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Chitika eMiniMalls Review

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of September 2005 Advertising, Chitika eMiniMalls 0 Comments

If you read this review of Chitika eMiniMalls and sign up – you might also be interested in my Chitika eMiniMall Tips Page and my post revealing how much Chitika eMiniMalls earn me.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been a part of a beta testing program of a new ad format for Chitika’s eMiniMalls.

They are a new type of ad that many of you will find quite beneficial for your blogs – I know I have. You’ve probably seen them around. They come in a range of sizes but usually have a picture of a product and then some tabs running across the top that say ‘Description’, ‘Best Deals’, ‘Reviews’ and ‘Search’. As you put the cursor over the top of these tabs they change what the ad shows.

I’ve added one to the sidebar here at ProBlogger so you can see what I’m talking about in the flesh and have added a screen capture of another sized one below.

Chitika-Mini-Mall-Screen-Shot

How do they work?

– ads pay on a per click basis. The value of the clicks depends upon the product being featured.
– left in default mode – mini-malls are contextual ads (ie they look at your content and try to find ads that are relevant with it)
– ads can be set to be non contextual and to target specific keywords (this is helpful when it comes to running them in conjunction with Adsense – more information on this below).

How Profitable are they?

The terms of using eMiniMalls don’t allow me to share specific figures but I can share the following:

Overall – I’ve been beta testing mini-malls for 5 weeks now and am very happy with them. They don’t out perform Adsense for me yet – but my overall earnings with them for the month of September is more than a quarter and less than a half of my Adsense earnings for the month (regularly readers will be able to do some sums and come up with some approximate earnings there). Take into consideration that I don’t have them running on every blog I own and have not spent much time optimizing them yet and you’ll see that they have some real potential.

Cost per Click – Very good. The first day I added mini malls to and saw the amount that each click was paying I was quite surprised. They are considerably higher than my average click value on Adsense – some days they are 5 or 6 times higher. I’ve talked to a couple of other bloggers using them and they report similar click values. This is the definate strength of mini-malls.

Click Through Rate – The percentage of people clicking on eMiniMalls ads is considerably lower than what I get on Adsense. This is a bit disappointing and is probably for a number of reasons.

  • Poor Optimization – This is partly my fault. I’ve just not had time to really optimize the ads properly. It is also partly because they are not currently offering channels to track ad performance on different blogs/categories/positions. As a result if I were to try to optimize the ads now I have no way of tracking the results. Channels are a feature that will be added shortly however so I’m expecting to be able to increase my CTR somewhat.
  • Poor Ad matching – Chitika are still working on how they match ads with content. Ad relevancy seems to be a bit of a problem on some posts. I know this because I know they have ads for some products that just don’t show up on pages where i’d expect them to. Hopefully they’ll continue to develop their algorithm and find ways of making ads even more relevant.
  • Lower Numbers of Ads – I’m suspecting that Chitika has a lower number of ads than Adsense to select from to run on sites using mini-malls. This means that sometimes ads can be a little irrelevant to your content which would decrease CTR also.

Let’s hope they can increase CTR in future.

Reports – I’ll emphasize that mini-malls are in beta at present so don’t expect too much in the reporting realm yet. At this stage they just update at the end of each day and give you some basic stats under the four headings of – Date, Impressions, Clicks and Revenue. These stats are what they call ‘unaudited’ – which means they haven’t taken anything off the total that they suspect to be click fraud or ‘dodgy’ clicks. They ‘audit’ you at this stage once per month (they have indicated that this will happen daily at some point in the future). I was only in the system for three days of last month but the auditing brought my ‘unaudited’ figures back by about 10% of what they were. Clicks are audited by some secret process that includes multiple or repeated clicks, traffic from bots and spiders as well as traffic coming from certain countries like China or Korea.

I’m not too impressed by the auditing feature. While I understand why its there I can see that this will be the cause of some tension between Chitika and Publishers. I’m sure Adsense has some sort of system in place that does something similar – but they are big enough to build it in as a real time feature so that publishers just don’t know what they lose. I’d rather not know the amount they take off for this than have it dangled before me to be taken away later.

