3 Day Chitika Review

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I know I promised my results of using Chikita 3 days after my first impression post, but I’ve been struggling on my approach.  See, there is one side of me that is extremely disappointed and some what frustrated, but another side that sees how Chitika can work and does fill the niche that Chitika is aiming for.  So, as a disclaimer, let me stress the following.

“Chitika is not a replacement for Google Adsense, nor is Chitika trying to compete with Google Adsense.”

After listening to Chitika’s sales pitch I would have thought that I would be receiving comparable CPC’s on my automotive blog.  However, that was not the case and averaging out it looks to be less than half.  Taking it a step further, after the auditing process it potentially could be lowered again, which is where the frustration comes from.

In all of my sites I try to monetize in a way that does not affect readership.  I view my sites more often than anyone, so I attempt to make them as void of Ads and marketing as possible.  So, Chitika just doesn’t seem to be fitting in with my own business model.  I have trouble justifying ad placement when it earns me less than half of the cost of a stamp per click.  Higher CPC’s may be found in different niches, I’m only comparing Adsense CPC’s in the automotive category to that from Chitika.

Chitika Shines

The CTR is of course much higher than Adsense, which is to be expected since they use the tried and true ‘image-next-to-ad’ technique.  Google banned this method over a year ago because it created less than optimal traffic for the advertisers.  Essentially, you are tricking visitors into clicking on a link, nothing more, nothing less.

A higher CTR would be super awesome, if only it paid out decent.  Where it stands right now, I would need 5-6 times the amount of clicks just to equal one click from my Adsense Ads.  So why even bother taking up valuable real estate on my site and just annoying my visitors?

I’m struggling with the answer to that last question.  Be damned if I’m going to sacrifice my Adsense earnings.  That’s why Chitika focuses on alerting Publishers that Chitika can be used alongside Adsense ads.  It doesn’t make sense for me, because I’m getting clicks, why would I want to sacrifice half my clicks for a lower paying ad?  I wouldn’t.

Chitika Customer Service

I had the opportunity to talk with Ryan Travis, Director of Client Services at Chitika.  My initial phone call was a service issue, dealing with accurate impressions, but all was working well(I’ll save info for another post).  Ryan and I ended up talking about optimization, where Chitika see’s itself in the marketplace, and where they hope to go.  Ryan was quick to respond to emails, a pleasure to talk with, and part of the reason why I will continue to use Chitika at some level.

Who Should Use Chitika

The only people who should be using Chitika are those who receive a lot of traffic from search engines.  Of those people, the only ones who should be using Chitika are those who can’t get Google Adsense to convert.  Chitika Premium ads are only shown to search engine traffic, so those of you getting traffic from other sites need not apply.  And as mentioned above, don’t risk losing higher paying Adsense traffic to get a few more clicks on your Chitika ads.

Conclusion

I will continue to use Chitika in hopes they will increase their Automotive inventory of ads and eventually increase CPC’s.  Ryan feels that the online marketing industry as a hole is trending toward higher search traffic CPC’s, rather than content related marketing like Adsense for content.  I hope he’s right and I wish Chitika luck in their niche.  We need options in the market place as both a publisher and advertiser.

In the not to distant future I will be publishing some more results from my Chitika ads.  The Chitika ‘auditing’ process could prove to be a deal breaker, but I will reserve judgement.

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Chitika Review, First Impressions

Well, it’s been just around 24 hours since I began testing the Chitika Premium Ads on my automotive site.  Currently, my automotive blog is receiving around 3,200 page views per day, with the majority of traffic coming from Google search.  This should spell a winning combination, considering how Chitika Premium works.  Let’s look at my first impression, downsides first, then lets look at what’s coming UP.

Initial Downside

Slow reports, which require at least till 10:00 AM the next morning before clicks are computed.  New users must also wait up to 3 days before earning are reported, so other than clicks and impressions, no other figures are provided.  When compared to Google Adsense, this is a huge short coming, but not something that will send me packing.

The reports, even once they are updating every 24 hours, require a audit.  This means that you will not be paid your reported earnings, rather a audit, based on quality of traffic, that usually amounts to a 10% drop in what is indicated.  I’ve never had this with other PPC programs, only on CPA traffic, so this is throwing me for a loop.

Last downside is the review process to start even using Chitika ads.  They require a detailed application, which is reviewed by a human and can take up to 3 days to be completed.  Thankfully, my review took less than 4 hours, I’m wondering if that’s the norm.  But again, only in CPA programs have I ever had to set through a review process, when I’m ready to start using a new program, let me start on my terms!  Nothing to scare me off just yet though.

Initial Upside

So easy to generate code and the wizard is self explanatory for customizing size, colors, and ad-variations.  I was very pleased to hear that Chitika could be used next to Adsense, so without sacrificing too much web real estate to try a new program, I can test placements.  Which also brings up the fact of having an alternate ad shown, even on another network, when there is no search term found or unqualified traffic views the page.  I’m using a Google Adsense block of the same size, so earning comparisons should be spot on.

Great referral program!  That’s right, Chitika has a great referal program that will pay you 10% of whatever your referral earns for up to 15 months.  This is what you earn per publisher, but make up to $25 for every $100 spent for referring an Advertiser.  Easy to see why so many guru’s have the Chitika banners plastered all over their posts, coupled with long winded multiple part review posts. (hmmmm)

In 3 days I will happily give a report of my published earnings.  I’m hoping to at least compliment my Adsense placements without subtracting from their current earnings.  Right now I’m making some pretty impressive bank from tried and true Adsense, I will be a tough nut to crack.

No Commissions With New eBay Partner Network

I never was a big earner with CJ, being an eBay affiliate, but it was a nice way to supplement my Adsense earnings on a lot of my blogs. Starting April 1st eBay decided to move their affiliate network in house and it looks like there are a number of marketers experiencing tracking issues or no commissions at all. Personally, I think there is a little problem with both, considering the relationship eBay had with CJ and constantly needing to recoup lost sales, incorrect reporting, etc.

According to individuals in forums, whom are using 3rd scripts to market eBay products, some revenue has dropped as much as 90%, even though clicks and impressions remain the same. Because of this it’s important to make sure you are using the latest versions of BANs (Build A Niche Store) and phpBay, to work with the new EPN (eBay Partner Network). Making sure you are using the correct campaign ID helps too. 😉

But is there a problem with the new EPN affiliate reporting? My seeing no sales on my end, where before I was earning a few dollars per day. A quick search will reveal that there a number of angry individuals sending unaccounted for visitors to ebay auctions. Check out the eBay’s official affiliate forum to see the 250+ responses to their reporting methods. There are a few official responses throughout the 7 page thread, but none that make me feel any better about my lost advertising costs.

I’m willing to give the new EPN tracking issues (if there are any) another month to settle in and possibly set right. In the past it was not unusual for eBay to have issues with their affiliate program while using CJ, but now that it’s in house there are going to be a lot of directly unhappy individuals if something isn’t addressed quickly.

Anyone else having issues or do you feel like the reporting is accurate with the new ebay partner network.

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