This link exchange review for Zergnet, Crowdignite, Wahoha, and Scribol compares and contrast the four traffic exchange services. All four link link exchanges offer a different user experience for a webmaster looking to increase the referred traffic to specific articles and stories on their website. First things first though.
What is a Link Exchange?
Here is what a link exchange is:
A link exchange is a confederation of websites that operates similarly to a web ring. Webmasters register their web sites with a central organization, that runs the exchange, and in turn receive from the exchange HTML code which they insert into their web pages. In contrast to a web ring, where the HTML code simply comprises simple circular ring navigation hyperlinks, in a link exchange the HTML code causes the display of banner advertisements, for the sites of other members of the exchange, on the member web sites, and webmasters have to create such banner advertisements for their own web sites.
The banners are downloaded from the exchange. A monitor on the exchange determines, from referral information supplied by web browsers, how many times a member web site has displayed the banner advertisements of other members, and credits that member with a number of displays of its banner on some other member’s web site. Link exchanges usually operate on a 2:1 ratio, such that for every two times a member shows a second member’s banner advertisement, that second member displays the first member’s banner advertisement. This page impressions:credits ratio is the exchange rate.
Link exchanges have advantages and disadvantages from the point of view of those using the World Wide Web for marketing. On the one hand, they have the advantages of bringing in a highly targeted readership (for link exchanges where all members of the exchange have similar web sites), of increasing the “link popularity” of a site with Web search engines, and of being relatively stable methods of hyperlinking. On the other hand, they have the disadvantages of potentially distracting visitors away to other sites before they have fully explored the site that the original link was on.
Zerg is a new link service that is currently showing up on many website with colorful pictures and chatchy headlines, much like scribol once did but even more so.
I signed up for Zergnet after seeing it on multiple movie websites like Liveforfilms and Frontroomcinema. I liked the way Zergnet’s story boxes looked and the current and interesting stories they contained. I added their widget to my site and began sending them 50 to 80 hits per day but I wasn’t receiving back any traffic. An email from Zergnet a week later (I had forgotten about their first emails) clarified the situation: If I wished to receive traffic from their service, I had to discontinue my use of the other link exchanges that were on my website. Those link exchanges were Crowdignite and Wahoha, written about previously here: Link Exchange Review: Scribol, Wahoha, Crowd Ignite, 2Leep: Part 1 and here: Link Exchange Review: Scribol, Wahoha, Crowd Ignite, 2Leep: Part 2.
The Zergnet representative had assured me that they could send our movie website far more traffic than both Crowdignite and Wahoha. I deactivated the Crowdignite and Wahoha widgets to give Zergnet a try. Once I emailed Zergnet of the fact they began sending our movie website traffic. On the first day my movie site was sent 3,586 in referral traffic from Zergnet (Google Analytics. 3,188 says Zergnet’s traffic stat page). In comparison to Crondignite that day, I received 308 in referral traffic (Google Analytics). From Wahoha that day I received 25 in referral traffic (Google Analytics). Even with Crowdignite and Wahoha not being on my site for as long as Zergnet was that day, that is a huge difference.
New York City Traffic
The Zergnet representative also asked that we place their widget not on the sidebar but underneath our Related Posts section in single posts. That we did not comply with, even with their promise of more traffic.
I have 21 stories active in Crowdignite, 271 stories active in Wahoha, and 4 stories active in Zergnet.
Crowignite will not activate the other 43 stories I submitted in November of 2011 because they believe the traffic they are sending my site already is sufficient and to quote one of their representatives: “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Update: I just checked our Crowdignite account and found that Crowdignite has erased those 21 active stories and replaced them all with 10 new ones, stories I never submitted to them.
Too little, far too late. I had already emailed them three times about the 43 stories situation.
Crowdignite does not tell you if and why a submitted story has been rejected.
Crowdignite does tell the user exactly how much traffic they have received from their widget on your site and how much traffic Crowdignite sent back on a chart.
I have submitted nearly 400 stories to Wahoha and 271 are active. Wahoha activates what I send them as long is it is deemed not “too sexy” or “inappropriate”. The problem with Wahoha is that even with Celebrities and Movie/TV stories selected in the backend of their website, they keep showing the same stories on their widget. New, relevant stories are few and far between.
Wahoha is the only link exchange out of Zergnet, Crowdignite, Wahoha and Scribol that tells the user that a submitted story has been reject and why it was rejected.
Wahoha also tells the user which stories are currently the most popular all the way down to the last active story you have in their system.
Wahoha tells the user exactly how much traffic they have received from their widget on your site and how much traffic Wahoha has sent back.
I will finish the comparison with Zergnet and Scribol. That comparison will include traffic, average visit time per link exchange, etc. in Link Exchange Review: Zergnet, Crowdignite, Wahoha, Scribol: Part 2.
Until then, a question for discussion:
- Which link exchange have you used in the past?
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