In the olden days (like in the early-to-mid-1990s) banner exchanges were all the rage: for every time someone saw a banner on your site, you got to show your own banner on someone else's web site. These morphed into services like StumbleUpon, which allowed better control of the targeting, as well as feedback on the quality of the sites being promoted.
Banner exchanges were, however, passive. Stumble Upon was the first example of a more active approach, and this turned quickly into a system of trading surfing for page views. Surfers could now earn credits by visiting sites, and use those credits to have their site suggested to fellow surfers.
However, this gave rise to some level of abuse as people turned to bots.
The Rise of the Traffic Exchange BotClicking is tedious, and so some clever programmer created the traffic exchange bot to do all the work for them.
Of course, this devalued the whole concept: rather than earning credits by actually looking at the content, bots were just clicking 'Next' every time.
These were just an extension of the old 'banner bots' that would click banners to earn impressions, but applied to the new paradigm of traffic exchanges.
To get around this, two things happened:
- Clever developers created a timed-click based on matching shapes or pictures to fox the bots;
- Networks grew up around similar offerings, and the ecosystem became one of sharing sites amongst entrepreneurs.
Making it harder for bots to automate clicking, and making it self-defeating by establishing a network of users was a smart move, but had some obvious drawbacks.
Traffic Exchange NetworksThe problem with many traffic exchange networks is that since traffic exchange scripts are easy to create and sell, so many have sprung up that they just cannibalise each other.
In other words, most of the networks tend to have roughly the same membership profiles. In fact, a lot of them have the same participants.
Like banks just exist to swap money, traffic exchange networks just exist to trade clicks. Like banks, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but one has to realise that this is what they are for.
The thing is, all participants are at the same level, and all are looking for the same thing: business opportunities.
It works, but it tends to build temporary relationships. Only the owner of the exchange has immediate access to all the participants -- and can charge a premium to advertisers -- and so beyond the "opportunity swapping" that goes on the value stays at the top.
What was needed was a mix of an affiliate network and traffic exchange platform: the downline builder.
The Advent of the Downline Builder System
Yet Another Splashscreen RotatorAd rotators have been around for a while, but the rise of traffic exchange programmes and downline builders means that a new tool is needed. Known as the splashscreen rotator, it is a simple piece of software that displays a random splash screen each time it is requested to.
The benefit of this is that you can spread your traffic exchange credits across multiple projects, with a single URL. Most rotators are pretty basic, but YASR is different:
- Full click-through stats;
- Organise adverts into groups;
- Automatic balancing & split-testing (coming soon);