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FFA - the facts.

By Michael Bloch
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2004

In the battle to be noticed on the web and share with the world our dreams, ideals, advice and products -the strategies are many.

When you have a limited budget, it also greatly limits the ways to gain exposure. Some of the major search engines are now ranking according to link popularity or how many dollars you can pay them to be listed. It's getting harder for the "little guy" to get into the game without a second mortgage on grandma's gold teeth. The argument for and against paid submission I won't explore now.

Have you ever come across those sites that offer to submit your URL to 8,567,291.1 sites for FREE? Then no doubt you have probably heard the term FFA, as this is where the majority of your submissions will go.

So what is FFA?

FFA stands for Free For All site. They have been in existence since around 1995. These are pages with the sole purpose of listing links. Practically anyone can post their "ad" on these pages for free. The ad usually takes the form of a descriptive link and a one to two line description. These listings are usually limited to around 50 and constantly rotating. A once off submission will last, if you're lucky, around one week. These pages are hosted around the world.

While trying to keep up with information regarding what the search engines are doing and investigating other options for promotion, I have been discouraged from using FFA sites to promote mine on a number of occasions. A couple of weeks ago, curiosity got the better of me, I ignored the advice and visited my friendly neighbourhood FFA blaster (a site dedicated to submitting to thousands of FFA pages).

After navigating through a series of pop-ups, I was presented with a form to fill in requesting my details, my site's url and description. With one click of my mouse button, I had supposedly submitted my url to around 8000 other sites. The whole process, from the first click to the FFA site, navigating to the submission form, filling out the form and submitting it, to the exiting click from the site took around 10 minutes.

Did I get traffic?....some, but nothing to get excited about..... As I mentioned earlier, the link lists are constantly turning over. On some of the FFA pages, my link lasted approximately 15 minutes before it was pushed down then off the list by new submissions. On some pages that I have located, the link has been visible for 6 days.

How many fellow surfers have you heard comment, "I spent the night cruising FFA sites" guess is not many.

.....A word of warning.......(well, quite a few words)

Be prepared for a suddenly influx of email - many, many emails! As part of the submission agreement, each FFA page successfully submitted to can generate 1 email to you from that particular site - a confirmation of submission. These "confirmation of submissions" of course contain numerous advertisements. My submission saw me receive approximately 420 emails over the next three days. But after this initial influx, things settled down pretty rapidly and I am not being spammed.

I don't think that I will submit to FFA's on an ongoing basis, purely because of the "confirmation of submission" emails I received which probably totalled around 1.4 megabytes. I'm not comfortable with receiving emails that I have sparked off knowing that they are headed straight for the recycle bin - a waste of bandwidth in receiving them. It has been worth the experience, just to see how it works and to pass the information on to others.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Another option to drive traffic to your site and being able to send one of these "confirmation of submission" emails containing your advertisement is to establish your own FFA page. From what I could ascertain, this is a simple process. If you feel that this may benefit your site, be extremely careful and do your research regarding implementation. As word gets around that you have an FFA page, you will be undoubtedly bombarded with links to, shall we say, sites containing questionable material which may have negative legal and moral implications for you. If submission screening is not set up correctly, you may also receive very nasty emails from people whose email addresses have been used fraudulently to create these submissions. Also be aware that many of those emails that are sent out from your site will never be read.

Michael Bloch
Tutorials, web content and tools, software and community.
Web Marketing, eCommerce & Development solutions.
About the Author
Michael is an Australian Information Technologies trainer and web developer. Many other free web design, ecommerce development and Internet articles, tutorials, tools and resources are available from his award winning site; Taming the (


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