Is This BlogRush All Over Again?

The Blog Traffic Exchange website released a WordPress plugin back on March 15th called Related Websites. The plugin taps into membership sites, that is those who have signed up to the Related Websites service who have been approved and uses a specially crafted algorithm to display links from those member sites to articles deemed to be related. It didn’t take long for me to think of BlogRush when reading the description of how this plugin/service works. However, unlike BlogRush, their are no credits and it seems like everyone has an equal shot at having their links displayed as long as you play by the rules.

BlogTrafficExchange explains how the plugin works here:

Links are randomly rotated both locally per page load and globally every 24 hours. A proprietary traffic balancing algorithm rewards blogs that send diverse traffic into the exchange more frequent placement. Relevancy is never compromised.

While a lot of people are raving about how well the plugin is working for them so far, I hate the fact that I have no control over who shows up in my related content box. I love the idea on how Related Websites work, I said the same thing when BlogRush was launched, but instead of showing websites from across your internal database of URLs, I’d rather be the one adding specific URL’s to my own internal database. Then, through a contextual algorithm, it determines from those URL’s to show related content. I believe this would make the related websites 10 times more relevant than what BlogTrafficExchange or any other traffic exchange system does. You know, algorithms can’t solve every problem and this is one of them. I as a human being know which specific sites are most related/relevant to the content I publish, I only need the algorithm to scan the content of those sites.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Sphere, or any other related content network which displays ‘relevant‘ content from across a wide spectrum of sites is useless. But, if you’re looking to really open the flood gates in terms of coverage or visibility, only then do I see these types of systems being valuable to a blogger. While you could make the argument that being part of a related content network which is used by big name sites such as CNN provides the opportunity for a link from your blog to show up on their site, don’t kid yourself. It’s happened to a few people but it’s not an everyday occurrence. Just about anytime I’ve read the CNN tech section and reviewed the related content section, a little blog called TechCrunch always seems to be featured their.

If a traffic exchange network works for you, great. It’s just my opinion that you represent the minority.

22 thoughts on “Is This BlogRush All Over Again?

  1. I never had any luck with traffic exchanges, because the visitors are not targeted and have no interested in your blog.

  2. Its true. It is easy to compare this but you really need to try it first. If the quality of comments are quality and information targeted, I see it as a promising plug-in

  3. I would concentrate on writing good content first and then worry about the traffic.When you have good content you will get targeted traffic from the search engines.Traffic from networks and social sites is not targeted and will do you no good.

  4. BlogRush was a mess from day 1. You signed up and bam! you were equally likely to show up on any other BR site. BTE is – as others have mentioned – different. There’s an element of quality control, it shows up as relevant links at the end of a post and not as an ad in the sidebar. So far I’ve had good success with the plugin, compared to BR, which I had no luck with at all. It shows relevant posts from other sites most of the time (and I say most because of course it’s not 100% effective – maybe more like 90%).

    But comparing it to another service based on reading the description – which this review seemed to do – doesn’t seem fair. If you installed it and tested it, no problem. If all you did was read a description and dismiss it, it’s not a good review and it doesn’t reflect well on your blog.

  5. I like it so far..its relevant and targeted traffic..cant complain..give it can always uninstall it if you dont like it!

  6. Very interesting plugin. I don’t use WordPress, but I can see how this could really create a decent community between bloggers in relevant niches. As long as that is what it does…

  7. I think the biggest difference between Blogrush and BTE is relevancy. I wasn’t too thrill with the type of article shown on BR widget, but BTE always show highly relevant articles. Additionally, BR was ugly with no configuration options except other ugly colors you can choose from.

    Go check BTE on my blog and you can see how seamlessly it could be integrated to your blog.

  8. I thought it would be like Blogrush at first as well. It’s easy to label it that way because the concept of traffic sharing, balancing, and related blog posts was all in Blogrush too. However, the Blogrush widget was bulky with logos and a design that I could customize to my site. It was set up to be more of a sidebar thing, which many people didn’t seem to look at.

  9. That’s one of the things keeping me from installing it at this point. I’m waiting to see how it does on other sites. But several other bloggers I’m friends with have put it in. So when I’m reading posts on their sites, I normally check it out to see what else it’s recommending. Normally it’s something relevant (or about as relevant as the related posts widget) and from a quality site.

    So at this point, I’d say that it’s much better quality and relevance than blogrush ever was. But that’s probably because they’re not letting just anyone in right now. I think that if it ever becomes something where you just sign up and you’re in, then it’ll become as useless as BlogRush was (I had it on my site for a couple months back in 07).

  10. Respectfully, I don’t know how you could know what you’re talking about if you haven’t tried the plugin. The comparison to Blog Rush tipped me off that you haven’t used this plugin. There is no similarity at all to Blog Rush.

    The assumption that networks often end up putting junk on your site is a valid one, but shouldn’t stop anyone from trying each network they find. That’s assuming no one is ever going to get it right and make the posted links truly relevant and of quality.

    Kevin is basically hand-approving sites by making people email him for the key. From the quality of sites I’ve seen on my own blog, which supplies a significant portion of my monthly income at over 5 figures, I can tell this network is different. I’m certainly not going to pollute my blog with anything less.

    The other comparison here in comments to web rings and all the other junk is completely unfair and, again, confirms a snap judgment based on bad information.

  11. In my experience, the Related Websites plugin does a much better job of displaying relevant links, even to articles on my own site. I replaced the Related Posts plugin with this one, primarily for that reason. The fact it also displays relevant links to other sites is a bonus, and with a nice selection of options I can control how many links to show, where to place them, whether or not to show excepts, etc.

    I understand Jeff’s point about the quality of the sites referred, but as BTE mentions above, the quality control is pretty high at this point.

  12. So far in my experience the traffic from the plugin is anything but social… they are genuinly interested. One might even say targeted.

    Why? They read someone’s post got to the bottom and wanted more… My post was there and they ate it up.

    Try it for a week. If you disagree after that, just uninstall. No harm no foul.

  13. When I first got into blogging I was all about stuff like this, blogrings, etc. I stopped using those things because, while they did draw traffic, it was “cheap traffic” in the same sort of way that stumbledupon is cheap traffic. People only stay for a nanosecond. It’s much better to build an audience by producing remarkable, relevant content.

    Oh, and the CNN comment. I don’t know how/why it happens, but I’ve had my blog mentioned as “also talking about this” from the WSJ, Washington Post, and a couple TV networks. I wish I knew how that worked.

  14. I appreciate the news, but you really should try it and give it a fair run before reviewing…

    Although I suppose this is more of a first impressions and says more about my marketing material tahn the plugin.

    I manually review all blogs to ensure quality.

    If you find that the plugin doesn’t work or you are unhappy with the blogs being shown you can alwasy deactivate.

    Once scale is reached I imagine a premium membership will allow for a black list much like google AdSense.

    Here is a respected reviewer that has installed the plugin with a distinctly different opinion:

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