I know from my conversations with Chitika staff that the reporting system will be undergoing significant improvements in the coming weeks and months.

Ad Formats – The currently offer 10 different size formats in some pretty standard sizes. I’ve recommended to them that they add a couple of new formats that I believe would be beneficial to bloggers but overall the options are pretty good. They also allow you to make some changes to the design of your ads by changing colors of borders, title and text to match your blog.

Payment – Payment is via Paypal in US Dollars at the start of every month – around 30 days after the end of the month you’re being paid for. You need to reach a minimum of $10 to get a payment.

Can Mini-Malls be used in conjunction with Adsense? – Most people I talk to about mini-malls asks this – it’s important as most bloggers want to use them in conjunction with one another.

I’ve talked to Google about this via email. The first email I got back from them said ‘no’ you can’t use them for two reasons:

  1. They look too similar to Adsense Ads
  2. They are contextual ads

I decided to follow the email up pointing out two things.

  1. They actually don’t look like Adsense ads – they have a picture in them, tabs etc. I think the mistake Adsense made at first was in confusing mini-malls with Chitika’s other ads which do look very similar to Adsense ads.
  2. You can actually disable the contextual element of the ads and plug in code that targets a specific product.

The email I received back said that they were sorry for making a mistake and that Chitika mini-mall ads can be used in conjunction with Adsense IF they are set to be non contextual.

I know of two others who have had this same conversation with Google with the same results.

English Sites only – at this point they are in beta test and only accepting Engine sites into the program. While this is sad for non English sites I guess they have to start somewhere. Hopefully they’ll widen it later at some point.

All in all – I’m pleased with Chitika’s mini-malls. They have loads of potential. I suspect (and until I get channels I won’t know for sure) that they will do best on product related blogs. They seem to serve very relevant ads to my gadget type blogs and struggle on some of my more ‘news’ related blogs.

I’ve also seen them producing very relevant ads over at ShoeBlogs (remember in the interview I did with Manolo that he said that chitika ads were in some of his better performing ads). I’ve also seen a couple of bloggers so impressed with mini-malls that they’ve ditched Adsense all together as they were able to earn significantly more from Chitika (one of these is Jeremy Wright from ensight.

As with all new ad programs I would suggest that putting all your eggs in one basket is not the way to go – give Chitika a go by all means but keep in mind that eMiniMalls are in a beta test and as with all beta tests things are being tested and tweaked along the way. There is promising signs but take your time with it.

You can apply to be a part of the eMiniMalls beta test at Chitika Mini Malls Sign Up.

Disclaimer: the links to Chitika in this post are affiliate links – if you sign up using these links I earn a small amount as a commission. It does not impact what you earn from Chitika but rather is paid by Chitika. While these links are affiliate links I genuinely believe in the product and have pointed out both its benefits and weaknesses.

Update: A couple of people have asked for more information on the Adsense/Mini-mall running on the same page thing. Here is an excerpt from an email that Google sent associates and I when we asked them for clarification about running the mini-malls in a non contextual mode.

‘Yes, you can use the Chitika products that rely on keywords selected by
you as opposed to your site’s content, on your site in addition to Google
ads.

For additional questions, please visit our AdSense Support site at
https://www.google.com/support/adsense or feel free to reply to this
email.’

Update II

If you’re one of the many bloggers who have just signed up for Chitika eMiniMalls after reading this review you might like to check out Quick Online Tips who have just posted tips on running Chitika eMiniMalls & Google Adsense on Same Webpage.

There they give code that helps you to set your eMiniMalls up in a way that is non contextual (and is therefore allowable with Adsense) but in a way that rotates a variety of ads which will help you to get a bit of variety in your ads which will help combat ad blindness.

I’ve been using this rotating ads code over the past day or two and have noticed an increase in earnings already.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the bloggers that are reporting the best successes with eMiniMalls are the ones that are targeting products on their blogs. I know I mentioned this above – but bloggers with a focus upon gadgets, clothes, shoes etc seem to be doing very well from them.

Update III – I’ve added a Chitika eMiniMall Tips Page for those of you who have signed up. Enjoy.

