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A Traffic Exchange First As ThumbVu Charges Members NOT To Have Their Site Seen

tim tech nerd

Have you ever heard of a traffic exchange where you are charged every time your site fails to get seen?

Me neither…until now that is.

The TimTech nerds are known for being a little controversial at times but this, surely, must be their most controversial decision ever.

They have turned the traditional traffic exchange advertising model on its head in the most daring of live experiments over at ThumbVu.

In a nutshell they have decided that ThumbVu surfers will now be charged one credit when their site is NOT viewed.

Yes you really did read that right.

Starting yesterday, the new ThumbVu advertising model means that you are charged credits for your site not to be seen.

And as if that wasn’t crazy enough the guys have decided that you won’t be charged any credits if your site actually is seen.

Even crazier still is that I think this is a brilliant idea, a real stroke of genius actually.

I just know this will upset a lot of people. In fact just hours after the change went live I heard someone branding the change “unfair” in the Traffic Exchange Live T3 conference room. I am sure much harsher criticism will follow as news of the change spreads.

But I think it is both daring and different. I love fresh thinking and I love the fact that TimTech are prepared to experiment with such a bold move.

So here is the concept in more detail.

To view a site in ThumbVu the surfer is presented with a surfbar like this:

ThumbVu surfbar

Now previously if a surfer clicked on one of the images, the site would be shown full size and the advertiser (the person who uploaded the site) would be charged one credit.

Under the new system each of the three advertisers whose sites appear in the surfbar is charged one credit for their thumbnail to be displayed.

The site that gets  clicked is viewed as normal but that advertiser also gets their credit refunded as a “reward” for being the site to have been selected.

So why the change?

Well the TimTech guys wanted to give ThumbVu its own distinct personality and also to reward advertisers for taking the extra effort to make their sites stand out from the crowd.

They wanted to introduce an element of competition to encourage advertisers to take the extra effort with their splash pages and I am all for that.

Yes it is a risk and it may not work but it is not worth getting angry about right?

I mean if it doesn’t work I guess the guys will put things back to the way things were before but if it does work – and I really hope it does – then a new and exciting element has been introduced to the traffic exchange community.

Here is how TimTech explained the change:

“We did something crazy today. We changed ThumbVu. We’re not sure if it was the smartest choice, but we’re willing to give it a whirl and see how it goes.

We’re now charging one credit per thumbnail view. Now it’s not a guaranteed hit, it’s a competition between splash pages where the best page standing gets the click.

And on top of that, we’re doing something even more crazy. We’re returning the credit to the site that got clicked. So every time your site gets viewed it doesn’t cost you anything.

I know, it’s crazy but we’re actually only charging you when your ad DOESNT get seen. So the better your page is, the more clicks it’ll get.

We hope you really grasp the importance of having pages that captivate attention and get a click.”

My only reservation about the change is regarding the ThumbMaster feature where surfers are encouraged to click through thumbnails to find a site being advertised by the current ThumbMaster so they can take the title for themselves.

This means that some surfers may not be looking for the most eye-catching page to view but are routinely clicking through all 12 thumbnails so that they can find the ThumbMaster.

In this case, if I understand the new rules correctly, it would mean that up to 11 people lose a credit each time someone hunting the ThumbMaster clicks a new page…ouch!

I don’t have any other issues with the change though and think people should give it a chance.

It would be great if a move like this really allowed ThumbVu to be a showcase for original and creative designs.

People are quick to complain that the same boring old generic pages are shown over and over again in the traffic exchanges so when a leading player in the industry makes a bold move which could help counteract this, I think they are to be applauded and not criticised.



38 Responses to A Traffic Exchange First As ThumbVu Charges Members NOT To Have Their Site Seen

  1. Paula Frye
    October 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Hi Patrick.

    I think it’s a very unique idea. It could work well. However, I am going over there right now and taking out some of my pages from rotation. I have a lot of pages rotating over there (some with multiple campaigns), so should probably drop that down to one or two at a time instead of my normal 7-10. This new change is going to change things a lot. Credits will run out a lot faster, but we won’t be getting more views — just paying more for the views we actually do get.

