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Chitika eMiniMalls Review

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?
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PubSub Top 1000 Sites with Feeds

PubSub have published a list of the top 1000 most influential sites on the web that publish feeds. The list is based upon links to these sites over the past 30 days. It includes not only blogs but newspapers and other sites of various types. It’s an interesting list to keep an eye on as it will give you an indication as to what people are into at any given time.

It seems that these lists are becoming a must have for site tracking sites at the moment. Last month it was Feedster’s Top 500 (must be due for it’s monthly update soon) in the spotlight. Blog Pulse also have a top 40 – but its not as highly publicized.

Congratulations to a couple of our favorite blogs for making the list including MicroPersuasion (#265) and Blog Herald (#297) who both put me onto the list. Thanks to for ProBlogger readers who’ve helped us get to #326. We’ll have to work on breaking into that top 300 next so we get invited to the events that those like Duncan and Steve in the 200′s get invited to.

ProBlogger Readers Fly High in Style

Bloggers-FlyTim Flight emailed me this morning to show me a picture of him and Jeremy Wright on an outing on the weekend where they went flying together.

Take a closer look at the picture and you’ll note that Tim (on the left) is not only flying high – but he’s flying with real style while wearing a ProBlogger T-Shirt. Click to enlarge the picture for a better look.

Of course – the offer still stands. Anyone who buys a ProBlogger T-Shirt, Bag, cap, mug etc and sends us a picture of them wearing it gets the picture published with a link back to their blog.

MSN Preparing for Contextual Advertising

Jen has the news that we’ve all been expecting – signs that MSN are getting ready to get into contextual advertising. Jen talks about one of the advantages that MSN has – the ability to target demographics:

Because MSN AdCenter will feature options of target ads to particular demographics, including age and gender, this could allow publishers greater flexibility in what ads they show. For instance, I have a few sites targeting female audiences… if I could include this information in the MSN contextual ad platform, these sites could be given higher priority to showing ads that advertisers are targeting female audiences. This combined with other targeting methods could result in high paying ads for publishers and good CTR and ROI for advertisers.

It’s going to be interesting to see where all this ends up and to track the impact that MSN’s ad system has upon Adsense and YPN.

Fine Fools Community – Foolish or Smart?

Scrivs from 9rules network has started another network (although he’s not calling it a network) of blogs called Fine Fools Community.

What is it?

Scrivs talked a couple of days ago about wanting to mobilize some of his older idle sites by getting others writing on them. He decided to give his authors 100% of whatever their posts earned from Adsense/YPN. It currently has 8 blogs on it on a variety of topics.

He’s promoting it as a foolish idea – however I don’t believe that it is – at least its not on some levels.

While giving authors 100% of Adsense and Yahoo revenue might sound a stupid move by Scrivs its actually not – don’t worry – he isn’t completely missing out on benefits of the blogs here. What does he get?

  • Adsense and YPN ad revenue on front page and category pages. Authors make money from the contextual ads on their own pages – Scrivs presumably takes anything generated elsewhere on the site.
  • Other Advertising. The agreement says nothing of sponsorship deals, affiliate programs, shop sales. Scrivs has previously made serious money from shops on his sites and has talked about sponsorship deals on his other sites off an on for a while.
  • Page Rank. One of the benefits of involving others in your blog is a more active/fresh site that has the ability to grow in it’s search engine ranking. This will benefit his authors but also himself and the posts that he chooses to write on these blogs.
  • Referral Traffic – Scrivs has control over what appears on sidebars and menu etc and will refer to the sites he chooses. One of the stated reasons for starting Fine Fools is to refer traffic back to 9rules (and presumably any other sites he wants to start).
  • Departed members Content – the members agreement states that the authors have their publisher code left on any articles that they write for 90 days after they leave the network. Over the long term members will come and go. Thousands of archives can be a lucrative asset.
  • Site Sales – Scrivs has previously sold sites for some pretty decent money. There is nothing to stop him doing so in this case. Members are effectively fattening his blogs up for market.

