(Subtitled: Beware the $5 Traffic Gurus)
I thought I was being smart. I thought I could pay someone five bucks and they would work their magic and funnel all sorts of traffic to my new blog. Of course, I was experimenting, but I had no idea what kind of a fail to expect, so—naively—I hoped for success.
I went to Fiverr.com and dove into 'Online Marketing,' then into the 'Get Traffic' category. I sorted by rank and found a promising ad. Here’s what it said:
[Name removed to protect the guilty] will drive UNLIMITED
genuine real traffic to your website for one month for $5.
Sounds good, right?
And the job profile comes with lots of rave reviews. I shrugged and hopefully gambled away my $5. The profile asked me the right questions. What’s the URL, what areas do you want to target, etc. Since the job promised to be delivered within three days, I spent three days haunting my Google Analytics reports, eagerly anticipating the hints of a traffic tsunami.
Then it happened! Traffic went from zero (this was a brand new site) to 60 hits and then climbed to 70 hits! Yes! $5 well spent, right!?
Upon further inspection, it appears all the traffic is of the BOUNCING variety (read Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate? for a better understanding on why high bounce rates are undesirable.) Eyeball the web traffic report below and see if you see what I see:
More, if you’ll notice the referrer URL’s, I’m sure you’ll see a trend. Visiting some of these sites will clue you in further to the junk traffic they bring.
Well, there’s an experiment in traffic generation that gives some important feedback. While I might not have benefited from massive volumes of quality traffic, five dollars is cheap tuition. I feel wiser already!
In support of your efforts,
Update! (November 2, 2012)
Well, folks.. after writing this post, I opted to go back to the Fiverr vendor and ask them to discontinue the gig, which was supposed to last for a month. I gave them a "thumb's down". Here is our discussion:
Me: please discontinue this program. the traffic is junk.
Guilty: Hi, Can I know what happened? And why did you leave a negative feedback without asking information? The traffic is direct to ensure an high level of security with adsense and affiliations, and the bounce rate is related to that because it's direct. All information are in the document and it's described, please remove your feedback, and let me know if you are interested in a refund instead.
Me: See attached. Of course you should be expecting negative feedback. There is no value in the traffic you are providing. fiverr-traffic-generation.gif (36.175 KB)
Guilty: My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it's a consequence of setting the traffic this way. Some people are converting as they reported me and wrote in the feedback, so it's valuable for someone, I'm truly sorry it isn't working for you. As I said, I will refund your order, if you agree to remove the feedback. Please help me maintain a good service, I always do my best to provide that but I know sometimes can't give the expected results.
Me: Will remove the feedback as soon as we see our sites (both of them) removed from these spammy sites. If we look at our Google Analytics tomorrow and we can see all this bouncing traffic has fallen away, we will remove the comment.
Guilty: I will suspend your campaign immediately, you will notice the removal from a few minutes. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
Guilty: I suspended them as agreed, if you will check the tracking url you won't see any more visits from me.
Guilty: Hi, Please check the tracking url and you will see the campaign is no longer active, I'm waiting for you.
Me: Go ahead and refund these orders. Thanks.
Guilty: No problem, but you should remove the feedback before I ask the refund or you won't be able to modify it anymore... Write me as soon as it's done and I will send the refund, thank you.
I allowed them to sweat a little until the next day. I was still debating taking the review down--after all, wouldn't the honest feedback protect others from making my same mistake? However, it seems the decision was made for me! I received the following email from Fiverr:
Your order #FO_____________ was cancelled by Fiverr's customer service team.
Your funds have been returned to your Fiverr Balance and will be used automatically for your next purchase.
The Fiverr Team
So I guess the vendor didn't want to wait. However, much to my surprise, Fiverr actually removed my feedback from the vendor's ratings completely! See below. Notice two things:
- My negative feedback has been removed, as well as my comments!
- Another person has gotten an inkling that the traffic they are receiving isn't doing them any good; though they are much less confident about what they should be seeing, they suspect there's something wrong.
Now, it's somewhat disheartening to recognize most of these folks see the spike in traffic like I did, however they aren't looking at their bounce rates or the referring URL's, so they aren't realizing they're being duped.
I liken this to ordering the steak dinner at a restaurant, being served a rice cake, and commenting how full you are now that you've eaten so well.
And what about Fiverr in all this? They didn't reach out to me at all. They just deleted the truth and will let this person continue their deceptive practices. Yikes!
Ah, buy why the heck should they do anything? Fiverr gets paid on every sale, don't they?
Buyer beware, folks.
In support of your efforts,
P.S. - The vendor said, "My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it's a consequence of setting the traffic this way." That's junk, people. Traffic being direct versus referred has no bearing on the quality of the traffic; it's merely an indication of how people are getting to your site. If there were even people behind those hits. It's quite possible that traffic is from bots.
About Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.