Why TrafficJam.com really…

Traffic Jam LogoI could finish that title in all kinds of ways

  • does suck
  • is amazing
  • can bring you masses of targeted traffic
  • can be used for market research
  • can help you optimize your titles
  • can be used for discovery
  • is overrated
  • is underrated
  • is useful
  • is a waste of screen pixels

Get the idea? It all depends on perspective and objectives.

Even if you have absolutely no interest in TrafficJam or Blogrush, I strongly suggest you read this post, especially if you are interested in viral marketing techniques that are guaranteed to build you an email list.

John Reese launched TrafficJam just a few days ago with the slogan – “Speed Read Thousands Of Blogs!”

TrafficJam vs Techmeme & Megite vs Activity Streams vs Feed Readers

Meme trackers are great ways to discover what people are blogging about. I stop by Techmeme on a daily basis and it brings me a great overview of what is happening in technology. It is a little elitist, the blogs and other news sources that get picked up are carefully selected, though the algorithms will also pick up other news sources if the central seed blogs link to them, or if other blogs link through to the lead stories or Techmeme, effectively saying “Hey, I have something to say as well”.

Megite allows you to create personal meme tracks, so I might also stop by the Search Engine marketing meme tracker based upon the Online Marketing Blog Biglist.
Some time ago I also created a meme tracker based upon my Technorati favorites, but because technorati Favorites is still broken and not showing all my favorites, this is proving next to useless and it can’t pick up the “undercurrent” of the z-list

Obviously I have my feed reader, but whilst I have subscribed to 300 or so blogs, I rarely have time to read them – using Google Reader with my current connection is cumbersome and the same would be true of other online readers such as Netvibes and Bloglines – I am currently also experimenting with FeedDemon which was made free not too long ago. It is a good option for those feeds which are “must reads”.

Blogcatalog’s Dashboard – the new activity stream is great, I have actually set it as my home page – my friends need to update their profiles so I can see what they are up to, but it gives me a good overview without getting bogged down. In some ways this is similar to what you can achieve with Netvibes or Pageflakes, but without the need to add all the feeds yourself.

TrafficJam highlights the undercurrent

TrafficJam highlights what is currently hot, without requiring high traffic numbers, a “trained audience” encouraged to click things to bring you more traffic, or anything else.

Clicks are based purely on headlines – if you have a headline that visitors to other blogs find interesting, you are going to gain a few clicks, even if you have a very low traffic blog – Blogrush already favours low traffic blogs in this regard because they gain lots of free credits.
How many free credits? Well I have had my WPPlugins site listed on Blogrush since it launched, and it is a very low traffic site, that hasn’t been updated in a long time, and the headline of the last post is hardly captivating.
The site certainly hasn’t earned many credits on its own – it has however been allocated almost 400,000 credits.

If you imagine the potential for a niche website, with a carefully optimized title being the one appearing within Blogrush, leading to a well optimized page which has been designed with a suitable traffic funnel, a CTR of 1% would give you 4000 visitors.

4000 visitors might not seem very much, but that is probably the equivalent to being linked to from 10 A-list bloggers in the blogging, seo and internet marketing niches with what I would call a “good” link, intended to send readers to look at something.

I know how much traffic I get from such links, and whilst they are not always sculpted to send maximum traffic, and there is an audience cross-over, there are very few sites that have sent me over 500 visitors from a single link in a short space of time.
If I delve into Google analytics and filter based on referrer, there are a few links that over a long period of time bring me more traffic, but those are invariably a well highlighted link in corner-stone content that attracts lots of links in itself.

Blogrush – Poor Click Through Rate

Despite improvements in targeting and improved quality filtering, the CTR from the Blogrush widgets has drastically reduced.

I think this is down to a number of problems

  • Public quality perception – if you have moaned about or subjected Blogrush to public ridicule (some Internet marketing sites are very much like Ripoff Report in that respect) then you are unlikely to click.
  • Different focus of attention – manual comment spammers are going to be focused on visiting the next blog on their list, entrycard droppers on their next drop zone, Stumblers are just as likely to hit the stumble button.
  • Ugly widget – some people still don’t like it
  • Poor positioning of widgets – it is an exit point, and people don’t really want to encourage others to leave their website, though to be frank in most cases other than sales pages, they are likely to do that anyway. Obviously many people are also looking for maximum monetization

My hope is that over time these things will be improved, but ultimately Coke tastes better than Pepsi.. right?

TrafficJam Is For The All List

TrafficJam is for the All List

A list like that makes me excited, because half the blogs I had never heard of or visited, and there was some great content to be found. Not all of it, titles alone can be a little misleading, and I am sure could be gamed, but often someone who can write a good title can also write good articles.

