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Will Google Penalise You For Using Zaparena

It’s been almost three months since using the Zaparena Traffic Network on my blogs and I am very happy with it. Having said that this post isn’t about telling you how great Zaparena is, rather it’s about dispelling some of the issues people seem to have with it, issues that have come to my attention via the comments.

I Don’t Want Near Naked Women On My Blog

This is an easy one because if you don’t like seeing beautiful near naked women on you blog you make sure you don’t select that option.

It’s Against Adsense TOS

This seems to be the main issue people have. Unfortunately I can’t give you an iron clad guarantee that Google won’t penalise your blog for running Zaparena because no-one ever know how Google will react to anything. Something that may be perfectly acceptable today could be totally unacceptable tomorrow. Still, after doing some extensive research I have yet to find one site using Zaparena who has lost their Adsense account.

Google AdSense
Image via Wikipedia

Most of the results turned up blog posts warning people against using sites such as Zaparena saying that Google did not like traffic exchange programs. Klaus from TechPatio echoed their concern siting the following Google Adsense article,, Can I use traffic exchange programs? which states the following.

While traffic exchange services may help bring traffic to your site, we don’t recommend using them, as they may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled.

As you may already know, our program policies strictly prohibit any means of artificially generating ad impressions or clicks, including third-party services such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, auto-surf, and click-exchange programs. These programs offer incentives for users to view webpages or click on ads, resulting in activity that is harmful to our advertisers.

We also advise against using third-party tools or services to increase your site traffic, as they may also result in similar invalid activity and your account being disabled. We realize that you may have questions about a specific service and whether it could potentially create invalid impressions or clicks. However, please understand that we’re unable to comment on any particular third-party service.

Let’s look at the part highlighted in red. I can safely say there’s no way that Zaparena generates clicks, artificially or otherwise. Ad impressions, well that’s something else, but if they are going to penalise you for that then what’s stopping them from including things like Stumble, Digg, Twitter and the myriads of other forms of traffic generation.

Now, let’s consider the section highlighted in orange. They advise against using third party tools that increase traffic because it may result in similar invalid activity and your account being disabled. Again, Zaparena does not result in people clicking on your adsense ads, no more so than any other method you’re currently using to generate traffic to your blog.

It seems that the only way we would know for sure as to whether it is against their TOS is by asking Google but they kindly advise us against that because they can’t comment on any third party  service. Typical of them isn’t it?

I would also like to point out that Zaparena isn’t your typical traffic exchange program which requires that you surf their sites in order that they do the same for you. There is no such requirement for Zaparena, in fact there is no incentive at all for people to click on a Zaparena ad.

As I said at the beginning I am more than happy with the performance of the Zaparena Traffic Network. I would love to say I was certain that Google doesn’t have a problem with them but like I said at the beginning no-one can know how Google feels about anything. Ask anyone who’s been penalised and is still scratching their head as to why.

If anyone knows of someone who have been penalised because they were using Zaparena I would love to know about it.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. Hi,

    It could be very confusing for the term used by Google. How about article submission on Bukisa, Yousaytoo and etc? Is it consider utilizing third party service to increase traffic to your site?

    Regard,
    Ricky
    Hitechblast

  2. Interesting article. I’d be very careful doing anything that could jeopardize AdSense. My account was deactivated several years ago, and it wasn’t easy to get it back. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I was.

    1. The problem with Google, as many will testify, is they could cancel your account for something that you thought was totally innocent. I’ve heard of people that have had that done to them and many still don’t know why it happened.
      Sire recently posted…To Tweet Or Not To Tweet- That Is The QuestionMy Profile

  3. Zaparena, I didn’t even know that existed until know.
    Even if is a traffic exchange program, I think that it won’t be penalyzed. Google says a lot of things that they are going to penalyze, but don’t penalyze a lot of them.

  4. Its strange there is such panic about using this on your blog but I have seen the questions been asked too. Is it really that different to getting traffic from somewhere like stumbleupon?

    Any traffic that is not from the natural google search seems to worry people with regards to adwords and potential banning!

    1. I think the main problem Dave is people have the wrong idea of what Zaparena is and I’m not here to convince them otherwise, I just wanted to give my opinion on the subject.
      Sire recently posted…Sharing Photos Is Best Done With FlickrMy Profile


  5. Twitter:
    Just for the record, I don’t have a problem with Zaparena (or MGID.com for that matter) :)

    I would LOVE to be able to use either one of those traffic exchange services, while being sure that is NOT going to penalise my blog, either in search engine rankings or by disabling AdSense.

