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:
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.