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WidgetBucks Review

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of October 2007 Advertising 0 Comments

Earn $$ with WidgetBucks!It has been a bit over two weeks since the new advertising network WidgetBucks announced it’s launch (here’s where I posted my first impression review of WidgetBucks) and as promised here is my update on how it has been performing for me.

For those of you unfamiliar with WidgetBucks – here’s a sample ad unit to remind you.

I’ve been testing it in a couple of places and to this point have found it to have had mixed success. A few comments:

The Good Stuff about WidgetBucks

  • All of the testing that I’ve been doing with WidgetBucks ad units have been on product related blogs where I think they have a much greater chance of performing well than on blog with other topics.
  • I’ve been running it in a ‘split test’ with Chitika ads in one position (ie 50% of the time I display a Chitika ad unit and 50% a WidgetBucks unit) and to this point the WidgetBucks ad is earning more on a CPM basis than the Chitika unit (it’s still early days on that test though). The CTR is higher on the WidgetBucks ad but the click value is higher on the Chitika ads.
  • I’ve also done split tests with AdSense and found that WidgetBucks out performed them also.
  • As a result of all this – I’m earning more with WidgetBucks than I would have with ads in the same positions as with either Chitika and AdSense (and considering that they are my two biggest earners that’s pretty good).
  • I suspect CTR is higher because of the animation in the ads which draws the eye to them.
  • WidgetBucks have been adding new ad unit sizes and categories. They’ve also announced that they’ll be adding more options in the weeks ahead.
  • Reporting is good (although having the delay/auditing does make it difficult to test and tweak ads)

The Bad Stuff about WidgetBucks

  • Despite WidgetBucks staff commenting that their ads load fast – I still see them loading slowly on my blogs. They are generally the last thing to load on my pages (which is good in that they let other things load first) but it can take 1-3 seconds for them to load (some report it as being longer). This isn’t really good enough.
  • Contextual Targeting doesn’t seem to have worked for me very well. I tested an ad unit in the contextual mode on my blog and it gave reasonable results in that the ads were on cameras and the site was about cameras – but I’ve rarely seen more specific targeting. What I mean by this is that if I have a page about a particular model of camera I’ve never seen a WidgetBucks ad actually served that mentions that camera. I think if they were more targeted contextually the CTR would be significantly higher – the ads would probably convert better for advertisers too.
  • Ads dominate pages too much for my liking. While they do give the option to use different color schemes, even the most subtle colors make it difficult to blend ads into a page. While this probably helps with CTR it isn’t great for usability – particularly with all the animation going on. While you can easily have 2-3 ad units of AdSense or Chitika on a page to run too many WidgetBucks ads on a page would probably be quite overwhelming for readers.
  • In my first impression review I said that the affiliate program sucked – they improved it which is great – however they don’t give any indication of what those earnings are until the first week of the following month. It’d be great to have some more immediate indications of not only the total number of referrals but how it’s performing. This would also give me a clearer indication whether others are earning good money from WidgetBucks.

So on an earnings from I like WidgetBucks – but on a design and reader usability front I still have some issues which hold me back from using them more.

Again – it’s worth emphasizing that different ad options will work differently on different blogs. WidgetBucks ads work well for me on product related blogs (as do Chitika) – while AdSense seems to work better for me on non product related blogs. The key is to test test test and see what works best for you.

I should also say that it’s another couple of weeks until payments come through from WidgetBucks. I don’t have any doubt that they’ll pay as promised – but while the initial earnings from it look pretty decent I can’t really review it fully until I see some cash hit my paypal account!

What’s Your WidgetBucks Review?

Have you tried WidgetBucks yet? If not click here to sign up. If so – what do you think now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to test them?

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.
  1. I didn’t like it, it was messing up my theme. I removed it for now, until I see some improvement in the widget.

  2. I got rid of WidgetBucks on my blogs, actually. The CTR was absolutely dismal, although it would probably be better if they would add more categories. I may return to it if that improves.

