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Way Station questions

Reminder: Way Stations are only available to (level) and above... this is a feature of our professional membership.

What is a Way Station?

In a nutshell, a Way Station is a special setting you can apply to sites on our traffic exchange.  This setting has two side-effects: The sites always show in the same order, and they show together to a user.

Let's touch on how the traffic exchange normally works, and the power of this will become a little more evident.  Normally, our traffic exchange runs what we call "2-way level loading".  That means that surfers will run through the active member list in order during surfing, and will see 1 site from each member (providing they have credits, of course).  Now each member has a record so that their sites are shown equally: each time their account is called, it advances to the next site in the user's list. 

To illustrate normal level loading, let's talk about an exchange containing 3 eligible users, each of whom has 2 sites to show: if no one else was surfing, a user would see the following:

  1. User 1's first site

  2. User 2's first site

  3. User 3's first site

  4. User 1's second site

  5. User 2's second site

  6. User 3's second site

In reality, other people surfing will affect what the user sees.  Sheer coincidence will mean that some users see User 1's first site many more times, while others see User 2's site many more times.  It all balances out, which is why it's called 'level loading'... users and sites will both be pretty equivalent over time.  In a level-load, every user and every site within a user's table will get a proportionate amount of hits, and the order will seem random to the user.

Since surfing is a visual activity, and you have, at the very most, 30 seconds per page to get your message across, it's hard to convey a sophisticated message.  Also, repetition of a message, with small variations, is known to be more effective advertising.  This led us to the concept of Way Station.

A Way Station affects the surfing sequence in both dimensions: The surfer will see the same user again, and will see pages in a specific order.  Going back to the example above, let's look at the change in surfing sequence if 2 had his sites in a Way Station.  The surfing sequence would change to this:

  1. User 1's first site
  2. User 2's first site (Way Station trigger)
  3. User 2's second site (Way Station terminus)
  4. User 3's first site
  5. User 1's second site
  6. User 2's first site (Way Station trigger)
  7. User 2's second site (Way Station terminus)
  8. User 3's second site

So, in 8 hits on this exchange, user 2 got extra hits because of the Way Station.  This does mean more users will go through your site over a given time period.  This is part of why we have the pro requirement: pros get more monthly credits on their anniversary, and so can afford the greater expense of the greater traffic volume.

The other thing to note is that other surfers will not interfere with display order when the viewer is in a Way Station.  Sites in a Way Station always show in the exact same order each time.

Should I put all my sites in a Way Station?

Generally, no.  Way Station work best for a group of related pages... maybe 2-4 pages describing the same thing different ways (like our intro pages), or a few related sites (like different clicks-for-cash sites).

Will a user know they're in a Way Station?

Not unless you tell them.

How many pages can fit in a Way Station, and how many Way Stations can I have?

You can have up to 8 pages in a Way Station.  How many you may have is based on your upgrade level. A (level) may have (count) Way Stations, and a (toplevel) may have up to (count) Way Stations.

What do I do, in what order, to build a Way Station?

  1. Get all the sites you want in the Way Station approved.  To keep them out of rotation, mark them as 'exclusive' sites.
  2. Go back to the Manage Sites page after the sites are approved, and click on 'Add Way Station'
  3. Pick the pages you want, in the order you want them
    • Important!  Do NOT pick the same site twice
  4. Once you've saved the Way Station record, make sure that only the first site is non-exclusive

That's it... once a user pulls the first page from your Way Station, the will see all your pages from that Way Station in order.  Even if they stop surfing, or switch between auto and manual surf, they will continue through your Way Station before moving on to the next user.

What if a site gets warned or paused?

As long as the first site in the Way Station is not warned or paused, all eligible pages in the Way Station will show.  Warned or paused pages will simply be 'skipped over'.

If the first site gets warned or paused, that blocks the whole Way Station.

Can I use credit assignment on Way Station pages?

Yes.  When a site with assigned credits reaches a 0 balance, it is, in effect paused.  So the only thing to be careful about is that the first site doesn't run out of credits before the follow-on sites do, or you will be stuck with non-displaying sites.

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