    I guess I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it yet. I’m sure interested to see the replies you get to your blog :-)


    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Paula,
      I think that is the mindset which suggests this whole “crazy” exercise just might actually work.
      You are willing to adopt your advertising strategy to fit in with the particular requirements of a particular traffic exchange and this is good to hear.
      Also you are willing to “give it a go” and see how the change will actually play out over time which is also a great attitude to have.
      I hope it works out for you but do let me know.

  2. Karen Kuty
    October 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi Patrick,

    I think that this is a brilliant idea. I hope that my sites are interesting enough that they get clicked on, but I try to put more interesting ads on ThumbVu, because it is a competition for views.

    We’ll see how it works out…

    Karen Kuty (klkuty)

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      I am sure the TimTech nerds will be very happy you have posted this comment Karen.
      If they are prepared to take a hit in terms of having some customers walk away from ThumbVu because of the change, how great it would be if the site attracted more advertisers like you who saw it as an opportunity to showcase unique and interesting ads.
      If the majority of ThumbVu advertisers had this attitude then it would build itself up into a really niche traffic exchange where new and cutting-edge splash pages competed with each other for attention.
      What a cool place that would be and it would make ThumbVu a “must visit” traffic exchange for me.

  3. Steve Ayling GERMANY October 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I think it’s a good little change, you earn more for viewing sites so a credit is technically not worth as much there for your only really using a part credit to have your thumbnail seen and that gives you a chance to get a site view.
    By the way it’s not a first, traffic swarm charges you each time a link is shown if people click it or not

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

      Great point Steve…I must admit I was not aware of Traffic Swarm’s policy…thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Jeff Gudgeon
    October 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    I didn’t wake up this morning wanting to be negative Nellie. It’s a gorgeous fall morning, Slightly chilly, but with the sun shining, I was outside enjoying my coffee. Then this.

    This has to be the dumbest idea ever, and ya, i checked and my credits have taken a huge hit. Credits that’s taken almost a year to build up, and of course they are going to be squandered in a couple weeks.

    Everyone who uses Thumbvu knows, we don’t click on the most interesting ad! Admit it,
    how many times have you clicked on a blank image at Thumbvu?

    NOONE looks at the preview bar and studies the 3 sites to see which one they’d rather see! The only thing we are consciously previewing is which one doesn’t have video, and clicking the one that does not.

    This is ridiculous! Now we are being charged double credits based on what another human does. Someone who, we don’t know who they are, what they are thinking, what mood they are in, what strategies they are employing that day, their goals, nothing.

    If the true goal is to get better ads on thumbvu, then it would make more sense to not give us a choice of three sites, but rather have the system automatically show us the one of 3 with more thumbs up.

    Rant over.

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

      Hey Jeff,
      Great comment and here are some of my thoughts:

      “Everyone who uses Thumbvu knows, we don’t click on the most interesting ad!”
      Well that maybe true but the change is to encourage people to click on the most interesting ad. At least the change is to encourage people to place more interesting ads on the site and if ThumbVu gets known to be “the home of the interesting ad” then maybe people will be encouraged to do this?

      “How many times have you clicked on a blank image at Thumbvu?”
      Several. Sometimes I click the blank image just to see something truly random and sometimes I click on the blank image because, of the three images in front of me, it is the most interesting ad option before me. ;)

      “NOONE looks at the preview bar and studies the 3 sites to see which one they’d rather see!”
      Er, I do! Same thing over at ListSurfing, I choose the ad I would most rather see.

      “The only thing we are consciously previewing is which one doesn’t have video, and clicking the one that does not.”
      Brilliant point. Yes I routinely reject the sites with the generic videos on them where some actor is speaking in that totally over-dramatic voice to tell me how the product on offer will change my life or how I simply cannot miss the opportunity to join this forced matrix or that program which will have every ATM I walk past automatically spitting out cash at me but…

      I also routinely search out sites with videos from real people, people I already know from the TE community, and when I see one of their videos then that is the site I choose to click and that is one of the reasons I feel that this “crazy” scheme might just work. As I said in a previous reply if ThumbVu was seen as the place to showcase cutting edge splash and squeeze pages then this would be a huge leap forward for the industry.

