Date Reviewed: November 23, 2000
Full Cost: $99.95
Printed User Guide? No (some online help available)
Webmaster Techniques Rating (1-10): 3
have used FFA Blaster, an FFA submission program, for well
over a year. Recently, however, I've discovered a couple
of surprising revelations that may raise a few eyebrows
for both consumers and resellers of this program. More
on that later under the heading Major Revelations...
for Free For All and is associated with free link pages.
Submitting to FFA pages is a method that many online marketers
will tell you is a waste of time. However, these individuals
fail to see a greater reason for FFA submissions - Search
in my book, Web
Marketing Applied, many Search Engines now incorporate "popularity
algorithms," which help in the determination of where
your Website ranks. Your popularity is determined by the
number of sites linked back to you. Like most Websites,
FFA link pages are visited by Search Engines. If your site
is listed on an FFA page when it is indexed then that counts
for a link back to your site and thus a higher popularity
rating. With programs like FFA Blaster submitting to tens
of thousands of pages, you can potentially find 100+ FFA
pages linked back to you on Search Engines as a result
of your consistent efforts. The *free bonus* to this is
that you may get 1-2 visitors a day to your site from your
FFA submission (this is what I average).
FFA Blaster, by Submit Ad and SPCK Software, is really two products in one.
The most important aspect of the program is the link submissions and as of
this writing FAA Blaster submits to over 88,000 free for all pages. The second
aspect of the product is the ability to build your own FFA page. The focus
of this review will be on the more important of the two - the submissions.
For being an FFA submission program, FFA Blaster has a lot of features including
batch submissions, automated updates, stylizing submissions, frequently
updated database downloads, easy to follow interface, and even the ability
to build your own Web page. FFA Blaster even has its own built in Web browser.
It is easy to tell that a lot of thought and effort went into the program.
can see from the main menu below command buttons are both
graphical and text based. The most important button, Blast
it Out, is nice and big. You press this button when your
submission is all ready to go.
the basic premise for submissions:
1) Enter your Website information (title, URL, Email, Section, etc.).
2) Be sure to select the proper section for your
ad. Keep in mind that many may leave the default (Miscellaneous)
selected so if your ad goes there, it will disappear
quicker due to the majority of other people posting there.
(Note: Web Marketing Applied readers - refer to page
161 for a tip on email filtering due to FFA autoresponders).
3) Press the DL button to bring up the Database
Download menu where you can download the database lists
and each lists database (a two-step process).
4) Press Blast it Out to open a new window (see
below) that tracks the status of your submissions. Press
Start to begin the submission process.
program easily saves multiple ads so that you can load
and submit. Optionally, you can save numerous ads in the
Batch Mode and FFA Blaster can the submit multiple ads,
one right after the other, for you.
time you start the program, you receive a WebUpdate screen
(pictured below). By clicking the Connect button, the program
will automatically check to see if there is a new upgrade
for you to download. In addition, you can sign up for the
FFA Blaster newsletter right from the software (good marketing
puts out a lot of claims about FFA Blaster. Let's take
a look at these claims and what the reality is based on
my use of the software.
Claim: "It's a powerful submission tool built with one goal in mind: to
save you time and aggravation as it speeds you through your submission process..."
Reality: This statement is true for people who have
been manually submitting links to FFA pages. With FFA Blaster
you set up the initial information, click Blast it Out
and let it run in the background as it submits to tens of
of FFA sites. But the length of time it takes per submission
(over an hour) may cause some aggravation. Further aggravation
may occur when you find out that tens of thousands of your
ads aren't really being posted (see Major Revelations section
FFA Blaster user interface is very easy to understand."
Reality: This statement is mostly true. The designers
made it very graphical and easy to follow. However,
mixing submission commands with running an FFA page commands
may be a tad confusing to some people.
as lightning, using 28 ports simultaneous, the database
is posted in just a few minutes!"
statement is false. Yes the program has 28 ports,
but it only uses those ports on a few thousand submissions.
The rest of the submissions, tens of thousands via "FFA Net" use
only one port. The result is the total submission of just
one link taking anywhere from 3-5 hours. This is a far cry
from "a few minutes." So unless lighting strikes linger in
one place for several hours the claim that it is "fast as
lighting" and finished in a few minutes is not true.
to FFA pages on our ever growing/changing global database.
Reality: This is true for the most part. One good
thing about the folks who created FFA Blaster is that
they update their FFA list often (you must download these
version now has more than 26,000+ FFA sites for you to
post to, in several databases you can download, and growing
Reality: True and then some. The database of FFA
lists for FFA Blaster grows often. When I first purchased
well over a year ago it was submitting to just over 11,000
FFA lists. As of November 23, 2000 it is submitting to
over 88,234. As you can see, this is just over three times
than the advertised 26,000. That's quite a big bonus until
you find out one of their secrets revealed in Major Revelations below.