  3. The poor context targeting is a real turn-off for me personally. I’d also like to see them develop some more options as far as widget size and color goes.

  4. I’ve been using WB on my site since day one. WB works great for me and performs better than AdSense. I wish them the best of luck. The only problem I have with them is the loading time. It could be quite annoying sometimes.

  5. I’ve been using WidgetBucks on two of my blogs. What you stated about the contextually based ads is interesting, because it seems that regardless of what you write about, the ads supposedly based on the text in your posts, always feature digital cameras. I’m looking forward to more options, I think the program is promising.

    Blogrush however, is another story…

  6. I’ve been testing for about two weeks and they are doing better than AdSense for me. About a week after I starting using them I saw them popping up everywhere… .even digg.com

    Darren, I also thought you disclosed affiliate links ;)

  7. It looks a bit promising. There are several options now in this type of advertising.

  8. Been using it on a regular basis too, but still have issues with the loading time, and would prefer more subtle graphics/animation.

  9. I can only comment from a readers point of view, when I load a page with the ads, they distract me from reading the content that I wanted to read. I guess this is both good and bad for the person using the ads.

    From a reader perspective, they are annoying as is and I tend to never click on an ad that I dislike even if they have a product I am interested in.

  10. Loading time is a problem for me too. Otherwise as far as money is concerned, its doing OK.

    does anyone have any ideas for the right placement of the widget on my blog.

  11. I have to agree about the loading time – they definitely need to improve it further. My site is already loading slow, which I have no idea why, and WB just made it worse!

    I can’t say anything about making money out of WB as my site don’t receive alot of visitors anyway. So no point thinking about making money out of WB.

  12. I am going to give this new product a shot. Thanks for the update.

  13. Loading time with my hosting package has been horrible like 10 – 15 seconds with only one ad unit on my site. I removed it for that reason. Once it was removed my site loaded much quicker without any issues. I actually got complaints how slow my site was loading. Is there any way to actually speed this up or am I in the same boat as every one else?

  14. WidgetBucks has worked very well for me so far. Infact, I’ve replaced some ad spots from a competing service with WidgetBucks, and the money is swelling up nicely.

    I wrote a review about WidgetBucks after about 1week of usage. This was written last week…

  15. I’ve been using Widget Bucks on my blog since WB launched. I only have them placed on the single post pages, right above the comments. I think because of the placement, I haven’t seen that much conversion, as I’ve only made around a dollar so far. ;-)

    I like how they look, they load fast on my site, but unless I put them in the posts, or on the main page above the posts, I don’t think I’ll see much earnings. What do you think?

  16. Widget Bucks – sucks!
    It is the worst ad service I have ever used.
    I am going to remove these ads from my site.
    From day 1, it is showing the same ads but I have written lot of posts on other topics. The ads never update.
    Major problem – it loads very slow, almost in the last.
    That’s it. I am done.

  17. Did you read their terms of service? It states that they can use your full name and company logo in any marketing or other material they see fit. I don’t like that one bit. I went into my control panel and made up a name for that matter.

  18. Based on the sample ads you’ve shown in your 2 articles on WidgetBucks, I absolutely hate them. The animation is fast and plain annoying. Each camera is being displayed in like 2 seconds flat and switching along with the continual cycling of through the list on the bottom. I would never use them and to be honest, if it wasn’t your site, I’d probably have adblocked it by now.

  19. I might give it a try because nothing else is working with Wp 2.3

  20. I don’t like, them, I don’t know they have to do something else, simpler looking.

  21. Yeap.. I think it’ll do amazing on blogs that promote relevant products.. But in others, poorly! As of that, many bloggers do not like it one bit..

  22. I have tested on my blog and from my side i think this is the most effective ads so far. I agree that the animated ads makes visitors interested to see it. But from the readers side i’m sure it’s a bit annoying because of slow page loading.

