Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Site Examined on

Tonight, as many nights go, I was doing the usual statistical research on the site, usually to do with how people are using Linkreferral, and in what fashion, for instance, how many are doing the max 5 reviews, how many are using the internal Linkreferral mail system, what is the communication like between members that have a favorites connection, how often do people come back, etc.... this is done of course to see things are going and where improvements can be made.

and so tonight, my focus was on our new search, first, is the search use increasing?, what is being searched on?, etc... We record the search terms being keyed in, and as you can imagine, quite an array of topics, 'etsy', 'money','scrapbooking', 'country music', 'political buttons'.... the list goes on and on. There was one search term that caught my eye, 'cancer'. A more serious topic than most on here, and I was interested in what the results would be. And so I keyed that search and came up with 146 member sites in our directory.

from the results, there was a listing that caught my eye.
A blog that details my struggles on beating advanced cancer, what good karma is to me, judging others by their heart & soul & realizing the importance of right now. Actions speak louder than words & what comes around goes around.

and so I proceeded to click on site, and found an stunningly raw and honest first person account chronicling the writer's battle with ovarian cancer over the course of several years as well as the impact it has had on family members... my father passed away from lymphoma this past Christmas, and so I have some measure of ability to empathize with the situation. I highly suggest you have a look...

I then proceeded to look at the reviews this member received, shown at,

As you can see, many thorough and sincere comments left by the visitors. Obviously it's a little difficult to say how this story is going to turn out, however, we wish her and her family all the very best, and as I'm sure she is aware, sharing her story with the public has most certainly touched and helped the readers who have graced her blog and has done much good.

After reading and sitting back, I also felt a little better about what we do here. If in some small way, we've helped promote a first rate blog such as this for the benefit of our members (and hopefully cathartic for the author as well), it makes up for all the money making and adult sites we have listed ;) Not that those don't have their place, but it's nice to see something a little more laudable in our listings.

Now before I go, looking at this listing from a business/online endeavour point of view, it's a great example of how a site is doing things right, in this case due to a first person account of something people can relate to, and care about. The content is key here (it's interesting to the visitor), and additionally, it's a story that is continuously updated (keeps people coming back - I will probably check back in myself). With these two bases covered, a site owner can get things going. I'll write more about this in a future post.

In fact, this writer had monetized the site with Adsense ads up until recently, Adsense deciding to disable her account due to her promotion of cannabis to alleviate pain from serious illness. Doesn't seem quite right considering her particular blog and situation, the fact it's legal in many countries and U.S. States for that purpose, and doubly ironic as Google is based in the fairly liberal northern California region. Hopefully she'll find an alternative (take a look at ) and/or they will reconsider their position.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

we're #1! (relatively speaking)

As most of you probably know, our daily traffic has been increasing steadily, and of course, it's of interest to us how we're doing compared to other similar services. There isn't anything quite like linkreferral, however, the closest class of sites would be 'traffic exchanges' and the most popular of these would be,,, and we'll throw in, a service with multiple traffic building offerings like our own.

There are a few third party tracking services,, and, who estimate website traffic, which all base their ranking statistics on a combination of toolbar users and ISP and/or panel data. (yes, even Alexa has recently incorporated others sources, which has given them more accurate results, although has caused a fundamental change in their rankings, confusing many site owners).

so, how are we doing? Well, according to Alexa's new ranking methodology, we're steadily climbing and ranked above all others at #3544 in the world, out of 20+ million that they track, while the other traffic exchange sites are tanking.

Is this really accurate? Well, the fact is Alexa is still tweaking the ranking criteria, thus why you see the inconsistent ranking of the other sites. Why is this happening and why the change in the ranking criteria? Alexa used to use only sampling from their toolbar users which created an inherent flaw. The sampling of internet users they could track were only those that downloaded the 'alexa toolbar' and so create a bias in the sample towards,

a) people who are exposed to (generally U.S. visitors)
b) people that cared about alexa rankings such as site owners
c) computer operating systems and browsers that supported the toolbar

