This is an index of all documents at this site.
This page contains general information about HitExchange. If you
are a first-time visitor, we suggest you begin with the
Quick Tour, which describes our services in
1. What is a banner exchange?
A banner exchange is a network of web sites that advertise
for one another using banners like the one above. A central server
stores and displays the banners for everyone. When a user clicks on a
banner, the server sends the user to the correct site.
2. How much does it cost?
FREE! Your site displays other members' banners. In return they
display your banner at their web sites. This exchange is free, no
strings attached. If you are still suspicious, then please read the
3. Take the Quick Tour
To learn more about our services, please take the
4. Free? What's the catch?
Most banner exchanges will tell you that there is no catch for
using their service, but that's not true. They make money by
advertising paid clients at your site. The following example will
show you the extent of this exploitation.
Consider a banner exchange with 10,000 members and an exchange
ratio of 2-to-1. If every member displays 10 banners today, then
the total banner impressions will be 100,000. But the banner exchange
only owes each member 5 impressions, which leaves the operator with
50,000 impressions to sell.
The typical advertising rate is $500 for 50,000 banner
impressions. Everyday the banner exchange is able to make that
much money from its members' web sites, which include yours. In
one month, the figure accrues to $15,000! And when no one buys
the extra impressions, banner exchanges advertise themselves.
How is HitExchange different? For starters, we don't have a fixed
exchange ratio. We distribute our extra banner impressions to our
members. Your site won't advertise any banners for non-members. You
won't even see banners advertising HitExchange. Only members can
advertise at your site. Period.
We make money by selling a small amount of hit credits to
members. Normally members earn hit credits when visitors click
on the banners being displayed at their site. With more hit credits,
a member can receive more of the extra banner impressions we
distribute. But nobody can have a monopoly in the distribution --
no matter how many hit credits they buy.
There is one small catch, but it is for us, not for you. If our
members don't buy enough hit credits, then we will lose money on the
inherent costs of operating and maintaining our service. But we're
not complaining. HitExchange is built upon customer satisfaction, and
that's one thing we won't sell out, not even for profit.
5. What about other banner exchanges?
If the above answer doesn't convince you, then perhaps our
between HitExchange and three other well-known banner exchanges will.
We not only give back to our members more impressions, we also offer
6. Recent Statistics
On our home page, you can see our 7-day
summary report of banner statistics, which often shows the majority of
members receiving exchange ratios of 1.00 and greater. How is this
The reason is simple. We are fortunate enough to attract many
popular sites. You can see their exact impression counts on our
Top Ten List.
Although these sites' exchange ratios are lower than 1.00, they
remain in our program because we deliver to them more visitors than
other banner exchanges. It's a testament to the power of a truly
cooperative banner exchange. Everyone benefits regardless of their
existing traffic volume.
Another reason is the HitExchange web site. We don't
advertise HitExchange at our members' sites, yet our site displays
banners for members. Our site contributes to the total number of
banner impressions without drawing it.
New members also contribute in the same way. Before membership is
approved, their sites already display banners for other members.
7. Advertising Rate
Non-members may advertise at the HitExchange web site itself, but
only members may advertise in the banner network. Go to
this page for more details.
8. Company Info
HitExchange was launched in retaliation to the unfair
practices of other banner exchanges, who exploit their members for
We served our first banner on August 24, 1998, but the
preparation began four months earlier. To date, we have poured
countless hours in the design, programming, and refinement of this
banner exchange. Our work and efforts converge on this one goal:
to provide the most honest and fair banner exchange on the
Our Mission Statement
HitExchange is committed to member satisfaction. We place top
priority in serving and assisting our members because our success
depends on their success. With every new member, we move closer
to an all-expansive banner exchange that links the world to your
..... Webmaster, Programmer, Founder
..... Membership Supervisor
..... Content Manager
..... Database Specialist
..... Executive Editor
..... Contributing Editor
..... Contributing Editor
..... Contributing Programmer
..... Web Consultant
April 1998 - Andy discovered
the truth about banner exchanges.
June 18, 1998 - OpenDebate
mentioned in the New York Times.
August 24, 1998 - Beta testing began.
9. Contact Us
10. New Site Submission
The Hot! Directory is our member's directory. To be listed you
must join HitExchange. The directory also contains some
honorary members who are chosen by our staff for their
excellence. But you may not request to be considered for it.