  23. I’ve tried out WidgetBucks on one of my sites. The problem I’m having is there isn’t a sub-category for “Musical Instruments.” So I’m getting a lot of keyboards and what not, which is worthless.

    Also, I’d like to say that I e-mailed them about it only to get no response!!! How’s that for customer service?

    But if they ad the sub-category I need, that would be great. I know you mentioned they are making some adjustments.

  24. They suck big time mate. Their widget loads terribly and their ad targeting is horrid.

  25. The only part that I’m using now is a referral button. I put the product widget on my blog when it first came out and I didn’t find a good color that worked or a good placement…it just looked a little “bright” and “addy”, so I took it off. Maybe I didn’t put enough time into it though, so I might try it again.

    I don’t like how you cannot tell whether or not you have any referrals in your account.

  26. I think I’ll look into this one.

  27. “I didn’t find a good color that worked or a good placement…it just looked a little “bright” and “addy”, so I took it off.”

    Is it just me or do when you pick plain blue it comes out to be purple or something?

  28. Hi Jason, I see what you mean. When you pick the bright blue colors, the right side of the widget does look purple.

    The muted blues above that in the grid come out as blue throughout the widget, but if that doesn’t fit the theme of your blog then those wouldn’t help you.

  29. “I don’t like how you cannot tell whether or not you have any referrals in your account.”

    Click on the “MyWidgets” button. Underneath the information about how your widgets is performing it tells you how many referrals you have. I can’t wait until next month to see how well my referrals are doing! I hope they have blogs about mobile phones and digital cameras because that was all that the widget served on my gardening blog until I took it off.

    I think the widget would work well on sites that are focussed on technology but since mine are about blogging or about gardening it doesn’t work for me.

  30. The contextual feature should be called “random” instead, because that’s what it seems to be.
    Of course, if I were writing on subjects related to “real” products I might have better luck I guess.

  31. Wow. Someone has talked to me right here on ProBlogger. Amazing… ProBlogger isn’t a normal social blog atmosphere. =)

    Thanks for the tip JoLynn.

    If WidgetBucks gets better, I plan on using it. As of now, (and I can understand it’s pretty much in beta) I think WB is unprofessional. Not that I am or anything, I’m just sayin’…

  32. Since the launch of widgetbucks on bontb.com I liked it , I made over $12 in few days, now since my blog is nothing related to widgetbucks I placed it on my other blogs where I write about cell phones. I made over $40 in one week which is not bad for the size of traffic I have.

    No bad points, it loads just fine on my place, yes it is the last to load but that is because they set it so. If you are not on the page the widget will never load until you actually SEE it.

  33. FOR some reason this post ONLY crashes my FFox!! I think it has something to do with widgetbox ……..

    Anyone else have problems?

  34. Nope. Doesn’t crash mine.

  35. So far I have herd nothing but negative reviews of this product, however I will give it a shot anyway soon on one of my websites. Chances are it will get better as time goes on. We will see.

  36. I’ve been debating whether or not to use WidgetBucks since it launched and I haven’t made a choice yet. I talk a lot about products but at the same time I hate putting any more ads on my blog.

  37. It’s strange, but my CTR has been very very low. I have the feeling that the ads actually seem a little intimidating to click on, perhaps especially on non-tech blogs?! Almost as though users are afraid to break them by clicking them, or something! I have taken them off now mostly, but will come back to them at some point when I figure out what’s going on…

  38. Grant says: 10/20/2007 at 9:05 am

    Widget Bucks outperforms Chitika and AdSense on my blogs too (by about 30% in my split testing). I’ve made over $2000 in the last two weeks with it on my gadget blogs (of course I took down Chitika to do it so it effectively made me about an extra $700 than normal). While it could load faster I think that the slow loading time might actually draw people’s eyes to the ads – distracting but good for Click Through Rates

    I find it interesting that many who say that Widget Bucks is crap have blogs that are not product blogs. People seem to expect every advertising option to work on every blog and if it doesn’t write it off as ‘crap’ or say ‘it doesn’t work’. Sorry, but people need to grow up and stop over reacting.

