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How Not Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water Earned me Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Today I want to tell you a story – a story of how not throwing the baby out with the bath water has earned me hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Just under two years ago a controversy erupted in the the ‘make money online’ segment of the blogosphere that involved a lot of hype, anger and attack.

Chitika-1It involved the launch of a new advertising network product called – Chitika eMiniMalls.

I had been beta testing this new ad unit for a few weeks and was one of a small group of bloggers who blogged about my experience of it and how it had significantly increased my earnings. I wrote my first review of Chitika here.

A couple of weeks later after continuing to experiment with the ad unit my earnings with Chitika continued to grow and I revealed that I was earning over $700 per day with them – they’d become my biggest earner.

The result of me (and others) reporting my success with Chitika caused a real stir around the blogosphere and when Chitika announced an affiliate program which paid 10% commission the ‘stir’ quickly became ‘hype’ as many bloggers pumped Chitika up as being an AdSense killer and the answer to all problems of bloggers struggling to make money online.

I attempted to communicate a more balanced review of the ad unit (they work well on some blogs but not others) but the frenzy and buzz that surrounded Chitika for a few weeks was like nothing I’d ever seen around a product launch before.

Of course the positive buzz around Chitika didn’t last for too long. Chitika made a few mistakes in their launch (I suspect overwhelmed by the numbers of those signing up) and in getting the mix between serving publishers and advertisers they had to make some tough decisions which saw some publishers see decreases in earnings. This of course didn’t go over terribly well with many.

At the same time some publishers found that Chitika didn’t work on every blog (as they’d read some promoting the affiliate program promising) and became disillusioned by Chitika and anyone who had promoted them.

The resulting backlash against Chitika was as strong and vicious as the previous weeks of positive buzz had been – the pendulum has swung to the opposite end of it’s trajectory. Many bloggers expressed real anger, quite a few vowed never to use Chitika again, accusations of fraud and scrupulous behavior flew left right and centre. I took a lot of flak for my positive (yet in my opinion balanced) reviews of Chitika (in fact the attacks on me in those months were the most vicious I’ve ever experienced and escalated to a point where my property was physically assaulted).

While many many bloggers jumped off the Chitika ship as the popularity pendulum swung away from them – I felt that while Chitika had issues and had made some mistakes that they were a company with potential. They needed to improve their service – but the basics that they had put in place were good and in time I felt that they’d improve.

Rather than jumping ship (or throwing the baby out with the bath water) as many were doing I decided to do two things:

  1. give constructive and encouraging feedback to Chitika - While much of the blogosphere descended into snark and attack I decided to attempt to help Chitika improve. I did this in part because I felt it was the right thing to do and that they didn’t deserve all of the hits that they were taking – but also because I knew that if they improved what they offered – that it’d enhance my own business. I told them what I liked about their product, what I didn’t like, what I wished they’d change and what I wished that they’d add.
  2. experiment with the use of their service to see how it worked best - I spent significant time in those early months really tweaking and tracking the use of Chitika’s ad units. I saw from my own experience and the reports of others that it didn’t work on some blogs yet did on others – so I decided to work out where it did work best and how to improve it’s performance. This resulted in a series of tips posts including Chitika eMiniMalls Tips.

A few other bloggers quietly took a similar approach in the midst of the Chitika bashing that went on around us. The results were quite amazing.

Firstly – Chitika improved. Since that time the company as grown and offered a variety of new ad units. They have had their ups and downs but what they offer now benefits many bloggers. While these ads still don’t work on every blog – many bloggers have found ways to make them work for them. I know a few who make more than I do from Chitika each day.

Secondly – My own experience of Chitika and what they contribute to my business has confirmed to me my hunch that it wasn’t something to jump ship on. I revealed in a post 4 months ago that I’d earned just under a quarter of a million dollars using Chitika – of that figure is now well in excess of the quarter of a million dollar mark and continues to confirm to me the value of taking a different approach than being swayed by popular opinion and doing something positive instead of being caught up in the pendulum swings that the blogosphere can become distracted by.

Is the Pendulum Swinging Again?

In the last week we’ve seen a pendulum swing over the launch of BlogRush service that reminds me a little of the Chitika fiasco. The service launched in a frenzy of praise and hype as bloggers jostled to benefit from referring others. While many posted about it advising caution and trying to paint realistic expectations – some posts that I read painted this new and untested service as though it was the Messiah!

