A New Traffic Exchange System for Bloggers

Blog Rush WidgetA new, blogger targeted, traffic exchange system has just launched. Blog Rush places a link to your blog every time its widget is loaded on one of your pages. This is a system that’s been used before and typically has some problems, which I’ll run through in a second. Firstly, I wanted to let you all know that I’ve installed Blog Rush on this blog to try out, so I’ll reserve judgement until it’s been running for a while. But that doesn’t stop me coming up with some early thoughts on the service.

Let me start by saying I’m always apprehensive about installing widgets and suchlike on any of the blogs I run. Especially if the widgets are new and untested. There are numerous reasons for this, not least the way in which search engines will treat this new tool. In the past search engines such as Google have frowned upon traffic exchange schemes and automated link exchanges. The reason is that it pollutes the natural link environment the Page Rank system needs to work correctly and accurately. I can see the links from Blog Rush being either ignored or punished, if Google can read thm at all, which is doubtfull as they are generated from JavaScript.

My second worry is that the widget doesn’t seem to distinguish between valuable placement and not valuable placement. The introductory video explains that every time the widget is loaded on your page, a link to your blog will appear on another relevant blog. Note that it says every time the widget is loaded, not every time a link is clicked. This means that the widget loading in the footer of someone’s page is just as valid as one loading inline with the content on another page. In the interests of fairness, I’ve placed the Blog Rush widget mid way through my sidebar, which seems fair. As long as you are aware of this, you can take the claims in the introductory video with a pinch of salt. Yes, your traffic can grow exponentially, but only in the strictest dictionary definition, not the way most marketers use it. What I mean by this is, if Blog Rush increases traffic to your blog, even by one visitor, this will result in more links appearing to your blog. So unless you run a huge blog, your are likely to only notice small increases in traffic at first, if any at all. I’m also going to be keeping an eye out to see how they deal with spam blogs. Currently you can apply keyword and blog filters, which very much puts the emphasis on the blog owners to manage this aspect. Personally, I’d like to see Blog Rush be a bit more proactive on this front (of course the service is brand new, so I can’t really say how good or bad they are going to be with spam, only speculate wildly).

So those are the warnings out of the way, so why have I decided to try it out? Well apart from the obvious, increasing traffic, I think it’s a really interesting project. There are two things that stand out about Blog Rush. Firstly, it’s targeted mainly at Bloggers and secondly, they claim their technology will only display valid content. I can only imagine it’s a system similar to Google Adsense where it scans your content for keywords. At the moment I’m seeing a real mixed batch of links on this blog’s homepage, but the service is new and there’s likely to be little content loaded into the network.

There’s also the early adopter aspect of Blog Rush. The multi-layered referral system means that any sites that sign up through your referral link count towards your own page views. This works up to ten levels and represents the best way for small blogs to grow their traffic. Of course, if the early reaction to Blog Rush is anything to go by, this is going to be popular so getting in early, and getting a few referrals under your belt early is going to be of great benefit.

Blog Rush is free and accepting sign ups as we speak.

Update:  Mashable have their thoughts up on the service, which seem to be along the same lines as mine.