I ran across Marketing Pond just the other day, and it’s an interesting enough concept to deserve an in-depth review.
The website makes the following claims:
- An autopilot income: this is something most every opportunity claims, so no surprise there.
- Free advertising
- Free website
- Free opportunity
- Free ebooks
The website mentions a downline, so right away we know we’re dealing with some sort of network marketing. My basic rule with network marketing is that in order to be a reasonable opportunity, the people you recruit cannot be paying your income. Otherwise it breaks down eventually.
Since Marketing Pond advertised itself as free, I signed up to get a closer look at what they offer.
The website itself isn’t extremely clear on this. When you sign up, you get to a page listing 27 different programs (11 free advertising programs, and 16 money making opportunities). Each program has a spot where you can put your affiliate id for that program, and a link to where you can signup for the program.
After puzzling through the rest of the website, it turns out that Marketing Pond is what I’ll call an “opportunity aggregator”, but the rest of the world calls a “downline builder”. All of the programs listed provide some benefit for referring new members to the service. Promoting more than a few of these programs individually would be a pain, and dilute your efforts.
What Marketing Pond does is provide a central place for signups for these programs. You promote Marketing Pond, and anyone who signs up under your referral will then sign up under each of the 27 programs under your referal for those programs, automatically (Marketing Pond automatically puts your affiliate id in the right spot for each program).
When I realized what Marketing Pond was doing, I was a bit amazed that I hadn’t thought of it myself. As a programmer, I could create a website like Marketing Pond with no trouble. And it makes a lot of sense to promote a single website rather than try to promote dozens. I’d never thought of it, but someone did.
The hardest part about getting started with Marketing Pond is signing up for all the programs. If you’re already a member of a program, you just put in your affiliate id. There’s no requirement that you sign up through Marketing Pond. You should sign up for any you aren’t already a member of through Marketing Pond, though, to give your sponsor proper credit and make sure you get credit from your referrals.
It took me a few hours to sign up for all the programs. Some are more involved than others, and all had confirmation emails and an opt-in process.
I want to give a brief overview of each of the programs involved. I’ll post more detailed reviews of the interesting ones later. The programs fall into two general categories: opportunities and advertising.
The opportunities are where you make money, and the advertising programs all provide a boost to your marketing efforts as you get more and more people signed up under you at Marketing Pond.
Opportunities at Marketing Pond
- Agloco: Get paid to surf the web. I’ve written about this before.
- Inbox Dollars: Get paid to read email and take surveys. You get $5 for just signing up.
- Take the Internet Back: Get paid to look at advertisements. You get $10 for just signing up.
- Slash My Search: Get paid to make web searches, or for referring others to make web searches.
- Treasure Trooper: Get paid to participate in free trial offers. Make a portion of what your referrals make.
- Cash Crate: Get paid to complete surveys and join websites. Make a portion of what your referrals make.
- Clicks Matrix: Primarily a traffic exchange, but you can also get paid to view websites
- Donkey Mails: Get paid to read emails and view advertisements.
- No Minimum: Get paid to read emails and view advertisements.
- MyLot: Like MySpace, but you’re paid to participate.
- Clix Sense: Get paid to view advertisements, plus earn a portion of what your referrals earn.
- AdBux: Get paid to view advertisements, plus earn a portion of what your referrals earn.
- LinksGrand: Get paid to view advertisments, plus earn a portion of what your referrals earn.
- Word Linx: Get paid to view advertisements, plus earn a portion of what your referrals earn.
- Hits4Pay: Get paid to view advertisements.
- Deals N Cash: Get paid to view advertisements, plus $5 for signing up. Make a portion of what your referrals earn.
Now, clearly you’re not going to be active in all of these. Inbox Dollars and Take the Internet Back are easy enough, since they send you emails and pay you to read them (generally about $0.05 per email). One or two of the others may strike your fancy, but you won’t participate in them all. Go ahead and sign up for each through Marketing Pond, though, to take advantage of the referral bonuses.
Advertising Programs at Marketing Pond
- Traffic Digger: Typical viral advertising, the more people you refer, the more times your ad is shown.
- Ad Grid Network: This one is an ad exchange. You show their ad block on a website, and your ad gets shown on other people’s websites. You can see an example of the ad block on my personal blog.
- Page Swirl: They provide ad rotating on a page swirl page. If you upgrade to paid options, they’ll use various traffic exchanges to advertise your page swirl page.
- Traffic Swarm: You get credits by viewing other people’s pages, that are then used to show your page. The best option is to include Traffic Swarm links on your website. That way your links show up on other people’s website, rather than just being seen by other Traffic Swarm users. Here’s an example of Traffic Swarm links (these opportunities are not being recommended, this is just an example of using Traffic Swarm):
- Traffic Roundup: Another one where you earn credits by viewing other people’s sites that are then used to show your site.
- Free Viral: In this one, when you go to the Free Viral page, you see 7 advertisements. To sign up, you must click on each advertisement to get a code. After you signup, your ad is put into the list (through the above link, my ad is in the #1 spot), and as people sign up under you it gets pushed down the list. Eventually it can be seen by thousands of people as they signup.
- Link Referral: Another view a site to get credits deal, but they also include the option to review a site for more credits. A reviewer is going to pay more attention to the site, so is a better prospect.
- Link Scout: By promoting your Link Scout page, you get your ad viewed. You can also earn credits by viewing other ads.
- Traffic Wave Profits: Another advertising aggregator that has one or two programs in common with Marketing Pond, but also has a paid program or two.
- Big Daddy Pays: A search engine that lets you place ads by bidding on keywords. Everyone who joins gets one top spot on any available keyword for free. Your ads cost credits, which you earn by viewing other ads or by reading email announcements from Big Daddy Pays.
- Hits2U: Your ads are displayed on the Hit2U page. This also seems to be a feeder for GDI (Global Domains International), which is a company that sells .ws domains and hosts them for $10 a month. They pay you to refer new people to them.
One of the key points in most traffic exchanges is that you only have a few seconds to interest someone who is really only interested in getting credits for their own website. So your page has to catch their attention quickly.
The advertising programs can be used to advertise any opportunity, not just Marketing Pond, so it would be useful to join just for those if you already have an opportunity you’re promoting.
While the number of programs in Marketing Pond can be overwhelming, it’s quite a clever concept. You promote one website rather than 27, and automatically get referrals for the 27 programs.
That said, you probably won’t be able to keep up with all the traffic exchanges. Most give you some free credits to get started, though, which you can use to advertise Marketing Pond itself.
I wouldn’t recommend doing this with Free Viral, though, since the only people who see your ad are the ones you’re referring (e.g. the people already signed up with Marketing Pond). Instead, pick another opportunity to advertise with Free Viral, something you think Marketing Pond users would appreciate (e.g. something free).
With the signup bonuses and a few paid emails, I made about $22 the first day. That isn’t sustainable, since the signup bonuses accounted for $20 of that. But that was just from reading emails and taking a couple of surveys.
Will I keep up with taking surveys and reading free emails? Not to that level, since the amount of time needed is large enough I can’t justify it. Someone who needed the money more than I do might have a different perspective.
The concept of the opportunity aggregator or downline builder is an interesting one. Marketing Pond is themed around traffic exchanges and easy ways to get a little bit of money online. I could see the idea being used for other sorts of network marketing opportunities, too. As a free service, Marketing Pond beats page rotators hands down.
Let me know what you think!