  39. I have it on 3 blogs. For the WordPress blog they load before the widgets but for the Blogger blog, the blog tends to freeze up while it loads. Definitely SLOW, I may ditch it. I selected categories, as leaving it up to the widget to decide on the ad, was terrible.

  40. It lasted about a day but loaded entirely too slow and looked horribly out of place. If they can speed it up and allow some more customization on the color front, I might be interested.

  41. WidgetBucks is actually a better platform compared to competitor like Auction Ads because they offer PPC earnings rather than CPA like Auction Ads.

    I didn’t put it onto my blog because it is not in a tech niche but I will try to place it when I have the chance to start a blog on gadgets.

    I agree with Darren that the CTR of WidgetBucks will be a little high because of their nice widget animation and because the whole thing is new. If you are not getting a high CTR, it might be due to your ad placement.

  42. I find WB giving a higher rate of CPC from the clicks that I got. Beside the download time, others are fine with me. Keep it up!

    But my patient with BlogRush is getting thinner and thinner as the page is still under construction…seems like taking centuries .

  43. Been using it since the start. I do like it so far, since my blog is product specific. I do wish there were more options for widgets and there was faster load up times.

  44. Greetings all is performing well, have had little problems cross platforming, colours do suck a little but sure they will fix that, the affiliate program could do with a little massage – lets wait and see there, over all pretty happy with widgetbucks

    Hope it works for everyone in the end.

    Have a B L O G G I N G good day!

  45. I agree with the fact that WidgetBucks only works for certain niches of sites. My site is about office trends, organization and administrative type of tips.

    The only genre that came close to this was computer products, but very few people clicked on the items. It also repeats the same 10 ads each time, unlike Google AdSense, which is working great for me.


    Richard Rinyai

  46. I have never use WidgetBucks… Currently, I use Kontera and Adsense. If I insert their code on my side with the other ads program, is it ok?

  47. I am also very eager to join WidgetBucks

  48. Some of you may disagree for whatever reasons, but in the last couple of weeks I’m seeing WidgetBucks CTR coming on strongly. Well, at least on my blogs. Looks like there’s a future for WB and I think their widgets look presentable if you picked the right color blend. AuctionAds don’t come close. WB is beating Adsense hands down.

    Since coming on, I’ve been getting impressions and clicks and $$$ added to the bonus $25. But you gotta know one thing – not all WB products attract. You need to test them out and settle for the ones that appear to get clicks. Don’t worry about the contextual issue. Just know where to place the widgets and what products attract clicks, you’ll know a few “secrets” as you get used to it! I know a few that really works but you gotta try them out yourself and that depends on the kind of blog you have. No problem if your blog is not a product site, just know what item to choose for the widget.

    The numbers are adding up and I’m placing more widgets on pages on my other websites. I’ve done a good number of affiliate programs and this one, in my own humble opinion, does not suck! The people behind WB are quick to react and improve things. I’m still waiting for BlogRush to show up after the huge hype! Their repair job is still going on…

  49. My AdSense is outperforming my WidgetBucks by about 10:1. I put WidgetBucks on the most prominent ad place, and it performed very very poorly. I used the most related category; baby products on my pregnancy/birth blog. Then I tried something completely unrelated but a popular category on its own; iPods. The results stayed the same.

    Now I moved the WidgetBucks way down on the page and I put AdSense back in its original place.

  50. Darren — nice post. Appreciate the props and suggestions for improvement. Thanks also to everyone for the comments. Want to let you know that we’re responding by rolling out some performance improvements and some new Flash widgets. We’ve added new sizes and are creating new designs, including color options, to meet the needs of people who’ve sent us feedback. Sean, VP Product Marketing, Mpire

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