Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Year In Review

by my good friend Jon Olson Hit Exchange News

It’s been a pretty intense 365 days in the traffic exchange industry…As I do every year, I’m posting my highlights of the past 12 months and what I think we can expect from the industry in the following year. Sit back, enjoy and get ready for some rants…

The No Timer Debate really set the emotions high in the later part of 2012. To be honest, I say the jury is still out simply because we have no numbers to either back or go against the move. I’ll say this, I applaud Jeff Parker and Traffic Fugitive for trying something and that is to be congratulated. Jeff is loving the results and his surfers are too so more power to him and his decision. The next 12 months should open a lot of people’s eyes to the fact that the T.E. environment has changed.

Social. Period! No debates anymore. Social surfing is here and the huge increase in not only our chats at the TimTech exchanges but entire new programs, dedicated to being social have cemented the importance of chat in the traffic exchanges. You are seeing trends where people’s results are directly in response to how much people recognize and know them from networking with them live. It’s cool too see more surfers embrace this model and even more owners jumping on board. When you put people first, good things always happen.

Vault N’ Keys & Sub Game The TimTech answer to surf promos. We saw a huge opportunity for surfers and owners to do joint surf promos but without being boring about it. So we created our two new surf promos. Best of all, owners can leverage the CTP brand, get increased surfing, more sales and higher activity. What’s up our sleeves for 2013? We’ll be sure to try even more new things…

Spreecast & TE Live It’s a match made in heaven! We’ve been looking for the perfect home for our daily broadcast and we tried everything this year. From uStream, to Hot Conference, to Stickam and even Google Plus…Until we found it! Spreecast has changed the game for all live broadcasting and I expect absolute huge things for this company in 2013. Mobile apps I’m sure will be on the horizon…Wow. Think of the potential…

Real Gamification And no I don’t mean the word search game on your LFMTE script. Real gamification has changed the way people even use traffic exchanges. 2013 will be huge for this and I truly believe we are at a maturation in advertising. It’s no longer push push push. We need to engage people and engage our potential customers. Which in this case, translates into the gamification of business and marketing. IE….Badges ;)

There were many other cool stories this year as well. I think the owners in the Oval of Awesome Sauce have really stepped up huge. These folks have embraced the true spirit of community, they all work together and some of the biggest launches this year are from this group of owners. What’s funny is all the talk about coming together, forming alliances, building associations…All of it was going on while the Oval was already built and doing great things. Amazing what happens when you work together and don’t stab each other in the back. It’s an honor to be a part of that group.

As for 2013…

I anticipate even more benefits of being social and two way communications between owners and surfers. Gone are the days of a top down hierarchy where people aren’t on a level playing field. Social opens the game. Social makes us all members of a community. Social is not the future, it’s now! Embrace it!

But here’s something I think we will see this upcoming year. And it’s going to scare some of the lazy bad business people. Surfers aren’t only surfing for credits now. They surf for fun. They surf for games. They surf for community. They surf for companionship. We have to grow and as an industry I truly believe the ‘credits’ have limited us in this arena. We have always been for marketers, by marketers. And while it serves a great purpose, for us to grow we need to re-look at how we present our model for advertisers and surfers.

Is the no timer the answer? Who knows. However I look at models like StumbleUpon and have to say to myself…The people are a part of those communities because they WANT to be. Not to earn credits, not to get their pages seen. But because they truly want to see what’s out there…An amazing concept huh? And when you get people that WANT to be there, the advertisers will follow. Happy communities mean happy customer. Happy customers mean growth.

Meh…Maybe I’m out to lunch. But I can tell you one thing. The folks that follow the same old same old, will go away. The folks that embrace change. The owners and surfers that try new things. Those folks will be the leaders of 2013. The old guard is done. Here’s to the changing of the guard!

Oh by the way….TimTech Sucks!

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