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The Truth about Banner Exchanges

It may seem self-serving for us to write about this topic since we operate a banner exchange ourselves. But no body is more qualified than us, an insider, to disclose the dirty secrets about this industry. You can decide for yourself after reading.

We begin with a simple question: Do banner exchanges really work? The answer is a cautious yes. Most of them DO NOT work. Although they promise to display your banner at thousands of sites, in reality that won't deliver a steady stream of visitors to your site. We will use LinkExchange as an example.

LinkExchange with 200,000+ members, now owned by Microsoft, is the biggest and oldest banner exchange around. It offers a fixed ratio of 2:1, which means for every two banners your site displays for LinkExchange, your banner is displayed once at another site. In effect, they stole 50% of your banner impressions!

To make matters worse, LinkExchange doesn't monitor its members for cheating. Some members inflate their banner counters by displaying banners at odd locations which are rarely seen. Or they use special programs to simulate visitors to their sites. These phantom visitors won't click on any banner. They only serve to defraud other members. The end result is that your banner could display 200-300 times before someone clicks on it. At the 2:1 ratio, you need to display 400+ banners for LinkExchange before they will send one visitor back to your site.

Indeed, most banner exchanges do not work. Even with the largest member base like LinkExchange, it fails miserably when comes to providing a useful service to its members. Other banner exchanges are not much better. They all seem to be more interested in reaping profits than in helping members gain visitors. That's why we started HitExchange.

We do everything that other banner exchanges are not doing. We set strict rules about banner placement. We implement special spider programs to catch members who are cheating. We also encourage members to police themselves, offering rewards for reporting cheaters. We also refrain from advertising ourselves in the banner network. Our members show banners only for other members. Lastly and most importantly, we use a merit-based system rather than a fixed ratio.

Our variable exchange ratio will reward members who bring visitors to other members. The ratio begins at 3:2, which is already better than the typical 2:1 ratio, but ours can increase to and exceed 1:1. The goal is to send to each member almost as many visitors (80% and more) as he/she sends to other members.

When you become a member, every time someone clicks on a banner being displayed at your site you will earn 0.8 hit credit. More hit credits means a higher exchange ratio. The ratio can even rise above 1:1, which means that we display more banners for you than you do for other members. One hit credit is deducted when your site receives a visitor from another member.

How does HitExchange stay in business? Our members have the option of purchasing hit credits. But no matter how many hit credits are sold, our hit-credit system guarantees that all members will receive at least 80% of the visitors they send to others. Most of the time though, members will receive back 100% of their visitors because we only sell a few hit credits.

Our variable-ratio and hit-credit system make HitExchange an efficient and effective banner exchange, without sacrificing quality for profit. Join us!

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