Chitika announces CNET Co-branded eMiniMalls Units

The Chitika blog today is announcing CNET Co-branded eMiniMalls Units.

Maybe it’s a little late at night for me but I don’t quite get it. They write:

“We are thrilled to announce the release of Chitika| CNET co-branded eMiniMalls units featuring best deals, promotions, offers and paid listings from hundreds of name brand merchants along with expert product reviews from CNET editors.” It will apparently mean “More deals, offers, and promotions for website visitors and increased revenue for our publisher clients!”

Ok I see the CNET logo but I don’t seen any reviews on the ad and I’m not sure if I’d really want them on ads on my blogs anyway as I doubt there’d be any payment for a click on them.

They finish their announcement post with:

“We are selectively integrating offers and promotions from CNET across the eMiniMalls network mainly on technology and consumer electronics related content pages.”

I’d be interested if anyone else can discern what that actually means for publishers? Hopefully someone from Chitika will clarify how publishers will benefit from it. For all I know it could be a great move for us but at a first glance it just seems ‘odd’.

I’m also interested to know if publishers have the option to switch the cobranded ads on and off or if whether they appear is determined solely by Chitika. While I’ve got nothing against CNET I know of some bloggers who would be dead against promoting them after dealings with them and I wonder how many content providers will be wanting to promote a competing content provider on their blogs? I guess it will depends upon what the rewards are.

10 Habits of Highly Effective ProBloggers

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HabitsI was speaking via email this week with a professional tennis player about blogging and they asked me the question:

‘how do I become a more successful blogger?’

I like to answer questions with question and shot back one of my own:

‘how do I become a more successful tennis player?’

The conversation that ensued was quite insightful. Not only did I learn how to improve my tennis but I learned a thing or two about blogging.

One of the things that I noticed about how this tennis player spoke was that he used the word ‘habits’ quite a bit. His philosophy was that one of the keys to his success was that he’d taught himself a series of habits that had become a part of his ‘tennis life’. He practised these habits consistently over time (most of them did not come naturally to him at first) until they became automatic reflexes.

Over time as the habits became second nature he found they combined together in ways that began to lead to increased success.

We unpacked some of the habits he’d learnt over the next half an hour and I was interested to find that some of them were ‘skills‘ based habits (ie hitting a top spin serve) and some were ‘attitude’ based habits (ie always looking for opportunities no matter how desperate or hopeless the situation).

As I listened to my tennis playing friend I found myself reflecting upon the similarities of my experience of blogging.

Good bloggers don’t just happen.

Most emerge over time as they develop skills and attitudes that combine in ways that improve their blogging. Some of these habits seem to come pretty naturally but many need to be practised and intentionally worked upon.

So what are the habits that lead to effective or successful blogging?

I’ll start by saying that each successful blogger will have their own list of habits and rhythms that increase their success depending upon factors like personality type, style of blogging, topic of blogs, goals of blogs etc. For this reason I’m looking forward to reading the habits that others are working on in the rest of this group writing project.

But in the mean time here are some blogging ‘habits’ or attitudes that I’ve been working on and have seen in other bloggers that I admire:

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Google Announces ‘Click to Play’ Video Ads

Hot news emerging out of the AdWords blog today that they are releasing ‘click to play video ads‘. Here’s an example of what they will look like.

The ads will begin to appear this week. They will not be shown on Google’s own pages but rather on their publisher network (ie sites showing AdSense ads).

“In the coming days, we will be adding click-to-play video ads to the line-up of text, Flash and image ad formats currently supported by the Google content network. At launch, video ads will be available to AdWords advertisers in the US, Canada and Japan – but we plan to roll them out to other regions shortly.”

Advertisers can build video ads on a CPC or a CPM basis and they can either target specific sites with these ads or let them be keyword targeted (like their other ads).

Videos do not automatically play when a user comes to a site where they are showing. Instead they ‘click to play’.

There’s no word yet on the AdSense blog as to what the details are from publishers perspectives. One would pressume that video ads would be worth more than normal image ads or text ads and that publishers would have the chance to opt in or out of having such ads show on their sites in a similar way to them being able to select text and/or image ads.

I would also presume that these ads would predominantly be rectangle box ads and that CTR on these ads would be quite good at least initially due to the novelty factor of them.

Read more about Click to Play Ads at:

A Question about Comments and Permission

Amy (a ProBlogger reader) sent me a question this morning that I thought might make an interesting discussion question:

“A writer for a newspaper would like to quote some of the comments my readers have left on my blog. As the blogger, I’m not sure what’s appropriate–to give her my permission to use whatever comments she wants OR to insist she first tell me the comments she wants to use so I can contact each commenter and get their permission.”

What do you think? Do you (or anyone else) need to get the permission of those who leave comments on your blog if you’re using their comments for any other purpose than where they’ve left the comment?

I’m interested in your opinion.

Text Link Ads Link Value Calculator

Over the past few months I’ve been testing Text Link Ads (aff) on most of my blogs as a secondary way of adding income streams by selling text links. I’ve found TLA to be a very useful service – particularly because it’s something that once you’ve set up is incredibly easy to maintain. In effect TLA do all the work for you – finding advertisers, working out the cost, collecting the income and then sending it to you at the end of the month.

