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Shopzilla Publishing Program – Showing Very Promising Results

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of May 2008 Advertising 0 Comments


I’ve been playing around with Shopzilla publishers network for a few months now but it’s only been in the last week that I’ve had time to take it for a full run on my blogs.

Today I checked my stats and am kicking myself that I didn’t take this program more seriously sooner!

You can read my first impression review of Shopzilla here from when I first started to play with the ad network.

This last week I’ve experimented with some more aggressive positioning of the ads and I’m very impressed with the conversions. You can see one such campaign operating on single posts right at the base of Digital Photography School Posts (like at the bottom of this one).

Now the positioning of the ad unit on that page is far from prominent (it’s so far below the fold that it’s not funny) but my initial testing is that while the CTR isn’t high, it is higher than the ad unit that I previously had in that position. What makes Shopzilla attractive however is that while CTR isn’t massive the ads are paying a significantly higher amount per click (I’m talking a 500% increase).

As usual with this type of ad unit, they work best on product related sites and where the products featured relates strongly to content (I suspect that the higher value the products the better for click value) – but it’s a great program that I have a new found excitement for and plan to start using more and more.

Check out the Shopzilla Publisher Program here.

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.
  • David Schrader

    Is shopzilla a PPC or affiliate program? Do they allow you to choose from various sizes of ads? I’m launching my site shortly and am looking for the best mix of advertisers.

    Thanks for the help/advice.

  • BW

    I agree, Shopzilla does seem promising.

    I have used it on one site and seen good results with the $ per click. Unfortunately, this is a site that I have not been keeping up to date and so the amonts of clicks has not been that great.

    I am planning on a new site soon and will implement shopzilla on that with hopefully simialr results with regards to $ per click.

    Hopefully they will also introduce new ad units to keep the freshness there

  • I see what you mean about it being below the fold. Interesting people scroll so far down. I’ll look into it, the quest to find alternatives to adsense is not easy…

  • m

    below the fold!?! haha, where I’m from that’s called the bottom of the page.

    The ad looks nice. I’m a shopzilla publisher too but haven’t played with it much yet. I just might try it again. thanks

  • I went to look at the DPS example you pointed to, and darned if I didn’t click through on the ad! (It was for converting digital cameras to take pics in infrared at the time–do they rotate?) Obviously very effective at linking ads (make your camera work in IR) to the topic of the blog post (shooting in candle light). Didn’t even arrive at the blog post because I was interested in the topic (though I am a DPS subscriber as well) and I STILL clicked the ad.

    Looks like a compelling program!

  • Ah, wow. I should start messing with it then. I just started a few product sites for the first time…I’ve been nothing but “abstract” so far.

  • team ray

    i think this works well on product focus blog site such as your digital

    i dont think it would work on non product blogs

  • Con you great single product link ads? I’m starting a web site were I can publish multiple link ads of various products. Does it work like PPC?

  • That’s it. I’m going to set this up on a couple of sites immediately and give it a try – I regret not having done so earlier when I first came across it. I’ve even seen it around and even had a hunch it’d be a good money maker.

    Convincing review, Darren. I guess this evening is fully booked now. I’m going to have some fun with this for sure.

  • Joe

    It seems like the ad block is so huge, that’s my only gripe with it. I think it could be ok, I’m going to start working on promoting another blog that I had before, maybe I will use shopzilla on it.

  • I’m going to have to try Shopzilla. I just joined Commission Junction and am optimistic for some good results. I’ve read they are one of the best all-around affiliate programs and they have a ton of member advertisers to choose from.

  • Congrats Darren that sounds great!

  • Darren,

    Are you using the API? Also do you find that Amazon ads show very often, perhaps cannibalizing some affiliate revenue?

  • Joe – yes that’s the biggest ad unit they have – but they have a lot of other ones.

    Rich – no I’m not using the API but have talked to a few other bloggers who have been with real success.

    Asswass – look at my review linked in the post and you can see a range of their ad unit types – lots of options.

  • Oops, forgot to check the subscribe to comments box!

  • Hmmm… I fancied signing up but… “We’re experiencing difficulties. Please try again later.” – this has been showing on the 2nd reg screen since yesterday. Wonder if it’s a polite way of saying “Get lost, we don’t do your country”, or whether there is a genuine problem.

  • Based on Darren review, I am trying to submit my site but I am stuck on step 2 of the process : We’re experiencing difficulties. Please try again later.

