop by.
Thank you again for your insight.

Don said...

Thanks for the great review of ExposeYourBlog! At your recommendation and others as well, I have removed the "bottom" bar from the screen, now only having the surfbar (that will still move from top to bottom every other time).

The text ads are still valid though, as they show up in the Forums as well as in about 5 other places.

Hope it comes closer to being a better blog surfing site!

Dr. Don Bell
Owner - ExposeYourBlog!
General Manager/DJ - Radio ExposeYourBlog!

Vera said...

I'm with both Adgitize and Entrecard. I signed up with Blog Explosion but haven't logged on in a long time. Thanks for featuring these, and letting us now about Expose your Blog, I;ll check it out one of these days.

Greg said...

The only one I hadn't signed up for is Expose your blog, didn't like Blog explosion for much of the same reasons as you.

Tribal Blogs has some good blogs, but like you said some of the same ones keep coming up, wonder if mine is even showing? Don't particularly like the toolbar,if I open a new window it has the tribal blog logo on it..not particularly keen on it, but.. I like reading others blogs.

Entrecard, I like to see others blogs..easy to use and lots of variety.

Sheila Sultani said...

I think the best way to get traffic to your blog is to use a number of these sites together. The only one I don't use is Expose Your Blog because that is considered a "Traffic Exchange" (I don't know why the others aren't) and you can not have a blog on a traffic exchange if it has Google Ads on it.

Tina T said...

I have been out of the loop for these services for a long time, so it was great to read this review. Long ago I was active on EC, but despite the big amount of traffic, it was time consuming and junk traffic. Sounds like it has not changed much since back when I left. Couldn't agree more about Blog Explosion. Every now I then I log in and add my blog to blog rocket, but I only visit the trusted blogs that I know since it is filled with abandoned blogs and blogs with annoying pop ups.

Ori said...

I just realised my blog's installed blogdirectory.me, I like the concept, and its appearance doesn't clutter blog look.

I also like www.linkreferral.com

I'm thinking of taking off entrecard from my site actually, something is no fun anymore about it.

Don said...

Unfortunately if Google were to find your blog was in any of these exchanges they wouldn't be happy with your Google ads being on them. I'm working with some people at Google to get ExposeYourBlog! accepted as a site they will allow their ads to be seen on. I pray it works!

Dr. Don Bell
Owner - ExposeYourBlog!
General Manager/DJ - Radio ExposeYourBlog!

Jen said...

I'm not sure I would call Tribal Blogs a traffic exchange. Ideally, and organically, you will get more traffic and more interaction (comments) on your blog if you are a member but there is no widget by design because I didn't want to increase the bounce rate which Adgitze and Entrecard do horribly. We charge a fee because that was the easiest way to keep out link farms and bloggers who just wanted to increase traffic without participating in the forums, as well as spam. Tribal Blogs of for bloggers who are interested in getting to know other bloggers, learn more about blogging and growing their blog with quality readers.

I had a toolbar made because I liked that feature of EC, it was handy but most people prefer to open the sites by way of the feed page (The Tribe Has Spoken tab). Only paying members get their blogs loaded in the toolbar and feed page.

Thanks for the recommendation and I will see what I can do about the toolbar. If you would let me know what issue you sent to Conduit I will have my developer fix it. Conduit does not handle the support for the toolbar. Additionally the blogs are loaded randomly so that each blog gets just as many views as any other blog, though it might appear to be loading several over an over for one person that is only because it is making sure the sites all get seen through the whole system.

Thanks for including Tribal Blogs I really want the feedback, good or bad, so I can make it a great service for bloggers.

Jenny said...

I just started using Entrecard about a month ago for KidWonderful, but before that I belonged to Tribal Blogs for both KW and my personal site, JennyBeans.net. I sort of hate how EC kicks your bounce rate through the roof because 98% of the people who actually visit only spend a second on your site, they don't read your actual content and sure you get traffic, but is it real traffic? I do like the ability to advertise on other sites with entre credits, but sometimes the work involved is too time consuming.