Yes – BlogRush needs to take some responsibility for the way they presented themselves (they talked themselves up as you’d expect – and gave bloggers an incentive to talk them up) but many bloggers took it to another level and promised the world from the service.

In the last 24 hours – since the release of BlogRush stats – the pendulum has swung and I’ve seen quite a few bloggers painting the service as ‘evil’. Once again bloggers are jumping ship left right and center and accusations are beginning to fly.

While I don’t know if BlogRush will ultimately be as successful for bloggers as Chitika has been for those who remained on board – I found myself wondering how many bloggers are in danger of prematurely throwing a potentially good thing away simply because it didn’t work for them in the in the first day or two.

  • What would happen if rather than dismissing or attacking BlogRush bloggers looked the service over and compiled some constructive feedback for it’s creators?
  • What would happen if bloggers took the time to analyze how it works and to experiment with different ways of using it?
  • What if bloggers pressed pause on their judgement and allowed the creators of this product to improve it?

I’m not saying bloggers should blindly accept every new service that comes along as ‘the answer’ – there may come a time to ‘jump ship’ from BlogRush if it doesn’t work (either for anyone or in individual circumstances) – however I wonder if we all need to take a chill pill and let things run their course a little.

Yes – it may be a big flop – but perhaps if we give it (and other services that emerge) a chance we might just see things grow into something worthwhile that enhances our blogging.

Just my two cents worth.

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.

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Comments

  1. Of course, with your influence Darren, we’ll probably see another mad rush into Chitika (especially with the Xmas season fast approaching ) :-)

    With BlogRush, I guess the hype was just too much to sustain (is this the first big play foray by pure internet marketers into the blogging sphere? Hence why the hype) – it’ll settle down and we’ll get a better picture of it’s usefulness when the stats start rolling in. Just hope they can scale well as the vast majority of bloggers are hungry for readers.

  2. Wow impressed !
    700$ a day? x30=21.000 $ a month!!!!
    I am impressed Darren!

  3. Very, very good article. I remember when I first had the chance to test Chitika and I loved it. Believe it or not but I also felt that there was a slight similarity between Chitika and BlogRush when they were both first launched, too.

    I might even give Chitika one more try come to think of it…

    Steve

  4. Zuggu.com says:

    Well.. I think that the negative reaction from ‘common’ bloggers was to answer the suspiciously good reaction from ‘top’ bloggers. I said it before and I say it again, if BlogRush was launched by John Smith there would be not even a single post mentioning the launch. Now we not only have 10 posts about the launch of the service, but another post about why we criticize it…
    Maybe the anger is not really towards BlogRush but towards the way it was advertised.. it was like “Hey… you are suppose to be a top blogger, you know this product is a 10… why are you praising it that way?”

    My 2 cents

  5. I agree that Blogrush should be given a chance. If they can iron out the glitches (and offer a few theme choices) I can see the service working out. Personally I think they’ll have to offer a few more categories as well. I haven’t lost hope – I’m still hosting it on two of my high-traffic blogs, so far I’m earning a lot of credits anyways!

    Hehe – perhaps posts like these will start everyone rushing back to pick up blogrush again. Now that would be funny… group think anyone?

  6. geomark says:

    Constructive feedback: BlogRush needs to figure out how to prevent the gaming by those who hide the widget. Might be hard to do but perhaps after they have been running for a while they will have some stats the could be applied. For example, a widget that has thousands credits but never gets clicked is almost certainly being hidden, maybe inside a div tag or something. Same idea for those that are non-zero but extremely low compared to the average which probably varies by category.

  7. Ben Evert says:

    I used Chitika when it first came out and had terrible results. Mostly because I think they did not have anything relating to my blog. Started back up with them a few months ago and I’m making a little money with them. Just goes to show you that persistence is the key to a thriving internet business. I hope Chitika continues to improve their product line so that I’m able to make more money with them.

  8. Agreed.
    BlogRush could have some potential – with some refinement. What needs to be done however, I don’t quite know. I’m still new into the blogging world. Possibly requirements on where to place the widget, or customizing options. Or possibly more points if someone clicks on your widget. That would give some insentive… but could introduce spamming… argh. I don’t know…
    But I am looking forward to how BlogRush turns out.