    Is anyone also experiencing problems ?


  • Yep, me too, as whinged about above.

    Darren, you just referred WAY too many people!

  • It works now. Try again. Hope my application will be ok… Cross fingers

  • I think what Asswass was asking is if you could have a single text link that sends the reader directly to a product comparison page. That way you could embed it in the middle of a sentence like a normal text link and could earn revenue that way.

    I would be interested to know as well.
    I’ve signed up for the program, so hopefully I’ll be able to play with it soon :)

    Thanks again for the review, Darren!

  • @Darren thanks for the great review, I’m glad you’re getting strong results with Shopzilla’s Publisher Program.

    @Rich You wrote “Also do you find that Amazon ads show very often, perhaps cannibalizing some affiliate revenue?” Do you mean that Shopzilla’s results often include Amazon? If this is the case, rest assured you are still paid for their traffic just as you would be for any other merchant.

    @eric, @markowe I aplogize for the signup difficulties that you experienced. The problem should be resolved now, but please email me directly at [email protected] if you continue to have difficulties.

  • Christopher,

    If someone clicks an Amazon affiliate link on my page, and then goes to Amazon thru Shopzilla to make a purchase, I only get paid for that last click. I lose the potentially much higher affiliate commission on my direct Amazon link. That’s why I’m so interested in the API, where I can determine what merchants to list. Nevertheless, after Darren’s 500% increase, I’m going to try the simplified copy and paste code from your site.

  • Thanks…I’m going to check it out.

  • Darren,

    It seems that you missed one very important thing about shopzilla program.

    They only count clicks from their own site.

    When your reader clicks on the sz ad on your site, he is taken to the page with various shopzilla merchant offerings. Only when a reader clicks on something on that page, a click is counted (similar to Google Link unit or Chitika Shoplinc).

    So the actual clicks away from your site might be several times higher then what shows up in your shopzilla stats (it is for me).

    Then the actual CPC (as measured per user who clicks away from your site) that you get from sz goes down several times

  • AssWass & RacketBoy:
    Regarding your question about the ability to integrate text links, the answer is: Yes. We have feature that always you to build Custom Text Links. From within the Publisher Portal, click on “Get Content > Custom Text Links”.

    Because of their contextual relevance, these links monetize very well.

    Let us know if you need any additional assistance.

  • @Mike we always appreciate feedback

  • How long has this program been on the market?

  • @Staska You are correct, the earnings are generated as traffic is driven to merchants. I urge you to check out our dynamic direct-to-merchant content that can be found under “Top Search Results” section of Get Content when you’re logged into the Publisher portal. You’ll notice that some content goes to Shopzilla first, providing a more in-depth comparison experience for the user, and other content goes directly to the merchants from your site.

    @Reginald We’ve been live since early 2007

  • @Christopher Calvi

    I’m not sure that I’ve tested everything, but I’m sure that I did not find the ad format that I was looking for.

    I love the CPC that SZ is paying out. But your selection of ad units …. well…. that sucks,,,

    I had to hire my own programmer to figure out your API and get the format I want from SZ.

    And the funniest thing…. it was worth it….

  • A great deception after the review of Darren… Shopzilla is for high flying webmasters… I guess this is the reason why Adsense is so powerful. No one is left out. Even small and very small players count…

    Here is the answer I receive :

    “We are currently accepting websites with a qualified & pre-existing US user-base, sites that have a large number of internal & external links, and that are established & relevant to the Shopzilla Publisher Program.

    Based on experience, to make the most of our relationship, acceptable website requirements include:

    * Sites targeting US visitors ( exclusively serves US merchants & offers)
    * Sites with high Google page rank or Alexa trend/rank
    * Registrations with an email address corresponding with the domain name in order to verify site ownership

    We typically do not accept websites that represent:

    * Ad Networks
    * Adult Content
    * Automotive Sales
    * Healthcare
    * Insurance or Credit
    * Travel Services

    These guidelines are in place to serve the needs of both and our potential partners.”

    As I understand the reason, as far as I am concerned, my rank is 456 655, top 1% I guess. If not skyrocket, at least not at the bottom after a few months and being in French.

    @ Christopher Calvi : As Shopzilla has a French site (, why not open it to French speaking websites ? Europe is a market not to be ignored, I think. French market is booming : 16 millions people with ADSL and + 19% in 2007.

    I find professionalism of Shopzilla is good as they answer my application and my message (due to problems in the application process) very quickly.