      “If the true goal is to get better ads on thumbvu, then it would make more sense to not give us a choice of three sites, but rather have the system automatically show us the one of 3 with more thumbs up.”
      I suspect the numbers of people who actually bother to give sites a thumbs up or down is relatively small at ThumbVu…for me I would far more have the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down from a viewer…whether they click my site or not. Yes you are right in that we don’t know what mood people are in when they click or exactly why they click but if a campaign is run over a period of time and gets a statistically significant number of clicks/no clicks then any one member’s bad mood, for example, would be averaged out.

  5. Paula Frye
    October 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I would like to give a big thumbs up to Jeff G’s comment. I can’t believe I’m actually posting “two” comments on one blog, but I just have to say this. I can see where this change would be good for the owners (more credits sold due to more running out, etc.) but I do not see where it would be good (at all) for the member who is actually running their pages at ThumbVu. ThumbVu used to stand out in that you got more “quality” views for your credits spent. That will no longer be true.

    Just my 2 cents. I promise that is my last comment lol


    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      Hi Paula,
      Feel free to leave more than one comment on any blog post. Your comments are always interesting so you can come back and comment as often as you wish. ;)

  6. Tim Linden
    October 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    @Patrick – Great point on the Thumbmaster.. I didn’t realize people did that, so we’ll have to discuss this a bit and find a solution.

    @Steve, yes this is true but I’m not aware of them giving the credit back if your site is clicked =P

    @Jeff Maybe people will pay attention more while surfing, knowing the site they click gets rewarded?

    @Paula – Previously the traffic wasn’t any more quality than any other exchange. You were guaranteed a hit. So even if you had a page that NOBODY wanted to click, eventually it would have to get clicked because it would continually rotate until someone did.
    Tim Linden thinks you may like this post too..Looking for FeedbackMy Profile

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Tim. I will be super honest with you here in that I have not used ThumbVu much lately – probably because I still associate the site so much with its former owner.
      But I can tell you that when I was trying to become ThumbMaster I would click through every one of those thumbnails multiple times until I found the TM and I know others did exactly the same so it is likely that people are still doing the same.

      However the more I think about this idea of yours the more I like it.

  7. Jeff Gudgeon
    October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Tim, I appreciate what you want, but again, you are trying to control random human behavior and you don’t even know them…at our expense.

    Also, before i wouldn’t click on Patrick’s or Paula’s or so n so’s…pages because I didn’t want to burn a credit from them, So now I’m going to click on their site to reward them…, either way I have no particular interest if their splash is awesome or not.

    See my point is you don’t know anyone’s motivations.

    And, just to keep the discussion moving, let’s use the upgraded members credit ratio for the sake of discussion and easy math…. correct me if I’m wrong..

    Before, we had roughly a 33% chance of using up a credit by getting our site shown, and now we have a 66% chance of losing a credit for it not being shown?

    No I don’t like this change.

  8. Tim Linden
    October 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    That’s OK that we don’t know their motivations. That’s part of advertising. As marketers it’s our job to figure that out and get people interested in our ads ;-)
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    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      “As marketers it’s our job to…get people interested in our ads.”
      That is a brilliant point Tim and probably deserves a blog post in its own right, either for you, me or both of us.

  9. Patti Malone UNITED STATES October 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Thanks, Jeff, for your posts. And I happen to agree with you. If I’m saving my credits for a big launch coming up (which is in the work), my credits eke away. And why would we buy/use more credits just to see them go down the proverbial tubes as no-one looks at your site. I appreciate the fact that Jon, Tim, and all want to shake up the TE world and change things around, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it.

    • Jon Olson
      October 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      Pretty simple fix for that, don’t start any campaigns and you can save your credits =)

      It’s not so much a shake up, it’s more of a way to not keep things as ‘is’ because as is was getting people very low traffic and ThumbVu needed a kick. If it fails miserably, we can always change it back. But this is a huge opportunity for people to stick out from the crowd and be true effective advertisers.

      • Patrick Griffin
        October 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

        Yes Jon you can always change it back!
        However I really hope this change works, and even if feedback is initially negative, that it is given sufficient time and promotion to give it a chance to work.
        TE users need to know the potential that such a change can being them. I think this, if embraced by the TE community, could be huge.