  9. Matt Jones says:

    The last thing that has as much hype as BlogRush was AGLOCO and everyone has waited a long time to see great things from them.

    People’s reactions are just based on what would be more beneficial to their blog and on their predictions.

    If they were to predict now that BlogRush was going to be terrible and it turns out to be they will be remembered for being right about it (like CashQuests was about AGLOCO).

    Of course with a blog the size of Problogger there is no need to take that unnecessary risk.

  10. Tyler says:

    I believe that Jon over at Art of Money has hit the nail on the head with the launch of Blog Rush in this post.
    http://www.artofmoney.org/careful-this-blog-rush-is-going-to-hurt/

    It is exactly what is happening…in my opinion.

  11. Travis says:

    If they could figure out a way to determine where the widget is placed, they could factor that into calculating credits earned. Perhaps if it’s displayed above the fold, you earn 1.5 credits per view, and if it’s below the fold, .5 credits per view.

    I’d send the folks at blogrush a message about this, but the site is down right now…

  12. Rhys says:

    From the second it was announced I said “I’m not going to participate in it”, not because of physical hatred, I just don’t want to participate with it on my blog.

    I’m not saying it’s not going to be a success or if it’s going to be a failure, I’m just not that interested.

    Regarding Chikita – People just want to make money quickly on a blog, and don’t understand that traffic is key.

    Best of luck to blogrush, but sorry, it’s not for me.

  13. Fred Peters says:

    Darren,

    I am one of those bloggers who have criticized Blogrush. I just wrote a post discussing my unhappiness with the tiered affiliate approach that Blogrush has implemented. I feel that this tiered system will be good for well established – high traffic bloggers, but not so good for new or up and coming bloggers.

  14. Blaine Moore says:

    I’ll give BlogRush the same chance I gave Chitika, and see how it performs in a week or two.

    My biggest concern is whether it shows anything relevant on my site, and so far I’d say that about 30% of the articles have been something I’d be interested in clicking on (although you see the same ones multiple times).

    If it can get 3 or 4 relevant articles per page view w/i a few weeks, then I will probably leave it on for a full month. If not, then it will probably be gone in a few weeks. If after the month it doesn’t seem to be returning anything, then I might just remove it altogether. So far I’ve gotten 1 click from about 2400 impressions.

    I think that adding a fitness category would seriously increase my relevance.

  15. james says:

    My one gentle complaint to this post would be a reminder that you’re an A-list “how to” blogger, and most of us who run content blogs wouldn’t get far with the Chitika affiliate program, because our readers aren’t bloggers. That means you have a very powerful income stream that we can’t hope to tap.

    I tried Chitika in the early days after reading about it on Problogger and didn’t have much success. After reading this post I revisited them and discovered that they’ve dramatically improved their range of ad sizes and made it a lot easier to enter keywords.

    I’ve replaced one of my Google ad blocks with a Minimall, and I’ll give it 30 days to see how it compares to my historical eBay earnings.

  16. I will give them a chance for now.

    I know for experience to be more patient with new services. The real test is always when launching and where bugs come out. :(

    Yesterday, I quietly started my own affiliate program. This way, I will have some feedback to improve the program over time. That’s what I liked about Darren, he provided constructive feedback with Chitika. I hope people do the same for me.

    It’s like paid reviews. I gave constructive feedback because I don’t believed in negative reviews. It doesn’t help the one who paid you to better the product or service.

    My 2 Canadian cents or US because it’s almost 1:1 ;)

  17. bob cobb says:

    Do you have Chitika on your site right now? Im not seeing it anywhere

  18. Cigar Jack says:

    I don’t make much off my blog. Just enough to pay for my cigar habit so far. But Chitika was about 20% of my income to start and is now approaching 50% to 60% of my monthly income on my site. I think over time Chitika will be my biggest earner. As far as BlogRush is concerned I’m not expecting much from it. The categories do not work to the benefit of my site. And the widget can be sort of invisible like banner ads and the like.

  19. LGR says:

    Blog Rush has some issues. They probably should have waited to iron out some of them before launching. It will hurt them.

    I tried it on one of my blogs, that is family friendly, but the headlines contained sexual references so it was gone as fast as it went up. The filters did not work to block out keywords and it appears that the only people who will truly benefit are the high traffic blogs, because they will get the majority of the views. Blog Rush is not going to be the tool to drive tens of thousands of people to new blogs. It could be used in conjunction with some good old fashion link building but it should not be seen as the only way to help get traffic.