Well not quite everyone is an unknown, there is a post from the Income.com blog on the list, as well as from Alice Seba, and one from Lynn Terry @ Clicknewz – they probably have more paying customers than many A-list bloggers have subscribers

Then I noticed Kieron has had some problems with people gaining a front page Digg… with content they ripped off from him – whilst Kieron is in my feed reader, I missed this post because I haven’t been using it as much due to connection difficulties.

I also noticed a couple of posts from Linda celebrating 5 years in the affiliate management industry and an analysis of salaries for affiliate managers.

I am not going to pretend that one link from me is worth the advertising space that Blogrush takes up, but bloggers clicking through on specific content written by other people in their niche has the ability to magnify the traffic.
It doesn’t take many links and new visitors to enhance the effect of social media, and add subscribers.

Before you moan about Blogrush not bringing any traffic make sure you have carried out the following:-

  • Read my previous articles on Blogrush
  • Installed a plugin to create a custom RSS feed which you can use for testing
  • Mark was one of the first to offer a decent solution that doesn’t involve manual editing of an RSS feed, and since then a good solution was created by Pawan Agrawal of Max WordPress with his Blogrush Click Maximizer.

    Pawan actually released a new version yesterday (22 feb), and even if you have no interest at all in Blogrush, you have to download this new version hosted in the WordPress plugin repository, and go through the activation process – it is a brilliant piece of coding by someone who really understands list building.
    If you are doing anything to do with WordPress, whether it is plugins or themes, you have to see how he is doing this. Even better, the plugin is released under GPL, so you could easily reuse his code.

    I think Pawan has a snse of humor as well. He said in the update notes that there were small changes made… that trebled the code size. Seriously this is list building artwork.

  • Created a custom langing page or optimized your site to maximize conversions
  • Actually clicked a few Blogrush links every day since launch – if you don’t use it, how can you expect any traffic from it
  • If it turns out to be a good post, Stumble it, bookmark it – I have enhanced friendships and loyal readership by doing exactly that

TrafficJam Teething Problems?

Whilst I am overly positive that this is going to be a very useful service (if people give John and his team a little slack), there are things that should be cleaned up a little.

  • Session IDs – for some reason clicking links from TrafficJam leaves ?PHPSESSID=llrg8vvclv49dko9ekp38uf2v7 or similar on the end of the links, and WordPress doesn’t clean that up automatically (and I hope they never do, unless used for other purposes) – this is something that needs fixing as it can mess up some things with social media, and looks ugly.
  • Not displaying Blogrush – there are sites still listed that are not displaying Blogrush – I am sure this is because whilst they are no longer displaying Blogrush, they referred a lot of people – I am not sure how to handle this – as an example Linda isn’t displaying Blogrush on her blog, but from memory she was mainly displaying it on her forum previously. I am sure she referred tons of people, and will always have credits from referrals.
  • Stats – make all traffic and credit stats crystal clear, and exactly how they came about
  • Positioning – TrafficJam could be used as an incentive for good positioning of the widget. If blogs send more traffic due to good positioning, they should in some way have their feeds highlighted. Alternatively or in addition you could just have recent clicks highlighted.
  • Design – I would like to see the category choices at the top or bottom, with the right side of the page reserved to highlight more content such as positioning benefits.
  • Blogrush Widget – it really needs excerpts and maybe some kind of additional ratings for a post just read. A blog is gaining a benefit from a click based upon a title, but a title has to deliver on the promise +1/-1
  • For Blogrush – I want to be able to promote my downline, I don’t really need more referrals, but my readers do

Unlike many, I am willing to give John a chance to make this a success – there is a need, and someone needs to fill it. This is only the second part of Income.com, I am looking forward to the third, and probably largest piece of the puzzle that John started launching over 1 year ago with a small green blob.

Do also make sure you check out Pawan’s plugin – there are actually a few flaws in the process which I am going to suggest need fixing for his next upgrade – it doesn’t seem to work with multiple lists, so I ended signing up to 2 lists of his this evening, when I have been on some for the last 2 years or more, and as it is on WordPress plugins, you don’t know who the referrer was – it would be good if there was a “where did you hear about this plugin” field.

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  1. says

    I’m definitely going to look into Traffic Jam. I tried Blog Rush, it did nothing and I recently tried Ad Gridwork which also did nothing!

  2. says

    Wow, that activation process is a really well done. I think we are going to see a lot of plugins like this in the future. I know mine will ;-)

    If any fellow readers out there are using a different WordPress address than their blog address, they are going to have it tank as the page redirects during activation use not-quite-the right parameter.

    I’ve emailed Pawan about it but if you have this trouble, just go to lines 117 and 118 and change get_bloginfo(‘siteurl’) to get_bloginfo(‘wpurl’) and you’ll be good to go.

