I recently got an email from the folks at Chitika which informed me that I could make referral commissions on anybody I refer to Chitika for a full 15 months. They even provided me a shortcut link to send my referral link out to Twitter. But, is Chitika really any good?
I have been using Chitika for some time over on PCMech.com. I do not put very much into the program and it has been very much one of my minority income streams. But, even without putting much into it, I have been making a couple hundred dollars per month with it. It might not be much, but considering how little “face time” it gets with my readers, I’m not complaining. And surely, if I took the time to optimize it, I could probably increase my monthly income fairly easily through Chitika.
If you’re not familiar, Chitika is a company which delivers search-targeted ads. The ads are completely compatible with Google Adsense and does not compete, so you don’t have to worry about running Chitika and Adsense on the same pages. Whenever a user clicks into your site via a search engine, Chitika will deliver that user a targeted ad block based on the keywords used to find your website. So, it is super-well targeted. And as of just a few days ago, they are no longer auditing traffic using these types of ads. The auditing process has been a source of frustration for publishers because it usually means your actual monthly income ends up being less than what your stats showed.
This is the kind of ad I am running on PCMech, which means the ads are only visible when the site is entered from a search engine. If you go directly to the site or click in from another site, you will see no ad from Chitika.
These ads have been working extremely well for Chitika, so much so that it appears as if they are now making this ad type their priority. When you log in as a publisher, this is the kind of ad you will see first. Only when you click the link for other ad types will you see the other options, including Lynx (contextual ads ala Kontera), whitespace ads (which use your site’s white space on larger screen resolutions), the eMiniMall and the Multiple Product Unit (or MPU). Those last two are PPC ads which lead primarily to products.
The other ad types they’ve offered have been pretty disappointing in the past and this is the primary reason Chitika hasn’t gotten much play on PCMech.com. The ads they’ve given were poorly targeted and generated very little revenue. So, I’m not surprised at all that their Premium search-targeted ads are working so well. They alleviate the problem of poor targeting. With the new ad types, my CTR climbed dramatically and my income climbed to the point that it is.
Chitika works best when (1) you have a lot of incoming traffic from search engines, and/or (2) you have a product oriented website which people come to when looking for particular kinds of products (i.e. a review site). Additionally, you can make money by referring people to Chitika. That won’t work for everybody, but for some it can.
So, if you’re running a site and want to try making some extra month with it, I would recommend Chitika. I’m still not making enough from Chitika to justify replacing any of my other ad sources with Chitika, but specifically targeting my search traffic makes a lot of sense and it does provide a little boost to my income. If you run a review site, you could probably make a killing with Chitika. As anybody in this business will tell you, you want a bunch of different income streams and, for me, Chitika is one of them.