    The problem also is that Zaparena / MGID “guarantees” a certain amount of traffic, which I think is also something that Google might be referring to when they write “We also advise against using third-party tools or services to increase your site traffic”.

    Finally, comparing Zaparena / MGID traffic on my blog, in Google Analytics, it’s clear that the quality of traffic from those two traffic exchange services are lower than my average stats (and lower than google organic traffic). If one is just looking to have as many pageviews as possible, then I see no problem, but if one is also looking for a good bounce rate, page per visit etc., I don’t think traffic exchange is the way to go.
    Klaus recently posted…Are you Facebook addictedMy Profile

    1. I never said you had a problem with Zaparena, only that you were worried about the possible consequences from using them.

      As to the type of traffic, I think it all depends on the type of teaser you use. Mine specifically target a certain type and so the people that visit those posts are as targeted as you can get.
      Sire recently posted…Blogging Playing Second Fiddle To Home MaintenanceMy Profile


      1. Twitter:
        I didn’t mean to correct you, I was just stating that I don’t have a problem with traffic exchange sites :)

        One thing I’m curious about, how can they guarantee sending twice as much traffic back, than what you’re sending them? If this is a deal they have with everybody, then where does that last half of the traffic come from?

        If somebody clicks a post-banner on my blog, then zaparena owns me 2 visits from somewhere else. And those 2 visits will now own 2 other blogs, 4 visits in total… etc. So I’m wondering, where do they come from?
        Klaus recently posted…Nikon 70-200mm lens thermos bottle reviewMy Profile


          1. Twitter:
            I agree. Also for me, both Zaparena and MGID internal stats shows that it works – and visits FROM their sites (according to their stats) matches with Google Analytics pretty well too, so there’s no question that they do indeed send the traffic.

            I’m just wondering, where that traffic comes from? Or if they are sending fake traffic to make up for some of it? Like for every 1 real visit, they send 1 bot-traffic or something.
            Klaus recently posted…Nikon 70-200mm lens thermos bottle reviewMy Profile

            1. I’m assuming they have a fair amount of traffic as well as a huge membership and so perhaps that’s all that’s needed to generate the traffic. I don’t think they would bother with bot traffic as that would piss off their advertisers.

  6. Hey Sire,

    I’ve never tried Zaparena before but I remember watching a short tutorial where they showcased how easily was for that app to pull related content on your blog.

    It really seemed like a very cool and easy way to set up highly related advertising, I still need to get my blog done so I can start testing this thing out.

    I’m recently started studying a bit about AdSense and I still have a million questions about it so I’ll take baby steps on this, anyway great post and I enjoyed a lot your latest posts, will post there as well ;-)

    PS. Don’t bother going to my blog yet, it’s still dead lol

    1. Correction:

      ‘I’m recently started’ should have read: ‘I recently started blah…’ that’s what I get for commenting so early LOL

      1. No worries Sergio, I knew what you meant. I probably don’t know all that much about adsense apart from changing the way it looks and using channels and stuff.

        I don’t know why people say Zaparena only send rubbish traffic, as long as you use the right info in your ads you’ll get the right traffic.
        Sire recently posted…Failure Is The Next Step On Your Journey To SuccessMy Profile

  7. Hello Sire,

    Thanks for this awesome post. I’m very happy to see webmasters understanding and liking our service. First of all I want to confirm that we don’t know even one webmaster who lost his AdSense account because of using zaparena.

    The Google article was published in 2007 ( http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/04/note-on-traffic-exchange-programs.html ) and traffic networks appeared in 2009 / 2010. So Google obviously had other services in mind when they published this article. In my opinion it’s a wording problem, we call our service traffic network and not traffic exchange. And as Sire rightly pointed out there is a huge difference. Please search for traffic exchange and you will see…

    In fact zaparena is a content discovery network and you can see it as an advertising campaign for your website: http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1059038

    Each visitor willingly clicks on the content that they are interested in like on a banner. A click redirects the visitor to a landing page on zaparena containing a preview of the content and other related teasers. In average a user will click on two teasers… now you know why we are able to guarantee a minimum ratio. Our job is to balance the ratio in a fair way. One the one hand teasers of websites with a low ratio are shown more often in the widgets and on the other hand these webmasters can add more teasers too. So we are able to send them more traffic than other websites with less traffic.

