Google Adsense Blog has posted a response to queries about traffic exchange programs like Blog Explosion.
We understand that our publishers are always looking for ways to attract interested users to their sites. But using third-party tools or services to increase your site traffic may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled. For this reason, we'd like to provide you with some guidance about this. (Read the rest).
If you use Adsense on your blog check out the post and make sure you understand the rules.
I don't use advertising in my blogs and hopefully I won't have to in the future. I have an ad free blog button in my sidebar at Firemind but still get people asking if they can advertise there.
I am used to seeing ads in blogs now and can live with the ones that are subtle and well designed. I hate seeing blogs that have more space devoted to advertising than blogging.
A few years ago I had to mediate a 'discussion' at one of my groupblogs. Some members were experimenting with Blog Explosion and wanted the groupblog to join. Other members were against the idea. I did some research and decided we would not be joining the program.
I found that traffic exchange programs bring traffic but not readers. People click on your blog to get credit and then leave. Very few seem to stay long enough to read posts and few return.
Another issue was with the types of blogs that joined these programs. People complained about finding hate sites and adult blogs by accident.
The biggest complaint was the sheer amount of bad blogs that one had to spend time checking. Lots of free blog traffic sounds grand to a new blogger. People join before they have learned some blogging basics and end up annoying visitors. Furthermore people join the exchanges and then quit blogging. A visitor then finds a dead link or a dead blog.
The way to get blog traffic is to write well and interact with other bloggers. Post as often as you can and think about what you write. Comment on other blogs and allow comments on your blogs. Join forums, directories, and programs that emphasize blogging rather than traffic or pagerank. Learn to blog and the traffic will come.
Traffic exchange seems like a good idea when you first look at it. If you look closer you can see why it is problematic. Our groupblog never joined any traffic exchange programs and within a year all members had given up on Blog Explosion.