Share what you’ve learnt about eMiniMalls below in comments.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. […] With the increase of Chitika eMiniMals’ popularity, especially after Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.Net reviewed it, I think it’s time to throw a WordPress plugin for Chitika. So here it is, [CA] Chitika, a WordPress plugin to automatically add Chitika’s eMiniMalls code on your post […]

  2. […] I just spoke to a reader of ProBlogger on the phone who left a comment on the Chitika Mini-Malls Review that totally knocked me off my feet. […]

  3. Blog Intro has a list of Chitika tricks going. He has a way of changing the default tab order in the miniMalls.

  4. Great post, Darren! I have applied today and intend to test thoroughly. If this is as good as you say, I’m sure my AdSense Secrets readers will want to know about it!

    Joel

  5. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review by Darren Rowse […]

  6. Darren, thanks for the informative post. I’ve been looking for an alternative to AdSense, and thus I’ve applied for Chitika. I’m waiting for them to respond… thanks again!

  7. Chitika eMini-Mall WordPress Plugin

    The Chitika eMini-malls seem to be working well for people with product sites, especially gadget-related sites. (If you haven’t heard of the Chitika eMini-malls, Darren Rowse has an in-depth review here.) I was looking at WordPress plugins today, and …

  8. I am unhappy with one of their conditions. They say that “Every month Chitika audits the clicks that we receive from all of our publishers sites. In the audit process we remove any invalid clicks such as: repeated clicks from the same ip, clicks from countries such as China and India, etc. This is done to protect our advertisers from fraudulent clicks”.

    All clicks originating from China and India are invalid. All? Why have they singling out China and India only? Click fraud can happen from any country. Why can’t they just block out such IPs, instead of blocking out the entire country? I still have to get a convincing answer from Chitika on this.

  9. It’s an unfortunate fact that in their testing that they’ve found that clicks from some countries are more likely to be either low converting or plain fraudulent.

    I don’t see them saying that all clicks from India and China are fraudulent ones – however I guess they’ve found that there is an increased likelihood of it and it’s something that their advertisers have decided that they will not pay for.

    The problem with blocking IP’s is that some people go to lengths to disguise their IP addresses or rotate them.

    I think you’ll also find that Adsense (and other ad systems) have some sort of checks and balance system in place for this type of thing also. I’ve heard that clicks from some countries on Adsense are very very low value because of this issue.

    I think you’ll also find that it’s not just India and China but a variety of other countries.

    It must be frustrating for genuine publishers from these countries I know – I feel for them – but really I don’t see that they can do much more than they do. It’s a case of the action of a small group of people impacting the lives of other honest hard working people. If they allowed all clicks then the whole system would fail.

  10. Darren, Chitika replied to my query on clicks from China and India –

    “Please do not think that India and China is being singled out. The problem is that, at this time, we dont have merchants who are willing to accept leads from India, China and Asia in general. That said, when we do manage to strike partnerships in Asia and build the merchant base who accept clicks from Asia, this program will be expanded to accept clicks from Asia. We have to start somewhere (and as you well know US is the place to start). As this program matures and we add partnership, this program will expand with it. If I remember right, isnt that how Adsense also started ? “

  11. […] 2. Problogger is doing well with eMiniMalls Click Here […]

  12. […] For an interesting opinion, read this review from problogger.net. Overall – I’ve been beta testing mini-malls for 5 weeks now and am very happy with them. They don’t out perform Adsense – but my overall earnings with them for the month of September is more than a quarter and less than a half of my Adsense earnings for the month […]

  13. […] I’ve been reading about Chitika’s eMiniMall ad serving service. It’s all the buzz on the blogs. More about them here, here and here. […]

  14. Here is why I won’t use Chitika

    I had previously stated that I had a concern in regards to using Chitika advertising on this site. My reason was do to the fact that on several occasions my …

  15. Due to the fact that using using another advertising service that uses content matching is against the rules, I needed some other way of doing it. I have added the possibility to my WordPress blog so I can add Custom tags directly in the blog article. So when the article shows, you get targeted ads automatically. You can enter as many custom fields you need, and the system takes one randomly. I have written a guide on my blog, check it out.