    Dominik
    zaparena Founder
    http://www.zaparena.com

    1. Hey Dominik, it’s an honour to have you visit my humble blog. I’m so glad you liked the post which is all the better because you supplied those links.

      I know some people say that you don’t supply quality traffic but I disagree. Once you’ve earned the right to upload your teasers (ads) as long as your ad is honest and links to a page with relevant content you will get quality targeted traffic. There is no point showing a picture of a good looking woman that links to a page promoting an affiliate as all you will be doing is upsetting your visitors and a high bounce rate. In other words, those complaining of poor quality traffic should look at how they’re promoting their landing pages.
      Sire recently posted…Ah- If Only All I Had To Do Was BlogMy Profile

      1. Wow Sire, the man behind Zaparena himself came to post a comment here. Cool! :)

        I am still on the fence about this zaparena/mgid issue but Dominik’s entry here sure made a huge difference and made a few things clear (and also supported your thoughts concerning Google).

        1. Yeah, that was pretty cool wasn’t it. Just remember that one never knows with Google, but then if we worried about everything that would could possible upset Google we wouldn’t have anything but Google on our blog, which is probably what Google wants. :wink_ee:
          Sire recently posted…The Secret To Online Success Is Passive IncomeMy Profile

  8. I agree with Klaus if you want pagewiews you can use Zaparena, but for good bounce rate or average time on site you need original content. I am not a person who panics on every Google’s move, but I have seen a lot of sites going down and now I am very carefully with all my moves regarding traffic programs

    1. As long as you’re supply good traffic and are using Zaparena properly you shouldn’t have a problem getting targeted traffic. It’s really no different than paying for an ad linking to your site except with Zaparena it’s free.
      Sire recently posted…Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid PostsMy Profile

  9. We tried Zaparena and found that maybe Google did penalize our site. We do not know for sure, but some of our organic search results fell, which is normal, but once we remove Zaparena, then the organic results came back. The only thing is we do know what it was, it is so hard to figure it out.

    1. If Google penalised your site Jeff you would know about it.

  10. I don’t see anything wrong using Zaparena. In fact, I have it on my personal and I’m with what I’m getting in return. Google’s TOS is a bit misleading, yes. Thanks for putting this up :)

  11. Nice post indeed! I think there is no reason to believe that Google might penalize your site for using Zaparena. Traffic exchange is not considered a taboo by the major search engines and so using Zaparena shouldn’t cause any problems. The only things you need to stay away from are those that have been clearly prohibited in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

    1. They say Google doesn’t like traffic exchange sites, but like I said Zaparena isn’t a traffic exchange site at all.

  12. Hi Peter
    Thanks for starting the discussion.
    Some great comments coming in on this one.

    Most of us had never heard of “Zaparena” until you mentioned it – we’ve all heard of it now. LOL

    Cheers Peter

    BTW – got a blog post with nearly 200 comments.
    Head over to easyP with your Aussie chums and help me hit that 200 spot.
    You must have a video question for Tom.
    Keith Davis recently posted…Online Video- Un Art… Une TechniqueMy Profile

  13. It’s good that you brought this up Peter. Haven’t heard about Zaparena before and Google penalizing it. Yeah, I think Google sometimes is so unpredictable. But it’s better to be very careful next time than losing or have your account deactivated.
    April recently posted…Bank Owned Condos in Lower Deer Valley!My Profile

    1. Glad you liked it April.


  14. Twitter:
    You know Sire, I must have missed the part about Zaparena being a traffic generation site, or whatever term they’re using. I knew it was the ads you were running, and I’ve been meaning to ask you if you’re making any money off people clicking on them.

    I’ve never really fully understood the concept of traffic generation. I remember those sites where you had to click on so many links to have your links show up for people to click on, but no one was ever really reading any of what they were clicking on so that stuff didn’t make much sense. I’d have to admit that I don’t fully understand this thing either, other than it gives enticing visuals on your blog and probably gives other interesting content on other sites that people see and might want to click on. In a way, that’s just like Adsense only it’s not selling anything.

