So you may have noticed that I added a section in the sidebar there called ‘from the network’; I added it after Immelmann introduced me to a service called Scribol, which is some sort of social network traffic exchange thing. I did a bit of digging and it looks like there’s a whole universe of these websites that basically exist to drive traffic to each other, and their profit model seems to be based on advertising on the landing page that each link takes you to on the way to your intended destination. They’re the next evolution in splogs, basically, but Scribol has been courting webcomics directly.

The advertised principle is that I send them a hit, and then they send me three hits in return. Since signing up with Scribol this weekend, they’ve sent me about 1200 hits, which is a significant increase over my usual. And I’ve only sent them maybe 20. Not a bad trade! More significant is that hits from Scribol seem to average 7 pages per visit, with only a quarter of them bouncing off immediately. Compare that to hits from Stumbleupon or Reddit, where the bounce rate is between 80-90%. So, yes, worth it.

I did a bit of digging around and am looking at two other networks to experiment with, Awsmer and Wahoha, since there doesn’t seem to be any rule on these sites about running links from other networks, and those two seem to be the least gross out of the constellation of traffic exchangers in terms of malware and pop-under advertising, and their user interface is much, much better than Scribol’s.

But neither of them seem to be as directly relevant to The Dawn Chapel as there is no webcomics category like Scribol has (I’m limited to broad terms like ‘art and design’, ‘funny’, ‘animals’, etc) and the links I see them putting in my sidebar give me hives – every single variation of the ’25 most x of y‘ linkbait toplist makes me just want to punch everything into orbit, and content like herp derp check out these sexy photoshops that both of these networks seem to adore just feels really inappropriate right next to the social justice blogs, so I’m waffling back and forth on keeping them. If they send me the same kind of numbers that Scribol does, it might be worth dirtying my hands with them, but if not I’ll drop them.

Edit: Yeah, every time I reload the page with the Awsmer widget, without fail there is something there that makes my gorge rise. Ditching that one.

Oh, and please don’t feel like you’re doing me any favors on clicking those links just to improve my stats – if something is interesting to you, by all means click through, but don’t go rewarding obnoxious, exploitative material just for the sake of puffing my numbers.