Ad Swaps – Why I Don’t Like It

ad swaps

Before I explain why I don’t like ad swaps, let’s talk about list building for a minute…

Everyone says the money is in the list.

And then there’s another group of people (me included) who say that “the money is in the relationship with the list”.

But simply building great relationships with your list is not enough. You can’t make sales if you’re building the wrong kind of list.

I’m talking about building a Freebie list – a list where people inside that list expect to receive free stuff over and over again without ever having to purchase anything.

You could argue that even a freebie subscriber will turn to a customer if you’ve built a great and trusting relationship with him.

Train Your List

While that is true, it’s not easy to shift their mindset and attitude from “freebie seekers” to “customers”. A much easier and smarter way to get people to buy your products is to train your freebie list to buy in the EARLY stages of your relationship with them.

I’m NOT advocating you to ONLY sell to your list. Of course you need to give them valuable freebies from time to time. However, don’t simply give all the time.

Do Some Selling Too!

You can provide them with the best freebies or content, but if you don’t sell, you’ll never make a single penny.

Now, let me explain why I don’t like ad swaps.

Just in case you don’t know what it is, ad swaps is the process whereby Marketer A promotes Marketer B’s freebie by sending his (A) subscribers to B’s squeeze page. B would then return the favor by promoting A’s squeeze page.

In essence, it’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” method of growing each other’s list. This method of building and growing your list was very popular when it first came out. It still is popular today, but much less effective.

Initially when there were few marketers engaging in ad swaps, subscribers were excited and happy that they were receiving all these freebies.

But as more and more marketers participated in ad swaps, people (subscribers) got tired since they are receiving lots of emails all telling them to go download this and that freebie. A lot of people are on multiple different marketers’ lists, which mean that they receive the SAME emails promoting the SAME freebies.

I Used To Participate In Ad Swaps, But Not Anymore

Here’s why I don’t like ad swaps:

1. Since you’re always giving away freebies to your subscribers (you need to if you want to participate in ad swaps), you’re NOT training them to buy. Instead, you’re training them to expect freebies from you.

2. Your subscribers will think less of you and not trust you as much as they used to. Think about it: who in their right mind will open and read your emails if you send them “Here’s my good friend’s freebie, go download it” emails every day? Actually, there are people who will open such emails – beginners who have just got started in internet marketing.

I’m not here to bash ad swaps. I know that a lot of successful marketers are still doing it and making huge money out of it. It’s just that for this model to sustain, you need to have fresh new leads coming in every day. And every time fresh new leads come in from ad swaps, you’re compromising your relationship with your older subscribers.

For me, instead of getting 50 new subscribers per day from ad swaps, I’d rather get 10 from my own marketing efforts. Ad swaps simply isn’t my cup of tea anymore.

I’d rather build a customer list than a freebie list.

What about you?

And by the way, I’m interested to know how many readers here participate in ad swaps and what your thoughts are. Do let me know in a comment below…

21 Responses to “Ad Swaps – Why I Don’t Like It”

  • not all people do support the use of Ad swaps, some oppose to it, myself included but if you feel its safer on your side too its fine.

  • Hello Welly!

    That’s what I call a quality post.

    In my opinion, it’s not a good idea to overdo it. I like to keep it to a maximum of two ad swaps per month…

    All the best!

  • Hey don’t blame Ad swaps for a poor responding list. While freebie seekers might dominate your list from swaps, the fact remains that these people are interested and will buy if the right offer comes along.

    Too many swaps will ruin your list but two or three a month is fine if they are deep inside a pile of useful content.

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  • Hi Welly, I´ve got to the point of not opening most of the emails of my hotmail account, nearly all of them are offering freebies in thier subject line, so I have a quick look to make sure that I don´t delete an email that I might need, and then delete the rest.