    It is just another tool, like MyBlogLog.

  20. I just recently added Chitika to RGS’s sidebar and so far I am pretty happy with it and it also works pretty good on our site http://www.criticker.com .. added a big banner in the forums example. I am going to stick with them for a while.

  21. Egonitron says:

    Agreed. We’re all too quick to make assumptions. The blogging world is very fast-paced, and we need to give these services time to adapt and expand before passing complete judgement. Most of our concern will be worked out by BlogRush. In the end, we have to decide if it’s going to be worth it, that’s all.

  22. At this point, BlogRush is not for me–and I’ve said as much on my blog this morning. What really turned me off was their use of Flash, a plugin-based program, for their stats. I don’t have Flash, don’t *want* Flash, and thus can’t get any value from their service without stats.

    I’m happy to sit on the sidelines until such a point as BlogRush is customizable, doesn’t require a plugin, and doesn’t serve get rich quick links to my blog.

    You make a valid point about offering constructive feedback, and I’m waiting to stop feeling annoyed by BlogRush before I do that.

  23. Andy Beard says:

    Darren you are showing signs of having an extremely level head ;)

    There are so many assumptions about how poorly this will perform for blogs with a low number of readers, but if anything it is the blogs with a low number of readers that are currently going to gain the most from whatever traffic such a widget can give.

    When I first wrote about it early Saturday morning, I predicted a CTR of 1% or less.

    The first blog I placed the widget on wasn’t andybeard.eu, but my WordPress Plugins site that hasn’t been updated for a year other than support comments.

    That site has in the last 4 days received 60 visitors, 5 of those have been from the Blogrush widget.

    The extra inventory above the matrix being shared out makes a big difference to small bloggers.

    The big blogs might gain the most referrers and display credits, but will not get a good CTR because they already have a huge penetration with their subscribers, and Click through blindness.
    Why click on something I have already read, or already seen 100 times on other widgets.

    The big blogs at the top have to decide whether they are willing to maintain the widgets so that their readership benefit from the exposure.
    I have done it in the past by sharing a feed from my Technorati favorites, but Technorati is currently broken and won’t let me add any more.

    I do hope John finds a way to clear out the people abusing the service. I don’t think it is possible to exclude blogs about MLM, if you have a blog about making money online, unless you use lots of filters.

    Positioning of the widget will make a difference. It really depends on whether you are offering it as a service to your visitors, or purely as a selfish way to get more traffic.

    There are ways to benefit from Blogrush – I am sure all your referral credits you will probably use to promote an effectively monetized site, when such an option becomes available.

    Also it is not how much traffic, but the quality and what you do with it.
    It is impossible to track all subscriptions effectively, but I am fairly sure traffic from Blogrush I have received has turned into a fair number of subscribers.

  24. Hock says:

    I was positive about BlogRush initially and I’m still testing it out. But with the referral structure and looking at the post titles that are showing up on most blogs, I have come to the conclusion that the people who are going to benefit the most are those with a large following who can sign up a lot of referrals in the early days. For the rest of us, we won’t be seeing much traffic from this.

  25. Murrquan says:

    Maybe this is one reason not to hype things too much. When you build up people’s expectations so much, you set them up for a huge letdown if it doesn’t perform exactly as you described.

    This can apply to pretty much anything that we’re enthused about, and might be something to remember when we’re sharing our enthusiasm with others.

  26. Brian Auer says:

    Well said Darren. I think that many people tend to forget that there are other human beings behind things like Chitika, BlogRush, and any other website or service. It’s easy to bash on something when you don’t have to look somebody in the face.

  27. doug m says:

    every new startup deserves a little bit of time to get some kinks out, no one can prepare for every instance that can occur. the blogrush service has only been out for a few days now so there’s really no way of knowing if it’s gonna take off until it has at least 3 – 6 months. i’ve been thinking of chitika recently as i see that it might fit my blog. hearing you talk about it has given me more reason to try it out. these services are at no cost to publishers so why not give them a try right?

  28. Nelson says:

    I was one of the first bloggers to sign up for a blogrush account and so far I have seen very little benefit from it, I guess a nice stat graphs count for something. I have referred 1 blogger to their service so I got a bunch of credits from it, and so far I have had 127 impressions of my posts somewhere but 0 clicks. they say that you need to make your post titles catchy and short like 7 characters, but that could be a real challenge, just notice the length of the tile of this post, which I think is completely acceptable when you write for the people and not for a pretty widget.

