These days internet has emerged as both, a market and hub for marketing. Unlike the ‘brick and mortar’ world where large manufacturers manage to squeeze out the market bases of smaller companies, the internet provides haven like the free traffic exchange. They are extremely useful to those product and service providers who do not have the advertising budget to compete with large corporations.

Free traffic exchanges can be described as opt-in-clubs, which only other manufacturers of products and services can join. By joining these exchanges, a member is obliged to look at other members’ web pages. To gain membership you have to submit in your website which then goes into rotation with the hundreds and thousands of websites already registered with that particular traffic exchange. (This works best for people with high-speed internet connection.)

These exchanges are generally of two types – auto surf and manual. In the former, the exchange automatically keeps on flipping the pages in the web browser. In a manual exchange you need to click on a graphic or banner control to change pages. Most exchanges operate on the credit system. You gain credit by spending time (for example, 30 seconds) on a particular website. The more the number of sites you spend time on, the more your credit. However your credit gets reduced when another member visits your website. With increased credit your website goes into heavy rotation insuring a more effective and wider reach. You can easily register with these exchanges. Most just request some personal information and your URL.

However, you have to be quite alert in choosing a traffic exchange that would suit your business needs. Select one with many members as this helps in getting more exposure. One factor that is conducive to an effective exchange is demography. You should insure that your business is similar to those available on the exchange. Suffice it to say that a manufacturer of handcrafted china won’t get out of an exchange dominated by marketers of leather goods. The drawback of this is that in an exchange where everyone is offering similar services, you would have to work harder to insure that your site does not get lost.

For beginners it is always a good idea to join a few exchanges of both auto run and manual varieties. You can survey the sites and then decide which works best for you. However, it is the manual ones which are better in the long run because the possibility of actual sales is much higher. One of the tricks of the trade is to use a multi-tab web browser. The browser continues to run several websites in multiple tabs while only one window is open for viewing. You can easily surf many exchanges at the same time in this manner.

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