    Now it’s easy to add specific ads, without violating the Google AdSense contract.

    http://www.jackenhack.com/blog/archives/2005/10/11/add-targeted-ads-from-chitika-in-wordpress/

    Jacken

  16. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review […]

  17. Chitika on MovableType

    If you’re interested in adding Chitika code to your MovableType blog, here is how I did it. First, some hat tips to Problogger.net for promoting the Chitika code and bringing it to my attention. Props to LiewCF.com as well, a…

  18. […] After reading this review of a new advertising company called chitika I added them to the site. The ads are more relevant than the adsense ones for the visitors (since I can manually select the products advertised) and they look better. I have doubled this site’s income since I added chitika’s eminimalls so I am quite happy with them. […]

  19. […] The area of affiliate marketing has been witness to a great example of viral marketing in the recent release of Chikita’s eMiniMall service! This is exciting to affiliate marketers, both for what it brings and the message that comes with it.What it brings is an exciting new pay per click product, that has been getting good response by most who try it. Importantly this new product is compatible with the 800 pound gorilla of website monetization, Google Adsense. I will add more about this product in my next entry. Arguably, even more exciting is the message that it brings with it. That message is about Viral Marketing. It is that paying generous referral rates can very quickly generate a massive amount of mind-share and with it business. The full details of the business produced is not clear at the moment, but the mind-share growth, as anyone who frequents webmaster forums can tell you, is huge. A few weeks ago, Chikita was a small second or third tier advertising company, that was only known about by a small proportion of web masters. But the company wanted that to change, they wanted eMiniMalls, a new PPC service they were about to release, to be used everywhere. But how do you it. How do you get a lot of people to notice your product in a hurry? Viral Marketing. Chikita decided that the best way to get a lot people aware of their product was to get some key market figures to start using and advertising their product. To get people to do this you have to make it worth their while, so Chikita decided to pay these key influencers for referrals. They also let these people, have access to the service early. So that they could get some actual results to tell people. One of these key infruencers was Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.net. Darren wrote an entry about eMiniMalls on September 28. Being an expert eMarketer Darren didn’t leave it at that. He added threads about the Blog entry at several webmaster forums, and followed his Blog entry with others as he gained new information. What followed was a small revolution in webmaster ranks. A quick search of forums reveals Chikita threads to be getting nearly as much traffic as Adsense. So now you know what has happened, it’s time to think about what can be learnt. The big lesson is that viral marketing can work! It doesn’t matter if you are a vendor or a publisher. Getting good word of mouth advertising can greatly increase your business. […]

  20. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review […]

  21. […] If you’re interested in the Chitika eMiniMalls program, here’s a rundown of their advertisement method on the Blog Search Engine. I also recommend reading Darren’s review at Problogger.net. […]

  22. Darren,

    I have tried Chitika (which by the way sounds like some sort of curry) on a couple of sites. I have found that it works best on product type sites where the main focus is the product. The CTR is much lower than Adsense but the CPC is higher.

  23. The only problem with chitika is that it gives a lot of electronic product ads. This might not suit a lot of blogging sites.

    big4guy
    http://www.big4guy.com

  24. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review Chitika eMiniMalls Tips […]

  25. Troodon says: 10/28/2005 at 10:36 pm

    I wonder how long ot takes the Chitika team to review an applicant’s site and provide a response. In my case, more than 36 hours have passed since I have submitted my application and there is still no feedback from them (except, of course, the initial confirmation email). How long did you guys have to wait? Thanks.

  26. […] If you display Chitika ads in your site, check this link for a catalogue on keywords you can use. The keywords will help you target the type of ads that will be displayed in your blog. If you’re still not using Chitika, apply for an account in their home page. If you still haven’t heard of Chitika, here’s a review from someone who earns more than $700 a day from the program. ——————— Max Limpag is the Sun.Star Cebu online editor. He is also a copy and section editor of the paper. Max runs Leon Kilat: The Cybercafe Experiments. […]

  27. Wow. I just found out about Chikita after getting my first commercial web site up and running. About a week after I went online, I learned about adSense and was amazed to learn that one could make money that way.. Luckily, I’m getting pretty good traffic for a newbie so i can tune throughout the day and see the money ‘ad’ up – oh man, that was funny… .I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but this newbie does have two questions. 1. Can somebody please tell me what ‘non-contextual’ sites are? An example would probably be most helpful. 2. Can anyone recommend a truly good book on how to exploit monetizing vehicles like Adsense and Chitika?