  29. Holy smokes.

    In my opinion…

    It is way too early to tell. Give BlogRush some time…it is free.

    To me, anything that delivers valuable information across the internet so more readers can benefit from it is a good thing. I don’t have to make money with it. This also assumes that the folks that sign up are delivering useful content to the blogosphere as well.

    Let it develop.

    Joseph Ratliff
    Author of The Profitable Business Edge 2

  30. Starfeeder says:

    I’m one of those that are going to wait things out and see… how its going to playout.

    It doesn’t hurt my blog so thats a good thing, and I actually saw one of my posts today! On my blog, but I did see it working… wondering if that view counts again me however. That is definitely something they need to fix if thats the case.

  31. April says:

    I have tried to set up an a/c with Chitika and they rejected me without giving any specific reason. I have just contacted them again to see if they’ll approve me now.

    I really hate it when companies don’t have the decency to say what they don’t like about your site.

  32. Thanks for the great post Darren once again! I can tell you really took the time to explain how Chitika worked for you and by giving it a chance, unlike most people that don’t see the fast results right away. Patience is the key with blogging!

  33. Anon Guy says:

    Are the stats even working correctly on BlogRush? I too am working on an 0 for 133 according to their records, but on my own stats I have seen a dozen click-thrus come in the past two days. Not much in the scheme of things, but still a much better click rate than the 0.0% BlogRush is showing.

  34. HMTKSteve says:

    Are you making the big bucks directly off of Chitika or as a result of a downline?

  35. A few points, first of all, BlogRush is not free, you are paying for it through space you give up on your blog for the widget. That in turn is sold to advertisers so BlogRush can make money.

    Secondly, how about spending some time working on the actual service rather than the hype? And don’t give me the “it’s in beta” excuse because it was hyped and launched like the next great thing for bloggers.

    The truth is, they offer no reason to display the widget anywhere that visitors to your site pay attention to. They have seemingly no answer for the spam that’s already flooded into the system and they seem to be having trouble keeping up with the number of credits that people are earning. Those are all core issues that should have been figured out well before the launch and will continue to grow rather than get better.

    You said your hunch on Chitika was to not give up. Well my hunch on BlogRush was that it was something that was not going to help the average blogger but rather exploit them and in fact that’s been the case, whether intentional or not.

  36. Your ability to convey your opinion the way you did is fantastic. You seem extremely level headed and offered us an opinion based upon your actual experiences and not heresay. I am a subscriber to your blog and have enjoyed reading your posts in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I have only just begun to look into ways to make money from blogging and have only been blogging for a few weeks now.

    Respectfully,
    Joe

  37. Simon says:

    I think the key is moderation. You can get into trouble by going either way, either by being too positive about a product that is unproven, or by being overly negative about a product that turns out positive. imagine if you had been wholly negative about Chitika in the early days, you would have discouraged your readers from signing up to a product that could undoubtedly make them money (if used correctly etc.). You’d get as much flak for that as hyping them up.

    In my post on Blog Rush I pointed out some of the potential pitfalls. One of which was bloggers putting the widget in poor locations. The easy fix for Blog Rush is to give credits for clicks and not just views. There are a few minor problems with the service, just like Chitika. Hopefully bloggers will realise they have more to gain from helping the service out than being sensationalist.

  38. Tia says:

    Darren, this is why you are my favorite and my trusted problogging resource: balance and an unflappable spirit. I am giving blogrush a try, with the “pause” in judgement securely in place. I feel like I’m constantly reminding clients that blogging has a “long tail” and the big picture will always be more trustworthy than a flash in the pan.

  39. Jason says:

    Thanks for the insights.

    As for the blogger who took out his anger on your property, that’s just pitiful.

    You are one of, if not the most, trustworthy voices on the net. That really upsets me that someone would do that.

    Makes me think twice about branding my name.

  40. Kevin says:

    I disagree with Tia, there has been no balance with this. I haven’t seen a large blogger approach it without some sort of nudge towards their readers signing up and doing it. Since it is a total pyramid program the blogger wants to paint it in the best light so many people sign up under them

    So in the long run if it does take off they reap the benefits for a long time.

