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WidgetBucks Review

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.

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Comments

  1. Actually, I hate it and as soon as I reach the payoff point, it’s a gonner. It slows down the loading time of my blog to the point that it’s ridiculous. I continue to make far more money from Adsense, which never slows down my blog. And please–they should have worked out most of their kinks before they rushed to market! There were so many problems at start-up, it was a turn off. And there still are problems. Ugh!

  2. gabesmom says:

    I have seen a few of WidgetBucks ads and I agree that the only item featured is a digital camera whatever the blog is all about. I will hold off on this one until I see better reviews.

    Thank you all!

  3. Zachary says:

    I just joint fellowing your link, and I am going to add WidgetBucks ads to my cellphone blog, is it a good idea?

  4. Gerry says:

    did they say it SUCKS?

    I say no it doesn’T!

    $59 in from 144 clicks.

    not bad, even better than adsense.

  5. Roughy says:

    Hm, I like their ads, they are nice looking. But still have some doubts about them.

  6. Rob says:

    I also tried widgetbucks, it really pays higher but the problem is it’s too long to load. It also increased my site’s loading time, maybe I need to try it for another week.

  7. Niklas says:

    Could anyone see Widgest Bucks working on a site like mine since it’s not really product-related. Adsense on the other hand just fiils it with General Public Advertisements if they can’t find anything matching my page which doesn’t earn me any money.

  8. Craig says:

    I’m getting more money from Widgetbucks than adsense at http://www.indietravelpodcast.com, but absolutely no clicks on two other sites (comparing two two-week periods with ads running 100% of the time.)

  9. Kss says:

    I have just installed widgetbucks on my new blog. Not sure if it would bring extra income to me.. but it is worth trying. thanks for the unbiased review

  10. DJ says:

    There’s another problem with WidgetBucks – there’s a hidden backlink in every set of widget code; see

    http://andybeard.eu/2007/10/monopoly-buxx-with-hidden-links-widgetbucks-review.html

    for the full information. And the WB TOS explicitly states that you can’t remove the backlink. Google has never liked hidden links, and is now cracking down on sites with backlinks that are intended to pass on PR juice. Try typing “WidgetBucks” into Google, and see where widgetbucks.com shows up in the search listing (ads don’t count) – they pretty much shot themselves in the foot with this one.

    You really want to jeopardize your site’s PR by using WidgetBucks, because they snuck in a hidden backlink?

  11. MJ Klein says:

    overall i am satisfied with WidgetBucks, but i do agree that they load slowly and can give the blog a bogged-down feeling. i’ve had some readers complain that since adding WBs they don’t like how long it takes to load….

  12. Jeremy says:

    They have removed their backlink with the new code from today.

  13. markowe says:

    That’s good news about the backlink.

    As for the slow loading, I am not too bothered about that – it doesn’t slow the site down (maybe if your sidebar loads first on your template then it IS a problem? On my mountain-biking blog all my content loads before the widget), it actually means that the visitor will at least glance at my content first, and then perhaps see the widget when it appears!

    As for CTR, I believe I have finally found an ad scheme that works with my site, CTR is far better than with Adsense! I hope people are not just clicking for the novelty value (the ads ARE pretty cool) but are actually potential customers, or advertisers may become disillusioned.

  14. I don’t find it appropriate to place a camera ad in the middle of the page and slay the reading pleasure. Can be used when they offer more products.

  15. Bob says:

    I was looking for something to increase my revenue on my blog and bulleyes I found your site review This widgetbucks seems really interesting I might give it a try.
    thanks for the review.

  16. The Old Vic says:

    Well, you guys have convinced me, I shall be giving it a go, what have I got to lose? Except maybe a few Adsense clicks if people click on WB instead of Adsense.

  17. Steve says:

    I can’t say I’ve been very impressed really, over-hyped, slow loading and unreliable so far. http://www.seoblogger.co.uk/monetize/and-now-for-something-not-very-different-widgetbuckscom.html

  18. Style Snatch says:

    My account was banned for invalid clicks. LOL. I’m an adsense user for 2 years and I think I know not to click my own ads. Widgetbucks = SCAM

  19. Rome says:

    I was about to put this on my blog but then I thought of reading some reviews first. If this really pays better than adsense then I shouldn’t have any second thoughts on using it but I have a really big problem on how to blend it with my blog.

    After reading this, maybe I’ll give it a chance. Thanx!

  20. Nis says:

    i also had widgetbucks and was doing fine..and they suspended my account saying that the content was not in English. But the content is in English on my site.
    I haven’t heard a word from them after I responded.

  21. with the sudden uprise in number of people reporting that WB suspended there accounts as the day of payment is coming near, I would love to know whether people are atleast going to be paid for legitimate portion of there earnings from clicks and affiliates.

    If widgetbucks doesn’t even pay for that and starts closing account on things like “foreign language site” instead of voiding the clicks, there is something seriously wrong about widgetbucks ethics.

