You may have seen TNX.net ads around some blogs; they’re attractive little 125×125 graphic blocks hanging out on the sidebars of some popular “blogger-blogs.” But what exactly is TNX.net, and why would you want to use it?
TNX.net is another link-back solution aimed at bloggers. So what makes it unique? it’s based on a credit system. Instead of purchasing links (which you can also do if you choose,) you earn credits by displaying other’s links on your site. The process is completely automated, all you have to do is place in the code on your sidebar or footer, and it takes care of itself.
From a blogger’s standpoint, you’ll just have another link or two on some of your pages, depending on your preferences. Each page will have a different link on it, and you can view the links from your control panel at TNX.net. To see an example of the links, browse my archive and click on some of the posts. Look at the bottom of the right sidebar for the links. Some posts have them, some don’t. The links on your pages will earn you points based the Google PageRank of that page (which may pose a problem,) and Yahoo Backlinks, which you can then use to place your own links or sell them for cash. They don’t offer much in terms of cash, so you’re better off using it for your own links; they’re cheap.
After you place the code on your site, you’ll want to keep an eye on what links are being placed there from the TNX control panel. I noticed a lot of unrelated links, which I delete, along with the whole campaign for that advertiser if it’s spammy. Google does penalize you for linking to low-quality sites, so make sure to keep an eye out.
From an advertiser standpoint, you’re in luck. You get points by both displaying links on your own site and buying points. Points are pretty cheap, and links cost anything from 6 points for a low ranked site, and go pretty high.
What can you do with 20,000 TNX-Points?
In case website characteristics are not important (YahooBacklinks [YB] below 500, category “Fun and Games”), then you can buy a month (in case spots are available) of static links to your site:
– 20 000 different PR0 pages from different websites
– 400 different PR1 pages from different websites
– 200 different PR2 pages from different websites
– 100 different PR3 pages from different websites
– 40 different PR4 pages from different websites
– 20 different PR5 pages from different websites
When you start a new campaign, you’re taken to the first step in which you name your campaign, choose it’s categories, chose the Yahoo Backlink count and Page Rank, and languages of the pages on you want to display your ad. The main suggestion I have here is that they expand their category choices significantly. They often lump what should be multiple categories into one, such as “Family, Home, Beauty, Nature, Health, Food” all in one category. They should be separated.
The second step is to actually create the ad, and this is where they shine. You can stick with the simple editor, but I go right to the new Advanced Ad Generator. Check out this DigitalPoint thread for the conversation about it. In short, it allows you to create literally thousands of variations of ads fairly quickly, all linking to your chosen URL. This really helps to keep links looking natural to search engines because no two ads are identical. You can create variations of anchor text, as well as the text before and after the link.
Those 10 lines used to make the ad above actually create a total of 270 different ads! Adding just one line with no variations creates a total of 324 ads. It takes a minute to get used to, but you’ll get the hang of it. Hint: only use one variation per line or you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why they won’t generate. This tool is very helpful, and hopefully they can fine-tune it to make it even better.
During the last step, you choose the amount of links you want for each category/PR/YB combination you chose in the first step. They recommend choosing 30-100 links for each combo. You’ll also want to make sure that you change the “Limit number of links that will be displayed on the same website” to 1 or 2 (they recommend 2,) otherwise you’ll have a bunch of links on one domain instead of distributing them out to other sites, and you don’t want that.
As far as using the website, there are quite a few things I would like to suggest. First, there are times that I’ve spent 20 minutes or so creating an ad, try to move on to the third step, then an error appears and I lose the ad completely. It’s very frustrating. Part of this is due to the fact that they do a database backup at a certain time throughout the day for about one hour and do not recommend that you create ads during that time. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you when that time is going to be, and worse, it says nothing about it on the site, so you kind of just have to guess. Basically you have a 1/24 chance of getting screwed while creating ads. Not good.
Another annoying thing about it is that you cannot actually edit the ads in any way after you’ve created them, so make sure the ads are perfect before you submit them. But don’t take too long, otherwise your session will time out. You can’t even rename the ad, and neither can customer service. You have to delete it and re-create the ad from scratch. Same thing if you mess up the URL or ad variations. You also cannot view your settings after creating the ad, so you just have to remember the specifics. Fortunately, you can view and edit where your links are placed, and you will want to do that. Make sure your ad isn’t placed on any spam sites, etc. It’s time-consuming, but so is any other method of link-building.
Customer Service comes in two forms – Live Chat, and the forums. I’ve used live chat a few times, and they are very helpful, although with limited abilities (not being able to change the campaign name or links, etc.)
TNX.net has a referral program which earns you 13.3% of all TNX points generated by your referral’s websites, as well as 5% of all their payments via Paypal. The very convenient thing about their referral program is that you can add URLs to the system and instead of adding an affiliate link, you can just link to tnx.net and when someone signs up, it detects that the click came from your site and gives you credit. No affiliate link cloaking required. So this link just links to the main page (not an affiliate link,) and if you sign up through this link: TNX.net – I get credit as your referral (hint)This is also useful in forums, as you can add the thread URL to your TNX page and get credit for any click-throughs without looking like a jerk, adding your affiliate link to forums.
TNX has a few different graphics to use to promote the program, including two 125×125 ads, one 468×60 banner, and one 468×49 banner.
As an SEO Strategy
So is TNX.net a good strategy for SEO? I’m no SEO guru, but it seems to me that it’s a great way to gain some cheap back-links. I just started a few campaigns for various sites, so I’ll keep you updated with any noticeable changes in SERPS results or Page Rank increases. Of course nobody really knows what’s going on with Google right now, so these links (as with any other link program) could be quickly devalued. It’s definitely worth a try though, and I look forward to setting up some more campaigns.
Go register with TNX for free and you’ll get 2,000 points right away to test out some links. Also be sure to check out this DigitalPoint thread for 5,000 bonus points.
Have you tried TNX with good or bad results? Keep me updated on any of your results, I’m interested to see how this works for others.