When you look closely at any web promotion system or idea you will find that the root of "web site promotion" is always a system to facilitate what is really nothing more than link exchange.

Link exchange is what Google Adsense and Adwords is. Google is a "broker" or middleman who negotiates a trade between websites. Pay Per Click (as the system is commonly referred to) is a business agreement or specifically a business and pricing model. Once the negotiations are completed (i.e. the Adword's bid is in) the link is placed on a participating Adsense site. The Adword's "bidder" got to place their link on someone else's site (whom they never met and don't know) while the Adsense site is selling their web traffic through the broker (i.e. Google).

While PPC is the highest evolutionary form of link exchange there was an intermediary step that raised link exchange to a higher level known as web directories. Yahoo (a web directory combined with content, thus forming a portal) was the preeminent web presence until dethroned by Google not too long ago. Think about when the founders of yahoo started collecting links in a way probably very similar to your own "links" page. It starts with a few.... then a few more and before you know it you've added categories and ... voila ... you have a "directory". You too, however, have now become a middleman providing links.

I believe I can resurrect the idea of web directories by making it the hub of a social networking system for and about webmasters. When we all get on these forums we all start discussing which mega corporation to deal with when the reality is it is the webmaster's themselves that have and provide the content that drives the web.

I've added a couple of twists to the old web directory model. One, I made the directory "distributable" as in it is a snippet of code that installs on a website (like Adsense code). Instead of placing links alongside your content, we take up a "whole page" (whao!). The second twist is related to the first -- if someone is expected to install a web directory on their site and send their web traffic into it they are due some sort of compensation so the system includes an income sharing plan.

To me, the plan seems simple and obvious yet I've not had a whole lot of luck getting it installed on websites. There are 15 in it now which is enough to demonstrate how the traffic that each sends in is aggregated and becomes more valuable with each new install but that is nothing. I'm thinking it's my "newness" to business (I'm not a Google or a FaceBook) and the issue is credibility. I haven't started charging anyone yet for links so perhaps it is that everyone is really waiting for it to produce money before they send their web traffic in? But there's a catch 22 that says I need traffic numbers sufficient to warrant charging (because this is NOT PPC).

A lot of people have said it is an awesome idea. I'd like to ask those here what they think. What is holding this thing back from becoming a webmaster's social network of website promotion? Is money the main driver or web traffic? Because this system delivers both to a webmaster even when sometimes it becomes difficult to separate the two.

Thanks in advance

Really informative thread. Social networking is an important concept to increase our site traffic.

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