    Seems harmless to me, other than some folks may not like certain things. For instance, I’m noticing that only one woman has commented on this post so far. I’m wondering if that’s a trend. :dunce_tb:
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Blogging Responsibly Part TwoMy Profile

    1. What you described in your comment Mitch is a traffic exchange site, which Zaparena isn’t. That being the case I’m pretty sure Google won’t mind if people use it.

      As for the women, its probably because I haven’t updated my avatar to my latest bearded handsome self :lol_ee:

      Oops, I almost forgot. Since starting Zaparena I have over 43 Euro in the kitty.

        1. I did a quick online conversion for you Mitch and it’s about $60US. I have to admit though that I installed it more for the traffic than the income.


  15. Twitter:
    So thats what I have been seeing lately! I kept seeing those images on your blog and many other blogs and I always wondered what they were all about.

    I never would have thought it was a traffic exchange program.

    I think Google just dont like traffic exchange, like you said, what would make them not say ” hey you cant use traffic from social bookmarking sites because they may generate invalid ad impressions or clicks.

    It just doesn’t make sense to me, why they think traffic from traffic exchange sites, would be more ‘harmful” to their advertisers than traffic from other sources!?
    Satrap recently posted…How to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

    1. Hi Satrap, firstly Zaparena is not a traffic exchange. A traffic exchange requires you to click on members sites to earn enough points so they in turn click on yours. Zaparena doesn’t require this at all. These site bring the wrong sort of traffic as al they’re interested in is gaining points so that others will click on their site. Totally useless unless you’re trying to increase your bounce rate and piss off Google :tongue_laugh_ee:

      As for not knowing what all those lovely women was all about, I reckon you must have missed out on my previous posts which had a great explanation.

  16. I think a lot of people had the misconception that you had to put pictures of naked woman on your blog but you set us straight right from the start. If that was the case, I would have gone with a different route as well.

    To be honest with you, I just haven’t had time to really go over there and look the site over more. Guess I’ll have to put that on my “to do” list.

    Thanks for clearing this up Sire!!!

    Adrienne

    1. Always glad to help out my readers Adrienne. :smoke_tb:

  17. You could have just written an article about literally almost anything and I would have believed you if you said you were talking about Zaparena. That is how ill-informed of it I am. I was, however, wondering where all of the naked women were coming from. At least now I know the answer to that question. Glad to hear that Zaparena is working out for you, though!

    1. Yep, it’s working fine, and as for the near naked women, what can I say, I love the way they look on my blog.

  18. Hi, this site is really cool! I’d been using Zaparena for my two blogsites and had been searching the web if it would have a negative effect on my adsense account like google penalizing the adsense account, so far this is the only site that is very informative. And hey you even got Zaparena founders attention! That’s really great.

    Thanks for this post which has cleared so much about Zaparena and Adsense issue.

  19. From what I can gather it looks like there is no real harm in using Zaparena for your blogs. I’ll give it a try on a couple of blogs that I work with and will monitor my ranking performance, traffic etc and if my blogs start to devalue or are effected I will let you know.

    Thanks for the article.
    regards
    Stephen

    1. I’ll be interested to know how it works out for you Stephen

  20. I think it is a very tough situation. On one end you want to increase traffic. On the other you don’t want to be penalized by Google. I think that is the tip toeing act that all SEOs find themselves in at some point and also why some are not always happy with how Google handles things.

    1. Yes, and I’m surf that’t just the way Google wants it. If you think about it the more people are scared of using other forms of traffic generation the more likely they will resort to using Googles own ad network. More money for them.
      Sire recently posted…The Birth Of Another Blog- Buying Lottery Tickets OnlineMy Profile

  21. I assume Google’s main concern is with any software that creates unusual link patterns, as that could skew their results.

    However, Google’s attitude does seem rather hypocritical when sites running Google Ads have a load of followable paid links placed on their site by Google themselves.

    Whilst I assume the major search engines factor this in and strip these ads from their data, it does seem weird when Google don’t play by their own rules.
    Richard recently posted…Do your own SEO – Search Engine OptimisationMy Profile

  22. Google has always been against Traffic Exchange programs and I think Zaprena should be no exception.

  23. I am happy for you, Sir, if your web traffic increases thanks to Zaparena,but I do not feel I could recommend the use of their banners in the presence of google adsense
    However It’s just my opinion and I’ve never tried Zaparena directly

    1. Perhaps if you were to have it right next to an adsense ad they might complain. I don’t think they care if you stick it somewhere else where people can not mistake it being affiliated with their product.

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