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Chitika Introduces Daily Filtering, Faster Updates and Includes more European Countries

Chitika should be happy about some of the changes announced over at the Chitika Blog today. There are two main changes:

1. Daily filtering of clicks from countries currently not supported in the eMiniMalls program: Instead of waiting till the end of the month for the audit process to filter out non-revenue earning clicks from unsupported countries, we are now filtering out those clicks from the daily reports. Please note though that daily reports are for directional purposes only. The final revenues are calculated after the audit process that takes into consideration factors like click fraud, merchant feedback, merchant chargebacks, etc. Our goal is to continue enhancing the reporting process as much as possible and decrease the differences between the daily and monthly (post audit) stats.

This is what many publishers were calling for in the last round of audits. It will mean that your daily figures will be down for December in proportion to the percentage of traffic you have from disallowed countries. To avoid losing out publishers should use the Alternate URL feature. It is worth noting that there is still an auditing process that will filter out other factors at the end of the month but that this should reduce the decreases in revenue from auditing.

2. Faster daily updates: You can expect to see a faster turn around time for the daily reports.

I’m generally asleep when stats update and didn’t notice any difference yesterday but I do know of quite a few publishers were were surprised by quicker updates (hours ahead of ‘normal’) yesterday.

Lastly Chitika announced that they’ve expanded further into Europe and are now testing running ads in countries including France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and Netherlands.

Chitika answers Audit Questions.

Chitika have responded to the many questions being asked of them by publishers after the recent audit over at the Chitika Blog. I won’t rehash it all here as I spent most of the day yesterday responding to people’s questions, frustrations, hurts and anger on the topic via IM and email – but if you’ve got questions I recommend going for a read.

Chitika Audit Issues

Wow – I woke up this morning to an inbox full of emails with the word ‘Chitika’ in the subject line. Most of them from publishers concerned with yesterday’s audit where their earnings were reduced – in some cases significantly.

Jensense and Performancing both write critiques of the process and discussion forums are alive with Chitika publishers talking about the vast variation in reductions in the audit. These range from what I can see from 8% reductions up to a reported 70% from what I can see.

Chitika explains the auditing process on their support area with the statement:

‘Every month Chitika audits the clicks that we receive from all of our publishers sites. In the audit process we remove any invalid clicks such as: repeated clicks from the same ip, clicks from countries such as China and India, etc. This is done to protect our advertisers from fraudulent clicks.’

I had a chat with someone in Chitika management this morning about yesterday’s audit and it seems that the reason why publishers with the largest reductions were audited so heavily was primarily for reasons of traffic from non accepted countries.

This fits with my own anecdotal evidence as I’ve interacted with a few publishers in the last 24 hours who when I’ve asked them about the source of their traffic have told me that they get similar percentages of traffic from Asian countries.

My own reduction in this latest audit was around 13% in my own direct earnings and around 40% of my referral earnings. This makes sense to me as most of my traffic on the sites I have featuring eMiniMalls is US, Australian and European but I know ProBlogger (which is where most of my referrals come from) has a higher Asian readership.

So – the question of what to do about Chitika is one many people are asking me:

Here are some thoughts that come to mind: [Read more...]

Chitika adds ‘Alternate URL’ feature

Chitika just added an ‘alternate URL’ feature to their eMiniMalls which allow you to run other ads in their space when they don’t have any product to serve. This will be very useful for any publishers with a lot of traffic from countries not accepted by the program. Here’s how they describe it in their eSupport area.

What is “Alternate URL”?
The alternate URL feature allows you to make use of your ad space in the event that Chitika is not able to show a paying eMiniMall ad (for example: traffic from non-accepted countries). In such an event, the Chitika system will redirect to the url you specify.

How to specify an “alternate URL”?
There are two ways of specifying an “alternate URL”:
1) Code Panel: You can login to your account, click on “eMiniMalls Code” and then specify an “Alternate URL” (in the “Set Options” section)
2) Code Hacking: For existing users who have already deployed code, you can add this line to the code (anywhere after the line with ch_client but before the line with /script). You need to replace the XXXX below with a valid URL like “http://yourdomain.com/chitika.html”.
ch_alternate_ad_url = “XXXX”;

I know a few bloggers who will be jumping up and down with excitement at this news.

Also in Chitika News – the’ve just posted the audited figures for October – which means their next payment must be close to being made! This will be my biggest ever payment from any one source! Just in time for Christmas.

Chitika to Launch ‘Local eMiniMalls’

Chitika have been promising a localized eMiniMalls for a few weeks now and it seems that it’s about to happen. The localized eMiniMalls will find UK ads for UK readers initially and gradually will roll out ads for advertisers in other countries across Europe in the coming weeks. This should lead to more satisfied advertisers (ie UK readers are more likely to buy from UK retailers) and hopefully a higher CTR as readers will see prices in their own currency and online stores that they are more familiar with.

Source – Chitika UK Launches Tomorrow, Europe Follows at Threadwatch.org

Chitika eMiniMalls – How to Increase CTR

One of the common comments that I’m reading in discussion forums about Chitika eMiniMalls is that they are not converting well in terms of CTR. There are a number of threads recently about how publishers have very large levels of traffic but are seeing very very few click throughs – especially when comparing their figures with other Ad programs.

This was something I spent a bit of time talking about in my initial review of eMiniMalls – my own Chitika CTR is running at a bit under half of my Asense CTR (keep in mind you’re not allowed to reveal specific CTR of either program). Disappointing to say the least.