I do like tribal blogs because it's a community of actual people, and interacting with them is not just beneficial because of idea sharing, it's fun too.

Good write up.

cardiogirl said...

I have to say I'm very surprised that EC is the most popular in this vote. I used it for a long time until you had to pay to avoid paid ads.

I was nervous about leaving but I did not notice a huge drop -- at all -- in traffic. I think the reason is because I had no sense of community or any relationship with most of the people I was dropping on.

And it took forever to drop 200-300 cards per day.

I've been a member of Tribal Blogs for about month now and I've learned a lot helpful tips and I've created some relationships over there. I'm sure it's because of the forum. I didn't feel that in the EC forum.

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

I feel the same as Cardiogirl. The dropping was killing the time I should have been spending writing for and tending to my blog in other more meaningful ways. So I left EC and haven't regretted it.

I love the new Tribal Blogs. It's exactly the kind of place I needed. My use may be different than how others use it. I follow the forums closely because there I find great ideas and help. It' also fun when it runs a little toward off-blog topics. That's a bonus. Great place to hang out and meet new bloggers who are serious about their craft.

The Astral Cowboy said...

Thanks. I'll give expose your blog a try.

The Astral Cowboy said...

I signed up my Truth & Beauty blog (http://search4beauty.blogspot.com) and received my username and password. But it keeps logging me out and telling me I "...have timed out, please log in."

After all it took to get set up with BE, I'll deal with it later. Hopefully, it will end up being a good tool.

injaynesworld said...

I recently dropped Adgitize because it wasn't providing the kind of readers that stuck around and interacted. I've been on Tribal Blogs for a couple of months and I have to disagree with you about the toolbar. I think it's the coolest thing ever. I keep it open all day and will visit different blogs periodically as I'm taking breaks from my other work. I do agree that the rotation could be better, but it's made it easier for me to visit my favorites and discover new blogs. The Tribal Blog community is top notch, too and I can always find someone around to communicate with.

Tarheel Rambler said...

On Tribal Blogs, I started out using the toolbar a lot for cruising member blogs, and I still do it occasionally when I just want to randomly surf. But most often, I use the feed page, The Tribe Has Spoken, to visit other blogs. At some point that might not work well if the number grows a lot, but it works well now.

I am really not interested in the "beauty contest" promotion sites any longer. The quality of visitors is generally poor and the bounce rate is huge. I don't write my blog to earn a living, and I don't want to feel like I'm being used for others to make a buck.

Tribal Blogs has already helped me improve my site, and I see ways to improve the content. That's what I'm looking for.

The Astral Cowboy said...

figured it out...doesn't work on safari. Cool. I have high hopes.

octobia said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together. I'd never heard of Tribal and will check it out. I still also use Blogiche, AlphaInventions and BlogSurfer. They help keep the exposure going but I don't feel any sense of involvement like I'm beginning to get with Expose Your Blog.

See you and your funny funny posts there!

thedickdujour said...

Interesting list. Boy am I glad to know that I'm not the only one who's saddened by the "death" of Blog Explosion. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. Are there any autosurf sites that are any good?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

EC can suck it and take all day. In my humble opinion of course. I don't know if I've heard of Expose Your Blog - I hope it's not part of that insidious BlogCatalog spammeriffic thing where I keep getting msgs on my BC shout box "Expose Yourself!"

This is a nice comparison post. Thanks for doing it.

P.S. I'm a member of Tribal Blogs and do enjoy the quality level of blogs and discussion over there.

Don said...

It appears that Safari doesn't like ExposeYourBlog! either. I will be looking into that this week, if I have time, next if not!

Free Money Maker said...

Thanks dear for this lovely description of various blog exchange.I was unaware of two site,just clicking to visit their page.Though entrecard has deleted my account recently for norton virus triggered,yet I can say it was my easiest blog exchange as I got several reader and friend from it like you.Now I will trun to other sites to check their service.thanks again.

Jimmy Ng said...

I'm familiar with traffic exchanges but never thought of a blog exchanges. What a discover. Well, thanks for a great reviews and looking forward to explore more of their benefits.

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