    • says

      I thought a few people would like it if they took the time to take a look – I was really impressed.
      I have actually hit a bug as well, and have emailed Pawan about it. He is looking into it.

  3. says

    Hi Andy,

    I was surprised I was getting traffic and being listed at Trafficjam since I took the BW widget down quite awhile ago. I never had Blogrush on my forum BTW, it was always on the blog and

    I felt I gave it a pretty good shot, but just didn’t get enough traffic to justify keeping it up. I’m getting enough traffic from the Jam though that I’m considering putting it back up.

    • says

      Linda I would look on it as PPC – and make sure the traffic goes to a page that converts.
      My CTR at one time was as high as 0.5% without using the plugin, now it is down to below 0.1% also without a plugin.

      The aim now is to get it up to 1% :)

  4. says

    I’ve been waiting for this post since you mentioned it the other day and I’m not disappointed. What a great alternative spin on the whole BlogRush/TrafficJam thing.

    Gonna have a proper look at Pawans plugin over the next couple of days with a view to reintroducing BR.

    I’m still not convinced, though, about the quality of the traffic BR sends through. I found it didn’t really hang around as long as other traffic sources to the same articles (i.e. StumbleUpon, Digg, Sphinn, etc.). How does it perform for you, Andy?

  5. says

    Hi Andy, excellent post thank you! In fact, I’ll be commenting and referencing this information (why reinvent the wheel) most likely today. Always love to send others off to great sites for excellent input.

    I’m a big fan of BlogCatalog, too. Very friendly bunch with (so far so good) the right attitude for using such a resource.

    Also, and this hasn’t much to do with anything, but I had to control/alt/delete my IE twice coming to your page. It just froze up completely. Finally settled for writing the url down and coming in via Firefox – which (yeah!) worked like a charm. Our blog is just the opposite working best in IE, Opera, and even to some degree Safari. Hates Firefox, but we really like the template so…

    Sorry to ramble, and again thank you for outstanding information. Off to check into TrafficJam!

  6. says

    I’ve never used Blogrush so I wonder if I’ll find any value in adding it now so my posts could get indexed by Trafficjam. It’s the referrals aspect that bothers me the most. Am I going to have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to build up referrals before I start seeing benefits? The ROI may not be worth it for those of us who have never used Blogrush up to this point.

  7. says

    Hello andy, I also checked the traffic jam site, and according to the alexa traffic stats, the site’s traffic ranking is extremely low + it hasn’t got much back links either and the site is zero PR, so how can such a site drive traffic..?? Or am i missing something here hmmmmmmmmm :D

  8. says

    Ahh i forgot to tell another thing, when i click the URL thats says “20 ways to make $100 a day online” on Traffic jam, it did not go to the said URL instead it went else where Lolz so i guess the site only use catchy titles in order to get clicks

  9. says

    I like it, but I don’t like it…

    I like the idea that posts are aggregated for you based off a metric that measures the undercurrent of what’s hot.

    I don’t like that “what’s hot” is dependent on BlogRush, because it will never provide truly informed results in my opinion.

    I think that once someone comes up with a better framework for collecting the needed data (maybe services like BlogCatalog are already capable of it, I’m not sure), then such a service could be very useful.

    But whilst it’s based off BlogRush, no.

    • says

      Simon there is a need for click data based upon a percentage of views.

      MyBlogLog could certainly do it if their stats go back far enough, but currently their “what’s hot” is not based upon niches and displays.

      That means that on my profile what is hot is normally either porn or warez related, and I have no idea which of my communities causes it.

  10. says

    The seesion ID lark is easy to deal with. php does it for you if there is a cookies problem or if you choose to do all work via the URL. It’s actually a security issue if you can grab a session ID from another user before it times out you gain control of their account. You can change the use of session id to never in the php configuration file. It’s on as standby by default.

  11. says

    Traffic Jam is a great site. It helps me find the blogs fast and effectively. Its still improving but I feel it will be a great tool in the future. Soon everyone will be trying to figure out how to get ranked on trafficjam.com

  12. says

    Definitely will try Trafficjam soon. I’ve been abandoned by blogrush, because they said my blog doesn’t have quality contents :)

  13. says

    I like how you talk about the importance of headlines if you want to get people to click on your link. As the web gets more congested, this will be a good way to reduce the clutter. Thanks for the resource, i will definitely check out trafficjam to see how it works for me.

  14. says

    I totally agree with your thoughts on the “usability” of Blogrush & Co.; but it’s a real pity that there is no such service for blogs in other languages – it’s totally impossible to do this kind of rush-marketing if your blog uses a language other than English.