Of course when comparing click values the shoe is on the other foot for me with Chitika out performing Adsense (it’s paying me about 3-4 times higher on most of my blogs per click).

While it would be easy to get down and depressed about the CTR I decided to do something positive about it and surfed through some of the sites that I saw in forums reporting low CTR this morning. My conclusion is that while eMiniMalls definately have room for improvement with CTR that in some cases, publishers could make improvements also in the way they are using Chitika ads.

The following are some of the suggestions I would make to the publishers I saw today that might be helpful to other Chitika publishers also. Please note that these are suggestions only and I can’t guarantee anything – but since playing around with some of these elements I’ve seen my own CTR on the rise a little since starting my own use of eMiniMalls.

1. Poorly positioned Ads

Tangent time – on our recent weekend away we were passing through a small country town and as we were coming out the end of it I noticed a small sign off on the side of the road in the middle of a field that was advertising a motel. The ad had some things going for it – it was in the vicinity of the motel, it advertised their very reasonable price and it managed to get my attention – however there was one thing that was not it the ads favor. The way it was positioned was so that only people leaving town would ever see it and it was actually on a pretty small and lonely road which few cars used. The positioning seemed all wrong and I wondered what it’s conversion rate would be.

[Read more...]

Good News and Bad News for Chitika Publishers

Chitika eMiniMall publishers – Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The Bad News
Chitika have just announced on their blog a few minutes ago that today they’ve had to make a few changes to their eMiniMalls system in response to working with their advertisers.

It must be a fine balancing act looking after the needs of advertisers and ensuring that they’ve got good conversion rates and responding to the needs of publishers who want good click through rates.

It looks like things might have been tipped a little in favor of the publishers because they’ve just announced that some of the text previously on Chitika eMiniMalls as a live link to advertisers (and therefore a paying link) will be made into static text. This is to combat the curiosity clicking that some advertisers are getting which don’t convert to sales.

The upside of this is that advertisers should see an upswing in their conversions – the downside is that publishers will no doubt see a downturn in their CTR.

The Good News
On the upside of the equation Chitika have announced a two week bonus for publishers. Starting today they will be giving publishers a 10% bonus on top of their normal earnings until the end of November to help compensate for the changes.

This means that while CTR will decrease that the already generous click values (update: this is my experience in my niches where click values are pretty good – I’ve been reminded in comments below that in some niches this is not the case – point taken) will increase for the next 2 weeks – especially timely at this time of year which is usually a good time for publishers of ad systems like Chitika and Adsense.

Other good news is the announcement of coming features in the coming weeks:

1. An option to set alternate urls – this means those of us with a readers from non supported countries (clicks from many Asian countries are not accepted) can set things so that when someone from a country not supported by Chitika reads your blog they don’t even see the Chitika ads but instead could get an ad served that has more chance of conversion.

2. Geo targeting: Visitors from UK will see matching deals from UK merchants – this should lead to better conversions for advertisers and publishers alike. There’s nothing like seeing a pound sign instead of a dollar sign next to a price if you’re a UK reader.

Balancing Act
As a publisher I’m a bit disappointed in the news of an impending decrease in CTR – I’m hoping it won’t be too much. But on the flip side (my wife calls me the eternal optimist) keeping advertisers happy is a key ingredient in any advertising system – without them we earn nothing so hopefully this will not only retain current advertisers in the system but attract new ones in which in turn should increase the bidding price for ads and increase the long term profitability of participating in the program for publishers.

Chitika adds eSupport Area

Chitika has quietly been developing an eSupport area where they have latest Chitika news, Downloads (currently just a couple of plugins for MT and WP) and a knowledgebase area with a collection of tips on a variety of Chitika and eMiniMall topics. They also have opportunity to submit a ticket if you can’t find the answer to your question in the knowledgebase.

It looks like being a helpful area for publishers. Hopefully they’ll add RSS feeds (there seems to be an attempt at one in the news section but my news aggregator can’t seem to find it). There is also an option to subscribe to their news via email.

Chitika add channels to eMiniMalls

I just logged into my Chitika eMiniMalls reports and found that they’ve finally gone live with their channels feature. They’ve also added some new columns to the stats that they report including CTR (click through rate) and Avg CPC (cost per click).

The CPC is a stat that Adsense have never given (it can be worked out by an easy calculation) but which will be handy. I suspect that their reporting will continue to improve over the coming weeks and months (ie they will probably get more dynamic over time and add more ability to check certain periods of time etc) – but so far so good! Channels is a massive step forward.

When you log into you stats you can view your channels all at once by clicking the date – or by channel by using the drop down menu.

If you haven’t already added the channel code to your Chitika codes it might be a good time – this way you’ll be able to work out what positions, design and keywords are working best.

To implement the channel code insert this mini bit of code into your ad unit

ch_sid = ‘xxxx’;

How do you use channels effectively?

The way I use them is to make every different ad unit on my blogs have a separate channel. ie the ad unit in my side bar has a challel code called ‘Problogger Side Menu’ – the ad unit on my individual posts pages has one called ‘Problogger Indiv Above Comments’ the one on my digicam site’s menu is called ‘DPB side menu’ etc.

This will enable me to track which ad on which blog performs best in terms of click value and CTR which in turn will teach me about what is the best position, design and keywords to target.

So now go experiment – and tell us all what you find!

update: It seems as though they’ve also added some new affiliate banner sizes to the 10 that were released last week. There are now 16 options including some larger banner and skyscraper options.