The directory shows members who are currently active. New members
are not listed until approved by our staff. And when an existing
member is put on hold for more than 3 days, the site will be delisted
until it becomes active again. Terminated or suspended accounts
(e.g. account placed on hold for rules violation) are immediately
11. How are the categories organized?
The categories are organized in a hierarchical structure. At the
top level the categories are broad, but each successive level becomes
more specific. As the number of sites grows, we will further divide
existing categories into deeper level of sub-categories. An
abstract category is one that only contains sub-categories,
such as those at the top level.
All commercial sites must be listed in the 'Business' category.
We have two definitions for commercial sites: (1) the site represents
the web presence of a company or corporation and (2) the site sells
goods or services. Such commercial sites may list outside of
'Business' only when it offers free content.
12. What are Hot! sites?
HitExchange members vote to determine the Hot! site for each
category. To be eligible to become a Hot! site, a member must be
active (not on hold) and receives at least 50 votes. Ten Hot! sites
are chosen every week in each category.
Once elected, the Hot! sites are featured on the front page of
their categories. When someone enters a category, the Hot! sites will
be seen first. Their 'Info' buttons become red to make them stand out
in the listing. Non Hot! sites have blue 'Info' buttons. Even when
Hot! sites are no longer Hot!, their 'Info' buttons will remain red
for 30 more days.
13. How do I vote for Hot! sites?
To vote for Hot! sites, you must be an active HitExchange
member. After you login, go to any category in Hot! Directory to
begin voting. You have one vote per category. Browse through the
member list and visit some of them.
When you are ready to vote, click on the Info button
for that site. It will lead you to its profile page where the
site's category listing has a Vote button next to each
category. Click on one to cast your vote in that category. If
you see a Switch Vote button instead of a Vote
button, then you have already voted for another site in that
category. Click on Switch Vote will change your vote to
If you do not see the Vote or Switch Vote
button, then you cannot vote for the site. Here are some
possibilities: (1) the site is not an active member, e.g. it is on
hold, suspended, or terminated, (2) the site is a honorary member,
or (3) the site is already a Hot! site. Find another site in the
same category to vote for.
Some restrictions are necessary to prevent swinging votes. You
cannot vote for a site if it is already a Hot! site in that category.
Once a site becomes a Hot! site, if you voted for it, then your vote
is "locked in." You cannot change your vote until the site loses its
Hot! site status.
14. Rewards for Voting
When you vote for a site and it later becomes a Hot! site, you
will receive two hit credits as reward. With 300+ categories, you
could earn a lot of hit credits this way. The votes are
re-counted every Wednesday, but you don't need to re-vote every
week. All votes are carried over from one week into the next,
until you change or withdraw the vote, or if your site is delisted
from the Hot! Directory.
Here are some fine prints to the election rewards. If a Hot!
site's owner also voted for your site, then it is called
"reciprocal voting" and you will not receive reward hit credits
from it. We disallow it for obvious reasons - to prevent members
from conspiring to vote for each other. Also, rewards are given
only for the first time that a site becomes Hot!. If the site
remains Hot! for the second week, you will not receive additional
reward. And your vote in that category is locked in while the
site remains Hot!.
You also do not receive the reward when a site is re-elected
within 30 days of its previous Hot! status. However, it doesn't
mean you should change your vote as soon as a site is no longer
Hot!. Since it was voted Hot! once before, it may become Hot!
again after 30 days, at which point you will receive more reward.
Tip: If you vote with genuine effort 3-4 times a year,
you should be able to receive a steady stream of hit credits from
your votes every month.
15. Search Tips
You may enter:
- Account number, e.g. "HX100250"
- Category code, e.g. "76" or "76-82"
- Full URL, e.g. "http://www.hitexchange.net/"
- Words to search for, e.g. "message board poll"
Words: Capitalization and common words are ignored,
e.g. mEssAGE is the same as message, and the,
a, he, and she are all ingored by the search
engine. Words must contain at least 3 letters to become part of the
Exclusion: You may enter an exclamation mark "!" before a
word to exclude it from the search. For example, enter "Disney !World
movies" to find sites about Disney movies but exclude those that has
"Disney World" in its title or description.
16. Forgotten Password or Account Number
If you forgot your account number or password, first check your
e-mailbox. We send a welcome message to all new members when they
join HitExchange. It contains the account number and password for
the member. Perhaps you can still find yours.
If not, you may click on the 'Forgot' button on the menu bar, next
to the 'Login' button. It will ask for your e-mail address to search
in our databes, and then we will e-mail you the information.
17. Account "On Hold"
An account will be placed "On Hold" when we cannot or should not
display the account's banners. For example, if a member's web site is
down due to server problems, then displaying its banner is pointless
since no one will be able to reach that site. Our server will monitor
the situation and resume displaying banner for the site when it comes
back on-line. We also place accounts on hold for rule violations.
