ThumbVu owner John Guanzon poses this interesting question on in the form of a challenge to other bloggers: create a blog post on the subject “The Anatomy of a Traffic Exchange.”
Now apart from the fact that it sounds like a school homework assignment I am willing to give it a go, and I want to use ThumbVu as my example.
When I looked at John’s question I had to think really hard about just what he meant and then decided that had chosen the wording to be deliberately vague.
For me the key word is “anatomy” and my mind is drawn to the German anatomist Professor Gunther von Hagens. If you have never heard of him, he is the guy who makes television programs of autopsies. I am perhaps one of the most squeamish people in the world but I think Von Hagens would have to be one of my all time heroes.
Anyway back to the question. Anatomy to me suggests stripping something to its component parts so I will answer the question by mentioning some of what I consider to be the key components of ThumbVu.
Firstly it is a social traffic exchange which means there is live interaction between surfers and advertisers. An important point here is that surfers and advertisers are not two distinct groups – many ThumbVu advertisers choose to buy credits and also surf for credits.
Secondly – and this is important – increasingly people are surfing ThumbVu so that they can use the chat function and interact with other advertisers. The critical thing here is that being social in ThumbVu chat can be at least as beneficial as advertising the pages you are promoting.
“How so?” you may ask. Well by chatting to other surfers – by making friends online if you like – you are getting to know people who are trying to do the same things as you. This means you can share ideas and tips and strategies online with other people as you surf. Soon you will recognize other surfers by both their usernames and by the pages they promote and real friendships and business relationships can follow.
You get bonus credits (and sometimes real cash awards too) for surfing and these credits are automatically applied now so that you can concentrate on surfing, chatting or both.
A look at the anatomy of ThumbVu would not be complete without mentioning its defining feature…the ability to choose the sites you get to view from a thumbnail gallery of 12, shown in batches of three.
This means you can skip sites which you know you have no interest in while looking at those that you want to view and I love the element of control this gives.
Also at the heart of the ThumbVu experience is the ease of access to members’ social information such as Skype address, Twitter user name, Facebook page, website and so on. Clearly there is no obligation to provide all this information but if you do then this opens up the potential of greater networking opportunities with other ThumbVu users.
This has been a rather superficial look at the anatomy of one particular traffic exchange but my intention was to give a general overview rather than an in-depth analysis.
However there are two further points I really must mention when discussing the anatomy of ThumbVu and they are both closely related. The first is the passion of the members towards ThumbVu who don’t see surfing there as a chore but who regard it as an integral part of their online activities and who find using it to be enjoyable and rewarding.
The second is that should you ever have a problem when using ThumbVu then you will soon discover that the support system is nothing short of outstanding. I have received a response from John within minutes of submitting a ticket; one occasion I had an answer from John via Skype just seconds after I had hit “send” on the support ticket button.
A program owner who is passionate about his product or service is going to lead to end users who are also passionate about it too. This is clear at ThumbVu and it is a lesson we can all learn as marketers: a passionate product owner will lead to passionate buyers and users.