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TrainWeb Banner Exchange Program
http://www.trainweb.com/tech/banex.html

This page only applies to you if you have a non-commercial website hosted for free at TrainWeb. This page does not apply to TrainWeb's commercial and trade clients.

Over the last few months you may have received e-mail from TrainWeb or read pages at TrainWeb regarding the TrainWeb Banner Exchange Program. Please disregard everything that we have sent to you or that you have read elsewhere on TrainWeb about the TrainWeb Banner Exchange Program!

After a bit of experimenting, we have had to rethink our entire strategy. We will still eventually implement the TrainWeb Banner Exchange Program, but when we do, it will not be for websites that are hosted on the TrainWeb servers. The TrainWeb Banner Exchange Program will be for sites that are NOT hosted on the TrainWeb servers, but still wish to benefit from the additional exposure that TrainWeb can provide to them. We have a different and more powerful plan in mind for the sites that are hosted on the TrainWeb servers.

If you have submitted a banner to us, then your clickable banner is being displayed more than 2000 times each month at TrainWeb to people interested in rail! If you have not yet submitted a banner, now would be a good time to do so. The banner must be a .gif or .jpg image that is 200x40 pixels and the file size must be less than 3000 bytes. You should send your banner as an e-mail attachment to steve@trainweb.com

Under a new plan that we have in mind for rail websites hosted on the TrainWeb servers, your clickable banner will be viewed thousands of times per month more than it is viewed now! Not only that, but your clickable banner will appear, in turn, at the top of thousands of web pages on hundreds of different rail related websites! In addition, TrainWeb is in the process of redesigning the major sections of our own website in a way that will direct much of our own visitor traffic to the websites hosted on the TrainWeb servers. Thus, under our new plan, you can expect to have a tremendous increase in the number of visitors to your own website!

There is a trade-off, however. In order for us to generate a tremendous increase in exposure for your own clickable banner and greatly increase the traffic to your website, there is something that you are going to have to give up. You are going to have to give up less than a one inch strip of space across the top of each of your web pages. There is nothing that you need to add or remove from your web pages to support this feature. The TrainWeb server will automatically display this one inch strip of content at the top of every web page. The content of the strip will provide at least 3 major features:

  • It will indicate that your site is a member of the TrainWeb community.
  • It will provide a search engine for the entire TrainWeb community of web pages. This search engine will automatically index ALL of the words on ALL of the pages of your own website and will be re-indexed about once per month.
  • It will contain a clickable banner. Your own clickable banner will appear in this space in turn with all the other websites hosted at TrainWeb and in turn with TrainWeb's commercial sponsors.

We believe the benefits of this new program will far outweigh the inconvenience of sacrificing the one inch space at the top of each of your web pages. We know that some of you are not going to agree with our conclusion and will probably withdraw from the free web hosting program at TrainWeb. Please read the rest of this page before making any drastic decisions.

As mentioned above, this new program will result in your own clickable banner being displayed on thousands of pages at hundreds of rail related web sites every day. Many new people will be drawn to your own website who were not previously aware of your website. If you track visitors to your website, you will see a great increase in the number of visitors to your web pages!

The number of individuals and organizations requesting free web hosting of non-commercial web sites at TrainWeb has been growing rapidly. Each month we are having to devote more and more TrainWeb resources to the free hosting of rail web sites. The free web sites take up a good portion of our currently available bandwidth. It will not be long before we have to add a third T1 to handle this bandwidth growth. The free web sites also take up a good portion of our technical staff time. Even though we don't provide actual web site support, our technical staff does have to handle account requests and set up the accounts, respond to each request for additional disk space, recover lost passwords, and respond to problem reports when a web master believes that there is a problem with our system or network.

Our first goal in hosting non-commercial rail related web sites for free is to provide a service to the rail community where the webmasters of each site can share their rail efforts with the public. By providing free web accounts, we provide a way for rail enthusiasts to share their photographs, stories and other information. Our second goal is to provide a way for people to be able to find all these wonderful rail web sites! The primary way of doing this is for TrainWeb and the hosted web sites themselves to display one another's clickable banners. Our third and most essential goal is to provide exposure for our commercial sponsors. Without the financial support of our sponsors, our offer to provide free hosting and promotion to the non-commercial rail related web sites would not be possible at all!

