CoinGecko: Cryptocurrency Exchanges Artificially Increase Web Traffic To Their Sites

According to researchers, nearly 50% of OKEx’s internet traffic comes from advertising sites that pay for clicks in cryptocurrencies.

CoinGecko analysts argue that cryptocurrency exchanges can distort the amount of internet traffic to their sites. In particular, the report says that in the second quarter of 2020, the trading volume on the OKEx cryptocurrency exchange decreased, but the volume of Internet traffic increased by 239%. This is odd, because internet traffic metrics tend to correlate with trading activity.

After checking with SimilarWeb, which shows the source of the web traffic, CoinGecko analysts noticed that about 50% of OKEx’s web traffic comes from paid referral sites. The largest was Adbtc, a site that pays people with BTC to click on links to sites. Adbtc claims to have 78,000 active users and generate 866,000 impressions per day for popular sites.

Other platforms include Coinpayu, on the list of which OKEx is listed as one of the platform’s projects, Cointiply and Adeth. All three sites pay in cryptocurrency for ad clicks and use referral links. When asked to comment on the data, OKEx CEO Jay Hao responded that every company in the cryptocurrency industry should be growth-oriented.

“We continue to grow our industry presence with a greater focus on organic growth, strategic partnerships and the most innovative and diverse product portfolio on the market,” he said.

Hao added that web traffic is an unreliable indicator for ranking exchanges and that exchange trading volume is more dependent on market volatility.

CoinGecko analysts also noted that some of the paid traffic went towards Binance, but this was a very low percentage of total traffic. Binance commented on the situation and stated that this is due to testing paid traffic to the site during the week. However, due to the low conversion rate of new traders, the exchange is no longer planning to conduct testing.

In May, cryptocurrency market tracking service CoinMarketCap updated its exchange ranking system and launched a new “web traffic metric”. The criterion is designed to analyze user activity on exchanges, including the number of page views, unique visitors, time spent on the site, search engine bounce rate and search engine rankings. This placed a much greater emphasis on exchange traffic volume rather than trade volume.

When trading volumes were the default metric for ranking, many exchanges used fictitious trading to boost their rankings. But now that CoinMarketCap measures web traffic and other analysts like CoinGecko include web traffic as an important factor in their estimates, exchanges have more incentives to drive people to their site. CoinGecko co-founder and COO Bobby Ong said:

“It is possible that exchanges are paying for traffic to rank higher as data aggregators now account for web traffic. It can also be argued that exchange ads were posted on these advertising sites without any active participation of the sites themselves. However, it is possible that Similarweb’s statistics are not entirely accurate due to sampling issues. “

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