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  1. #1
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    Has LinkBuddies degenerated into a scam?

    On a lark, I turned on my old LinkBuddies account to see if I could get some more unique visitors.

    I noticed that the LinkBuddies ads were getting a lot of clicks -- 0.44% CTR. I dug a little deeper, but was surprised at what I found.

    Most of the banners being shown & clicked on my site were from different LB accounts, but they were the same banner. They were an error-box type banner saying "Be Your Own Boss". They all pointed to the same master site, but different URL's:

    http://www.excelir.com/billandlou
    http://www.excelir.com/globalwealth http://www.excelir.com/bill_nicholas
    http://excelir.com/jdle
    http://www.excelir.com/dbloom1
    http://www.excelir.com/jnnewlon
    http://www.excelir.com/mainstreetinternational
    http://www.excelir.com/bugsbny529
    http://www.quadbexcels.com (redirect)
    http://www.excelir.com/laubly http://www.excelir.com/numark
    http://excelir.com/rexmadden http://www.excelir.com/sscriven

    That's just a sample. I couldn't even list them all.

    People are clicking on these banners like mad on my site, because of their error-box design. I'd love to exclude them, but they're distributed across many accounts, making them impossible to fight.

    The whole thing smells funny -- like there's some kind of scam going on here. How come these banners show so much on my site? Where are they getting their exchange credits from? And why are there so many different accounts associated with the same site/banner?

    I've e-mailed LB fraud support, but have turned them off in the meantime. It's not fair for exchange sites to run trick banners in general just to siphon off visitors, but there seems to be even more in play here than I understand. The banners seem to be affiliated with LB, since the same banners run on the admin screens. Every time I click one I get a new person as the "account rep" on this site. It seems like a pyramid scheme -- pay $245, and be on the road to financial freedom.


    Does anyone know what's going on with LinkBuddies? They used to be a very good banner exchange.

    Ralph

  2. #2
    Level 8 Chinese guy Archbob's Avatar
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    LB never worked that well for me. But I doubt they'd degenerate into scam. Probably one guy is trying to screw you up or something.

  3. #3
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    As I remember, LinkBuddies' tracking was a bit inaccurate for me. I haven't used them for a long time though.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  4. #4
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    I got a reply back from them. I still don't understand what happened. They told me that they did a major deal with Excel (the company that the banners seem to point to) and were overwhelmed with new members all using the same banners. The new accounts are paying a monthly amount for guaranteed clicks.

    I think that what he is saying is that LB sold ad space to Excel corporation, and it was divyed up among many of these new members created especially for Excel. But I still just don't get it. Why would they create normal accounts for an advertiser, as if they were a member in the network?

    The reason to participate in a link exchange is so that you can get exposure for your site while helping other sites get exposure. It's not so that the only banners running on your site are for sleazy MLM advertisers.

    Ralph

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    even in banner exchanges there are still alot of paid banners. the provider does need to cover costs,

  6. #6
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    I understand this, but at what point does the banner exchange just become a liability for any site to run?

    Would you run a banner exchange where 80% of the ads were paid, and got 5% CTR? Especially when you were getting 0.5% CTR? That means for every 1 visitor you get, you gave away 10. Is that worth it?

    Ralph

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    okay now heres something for you to look at...
    why is your banner getting 0.5 CTR and theres are getting 5.0% CTR...

  8. #8
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    Easy. Because their banner is of the "error box" variety. It's designed to look like a Windows System Error box to newbies. It's generally a scummy way to guarantee 5% CTR chock full of untargetted visitors.

    My banner is more to-the-point. People don't click on it if they're not interested. I'd prefer to keep it that way. I'm not just trying to siphon off traffic from other sites. I'm trying to attracts traffic that is interested in my site.

    Ralph


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