I have read several articles, e-books and blogs and attended several webinars during the years about building and running a traffic exchange. Tony Tezak , I think we all agree he is an expert (get his free e-book here), always points out that it is the best to promote only your own TE in other TEs. And than promote other program inside your surf and by mailing your members. And he is right about that. If you are not dependent of the income from your Traffic Exchange to pay the bills for daily life and TE expenses, promoting only your own exchange in others is the very best advice. BUT….
And here comes the dilemma of many starting TE owners with limited budget and/or traffic from other online business they already own:
In order to get new members you need to advertise in many TEs. Surfing costs a lot of time plus in order to be able to upgrade, or invest in your TE (buying mods, etcetera) you need funds. If you want to participate in parties that costs some money also in most cases. Plus the costs of hosting. Getting JVs with other exchanges can be an option but therefore you need to know people in the TE industry first. Best chances to get those are with other smaller exchanges, the big TEs don’t need JVs with smaller starting TEs. There are only so many hours in a day you can surf to earn credits. Due to what I wrote above deciding how to spend these credits can be a difficult choice.
It takes quit a while for a starting TE with an owner that is not know yet in the TE industry to make enough money to cover the costs, let alone money. You can of course promote other programs in order to get referrals and commissions within your own TE but they are only seen by the members of that TE. And the number must be limited: I have seen TEs where 90% of all programs are from the TE owner and programs of the members hardly get any views.
So many TE owners promote also other programs than their own in other exchanges with the objective to get downlines in TEs so they can cut back on surfing in future when their downline starts to earn credits for them and secondly to generate some income.
Building and Running a TE is not for everyone. I bought a TE to help out a former partner who promised to teach me the ropes but never did. Lol I made about every beginner mistake. Settings wrong, unhealthy credit balance, too many of my own programs rotating, etc. I did not know any people in the TE industry and I did not know there exist Skype rooms for TE owners. This all changed when I found some TE rooms where I got help and guidance, in particular the Ventrino Skype room and some people in this room that helped me the most to get some insight in the math of an exchange. Also getting members is one thing, keeping them active is another story. I love my TE now and it became my personal challenge.
My main business is graphic designs and I am co-founder is some long term projects. I promote these actively also, mainly in rotators that promote my own sites as well. I became more creative in promoting both my own programs and some others I am involved in at the same time with a minimum of time needed to earn credits. Lol, it took me a while to figure that out.
My own TE is still to small to use as a Traffic Funnel so I started using some TE coops of which the most important for me are TE-JV, GEO-views (has a free GEO rotator through which I promote some Dutch sites), Explosive Traffic, Traffic2prosperity and GlobalTEmarketing. There are some others but I will write a separate article about soon.
I am using TE-JV the most. On almost every TE I join I spend part of my credits to the JV-link; this earns me credits to have my sites show on 100′s of other TEs; the rotator top bar shows my text links and it carries my TE-JV ID. I also spend part of my credits to my TE-JV site rotator: 10 sites of my own including the branded Surf-Bar-Traffic site rotator are in there.
Using the branded rotator of your own Traffic Exchange is a good way to promote both you own TE and other programs on other TEs.
In my SBT site rotators I have all my own sites including Surf-Bar-Traffic and a bunch of others. Site rotators of the Ventrino script rotate all sites weather they are paused or not. So on my own exchange only the un-paused are shown. But this may be different for rotators running on another script.
I own my own linktipper site rotator as well. On the bar for free members are besides a sponsor banner rotation some mini banners of my own. (Paid members have no top bar.)
On almost every exchange I submit my TE-JV co-op credit earning link (TE-JV mostly) and rotators that brand my own sites as well. As for the surfing I have a few I surf daily, many others occasionally. Working this way leaves me just enough time to create graphics, managing my TE and do other promotional work like write articles, do mailings and other promotional work. I try to use my self made graphics as much as possible for TE promotions; this way I am promoting my graphic work as well.
To close this subject I want to mention how important it is to build downlines in TEs. I consider them so important that I invested in a donwline builder of my own, its the MUGged downline builder attached to SBT. You can get a free personal copy here.
Always fill out your IDs in downline builders. Even if your downline never spends any money on upgrades and purchases, they do earn you credits in most cases when they surf. On long term your downlines earn you so many credits that you can cut down on surfing yourself. Many Ventrino TEs have the option to ad your own program. When you are owner of a Ventrino TE you can get a free mod at the TE Project so your members can build downlines in many popular TEs and some other service. When you are starting TE you will probably the most of the promoting yourself. This means they may join under you when they are going to fill out their IDs after they joined.