  22. HerBlogginess says:

    Well, my experience has been nothing like anyone elses’ here. WB performed terribly on my blogs, well below AdSense, and the day after I removed the WB Widgets from my blog, CTR leapt several percent. Their site loads at a snail’s pace, and whilst the ads might be pretty, and probably quite well suited to a site that is already solely geared to selling merchandise, for a general blog I think they’re probably quote terrible.

    Think about it, nobody gives away $25. If they do, there’s a reason for it, and not a good one. And with the stories of people’s accounts being suspended and whatnot, I’d give WidgetBucks a miss. Give me something that doesn’t make with the gimmicks and simply delivers solid performance.

  23. WidgetBucks says:

    WidgetBuck is going to resolve all problems, it will be the best Adsnese alternative, seems to me

  24. Aaron Cook says:

    CTR is very low in my experience. I use it on both my blog and the http://www.SorryIAteTheBeans.com video site. CTR on both has been almost identical…close to nil.

    I’ve removed it from my blog for now and may give it a go again in the near future if they get things in better order. The slew of recent reporting issues as of late was really frustrating.

    “WidgetBuck is going to resolve all problems, it will be the best Adsnese alternative, seems to me”

    First of all, it’s extremely lame to put “WidgetBucks” in the Name field when you are NOT WidgetBucks. Secondly, it’d be nice, but at this point I don’t see that happening.

    Shine on,
    Aaron

  25. Henrietta says:

    I think Widgetbucks – they are theives! I signed up put up twoo banners, had a bit of clicks. I have to say that initially it looked good, the clicks were over 30 cents per click then I realized only the first 3 clicks were registered for payment and they rest of the 30 something didn’t. I emailed them, they said it’s because those were overseas clicks but no CPM payment neither. I took down the banners in 2 -3 days time and the little bit of earnings just vanished from the account. I told them to close my account.

    I think Widgetbucks is completely off my list.

  26. Chuck says:

    I put widgetbucks on a couple of my sites (I have about 300) to test. Loading is so so, products are limited and idea is great. But I have a different concern with them. Every time I log it it says if I don’t update my account I will be suspended (wush they would). It doesn’t matter how I update, same thing. Info is wiped out and the nasty message reappears. Even tried with a new account. Same thing. Contacted customer support, and no response after days. Overall, poor service equals poor product IMHO.

    Chuck

  27. Well I signed up for them after just finding out about them today. I signed up because of the $25 bonus for signing up but I see that they are not offering it anymore.

  28. markowe says:

    Well, it’s been a few months now, so it would be interesting to hear people’s thoughts down the line.

    I put the widget on a couple of pages that get reasonable traffic, just to see. The CTR is basically ZERO! And as for CPM ads, well, I have had thousands of impressions, but no revenue. I am a little at a loss to understand what is exactly meant by CPM in that case, and I can’t find that information anywhere on their site. I left a comment to that effect on their blog and it was quickly deleted.

    All in all, there is something rather fishy about this – a big bright flashy widget that looks cool and has a lower CTR than Adsense on a very bad day…

  29. mr.eims says:

    I just register this widgetbucks.
    hopefully to get some income from my new blog. :)

    i tried to put widgetbuck to 3 of my blogs, see if it can target the ads very well or not.

  30. moserw says:

    Thanks for sharing. Never tried it myself till now, but decided to give them a try on my blog and hence was reading up reviews on them.

  31. Wow! Talk about mixed reviews about Widgetbucks. I think I am going to have to do some futher research in some forums for this. I have known about Kontera and Widgetbucks for a while now and lately I’ve been thinking of adding a different revenue source other then Adsense for some of my blogs.

    Darren the post was great and lot of information but the comments about Widgetbucks were crazy on the mixed reviews. More people says it sucks then anything. Oh well will need to look into Widetbucks more myself and start off doing some testing to see how well Widgetbucks pays.

    Thanks for your review Darren and all the feedback from everyone else too.

    Sincerely,

    Jamie Boyle
    Internet Marketer

  32. Lokapriya says:

    Well WidgetBucks offerings is quite good, but the major problem is that its ads are limited when it comes to Countries. They need to bring em in India Too

  33. Timon Weller says:

    I never had any success with widgetbucks… For some reason they claim such good CPM (cost per thousand) but all i seemed to get was like 7 or 8 cents per thousand compared to there estimates of over $4…I dont what happened there lol.. :)

  34. Thank you for your review of the WidgetBucks Ad program. We appreciate you sharing your opinion and doing the research needed to fairly evaluate the service. We have seen fit to link to this article in our independent WidgetBucks Reviews section. Anyhow, keep up the good work spreading truth.

  35. genesis says:

    i was surprised on how fast they are in approving applications. my site was approved in less than 30 minutes after i signed up

  36. Sheryl says:

    Its fine with me even I’m not accepted in Widgetbucks, well to tell you this, WB’s advertisers does’nt like traffic in the Philippines, so there’s no use for me to be a member there. For more details of the non-paying countries, visit here:
    http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/2007/12/19/widgetbucks-paid-countries/

  37. Jega says:

    My application was also approved quickly. (within a day).