        • Jon Olson
          October 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

          Yeah , I agree. We know some folks won’t like the change. But we plan on giving it some time to see how it goes. We think it will get people thinking more creative now and understanding how important it is to stick out.

          Let’s see what happens =)

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      Hi Patti,
      I notice that Jon Olson has just posted exactly the same reply as I was going to post…but it is my blog so I will post my reply anyway ;)
      If you have sites in rotation and saving credits for a big launch is more important than getting those sites seen, then I would pull those campaigns to save the credits for the forthcoming launch.
      And good with the launch by the way…I can’t wait to hear more about it.

  10. Jon Olson
    October 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Thanks for the post Patrick. We expected some people to not be happy with the changes. And rightfully so, change is always a tough one to swallow.

    These changes were made to not so much shake things up, but to try something different. We are not in the business of staying stagnant and letting things collect dust. We believe in ThumbVu and we want to see it grow.

    Plain and simple, it wasn’t growing like we wanted it to as it was designed, so we need to try things.

    It’s part of being an entrepreneur, take risks and if it fails, heck we just change it back.

    Give it a shot, get CREATIVE advertisements out there and stick out from the crowd. This will make sure you do not ‘waste away’ your credits and you will get higher click throughs from people that actually want to see your ad.

    Easy way out, is to sit back and say why this won’t work….Better way is to say how can i make this work for me now…

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      I absolutely love the last line of your comment here and even more is the fact that from the comments I have already received here there are people, right now, scratching their heads and thinking: “How can I make this work for me now.”

      The way I see it, this is an opportunity, some will take advantage of it but many won’t. But, make no mistake, this is an opportunity.

      • Jon Olson
        October 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

        Completely agree. Eric Goettmann made a post on my blog about this very topic and he sees it as a huge opportunity. He may not like the change and he may scratch his head at it, but the first thing he asked himself was how can I make this work and the guy is one very creative dude….THAT’s how to excel in TE advertising!

  11. Monika Tuttle UNITED STATES October 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Hi Patrick,

    Thank so much for your enlightening explanation of this
    major and surprising change at ThumbVu.

    I agree with Jeff Gudgeon’s both posts and Paula’s posts.

    Those are my sentiments too.

    It is a good Idea to motivate people to have their own splash pages,
    been preaching that for years.

    I am just not sure this is the way to go about it.

    So I will just have to wait and see, the outcome of this.

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Hi Monika
      It is a pretty big change alright and I am very interested to see what overall effect it will have.

  12. Matthew Roe
    October 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Hey Pat,

    Great post – You beat me to the punch of blogging about it but nonetheless I still did it ;)

    At any point, this just means that self branding and standing out is going to be as important now as ever.

    Many people won’t like it – those that don’t are the people that REALLY need to sit down and think about their advertising means…

    A downside I see (possibly) will be the whole “friendship” aspect of the site… Many people will view their friends site over a complete strangers so their buddy is not the one to lose the credit.

    This could go the other way as well.. People that may dislike the advertiser may actually LOSE the credit because the said surfer won’t touch the site no matter “how creative” or “unique” that thumbnail may be.

    It’s all about being creative, branding yourself and standing out now. Those that do it will love it while those that don’t will hate it.
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    • Patrick Griffin
      October 4, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

      All good points Matt.
      As Tim pointed out in an earlier comment, we never really get to know the motives of why someone chooses to click a site and why they may choose not to…but in the wider scheme of things it does not matter so much because, as an advertiser you just want the site seen by as many people as possible.

      So to get the site seen we have to stand out and be different and if ThumbVu can encourage a community of surfers who all want to stand out and be different then we will get some pretty interesting sites into rotation.

      How great it would be if the choice was not one really cool site every now and again in a sea of generic rubbish but unique cool site after unique cool site all vying for the surfer’s attention…now that would be interesting.

      And yes, given a choice of three sites on ThumbVu I would probably click on a mate’s site to ensure he or she was saved a credit.