We have run into two major problems with our previous banner program:

The first problem was making sure that all the sites hosted free at TrainWeb had the required TrainWeb Banner HTML Code posted and working on the main page of their web site. A significant number of the web sites did not copy and paste the HTML banner code properly. Even more disappointing were the number of sites that did not have the required code at all on their main page! In most cases, we don't believe the broken or missing banner code was intentional. There are a lot of people designing websites that do not know HTML nor how to copy and paste HTML code. Modern web design tools no longer require one to learn HTML in order to design a web site. Others who do understand HTML, will sometimes redesign and upload a new main page to their website, forgetting that they had to include the special TrainWeb HTML banner code. Trying to police all the rail web sites hosted at TrainWeb to make sure that they have the required TrainWeb HTML banner code is a great drain on our time.

The second problem is the amount of exposure being provided by banners on just the main page of each site. This current level of exposure is not adequate to inspire the level of financial support from our sponsors that we need in order to continue to expand the bandwidth being used by the free hosted sites.

The solution to the above two problems is as follows:

(1) By having the TrainWeb server automatically place the banner code on every page, no action is required on the part of the webmaster to properly place the TrainWeb HTML banner code on their web pages. In this manner, we can be sure that every site is displaying the required banners. Individual webmasters do not have to be skilled in HTML coding, they do not have to remember to insert the code whenever they revamp their main page, and we do not have to worry about mistakes being made when copying and pasting the TrainWeb banner HTML code.

(2) By having the TrainWeb server automatically place the banner code on every page, the amount of banner exposures will automatically increase with the amount of bandwidth being used by each web site. The more visits that you get to your pages, the more bandwidth you use. With a banner automatically placed at the top of each page, you will be providing exposure for our sponsors in direct proportion to the bandwidth that you use.

We have temporarily closed the free web hosting program to new requests. Once we have this new banner program in place, we expect to re-open our free web hosting program to new requests and encourage more non-commercial rail related websites to be hosted on our web servers. We are also devising new promotional methods to drive many more visitors to your web site. By us automatically displaying our sponsor banners at the top of every one of your web pages, then it is in our own interest to drive as many visitors to your web site as we can!


That is our plan. It will benefit you. It will benefit our sponsors. It will benefit TrainWeb and all of the web sites in the TrainWeb community. All that is required for this to work is for the TrainWeb.org server to automatically add less than a one inch strip of content across the top of every page served from the TrainWeb.org server.


If you are concerned about the amount of space taken by the one inch strip of content, we hope to lay your fears to rest. Take a look at the top of any page at www.TrainWeb.com. The banners at the top of each of our pages take up far more room than what we will be adding to the top of each of your pages. The amount of space that we will add to each of your pages will be less than half the height that is taken up by banners at the top of every TrainWeb.com page.

Keep in mind that it won't be just the banners of our sponsors that will be getting exposure at the top of every page served from the TrainWeb.org server. Your own clickable banner will be displayed in turn at the top of every page served from the TrainWeb.org server! The benefit in increased visitor traffic to your own web site is going to be tremendous!

If you are using "frames" in the design of your website, we strongly suggest that you redesign your website without using frames. Otherwise, our new logic will place the TrainWeb strip of content at the top of each frame on your page rather than just once at the top of the page. A number of major websites that used to use frames, including TrainWeb, have abandoned the frames concept after receiving numerous complaints from visitors. Complaints usually were in regards to the way that frames foul the functioning of the web browser "BACK" button, the inability to properly bookmark desired pages, the inability to link to a desired page, and the inability to refer someone to the specific URL of a particular page. Eliminating frames from your website will actually improve its design and make it more friendly for visitors navigating your website.

It will still be a few weeks, maybe a few months, before we start the new TrainWeb banner program. But, starting right now, you do not need to be concerned about having any TrainWeb banner code on your own web site. You may remove whatever TrainWeb banner code is currently on your site when you get a chance. If you have the RAILsearch.com code on your site, you can also remove that as it will be incorporated into the content of the one inch that we will be adding to the top of every page. If you are a member of RAILring.com, DO NOT REMOVE that code, however. That is a totally separate program that is unaffected by this change.

Click here if you currently have a www.trainweb.com/... site instead of a www.trainweb.org/... site hosted free at TrainWeb.

Click here if you have your own unique URL hosted free at TrainWeb or if you would like to switch to using your own URL at TrainWeb.


Visit related pages from this and other web sites:


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