They are by no means my highest income earner but in April made up around 5% of my income. The other good thing about them is that each month they perform better and better as they gradually fill your inventory of empty ad slots over time. Most advertisers stay on from month to month so it’s very low maintenance and as they find new advertisers the potential for higher earnings grows.

Looking at my own blogs and the b5 blogs that we have them on (almost all of them) they do perform better on some blogs than others (obviously there are more advertisers out there looking for links on some topics than others) but if a blog has a reasonable page rank they seem to earn between $15 and $52 per link per month on most blogs that I can see. Not bad if you are selling up to 10 of them per blog and then if you have multiple blogs.

One of the only gripes I had with them was that the way they determined how much to sell text links for seemed quite mysterious. Some blogs seemed to fetch higher prices than others for no apparent reason.


Today they launched a helpful little Link Worth Calculator that gives some insight into how they value links. It’s a cool little tool that is quite fun to play with. Variables that impact the worth of links include positioning, site (presumably your page rank has some influence), topic of site, how many ads are to be sold and whether the link is site wide or on a single page.

Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers – Group Writing Project

This is a slightly long winded announcement post inviting you to participate in a project. For details of how to participate read on:

Today I set myself the task of writing a list article titled ‘X Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers‘ (the ‘X’ was going to be a number determined by the number of points I wrote).

I thought it’d be a fun article, written in the style of ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ that would outline some characteristics that new bloggers wanting to grow in their ‘success’ or ‘effectiveness’ might find useful.

I got off to a great start and listed off 10 habits that I’d write about.

The problem as that as I constructed my list of habits that effective bloggers have that for each habit I came up with I found both examples of bloggers who embodied the habit and also examples of bloggers who obviously blogged successfully without the habit.

I found myself arguing with myself constantly as I wrote and ended up quite frustrated through the process.

I came to the realisation that while I might desire to define or describe an ‘effective’ blogger that there are many ways to being one.

Effectiveness as a blogger can only really be measured on a fairly individual basis as one looks at a bloggers personality, topic of choice, style of blogging, intended audience, goals and circumstances.

I found myself realising that a list of ‘habits of effective bloggers’ would differ from blogger to blogger and I’m sure that there would be some similarities between lists but lots of discrepancies also.

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The Benefits of Highlighting Popular Posts on Your Blog

Stephan Spencer writes a useful SEO Tip on highlighting Popular Posts and kindly uses ProBlogger’s top menus as an example of one way of doing it.

I have to admit that my reasoning for using the boxes at the top of my blog was twofold.


I first saw the idea on a blog that Rachel had designed for herself and then asked her if she could incorporate it into my design. My reasoning was that it would help with:

1. Blog Stickability – when a new reader comes to a blog the chances are pretty high that they will spend a minute or two with you (at the most) looking at the page that they enter on and then that they will either hit the back button on their browser to return to the place they came from, will leave your blog via a link on your blog or will close their browser. Giving them something else within your blog means they stay with you for another minute or two which increases the long term chances that for some sort of connection or loyalty to you.

If you give your new readers a way to go deep within your blog to multiple pages where they’ll find rich helpful content the chances are that they’ll come back again.

I quite often get emails from readers who have spent an hour or two on their first visit to ProBlogger surfing through the archives after discovering some of my best content via these menus. It’s funny to see them progress through posts and leave comments as they go along and is not uncommon to get 10 or more comments within an hour as they progress through the articles linked to from the menus above.

In a sense what you’re doing is giving readers a guided tour of your blog in the hope that along the way they’ll make a decision to make a regular stopping place in their online activities.

2. SEO – as Stephan writes – Search engines also love it when you link deeper within your blog and the benefits of doing so are tangible.

When I analyze my blog statistics each week to see which posts are most popular it is almost always the case that the posts linked to in my top menus are the most visited. This is of course partly because they are linked to prominently and people visit them (as discussed above) but it is also because these posts tend to rank higher than other posts on my blog in Google.

One of the key principles of SEO is that if someone links to a post on your blog that Google sees this as a vote of confidence in that post and will boost it’s ranking (sort of like a popularity contest). As a result most SEO types love to get links to their blogs and posts from other blogs. However it’s not just links from outside your blog that impact SEO. If you link from within your blog to key posts it boosts their ranking also (not as much as an incoming link from outside your blog – but it does seem to count).

In a sense what you’re doing is giving Search Engines a guided tour of your blog and showing them your best bits so that they can promote those for you.

As a result of these two benefits of doing so it’s well worth identifying your key posts on your blog and linking to them from other points within your blog. You can do this from within other relevant posts, form a a sidebar, from a menu or even using plugins (WP has a variety of them that allow you to create a list of popular, relevant or recent posts).

YPN add Payment Features

Jen reports that YPN have launched direct deposit, tax withholding and faster payment turnaround for publishers in their beta test.

update: More official word on this at YPN’s blog.

PPCalc – PayPal Fee Calculator – Calculate Your PayPal Fees

Ppcalc LogoIf you use Paypal and have ever wanted to calculate how much you’ll be paying in fees for different situations then you might be interested in PPCalc a PayPal Fee Calculator.

It also has a ‘reverse fee calculator’ which will tell you how much to ask for if you want to receive a certain amount. Very handy.

found via Lifehacker