    People haven’t looked at this program critically until after it launched and the stats became available. This setup was a failure from the start, look at the numerous traffic exchange sites that offer headline widgets that nobody clicks on. How is this any different, because they sold it differently to top level bloggers?

  41. CatherineL says:

    Bloody good headline Darren. If that doesn’t improve your clickthrough rates on Blogrush, I don’t know what will.

    I read your reviews on Chitika when I first began reading your blog, and I have to agree that you always made it clear that they wouldn’t work for everyone. They didn’t work for me, but that is because of the type of sites I have.

    I will be the first to confess that I’m one of those who didn’t want to try blogrush, and gave my reasons for not trying it.

    Your views are usually balanced and honest so people take them seriously. However, many other people who have reviewed Blogrush are those who would do anything to make money fast. The reviews overpromise. And we all know what happens when something overpromises and can’t possibly deliver what it claims.

  42. George says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize people were already bad mouthing it. It’s been out less than a week!

    I figured it would take a while to see what’s it true value was, that is why I planned on putting it up on my site for a at least a month.

    I wonder if the rush to criticize is indicative of the blogosphere or today’s society in general?

  43. George, I think it’s indicative of a 70,000 to 35 impression to click ratio. Nothing more, nothing less.

  44. Darren Rowse says:

    Thanks everyone on the comments on this post – I’m about to go away for two days so will have to make this comment quick. Apologies that I won’t be here for a couple of days to continue this discussion:

    Zuggu – I’m not sure that the top bloggers praised it as much as some are saying. Most of the initial announcements/reviews from what we might consider ‘top’ bloggers were a little cautious and warned people to not expect the world. Most of the hype that I saw came from other smaller blogs.

    geomark – not sure if you got the email from BlogRush today saying that they are aware of the fraud going on with the widget – looks like they are attempting to get that under control – it’ll be in everyone’s best interests when they do.

    Rhys – you’re right that people just want quick money. The problem with the hype around Chtiika was that some bloggers presented it as ‘easy money’. Unfortunately there’s no such thing – you need to work hard to make money online via advertising – you need to work hard online to get readers (ie blogrush is just a tool that can help in the process – not the answer itself).

    Fred – you’re right, bigger bloggers will do better from referrals of BlogRush – but that’s true for anything. What I like about BlogRush is that it helps blogs in proportion to where they are already at. If your blog does 100 visitors a day it will get that many headlines of it’s latest posts – and no more. If a blog has 10,000 visitors a day it’ll get 10,000 and no more. While this does mean that big blogs get more – it also means that small blogs get some and everything seems proportional. That might not seem fair on some levels – but on other levels I think it is (not sure if that came out right). I also think that while the numbers of visitors might not be massive that a small blog will notice them more than a big one. Here at ProBlogger 37 extra readers that it might bring in are not going to cause a noticeable increase in overall readers – but 37 extra readers on a brand new blog over a few days could be quite significant.

    Blaine – John’s email today to BlogRush publishers talked of refining categories which I think will help a bit. I’ve talked privately to a number of BlogRush publishers who are getting over 1% click through on their headlines – some as many as 3-4%. From what I can tell this is partly to do with headlines – but also quite a bit to do with categories. Some categories are performing a lot better than others and John says they’re working on this which hopefully will help.

    James – you’re right, my affiliate program with Chitika will do better than most bloggers not writing on the topic of blogging – but the ads themselves don’t work here at ProBlogger. It’s all about matching advertising and affiliate programs with an audience and finding what works on each blog. No single program will work on every blog – the same is true for Chitika, BlogRush, AdSense, Amazon Associates or anything else.

    bob cobb – not on this blog. Chitika works on many product related blogs – but on a blog like this it doesn’t.

    Cigar Jack – I think you’ll find that quite a few bloggers are similar to you. Chitika is my biggest or 2nd biggest earner too – depending on the month.

    Andy Beard – not sure my head is level (some would say it’s quite pointy) – but I guess I try to reserve judgement a little more these days than when I first started blogging. I used to jump on the pendulum swings as much as anyone – but soon realized it didn’t really help anyone. The smart players quietly go about their business, trying new services to find what works and then going full on into those that do.

    Agree with you on the smaller blogs feeling the increase in traffic more than bigger ones. Great comments mate.

