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Chitika eMiniMalls Review

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of September 2005 Advertising, Chitika eMiniMalls 129

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.


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?

The terms of using eMiniMalls don’t allow me to share specific figures but I can share the following:

Overall – I’ve been beta testing mini-malls for 5 weeks now and am very happy with them. They don’t out perform Adsense for me yet – but my overall earnings with them for the month of September is more than a quarter and less than a half of my Adsense earnings for the month (regularly readers will be able to do some sums and come up with some approximate earnings there). Take into consideration that I don’t have them running on every blog I own and have not spent much time optimizing them yet and you’ll see that they have some real potential.

Cost per Click – Very good. The first day I added mini malls to and saw the amount that each click was paying I was quite surprised. They are considerably higher than my average click value on Adsense – some days they are 5 or 6 times higher. I’ve talked to a couple of other bloggers using them and they report similar click values. This is the definate strength of mini-malls.

Click Through Rate – The percentage of people clicking on eMiniMalls ads is considerably lower than what I get on Adsense. This is a bit disappointing and is probably for a number of reasons.

  • Poor Optimization – This is partly my fault. I’ve just not had time to really optimize the ads properly. It is also partly because they are not currently offering channels to track ad performance on different blogs/categories/positions. As a result if I were to try to optimize the ads now I have no way of tracking the results. Channels are a feature that will be added shortly however so I’m expecting to be able to increase my CTR somewhat.
  • Poor Ad matching – Chitika are still working on how they match ads with content. Ad relevancy seems to be a bit of a problem on some posts. I know this because I know they have ads for some products that just don’t show up on pages where i’d expect them to. Hopefully they’ll continue to develop their algorithm and find ways of making ads even more relevant.
  • Lower Numbers of Ads – I’m suspecting that Chitika has a lower number of ads than Adsense to select from to run on sites using mini-malls. This means that sometimes ads can be a little irrelevant to your content which would decrease CTR also.

Let’s hope they can increase CTR in future.

Reports – I’ll emphasize that mini-malls are in beta at present so don’t expect too much in the reporting realm yet. At this stage they just update at the end of each day and give you some basic stats under the four headings of – Date, Impressions, Clicks and Revenue. These stats are what they call ‘unaudited’ – which means they haven’t taken anything off the total that they suspect to be click fraud or ‘dodgy’ clicks. They ‘audit’ you at this stage once per month (they have indicated that this will happen daily at some point in the future). I was only in the system for three days of last month but the auditing brought my ‘unaudited’ figures back by about 10% of what they were. Clicks are audited by some secret process that includes multiple or repeated clicks, traffic from bots and spiders as well as traffic coming from certain countries like China or Korea.

I’m not too impressed by the auditing feature. While I understand why its there I can see that this will be the cause of some tension between Chitika and Publishers. I’m sure Adsense has some sort of system in place that does something similar – but they are big enough to build it in as a real time feature so that publishers just don’t know what they lose. I’d rather not know the amount they take off for this than have it dangled before me to be taken away later.

I know from my conversations with Chitika staff that the reporting system will be undergoing significant improvements in the coming weeks and months.

Ad Formats – The currently offer 10 different size formats in some pretty standard sizes. I’ve recommended to them that they add a couple of new formats that I believe would be beneficial to bloggers but overall the options are pretty good. They also allow you to make some changes to the design of your ads by changing colors of borders, title and text to match your blog.

Payment – Payment is via Paypal in US Dollars at the start of every month – around 30 days after the end of the month you’re being paid for. You need to reach a minimum of $10 to get a payment.

Can Mini-Malls be used in conjunction with Adsense? – Most people I talk to about mini-malls asks this – it’s important as most bloggers want to use them in conjunction with one another.

I’ve talked to Google about this via email. The first email I got back from them said ‘no’ you can’t use them for two reasons:

  1. They look too similar to Adsense Ads
  2. They are contextual ads

I decided to follow the email up pointing out two things.

  1. They actually don’t look like Adsense ads – they have a picture in them, tabs etc. I think the mistake Adsense made at first was in confusing mini-malls with Chitika’s other ads which do look very similar to Adsense ads.
  2. You can actually disable the contextual element of the ads and plug in code that targets a specific product.

The email I received back said that they were sorry for making a mistake and that Chitika mini-mall ads can be used in conjunction with Adsense IF they are set to be non contextual.

