Automated traffic - What's it about?
There are many, different services that offer some sort of traffic exchange. Some require you to click, and browse other people's web pages. As this is a requirement for everyone, your site will be seen by everyone using the same system.
Other programs - known as autosurfs - are based on the same idea, but instead of clicking links, the script does it for you. The good thing about it is; you do not have to browse, or even watch a single page to earn "page views". The downside is quite obvious; there is no guarantee your site will actually be seen, you are only getting automated page views.
Another way of exchanging traffic with other websites is through, so-called top lists. You simply send visitors to a top list - the more you send, the higher your link will be placed - getting you more visitors back.
Yet another popular method is banner exchanges, borderline automated. Often it IS script based, with methods of earning credits much the same as traffic exchanges and autosurfs. But the big difference is in the quality of traffic received. Another big advantage is the free exposure you - and your trademark - will get from having your banner seen all over the web. It is no coincidence large companies spend top dollar on making their trademark(s) well known.
Is this traffic of any use?
Well, it might be. Depending on what your site is about, you can gain much from these programs. Advertising a product appealing to webmasters and site owners, will make it easier to attract new customers, since they are the only ones using these traffic programs.
If you have a site completely unrelated to the webmaster community, you might advertise your affiliate program, if you have one.
For those of you not running an affiliate program, and with no products appealing to webmasters, it's time to get creative.
If you use these "tools" to your advantage, it is possible to extract quality visitors - although not in the same quantity - instead of merely site views and loss of bandwidth. Read more about converting hits into visitors at El Traffico
Are there any hazards?
Many contextual advertisers do not approve of automated traffic, some will even terminate your account if you repeatedly send automated traffic to pages with contextual advertising code on it. If you drive a lot of traffic to your site, see to it, you only send it to pages without these ads. This is extremely important if you are getting paid per impression. No one wants to pay you for automated impressions.
Try to spread the traffic out a bit, not allocating all visitors at the same time. It can, and will, be a huge amount of page views if you are using autosurfs to directly send traffic to your site. This can slow the site down if you point them to a "heavy page".