Now I’m not suggesting that Scrivs is evil or sneaky or hiding anything here. I’ve got nothing at all against bloggers making money from blogs or involving others in doing so – all I’m really doing here is exploring why offering authors 100% of income might be a worthwhile (and perhaps smart) thing to do.

What do you think about Scriv’s approach?

Poll of the Week – Where does your Traffic Come From?

Bouncing off last week’s poll which identified that most people want to learn how to get more readers to their blog – this week’s poll asks you to identify the way that most of your blog readers currently find your blog/s.

I know picking one might be difficult – but I’ve chosen to make this poll a ‘one choice’ per vote only one so pick the predominant one. If you have more than one blog do it on an overall sense. For example – over my 20 blogs I get the vast majority of readers from search engines.

Here at Problogger that is a little different as I have a higher repeat readership level – but on my bigger blogs SE’s refer larger amounts of readers.

If you want to explain your vote, or talk about how different blogs are different etc you can do so in comments below.

Poll Results – Bloggers Want to Know How to Build Readership

This week’s poll has been asking for readers to suggest what they would like to learn most about blogging here at ProBlogger. The results are in and there are some clear messages emerging.

I’ve included screen capture of the results below but the top three areas that you’re asking for more information on are:

  1. Building Blog Readership
  2. Adsense Optimization
  3. Search Engine Optimization

Blogging-Lessons-Poll

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“What is a Good CTR in Adsense?”

It’s strange how I often get the same question from a number of different readers within a day of each other and then don’t get asked it again for months. The question of the moment seems to be :

“What is a good CTR (click through rate) in Adsense?”

Let me attempt an answer.

I should also point out that revealing CTR is against Adsense TOS – so don’t expect me to pepper this post with real life examples. I’ll also explain for non Adsense users that CTR is ‘Click Through Rate’ – or the percentage of people that view pages with ads on them that click on them.

The problem with comparing CTR (and in fact a lot of Adsense statistics) is that every blog is so different that any such comparison can be problematic – and at times pointless.

Why is comparing Adsense CTR between sites a problem?

The percentage of people who click on ads varies depending upon many different factors. I’ll list a few here – and as we go you might spot a few ways to increase your own CTR.

- CTR varies between topics – one of the things I learned in my early days with Adsense after using it on multiple blogs was that despite having the same design on a different blogs, CTR could vary incredibly between one blog and another. One of the reasons for this is simply the topic of the blog. For example some Adsense publishers find that sites with products as a topic tend to get better CTR than sites with non product related topics. They argue that people are more likely to click an advertisment if they are in buying mode and see an ad that might meet their need.
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Gawker Adds Comments to Three Blogs

Megablog, Gizmodo, has decided to allow comments at last. It’s been a pretty long time coming and something that many have complained about – but the time has arrived (they’ve done the same thing on Gawker and Lifehacker blogs also).

Interestingly they’ve decided that only invited guests will have commenting privileges at this point – something I’ve not seen on any other blogs before.

They explain this on their Comments FAQ page by writing:

Anyone who has been invited, either by us or by a friend. The invite system works like Gmail. We’ve invited a bunch of our favorite gearheads, bloggers, and frequent tipsters to comment, then given them invitations to share with their friends and colleagues. That way, the burden of inclusion, and exclusion, is shared.

Why are comments by invitation only?

Most online communities are like Apple Stores and hip bars—they quickly get overrun with tourists, thus lowering the overall quality of the experience. The same thing will happen to us eventually too. But we’re going to try to put off that moment for as long as possible.

I can hear the critiques of this move already – there will be some who say its elitist – but I wonder if this could be a smart move. Commenting rights could become hot property on their blogs – this could limit comments to more manageable numbers (I don’t bother with comments in blogs like Slashdot these days due to the numbers) – in the short term this will help limit comment spam (although it will get harder as more are invited) and if they are choosey about who comments they could end up with some really knowledgeable and high profile people featuring on their blogs.

Of course it could all go horribly wrong if the masses don’t like the fact that they are being locked out and/or if the competition starts playing it up that they have a completely free commenting system.

It’s definitely something to watch.