I know of two others who have had this same conversation with Google with the same results.

English Sites only – at this point they are in beta test and only accepting Engine sites into the program. While this is sad for non English sites I guess they have to start somewhere. Hopefully they’ll widen it later at some point.

All in all – I’m pleased with Chitika’s mini-malls. They have loads of potential. I suspect (and until I get channels I won’t know for sure) that they will do best on product related blogs. They seem to serve very relevant ads to my gadget type blogs and struggle on some of my more ‘news’ related blogs.

I’ve also seen them producing very relevant ads over at ShoeBlogs (remember in the interview I did with Manolo that he said that chitika ads were in some of his better performing ads). I’ve also seen a couple of bloggers so impressed with mini-malls that they’ve ditched Adsense all together as they were able to earn significantly more from Chitika (one of these is Jeremy Wright from ensight.

As with all new ad programs I would suggest that putting all your eggs in one basket is not the way to go – give Chitika a go by all means but keep in mind that eMiniMalls are in a beta test and as with all beta tests things are being tested and tweaked along the way. There is promising signs but take your time with it.

You can apply to be a part of the eMiniMalls beta test at Chitika Mini Malls Sign Up.

Disclaimer: the links to Chitika in this post are affiliate links – if you sign up using these links I earn a small amount as a commission. It does not impact what you earn from Chitika but rather is paid by Chitika. While these links are affiliate links I genuinely believe in the product and have pointed out both its benefits and weaknesses.

Update: A couple of people have asked for more information on the Adsense/Mini-mall running on the same page thing. Here is an excerpt from an email that Google sent associates and I when we asked them for clarification about running the mini-malls in a non contextual mode.

‘Yes, you can use the Chitika products that rely on keywords selected by
you as opposed to your site’s content, on your site in addition to Google

For additional questions, please visit our AdSense Support site at or feel free to reply to this

Update II

If you’re one of the many bloggers who have just signed up for Chitika eMiniMalls after reading this review you might like to check out Quick Online Tips who have just posted tips on running Chitika eMiniMalls & Google Adsense on Same Webpage.

There they give code that helps you to set your eMiniMalls up in a way that is non contextual (and is therefore allowable with Adsense) but in a way that rotates a variety of ads which will help you to get a bit of variety in your ads which will help combat ad blindness.

I’ve been using this rotating ads code over the past day or two and have noticed an increase in earnings already.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the bloggers that are reporting the best successes with eMiniMalls are the ones that are targeting products on their blogs. I know I mentioned this above – but bloggers with a focus upon gadgets, clothes, shoes etc seem to be doing very well from them.

Update III – I’ve added a Chitika eMiniMall Tips Page for those of you who have signed up. Enjoy.

Share what you’ve learnt about eMiniMalls below in comments.

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.
  1. I just recently started using Chitika on and it seems to be performing very well. It is definitely competing with my Google Adsense.

  2. The past week Chitika gave us permission to publish eMinimall in our italian blog…

    For the first week we earned 1/10 of adsense revenue… I’ll let U know if something will change in the next weeks…

  3. Victim – Sorry to hear of your negative experiences with Chitika.

    I’ve not had any problems with them. They’ve always paid me each month and their returns are good. Perhaps this is because I’m a larger publisher but I do have contact with many other publishers who have nothing but positive things to say about their experience with Chitika. It sucks that there are so many diverse experiences people are having and I’m sorry others don’t have the same good experience that I do.

    As I think about it though – there are some people who have negative experience of most ad networks. I get emails every week or two from people who have been banned from AdSense without any explanation apart from (inappropriate clicks) – my advice to them is that there isn’t much they can do about it and instead of wasting a lot of energy complaining to get on with developing quality sites and find other income streams that do work well for them.

    I think it’s good to share both positive and negative experiences of things like this but maybe it’s time for people who have had negative experiences to move on. I know that sounds harsh but as someone who has crusaded against things online before I know how much of a distraction it can be to my more productive web activities.

    Just my two cents worth.

  4. Do many of you also experience what i call the “cheatikadsense” ?
    They replace their minimall by adsense tagged by their adsense account !!!

    incredible but true.

  5. Since everybody is talking about figure, i’d like to ask a question to see if i’m doing something wrong. Well currently on my site i get around 400 unique visitors per day, and around 800000 page impression, but i currently make not more than $10 dollars per day using google ads.