      • Jon Olson
        October 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

        Kinda helps if you have a good reputation and social presence in the TE’s now even more huh =)

      • Matthew Roe
        October 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

        Pat, your not the only one that would do that. I know from experience that I would do it as well.

        It’s just a matter now of how well you can stand out and how many friends can you get on your side.
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  13. Jeff Gudgeon
    October 4, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    @ Tim, I do not agree, It is not my job as a marketer to figure out who just lost a loved one, or weather someone just got in a fight with their spouse, or another reason they’re mad or don’t care and clicking random splashes or if someone likes Patrick better than me, and click his site if it comes up against mine, and we shouldn’t be penalized for their actions.

    If that’s the case to get them to click then why don’t we all just start putting pics of boobs on our splashes, at least then we will get the guys to click them.

    @Patrick, you had a good point, one which i thought of seconds after i posted…why do i click blank images at Thumbvu?…Because I am starving to see something unique!!

    @ Jon, This can be spun anyway in favor for it, especially by the ones it benefits the most. but the cold hard truth is still we went from a 33% (roughly for the sake of easy math) chance of winning to a 66% percent chance of losing. It’s hard for me to picture you knowing this and thinking It’s good to experiment at our expense.

    I agree we need unique and better splashes. I am a perfect example. You all saw my splashes when i started out and had no money, and they got a 27% click thru.

    Now maybe you all have seen my new ones that i had professionally done now that i grew my site and had some money to spend on them, now these are getting a high 40% click thru at Thumbvu, but, I still do not agree that Thumbvu users should be taxed for the actions of someone else.

    If you guys want better quality splashes, come up with another idea other than doubling a customers chance to lose credits.

    • Jon Olson
      October 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

      You are thinking in old school marketing terms….Percentages mean nothing, results mean everything. Work on relationships and the other stuff that can’t be ‘added’ up. But alas, we know it’s not going to make everyone happy. Just work with what does =)

  14. Ron Fender UNITED STATES October 5, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Excellent Blog Patrick but I must put in my 2 cents worth.

    As a creator of unique and stand out splash pages (many trophies at Sweeva)
    I think this is a good change to the ThumbVu structure.

    To become an expert with CTP you have to get x amount of page views at 10 sites, one of which is ThumbVu. Well most if not all CTP pages used to become expert are based on 3 templates which means they all pretty much are similar. Great for branding and exposure except there are so many trying for expert that my stats at ThumbVu already show unacceptable losses for a mandatory CTP expert step.

    My point is replace ThumbVu in the expert steps with something else as changing rules midgame is very unfair.

    Ron Fender

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 5, 2011 at 1:16 am #

      That is a great point Ron and one I had not even considered.
      I would love to hear what the TimTech guys think of what you have just raised.
      P.S. I am just going to have to make a special effort to actively look for your Sweeva pages now. ;)

  15. Jeff Gudgeon
    October 5, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    I did just think of the Thumbmaster game too, don’t know if anyone has mentioned it but you have the people whose only goal is to keep clicking previews until it gives them no more choices or until they get the thumbmasters site,…. talk about burning our credits for nothing…

    • Patrick Griffin
      October 5, 2011 at 5:40 am #

      Hey Jeff,
      I did mention that in the original post but it is a good point.
      Even if only half a dozen surfers are actively trying to be ThumbMaster and clicking through 12 thumbnails for each site viewed that means that thousands of credits will be burned and a lot of people will be wondering what happened.

      “Where did all my credits go?”

      “Oh that was just Jeff, Patrick and that Sangerous guy searching for the ThumbMaster again!”

  16. Drew Hood UNITED STATES October 6, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Some new. go for it. It will be good for some and bad for others, just like everything

    I share the same concern as Ron above.
    The new CTP members will have a very hard time getting their hits. Now at thumbvu I click CTP pages regularly to help the new members . But now by do that I will be using credits from 2 others surfers to help a CTP member…..not cool on that aspect.

    Is there a solution for the CTP members to only get thumbnail views?
    Or a smaller number of clicks?

    My 2 cents.


    • Patrick Griffin
      October 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Good point Drew.
      There are clearly some issues which need to be addressed but I have every confidence the TimTech guys will be able to come up with a solution. They are, after all, very inventive.