Are We Rapidly Approaching The Death Of Ad Swaps?

Posted at September 27, 2014 by Christopher Mollo on category Affiliate Marketing Tips, Email Marketing, Featured Posts, Internet Marketing Tips, Rants & Raves, Thoughts & Insights

are-ad-swaps-deadAre the end times approaching for ad swaps?  Have they worn out their use?  Have they been used and abused to the point that they are effectively obliterated?  Should I waste my time on ad swaps anymore?  These are all questions that I seek the answers to.

For those of you who don’t know what ad swaps are, the concept is simple.  Two Internet Marketers exchange email swipes and links to their offers and then they send out these offers to their lists.  This was super effective back when I started doing it in November of 2011.  Now, it’s not so effective anymore, and I really wish I knew why.  Well, I guess I do have a few ideas, but some people probably won’t appreciate the harsh truth I’m about to relate.

I was actually introduced to ad swaps by Kim Roach, aka “The Queen of Traffic.”  If you’d like to know how she got that nickname, just read this post.  She didn’t call me up and tell me, by the way.  It was actually one of the methods listed in an e-book she was giving away called the Underground Traffic Black Book.

So how do you go about setting up swaps?  Well, the quickest and easiest way is to join a site called Safe Swaps.  This site basically automates the entire process, from finding qualified swap partners, to sending and accepting proposals and more.  This process is also safe and effective because they employ a double-blind feedback system, so you can weed out the legit swappers from the smokers and jokers!

When I joined Safe Swaps I had a list of under 1000 subscribers.  Now, almost 4 years later, my list is much bigger.  I have to readily admit that I owe a lot of that success to Safe Swaps.  That’s why the past year or so has been difficult to take.  The quality of the ad swaps I do has decreased substantially.  Now, this is not the fault of Safe Swaps or any of its employees.  They do a great job and run a high-class site.  The price is well, well worth it (I believe it runs around $30 a month), and it’s still an effective way to add lots of subscribers to your list.

So where does the problem lie, then?  Well, I have a few theories, the main one being that a few of the members are not honest (there’s a few bad apples in every bushel), and some of the members just don’t take it seriously.  For instance, some of the members sell solo ads.  Often they will have a solo ad booked on the same day that they have a swap booked.  They will automatically give preference to the solo ad and practically ignore the ad swap, because the solo ad is making them money and the ad swap is not guaranteed to make them any money. Or so they think…

Let me explain why that thinking is dead wrong.   Let’s just pretend that Joey sells a Jill 100-click solo for $50.  Let’s also pretend that Joey has a 200-click ad swap scheduled with Johnny on the very same day.  Joey has a nice squeeze page that converts around 40%.  That means that if Johnny is an honest swapper and sends good traffic, Joey should end up with 80 new subscribers from their ad swap (200 clicks * 40% conversion rate = 80 subscribers)  If we follow the general rule that each new subscriber is worth $1 per month, Joey would actually make $30 more from the ad swap than he would make from the solo!

Another variable affecting the quality of ad swaps is the “wait to send” attitude.  What’s that you ask?  It’s when one swapper holds back sending any clicks until he starts to receive clicks from his swap partner.  Do you want to know how asinine this way of thinking is?  Think about it for a minute or two and you’ll get it.  What happens if both swappers wait until the other sends before they send?  NOBODY WILL END UP SENDING!  You’ll basically cancel the swap out as if it never existed!

If you have a swap scheduled, go ahead and send it at a reasonable time on the day it’s supposed to go out.  I recommend some time before 5 pm.  If you wish your swap partner to send your swipe out at an opportune time during the day, you should certainly do the same.  Don’t be afraid to send your end of the swap out.  If your partner fails to send, don’t sweat it.  That’s what the feedback & rating system is for.  Sure, you may lose a few subscribers, but by leaving an appropriate rating you will also be helping the swap community avoid scammers and “deadbeat” swappers.

Another thing that’s killing ad swaps is the relatively new list building technique called “click banking.”  This is not to be confused with the digital product marketplace Clickbank.  This is a technique that is similar to ad swapping, yet quite different at the same time.  It involves two marketers exchanging links that they want to promote and agreeing upon a set number of clicks to send each other.  The main difference between the two is that the clicks are sent over a period of usually 1-2 weeks and these clicks are usually not direct clicks from an email broadcast.  They are what’s called “funnel clicks,” meaning they come from somewhere in a marketer’s sales funnel, most likely from links or banners placed on the download or “thank-you” page.  They can also come from follow-up emails and exit traffic.

Another particularly nasty click banking technique (in my opinion) that’s used to generate clicks is the “double squeeze page” method, where marketers place two squeeze pages one right after the other in their funnel.  I think this is particularly spammy, and it’s not something I do or recommend.

This video explains click banking pretty well:


Out of all of the above mentioned, I think the worst offender is click banking.  What generally happens with click banking is that a prospective customer, or “lead,” will end up being passed around  and put on dozens of lists.  This effectively kills the chances that you’ll ever be able to sell them anything in the future.  Most likely what will happen is that they will either ignore your emails, unsubscribe, or worse, send your emails to their spam folder.

I still have faith that ad swaps will return to their former glory.  Then again, I still have faith that the Arizona Diamondbacks will finish in first place and win the World Series next year!  Seriously, though, if you are reading this article and you are doing ad swaps or you would like to start doing swaps, please do it the right way.

Here’s a few things you shouldn’t do:

  • Send bogus traffic from a bot
  • Send bogus traffic from a safelist
  • Send junk traffic from a traffic exchange
  • Use a rotator and send traffic to 2 or 3 different offers
  • Use double squeeze pages
  • Send out a day late (not acceptable)
  • Leave good feedback for a bad swap
  • Fail to match clicks
  • Lie about having autoresponder or Internet problems

I believe if you avoid doing any of the above, you can’t help but be a successful ad swapper.  The bottom line is if you expect to get top quality clicks, lots of subscribers, and timely service from your swap partner then you need to commit to giving your partner all of those as well.  It goes both ways.  You need to scratch a back if you want yours scratched.  Get my point?

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