Members should resolve their account's "On Hold" status as quickly
as they can. We will not display their banners in our network in the
mean time. After 3 days of being on hold, the member will be delisted
from our Hot! Directory. After 45 days, your account will be
18. Account Cancellation
If you wish to cancel your membership, simply remove the
HitExchange banner from your site. This will cause your account to be
placed on hold. Then it will be purged after 45 days.
19. How often will my banners be displayed?
How often will HitExchange display your banners at other sites?
The answer depends on two factors: (1) the number of banners you
display at your site and (2) the amount of hit credits in your
More banners you display at your site, more often HitExchange will
display your banners at other sites. The minimum exchange ratio is
0.67, or 3-to-2, which means that for every three banners displayed at
your site, the server will display your banner twice at other sites.
The extra banner display (also called impression) is collected into a
poll and distributed to members according to hit credits.
If you have a lot of hit credits, then you will receive more of
the extra impressions. So even if you only display 3 banners at your
site, we may display your banners 10 times at other sites. Generally
speaking, if you have 8 hit credits or more, your exchange ratio will
be at least 1.00.
20. Exchange Ratio Calculation
HitExchange uses a complex formula to calculate the exchange ratio
for each member. Please see
21. Earning Free Hit Credits
There are five ways to earn FREE
You earn 0.8 of a hit credit when someone clicks on a banner being
displayed at your site. To prevent members from generating unlimited
hit credits for themselves, we give 50% less hit credits for each
additional click by the same user at the same site.
- Charity: If a member has no hit credit for seven
consecutive days, then on the eighth day we will give one hit credit
to that member. Our goal is to send at least one visitor per week to
- Hot! Site Voting: You earn two hit credits whenever you
vote for a member who later becomes a Hot! site.
Click here for details.
- Report Cheaters: Whenever you discover a member who
violates our rules (usually in the way that banners are displayed),
you can report the member to receive a reward of 5 or 10 hit credits.
Click here for details.
- Member Referral: You can earn as many as 60 hit credits
for each new member you refer to HitExchange.
Click here for details.
A daily summary of your earnings is recorded on the Hit Credit
22. Purchasing Hit Credits
You can purchase hit credits at the following rate:
|| 80 Hit Credits
|| 225 Hit Credits
Save $6 ... 11%
|| 500 Hit Credits
Save $25 ... 20%
|| 1,500 Hit Credits
Save $125 ... 33%
|| 3,250 Hit Credits
Save $313 ... 38%
|| 7,000 Hit Credits
Save $750 ... 43%
To purchase hit credits, click here.
23. Hit Credits Deduction
24. Why is my account on hold for "HTML Code Not Detected"?
Your Site URL and banner Click-Thru URL must
prominently display a HitExchange banner or button as per
Banner Display Rules. Our spider program
periodically scans your site for our HTML code. During the last scan,
it could not detect the code.
for a detailed diagnosis.
Your Site URL (and banner Click-Thru URL - if in
use) must prominently display a HitExchange banner or
button according to our
Banner Display Rules. Our spider program
periodically scans for their HTML codes within the first 20,000
characters of those pages. But during the last scan, it could not
detect our HTML code.
The scan only looks at the first 20,000 characters because beyond
this range, a prominent display of our button or banner is unlikely.
As a matter of good design, all web pages should be kept within this
limit anyway to minimize the load time.
You must copy our HTML code EXACTLY.
This is the most common mistake for this hold. There
should be no excess HTML tags in the code, such as <BR>,
<B>, or <I>. Verify the HTML code from your browser using
its "View -> Page Source" or "View -> Source" menu option.
Another possible cause is redirection. Your Site URL
should not redirect to another URL. Web site owners often prefer
short URL's because they are easier to remember and looks better on a
business card. But the Site URL in your profile is almost
never seen by other members. There is no need to use the shorten URL.
After you correct the problem,
click here to
request an immediate detection of the HTML code. This hold should be
lifted if all is well. Otherwise our server will try the detection
again every two hours.
25. My account isn't on hold, why did I receive an e-mail notice?
When your account is put on hold for more than 24 hours, our
server will send you an e-mail notice. Usually the hold is placed by
our spider program, which monitors all accounts for anomalies. The
same spider program also removes the hold when an anomaly no longer
exists. If you received the on-hold e-mail yet your account isn't on
hold when you login to check it, then our spider program probably
lifted the hold already.
26. Why is my exchange ratio falling below the minimum 0.67?
Almost all cases of low exchange ratios are caused by one or a
combination of the following reasons. Please
contact us should you need further assistance.