This resulted in sites that catered towards site owners such as hosting sites, web statistics sites, domain registration sites and yes, traffic building sites, with alexa rankings far higher than was justified, as well as international sites being underestimated. once they get their algorithm set, you won't see such 'haywire results' and you'll see a steadier, truer rank for all sites. The one thing the graph above says is that we are indeed different than traffic exchange sites, as our user base must be broader than other traffic building sites (not just all site owners, and a diverse international representation) as our ranking has been pretty steady during this tweaking...

let's look at, which also uses 'panel-based' estimates, but they add an extra dimension, which is simply to ask sites admins to allow a tracking code on their pages, to accurately count the data. Many popular sites have agreed and get detailed statistics as a result. Our rank is #2730 out of 20+ million sites for which they have stats, and that number is based on how we rank using only numbers from U.S. users.

The detailed statistics for our site is shown at, very accurate and interesting as again, this is real-time data being recorded from the site (the only question is what do they consider a visitor, a page view, etc...). It's difficult to compare our results to the other traffic exchange sites, as they have not participated in the direct measurement program, and so their stats are only estimates, (and much lower numbers).

the third tracking system is, which is tracking 1/2 million of the most popular domains on the web. The numbers themselves are not terribly accurate (certainly lower than our actual daily traffic, as more accurately recorded by quantcast), however, in terms of comparison and relative growth over time, I think it portrays the sites most accurately,

Basically it shows we are the most popular traffic building service, and growing steadily thanks to your support, while other traffic building sites are treading water. I suggest you try out these various tracking services and punch in your own website, and see what it comes up with...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A little about

A blog for has been long overdue, I've just been so busy with everything, it's always been on the backburner, which I hope to change now. Along with what's new, and current topics regarding the site, I'll also attempt to touch on other general topics around the internet.

So a little history.... (actually the first year under a different domain name) went online originally in 2000, with the one basic component of referral traffic, and has expanded over the years to include a peer review directory, active forums and several other components. It first started when in '99, I was looking for traffic for my own little web development business, I came across a crappy little multi-level advertising page, whereby signing up and referring others would create this cascade of traffic. It didn't work of course, but it intrigued me as to the fact that I signed up for it. I figured if it were presented better, there may be promise. And so after some work, the site with the referral component was launched, with mixed success, as getting people to sign up was not an issue, but to sell a high enough percentage of them on doing the upfront work to gain referrals was a difficult proposition, although some individuals in the know do very well in this regard. Additionally, no one had a reason to come back - hard to build a following without that. And so it was necessary to add the additional component of the 'directory' to balance the referral component with something that would produce more conservative, but predictable and immediate results. In order to get people to keep coming back, it seemed to make sense to get them to earn a high ranking by visiting other sites which would in turn fuel others to do the same. It was a big success, and funny enough, although the concept of this 'directory traffic' component is similar to 'traffic exchanges' (although every will agreed it's much more targeted, transparent and user-friendly) I never knew about them until after the fact and I'm not even sure they were around when I first came up with this. later, A 'review' link was added, but there was rampant spamming abuse and little participation, and so it was revamped to be included 'for ranking credit'. This helped, although the quality of the average review was still poor and so a 'quality' grade was included as well. A similar story with the addition of the linkreferral forums a few years ago, as initially it was unmoderated and a spam haven. It was revamped to be included as 'for ranking credit', moderated, and now one of the most valuable parts of the linkreferral program.

Many pieces have been added, the latest has been the much requested 'search tool' to find sites within our database by keyphrase. If you don't know what I'm talking about, log in, hit the 'directory traffic' tab, then looking underneath the listed categories. The reason this was so long in coming was due to concern over cannibalizing the nature of how earning credit within the directory works, however the search results have been set up as such that the integrity of the credit system should be kept safe. is a small site no longer, and now runs on two, well tuned dual xeon servers, serving over 20 million pages and 5 million visitors per month (although one of our 3rd party tracking services puts us at 4.5 million pages and 2.5 millions visitors per month) the discrepancy would make for a good separate post. Also, we see over 200 new accounts registered per day.'s Alexa rank is currently 3,655 (meaning we are the 3,655 most trafficked site in the world, out of 20+ million ) We've doubled in the past year, and 10-fold in the past 3. We're looking forward to being an established and household web presence in the next couple of years that will have an impact on how the average user finds new sites, and gets exposure for their own online endeavour.