Blaster manages your promotion and marketing all the way
through to completion."
Reality: This is an exaggeration. It manages your
FFA posts all the way through to completion, but not all
your "promotion and marketing". FFA links should only be
one small part of your overall Web marketing strategy.
I have two major revelations to present that I discovered concerning FFA Blaster.
The first is aimed at consumers and the second is aimed at resellers.
Alert: When downloading the databases, I always noticed
that a database called "FFA Net" took up more
than 80,000 of the 88,000 submissions. I never gave this
too much thought until one day when I was downloading
the latest files I saw, in the title area, numerous ads
for FFA Blaster displaying. Hidden amongst the ads was
the following message which is very easy to miss:
FFA Net requires you to register your email address."
that FFA Net is 90% of all the databases, I immediately
when into investigation mode. Come to find out, all my
submissions in the past never made it onto the FFA Net
link pages (the 80,000+) because my email address wasn't
*registered*. The links were being submitted, but not being
published. The dozens of hours in the past I used FFA
Blaster to submit my site were to practically no avail.
What's worse is that I would have never known had I not
come across the well hidden announcement of this important
a reason, I believe, that FFA Blaster hides this announcement.
It is because when you visit FFA Net at www.ffanet.com/auth/ and
go through the process of confirming your email address,
you discover that you can enter your Website info at FFA
Net, hit a Submit button, and have your ad automatically
submitted to FFA Net's 80,000+ pages for free. The process
takes less than two minutes, versus over an hour with FFA
already own FFA Blaster and have been using it for awhile,
this news may come as a major shock to you since FFA Blaster
makes no attempt to promptly notify users of this requirement.
You only see the requirement if you are on the Download
page and happen to be reading through all the text ads.
thing you should be aware of concerning FFA Net is that
the site requires you to authorize your email address once
a week in order to continue using the 80,000+ database
of FFA pages.
I now handle this situation is:
disable the FFA Net option on FFA Blaster (Download menu).
use FFA Blaster to submit to all non-FFA Net sites (less
than 2,000 pages).
do my FFA Net submissions directly from FFA Net's home
page. I then go to the FFA Net Website to submit to its
database. I find this process to be much faster overall.
Alert: I have an equally shocking alert for resellers
of FFA Blaster. Webmaster Techniques Magazine resells
a lot of software programs for Webmasters, including
FFA Blaster. We noticed, however, that FFA Blaster was
making us very little money. We found out why from an
alert individual trying to make sure we were credited
with the sale (which shouldn't be a difficult process).
Here's the story.
a person clicks on your reseller
page, he/she is taken to your coded order page where
you are given credited for a completed sale. The trouble
is that the order page requires a Registration number from
the downloaded software. So if the person hasn't downloaded
a trial version, he/she must do that first.
downloading the software, even from your reseller page,
the user is prompted to click an Order or Registration
button from within the software. This opens up a page that
credits SPCK with the software sale. SPCK happens to be
the owner of the product. This ends up being a convenient
way for you to introduce a person to the product without
getting any credit. If the person does not come back to
your Web page and load the order form then you'll never
receive credit for the sale and not get an affiliate commission.
very concerned upon discovering this and wrote Submit Ad,
SPCK, and one of the developers an email asking about the
problem and how it could be resolved. I received no answer.
I sent four follow-up emails and didn't receive a response
or even a note to say they were looking into the problem.
This is terrible customer service for resellers who have
been dedicated to letting others know about the FFA Blaster
product. It appears deceitful (even if accidental) and
is simply wrong.
look at this situation another way...
Webmasters are Amazon.com affiliates. What if a person
clicked on one of your book links to order a book from
Amazon.com and was instructed that they had to register
first; upon registering they were redirected to the same
page, except without your code!? The person orders the
product and you don't receive credit even though the person
followed your link with the intention of purchasing the
book. There would likely be an investigation into such
practices and a lot of upset resellers.
ever do get an answer back from the creators of FFA Blaster,
I'll pass it along as an addendum to this review.
FFA Blaster is a good product and if it wasn't for the two Major Revelations,
it might score fairly high. But the two Major Revelations knock the score
down quite a bit. So much, in fact, that I have personally decided to STOP
using FFA Blaster!
I've had problems with FFA Blaster in the past, technical
support has responded within a few days. However, when
I pressed for some answers to the Major Revelations problem,
the company gives me the go around and refuses to answer
my emails. Shoddy customer service like this and the continued
problems with the Major Revelations I revealed results
in my giving this product a final poor review score of
a "3". I cannot, in good faith, recommend this
program to anyone.
Joe Tracy is editor of Webmaster
Techniques Magazine and author of "55
Vital Web Marketing Strategies for Marketing Your Website"
to Reviews Page
» Return to Webmaster Techniques
Magazine Front Page