  • Welly,

    Initially I planned to do adswap.I never do it so far. However, after reading your comments I postponed my intention

  • Donna White

    In the last 2 to 3 weeks, I’ve somehow got involved in a large adswap group. (I’m talking about as a subscriber.) They all promote the same products and guess what: 90% of the time, I’ve already bought. Recently, I’ve stopped subscribing to that group since I just realized what was happening. Your email announcing this blog post “struck a chord” with me because of the list owners in this particular adswap group are sending me 5, 6, 7 and more emails every day. AND these emails don’t have content, just a link for you to go opt in to another place OR to buy. And I agree with James earlier in the comments: this feels like spam. The ones who do adswaps correctly are the ones that I don’t realize they ARE in an adswap relationship with another list owner.

    BTW, you’re going to laugh at this, but that’s how I found you was because one of the only decent adswappers, John Cornetta, recommended you. He still sends a few a day, but they lead me to people like you and your awesome products like Premium Squeeze Page Templates. :)

    Yesterday, I started unsubscribing from lists and today will continue doing so.

    Take care everyone,
    Donna :)

    • Hey Donna,

      Yeah that’s a little bit funny eh? Here I am telling you I don’t like ad swaps, but then you find me via an adswapper (although I didn’t engage in an ad swap agreement with John).

      And thanks for your kind compliments for Premium Squeeze Page Templates.

      • Donna White

        Hi Welly,

        Oooops! So sorry. I really thought that because he recommended your product. So sorry to both you and John.

        Donna :)

        • You don’t have to apologize Donna. You didn’t do anything wrong :)

  • Hey Welly,

    I hear ya man. I think all those freebies coming from the various adswaps are what contribute to the information overload so many newbies suffer from.

    With all those new pdf’s to download, when do you have time for marketing?

    Not to mention, with all that info it can get downright confusing.


    • You hit the nail right on the spot Nando! If all time were spent opting-in and downloading the freebies, when do you have time to actually do some REAL work?

      • Hi Welly,
        This is the issue I’m constantly thinking about. I don’t open all those emails. Mostly, I do mass delete. We need some new ideas for generating buyer’s interest. Thanks for writing about this topic and for your good ideas on the subject. Relationships are key.

  • Interesting! I must confess that I’m one of those subscribers who got used to receiving freebies all the time and when suddenly the paid offers started cropping up, I became less keen and canceled subscriptions.

    I’ll definitely keep this in mind when I start creating a list.

  • I do them occasionally… and they work for me very well. I offer quality content – subscribers are more inclined to buy when I have something to sell.


    • Doing ad swaps occasionally once or twice a month is definitely A LOT better than doing it every day :)

  • They’re freebie seekers and I JUST DON’T have time for them … they’re gone and good riddance.

  • James Elliott

    Hi Welly,

    What do I think of ad swaps? How about this. I don’t remember how many it was when I sign on but I have 94 emails right now and most of the ones I will open will be to see who sent them. Why? Because most of them are telling me they sent another free gift and they all will have an opt in to get it and most of the time I have it and some of them I have had over a year. In almost two years you can download a lot of free gifts and a few bought produces. Some of them get downloaded two or more times with so many giving the same thing.

    I have almost quit signing up to get any thing. Sometimes the owner will send an email and make you sign up to get it. Checking to see if their mail is getting opened. If I took the time to check the memberships I have signed up for once a month I can get a lot of them that I don’t get by just checking the mwembership website.

    I sign up for one not long that I stayed almost three days. I don’t know if 11 emails in one day and 9 the next say is spamming but I thought so. I still have some like that but I am working on it. I can’t remember his name but I signed up for one last week That is just as bad but only one of his emails has been opened. The next one will be to cancel. I am getting cranky in my old age.

    I am with you 100% on the ad swaps. I don’t like them.

    Hope your week has been good.



    • Yeah James I hear you as a subscriber. That’s why I don’t participate in ad swaps anymore and I don’t recommend people doing so for the same reasons I stated above.

  • Hey Welly

    I do ad swaps and have been very successful with them.

    I now have a list of 10,526 subscribers.

    YES … I do get some freebie seekers but mostly I get buyers or those I’m training to be buyers.

    You see … when someone opts in to my list they’re offered an item on signing up and once again another item upon confirmation.

    So their getting acclimated to the buying process.

    And for those who don’t opt in to my list?

    They’re freebie seekers and I

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