    Even if it is a deception, thanks anyway Darren for the review.

  • @Staska Thanks for the feedback. A few of my colleagues are working on new and improved assets and asset types. Email me at [email protected], if you have any specific feature requests you’d like to see. I’m glad the API is working out for you, though!

    @Eric I apologize that it wasn’t made clear before you began the registration process that the Publisher Program currently only serves US sites. On the flip-side, you’re exactly right about the booming European market, and we hope to have rolled the program out in the UK, FR, and DE markets by the year’s end (Q1 of 2009 at the latest). Sorry for the delay, but we want this to be a program that people will use and love.

  • Thanks Christopher for your answer. It makes another good reason for my blog to be alive for the next coming months.

  • I’ve been playing around with Shopzilla for only half a month, I feel very impressive with this program. CTR is not high, but pay rate is significantly higher than previous Ads from other company that I had before.

    But I still in doubt some days I got 0 clicks, I still earn money.

  • I have tried Shopzilla since last December and I agree that their payout is great but only if your site have visitors coming from the U.S.

    I was also informed by their customer rep that it will do great for me if my sites visitors will come from the US. But one thing I didn’t know is what statska have said “They only count clicks from their own site.”

    Maybe this is the reason why I got very few clicks aside from zero clicks.

  • Razib Ahmed

    After reading your this review, I applied to Shopzilla and they accepted my blog but after signing up, I sadly discovered that Shopzilla pays to the bloggers living outside of USA with Paypal only. I live in a country where there is no Paypal and that is why, Shopzilla has no use for me. Anyway, I again realized why Adsense is the best.

  • You have certainly tweeked my curiosity about Shopzilla. However, I would have appreciated a bit more specifications about this publishing software and the advantages and disadvantages it offers to a new or ignorant blogger.

  • @Reginald I’m Shopzilla’s business development manager, and I thought I’d reply to get you (and any other interested folks) a little more more info on the Shopzilla Publisher Program.

    Shopzilla is a comparison shopping site, where thousands of merchants list there products, prices, etc. Shoppers head to Shopzilla to find the best deal for what they’re looking for. Through the Shopzilla Publisher Program, you can bring the benefit of product price comparison directly to your users/readers (and make some money doing it).

    The most important question to ask yourself is: Will adding comparison shopping content to my site benefit my users?

    Think about the category that your site belongs to. Is there a shopping segment associated with it? For example, if you run a site about swimming, you could place Shopzilla ads for goggles. If no such relation exists in your niche, then you might find the Shopzilla Publisher Program to in fact be a sub-par advertising choice.

    The reason I say this is not to discourage any participation in the program, but rather to get potential publishers thinking about how they can actually provide added-value to their readership through ads.

    Once you have adopted this mindset, I think you’ll find that the money will follow shortly thereafter.

    Thanks for your interest, and I hope you’ll give us a try. If you have further questions, please drop me an email at [email protected] (or just post them here).


  • I have done a bit of reading on shopzillas program lately and was impressed enough to go to the site to sign up, but it seems that the signup page is not active at this moment or the links are broken to it. I tried the contact us page as well, but the links there were broken to submit to them. I am hoping that this is just a short term glitch and that it will be worked out soon.

  • david

    Could you tell me the last payment date of shopzilla

  • Well,

    It seems that I’ve been too eager to express my love to shopzilla.

    I’ve been booted out of their API program without any explanation, except for the reference to the ToS that says “we can do that whenever we like…”. I asked for the reasons, but they never bothered to explain.

    Now, I have a good theory of why it happened – John Chow’s TTZ media ( a big Shopzilla client) reported me as a fraudster to them, when they found out that I decided to go directly to shopzilla,instead of using TTZ Media as a middleman. And I was booted out within 24 hrs of that report, even though I never did anything fraudulent ever…

    Oh well, they are the big guys….

  • Beta with lots of BUGS

    Shopzilla tracking is horrible and can’t be trusted to do earning math correctly. Just our experience, we recommend not to use them until they can fix their accounting issues.
    ps. Shopzilla has ignored our email requests so far.

  • Congrats Darren that sounds great!

  • Kia

    Don’t get too excited just yet.

    Wait until they discontinue from their program once they discover that the ROI their advertisers are getting from your site is not good enough in their opinion (and they won’t divulge exactly what stats they’re looking for).

  • I think very promising program….another source income, thanks….I will check by following the link above…..