    Hock – you’re right in that some of the big players will see increases – however isn’t any extra traffic on a small blog a good thing? If you can gain an extra visitor a day from it over a year and keep them as loyal readers then that’s 365 extra daily readers at the end of the year. I know in my first year of blogging that that would have been amazing!

    HMTKSteve – I make more money from using the ads than I have ever done with the affiliate program at Chitika.

    Blogging Experiment –

    1. you’re right, BR ‘costs’ bloggers by giving up some realestate on their blog.

    2. I’m not sure how much ‘hype’ that BlogRush actually participated in. They did put together a good video that explained the potential of the service – however most of the hype and building of false expectations happened on blogs as far as I can see. I know when John Reece emailed me to let me know of BlogRush that his ‘pitch’ was anything but hyped. It was a ‘take it or leave it’ – ‘this might work for you’ type pitch. In fact that’s why I signed up to test it, because he didn’t promise the world.

    3. In terms of your hunch about BR – I’d go with it. If you don’t think it’s working out for you then all you can do is stop using it. I guess all I’m concerned about is that people rush from ‘it’s not working’ to write pretty inflammatory posts about it – when it’s just a tool that people can opt into or out of to use.

    Kevin – I don’t see the problem with how most of the big bloggers encouraging people to check it out. The system has potential to bring in traffic – it’s being launched by a respected person who has runs on the board in terms of helping people generate traffic to websites. My own approach in my initial post about it was to encourage people to try it out and see if it worked for them.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments – hope the conversation can continue to be constructive and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this when I get back in a few days.

  45. nice post… i like how it gets into detail about the ups and downs of having a blog and making money. I guess that’s why it’s always best to never keep all your eggs in one basket.

  46. I think we’re going to see a shift of responsibility too, with companies really playing it safe when they roll something out. Any slight mistake, anything that can be even remotely interpreted as fraud or irresponsible, is going to travel the web fast and bite someone in the ass.

    And it’s not even so much any company’s fault (well, unless they’re ruthless bastards!) as much as the blogosphere.

    It’s like that old drill we did in elementary school, where one person starts a message that goes around the room. Each student whispers it to the next and when it gets full circle, something’s changed.

  47. Aruni says:

    I like the tone of your post. It is hard starting a company and just like toddlers they stumble from time to time. They pick themselves up, learn, and become better because of those who chose to stick by them. I’ll have to check this Chitika out.

  48. Greetings all, firstly I have to give Chitika good praise, we only took on the Chitika product reasonably recently, and we have been most impressed, not only at the product itself which can be customised with simple CSS, but the service and focus of Chitika themselves.

    Although we cannot give such good figures as Darren yet! we can report a solution that will make a respectable cash flow given the correct foundation.

    I know for a fact that Chitika will turn into one of our best performers, how do I know this? Because of statistics.

    The solution is sound and lends itself to a few creative ways to extract it’s potential.
    If you attack the Chitika product from the correct angle i.e. product driven resources with time and marketing Chitika is going to make you good money.

    Bloggers Quick to Spam slow to think!

    How true we see the blogger waiting on the outskirts to see if it will be good.
    The worst risk in life is the risk not taken!

    Risk takers may get burnt but over all they are winners, too often I see bloggers asking the big questions HOW DO I.

    How do I is a great question, but the person who quietly goes away and reads, studies and generally gets educated about what they want to do is going to go well.

    Everywhere on the net we see the words get in touch with your market and fellow bloggers, but it seems that most miss the words, even though how to blog is the biggest topic on the net almost.

    Blogging to money is a business I cannot say it enough, I can not press home the fact more that you must have a plan. That plan must have partners, resources, marketing, opportunity, market base and vision for a few.

    If you see opportunities come along that may go well, why not lean more on the Hmmm what if it does go OFF!

    Every day new resources and tools are launched some of them are going to be long stayers, some are not. If you are too scared to try any, you will always be left on the fence.

    My thoughts.

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

  49. Trula says:

    Well for once I am right at the beginning of something new in blogging instead of the last to know so I’m excited about BlogRush. It can’t hurt to try it out and it showed immediate results. That’s total coolness in my book.

  50. Max Powers says:

    Being new to this game all I know for sure about BlogRush is that they have the greatest installation instructions I’ve ever encountered for a newbie like me.

    After that said, I decided the look and space it commanded was not for me. Thanks to you Darren and everyone’s input for providing a great place to learn.