Your Banner CTR. If the CTR of your banner is poor (>
160:1), then our server will also lower your exchange ratio. It's
your wake-up-call to re-design the banner or change its target
categories for better results. See
- Account On Hold. While your account is on hold, we won't
display your banners at other sites. This leads to low exchange
ratios and a build up of
unused impressions. See your
Memo Desk page to resolve the hold.
- Excess Unused Impressions. If your unused impressions are
increasing everyday, then either your account is on hold (see above)
or your target categories are set too narrowly (see
- Cheating. We consider it cheating when members use special
programs to repeatedly download banners from their web sites. If you
do that, we will detect it and lower your exchange ratio to compensate
- Poor "At Your Site" CTR. Your site must prominently
display HitExchange banners as per Rule
#3. It should not show more than 160 banners per click-thru (CTR
> 160:1) because our overall CTR is only 60:1.
Some members contend that unattractive or uninteresting banners
submitted by other members are the cause of the poor CTR's. But when
we visit their sites, we discover our banners at unfavorable
Our Banner Display Rules are
only the bare minimum. Whenever there is a big difference between the
"At Your Site" CTR and "Your Banners" CTR, you owe it to other members
to improve their banners' visibility at your site:
- Top of the Page. Move the HitExchange banner closer to
the top of the page will improve its CTR, especially on a long
- High Traffic Pages. High traffic pages won't yield good
banner CTR's unless the banners are dispayled within the top 700x500
- Banners Only Pages. Please don't display our banner on
pages that contains only banners. Such pages never generate good
In other click-thru based banner exchanges, a member could in
theory create any ugly banner because it will be shown again and again
until it is clicked. Banners like that will eventually drag down the
entire network. We prevent it by penalizing bad banner designs.
27. Why isn't my banner being shown at other sites?
Is your account on hold? Look to the upper right corner of
this page for a stat box. If it says "On Hold", click on its
"Reasons" link to find out why. While your account is on hold, your
banners will not be displayed at other sites.
Have you displayed banners for other members? If you site
has not displayed banners for others, then your banners will not be
shown. Even if you have unused active hit credits remaining in your
account, your site must still actively show banners for other members
in order to have them show your banners.
How is your target categories? Poor targeting can work
against you. For example, if you target only one category and it
contains very few sites, then your banners will be displayed less
often or not at all. Try adding more targets or clear them
completely, so your banner could be displayed at more sites.
Please contact us if your situation is not
28. Is the clicks for "At Your Site" accurate?
We will stop counting clicks altogether after the third click.
Sometimes a member will ask friends to click on the banners,
thinking they could generate hit credits that way. Or the member will
try to login under different names and perform the clicks himself.
These attempts are illegal and won't work.
We implement many countermeasures to monitor and stop fictitious
click-thrus. One of the natural protection we discovered (and
utilized) is the proxy servers for major ISP's such as AOL and WebTV.
Here is an example. If you are an AOL user, we will treat a click
from your friend across town as the same as your own because two of
you probably share the same proxy server.
We cannot divulge all of our secrets in these countermeasures,
although we do acknowledge in some rare cases that click-thrus are
missed. However, they are more likely to work against members who
attempt to generate hit credits illegally. So we deem these missed
click-thrus as acceptable.
29. How can "Your Banners" have 1 Click but 0 Shown?
Sometimes you may see 1 click for "Your Banners" in the summary
stat even though no banner has been shown. This is not an error. The
Clicks column includes referrals from our
Top Ten List and
Hot! Directory. A visitor could click-thru to
your site from HitExchange without seeing your banner.
You can conduct a test to see this for yourself. At midnight
Pacific Standard Time, our server will reset the daily stats. So look
up your site in the Hot! Directory and click on its listing. This
will take you to your site. In your Account Overview page you will
see the click being registered, yet none of your banners was shown.
30. How do I improve the CTR of "Your Banners"?
First of all, consider the total number of times that your banners
have displayed. It is probably not statistically significant when
that number is less than 1,000. Also, you should look at combined
stats of several days instead of one specific day.
If the CTR of "Your Banners" is indeed poor, then your banners
probably need some make-overs. Start by reading our
Banner Design Tips page. It contains helpful
hints and links for making a better banner. You can also ask other
members to critique your banners in our
Another reason for poor CTR is the target categories. Once in a
while you should clear all targets to advertise your banner on all
sites. Then from the Hit Credit page, you can
observe which sites are sending visitors to your site and set your
target to those sites only. The best performing target categories may