Monika, from The Writers Manifesto, offered to take a look at TNX.com, a text link brokering service with a unique spin on the traditional system used by other brokers. Here’s what Monika had to say after trialling the system out for herself in this review…
TNX is a text link based advertising service that works with a points system rather than just being a simple paid links service.
Their aim is to provide webmasters with highly targeted visitors via search engines and give advertisers a platform to purchase links from various websites.
The sign up process is free and quick and within minutes I was able to access the back office. I signed up with TNX because I wanted to learn more about this company. Lately there have been quite a few bloggers reviewing their site and the general opinion is kind of mixed. On my quest to find out more, here is what I learned.
TNX for Publishers
If you are a website owner looking to monetize your site with text link ads, then TNX offers a solution. What differs from other similar advertising platforms like TextLinkAds.com for example, is that you can place a link on as many or as few pages as you like. This sounds interesting in theory, in practice I would wonder how this can affect your PageRank in the long term since Google slapped some bloggers recently by dropping their PageRank.
Publishers would do this for the one thing only – money – and to be honest I’m not sure how website owners feel at present about text link ads in general given the risks involved.
The other thing is that even though it all sounds rosy initially, it isn’t once you read TNX’s strict guidelines about acceptance of websites into the program. If you haven’t got PageRank, you can forget it straight away as TNX requires a PageRank of 1 at least. There are quite a few hoops to jump through and this might deter some people to start with.
TNX calculate the price for each link to advertisers based on Google PageRank, so the higher the rank, the more it will cost for the advertiser and the more the webmaster will make. TNX takes a 12.5% commission from each transaction they make, which is considerably lower than other brokering services.
I did a quick calculation for my blog (The Writers Manifesto Blog) and the numbers it came up with were something along the lines of $5.40/month profit if I was to place a link on all my 300 pages. Currently my blog hasn’t got any PageRank at all, so I would be out of the picture I guess. Given the fact that TNX will take 12.5% of this it is hardly worth the effort, even if I did have PageRank.
The only way this would be beneficial for a publisher is if he/she had a very high PageRank as the payout would certainly go up.
I struggled with the whole interface of the site. The explanations served more to confuse me, rather than clarify things. Within the admin panel you will find a toolbox that lets you add a new site to the system (approval will take between 1-3 days), get code snippets or transfer TNX points to another user. The points can also be sold to another TNX member.
TNX for Advertisers
Advertisers choose to buy links usually to increase their search engine rankings. Although you can argue there is a case to buy links for direct click-through traffic, most advertisers are using links for SEO purposes because links purchased from sites are rarely placed in prominent positions and hence attract very few direct clicks. Despite the possibility of a search engine penalty as a result of buying links, this hasn’t deterred advertisers from taking the risk and the link brokering companies are thriving as a result.
TNX is attempting to capitalize on the hungry link buying market and offer advertisers link packages starting from as low as $23. Here are the number and quality of links you could buy with your $23:
- 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
For under twenty-five bucks you can get 20 different backlinks from 20 PR5 website pages, which certainly sounds like a bargain. If I was to spend any money with TNX, this is the option I would choose. I would certainly NOT buy 20,000 backlinks at once. In my eyes no decent website suddenly receives 20,000 links overnight and this would simply not go down well with Google. Even if TNX were to activate those backlinks over two months, it would still be unnatural.
Another thing I don’t like is the fact that advertisers have no direct control over who actually provides the links. TNX claims that “information about websites that have joined TNX is confidential for security purposes.”
In my eyes the best feature of TNX is their affiliate program.
By referring a new webmaster to TNX you can get a 13.3% commission paid to you in TNX points. This obviously has the potential to work for a high number of referrals. The user is then left with 3 choices of what to do with the earned affiliate points.
- They can either cash the points in to advertise their site
- Accumulate points to hopefully grow their value over time
- Sell points to the system/or give them away to another member
Not Convinced Just Yet
Maybe the recent Google slaps have contributed to my somewhat negative critique and as things settle in the future I might feel more inclined to give programs like TNX a go, but for now I’m not convinced.
The whole website navigation of TNX isn’t very impressive and I believe that they can improve the functionality and flow a lot more. In the end I guess time will tell whether TNX is a force to be reckoned with. Judging by their stats, they certainly have a lot of sites within their system already.
In your case, if you have a high PageRank and you are testing different monetization methods and you are happy to sell links, you might want to throw in TNX along with the other text link brokering services available as one possible monetization stream.
If you are a website owner and you have no problems assuming the risk buying links, TNX is worth a look as one option advertise with. Remember though, if you really want to dominate search engines, you should aim to increase your rankings organically, not artificially through paid-for links.