    Is there something i’m doing wrong, should i be making a lot more for that traffic?

  6. Kris – you have 400 visitors who view 800,000 pages?

    That’s 2000 pages each!!!!

    The page impressions numbers sound very high to say the least.

    400 visitors for $10 sounds normal though.

  7. Darren – thanks for your reply. Well the site is a dating site and we have almost 5000 members, so yes it’s easy for us to get that amount of page view.
    We get about 400 unique visitors per day. I also think that our click through is low ’cause of our target audience.

  8. My only problem with them is the size and breadth of the ad inventory.

  9. […] Of course, now that I was free of AdSense’s contextual restrictions (as explained by the superb Darren Rowse), I was able to open up my Chitika settings. Furthermore, I was able to re-evaluate my current advertising strategy. If I was too reliant on one advertising provider I could easily end up in the same situation again 3-6 months down the line. I had 3 providers (Chitika, Adsense and a MyReferrer account that was reliant upon purchase rather than clicks to generate revenue) and was down to two. I’ve decided that what I’m going to do is stick with Chitika for now, set up Adbrite and replace the MyReferrer block with Clicksor, although I might swap it with the Adbrite block further down the page if it doesn’t perform too well. […]

  10. Zach Shine says: 05/26/2006 at 3:56 pm

    Chitika turned me down due to not enough traffic on my blog. Fortunately I found a similar service based on a much more fair and open market. is a similar service with much more options and banner sizes to choose from. What I like about is they allow you to choose what merchant to display products for. seems to be a colaboration of hundreds of merchants from the affiliate industry. Check them out yourself,

    Zach Zach

  11. SnakeOil Labs and Zach,
    Good info on the various affiliate networks you’ve used and found best practices on. I’m currently learning the ropes of AdSense but it’s good to know of these other options. I’m currently working on a reference website to provide popular links to various topics (news, blogs, podcasts, reference, etc.).

    I’d be curious to get your thoughts on how frequently you swap your advertising positions amongst the different partners and if you see greater success with certain types of ad layouts? Chitika functionality is pretty good for drawing eyeballs.

  12. Good review Darren, thanks for sharing.

    I’ve just signed up to Chitika and I’m waiting for approval. My site is not about gadgets but this has put me thinking about launching one.


  13. Someone wrote here “Chitika turned me down due to not enough traffic”. I wonder is there any guidelines what traffic would be enough. I also wonder if only English sites are approved… Must read more.

  14. […] г) Mini-malls можно размещать рядом с рекламами AdSense, если они не поставлены в контекстный режим. Более подробная информация о Chitika MiniMalls и первые впечатления от этого сервиса от Даррена Рауза. […]

  15. Signed up with Chitika month ago. Still have no even 1 mail from them. Probably they do not like to sing karaoke that my website is related to.

  16. I have tried chitka and at first seemed impressed, but now went back to adsense on sites I dont sell any of my products. It’s good to know there is other options to generate income from a website without selling any products… what well they think of next? How to buy real estate with no money down?? oh…wait lol

  17. […] From what I heard, they give good Cost per Click but low CTR but can perform very well for sites focused upon products. Check out Darren’s review on Chitika eMiniMalls and his Chitika eMiniMalls category for more info. […]

  18. […] Other CPC Advertising – There are a variety of other ad systems that pay on a per click basis which are not contextual in nature (which is important as systems like AdSense do not allow you to run contextual ads on the same page view as them). These systems include Chitika’s eMiniMalls (aff) which I reviewed here. […]

  19. I tried signing up for Chitika for my site
    They did not accept me as they said that they require a certain amount of traffic to the site before one can signup.
    I have seen and know many sites which have a very low traffic but still have Chitka ad program.
    Maybe, I will try again

  20. […] Chitika eMiniMalls Review (ProBlogger) […]

  21. I’ve signed up with Chitika but they require more traffic. :(

  22. […] for ProBlogger 2. I believe in them and have no hesitation in recommending them (see my previous review of Chitika and tips on how to use them). 3. Readers have previously fed back that ‘cash’ was the […]

  23. Is anyone else gaining a significant amount of revenue from Chikita? I have not heard much on which company to go with the most. Text Link Ads?

  24. I will be adding Chitika to my site.

  25. I just started my weblog and I am wondering how many visitors or views you must have to pass chitika’s requirements? And is it possible to sign up more than once over time?

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