  28. Hi er, Mark. Non-contextual refers to the type of ads shown rather than the type of site. Adsense, for example, reads the context of the page and serves ads appropriate to that content, but with Chitika you can set contextual on or off (see other Adsense Chitika comparisons here: http://www.experienced-people.co.uk/1098-affiliate-programs/chitika-adsense.htm).

    I don’t know about a book – there are millions of them about, many with dubious information – but you can take up the free site review/optimisation at http://www.experienced-people.co.uk/1098-affiliate-programs/chitika-eminimalls-help.htm for a personalised report on how YOUR site can make more money from Chitika/Adsense.

  29. […] In Amerika läuft dieses Programm bei Website Beitreibern schon äußerst gut (Chitika eMiniMall Review auf Problogger.net), daher hat es mich interessiert, ob dieses Modell auch in Deutschland rauskommt. […]

  30. […] In his review of the service he says that only after a few weeks of testing Chitika out-performed AdSense by a good margin. […]

  31. Just found this ebook by joel Comm – chitikasecrets.com – Sounds interesting – I will give a review when I have the time. Excellent info

  32. This sounds amazing. Can it help me if I run an article site. Say a page about quit smoking, Health articles etc.

  33. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review Chitika eMiniMalls Tips […]

  34. I’ve just signed up at Chikita now. I need to wait a few days for the approval. That sounds very interesting ! I’ve just found about Chikita in another website and was checking the review . Then I reached your blog. I will try as soon as I got my approval.

  35. Note that chitika just changed their rules, now you only get paid if you generate a sale. That means that you make an affiliate sale for them and you give them the money, then they give you xyz cents… My guess is that it’s the end of chitika, they’ve been too greedy on that one. I removed all mine and replaced by affiliate products instead. ( 5$ commission per sale instead of xyz cents for chitika )
    source: http://chitika.com/blog/?p=23

  36. Sounds interesting…. Can I use a news portal instead of a blog site ?

    Thanks
    Tracy

  37. John F says: 12/01/2005 at 5:03 pm

    mac said… “Note that chitika just changed their rules, now you only get paid if you generate a sale. “…

    I don’t see that anywhere…? It just says they are trying to help increase merchant sales.

  38. […] Chitika’s eMiniMalls was seen by many to be the real deal in it’s competition for Pay-Pay-Click advertising on blogs, none more so that Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger – Here, Here, Here and Here, who has been a fervent admirer of Chitika and has been pushing them endlessly. […]

  39. http://chitika.com/blog/?p=23

    “To help minimize so-called “curiosity clicks” that typically do not lead to conversions on the merchants’ side,”

    translation: If a click does not convert, you get nothing, you may as well put affiliate products!

  40. thats just not true mac – they do pay for clicks that don’t convert. They key word in the quote is ‘typically’. They are not eliminating all payments on all clicks that don’t convert. They are trying to increase the % of converting clicks by changing the design. This doesn’t mean you don’t get paid for non converting clicks – it just means there will be less of them.

  41. Yes Darren Rowse the rights. But I never reflected on their methods. But it seems to me they are really good…

  42. How long does it take Chitika to approve an account request? I signed up last week (using your affiliate link btw) and haven’t heard a thing!

  43. Pay for clicks? It is stupid…

  44. Chitika is pretty good company and it looks like it here to stay. Lets see if Chitika gets more popular in the future.

  45. John F says: 01/07/2006 at 5:54 am

    Glenn Dixon-

    Took them about 3 – 4 weeks to get back to me. Maybe longer.

  46. Maybe I am still a beginner. They did not approve my site.

  47. I just started my weblog and I am wondering how many visitors or views you must have to pass chitika’s requirements? And is it possible to sign up more than once over time?

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