FTB Updated for Firefox 3

Free Trafic Bar was updated this past weekend, most importantly (for me) adding compatibility for Firefox 3. I had put off upgrading to FF3 until more extensions were updated; I bit the bullet this weekend before I found out about the FTB update and so far I have mixed feelings about Firefox 3. But this post is about FTB...

For those of you not familiar with Free Traffic Bar, it's a toolbar that you add to your browser. As you surf, the toolbar shows a new ad for every page load, and you accumulate credits that in turn are used to display your ads. Of course, clicking on an ad takes you to that advertiser's site. The ads are unobtrusive, unlike many other traffic exchanges and surf programs.

As the name suggests, Free Traffic Bar is free. There are paid options, of course, with substantial differences between the various plans available. For example, the ratio of pages viewed to credits earned ranges from 4:1 (free account) to 1:2. And all paid accounts receive between 1,500 and 25,000 credits per month, in addition to the credits earned from surfing.

(If you're a registered member of DonMorris.com and you happen to use the link above to sign up for any plan, I'll give you 10,000 credits to pad your account. Just leave me a comment below with your member number/ID.)

The toolbar upgrade notification was a little cryptic; although it mentioned there were new features, not a single one was listed—either in the message or on their site—and the message's subject ("Critical Upgrade for ALL Free Traffic Bar Members") seemed to me to be just hyperbole. ("Critical"?)

Additional features as I see them appear to be:

  • RSS feeds accessible in the toolbar. I would guess these are for announcements from FTB, but since no specifics are given it remains to be seen exactly what this is for and I'd be right, although now I'm not sure these are really RSS feeds.
  • Notification of new e-mail messages in your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or POP3 mailbox. (Optional) The toolbar shows the number of new messages and optional plays a sound when new messages are received. There's a minor bug with POP3 accounts.
  • Privacy component to clean cache, cookies and history. (Optional) Hardly needed with Firefox's "Clear Private Data" option.
  • Weather forecaster shows current tempurature based on your location. (Optional) It got my location incorrect, but that's not unusual for tools that use geolocation on my IP address. What was cool is that I could update my location within the widget. What was not cool was a bug that screwed up the display of the toolbar. Oh, and the correct location gave me inaccurate weather data.
  • Selecting text inserts it in the toolbar's search field. (Optional) Very handy if you use the search field.
  • Preferences. The previous toolbar didn't allow you to change any options.

Unfortunately, besides the shortcomings listed above, the upgrade adds some annoyances. For example, the FTB Info button has been replaced by an ugly image, with a stoplight that changes from green to yellow to red incessantly. And although some items can be removed from the toolbar—even the ad component—the search component cannot be removed. Also, a completely unneccessary "ID" link has been added to the toolbar to edit your member ID. (Previously, the option for changing your ID was under the FTP Info button.)

I don't, however, see any downside to using the toolbar as a marketing tool. I'd like to see the UI cleaned up, but I can live with these issues in exchange for more traffic.

[Update 7/9: I've edited the post above based on some changes in the toolbar today. More at FTB Updated Again.]