Visit Chitika eMiniMalls

What's Chitika working on?

Coming improvements

- Quicker stats
- More detailed stats
- Daily audits
- UK local listings
- France local listings
- Ads for RSS
- & for books/travel
- UK merchants
- Pounds & Euro prices
- More ad formats
- Ad preview tool


Recent developments

CHANNELS! (Nov 7th)

The code page now automates the addition of keywords to your ad code. Log into your account to see it

- Banner ads for referral program

- Totals in stats


Signed up for Chitika and not profitable?
We can help.


Problems and caveats

So Chitika is the best thing since sliced bread and will make you a Bill Gates by tomorrow morning? Fat chance! But it will make you a darn sight more than if you closed this window, opened a can of beer and sat down to watch some football.

Look, any program can have its drawbacks. We believe that you should be aware of both the good and the bad before taking a decision. So, here are all the negatives we spotted. But the really, really smart way of seeing whether eMiniMalls is the dog's balls is to open an account and take it for a spin.


Is Chitika eMiniMalls Adware?

There have been some reports of the Kaspersky antivirus program reporting that Chitika is Adware. This is unusual and obviously a problem with Kaspersky itself. Adware is defined by Wikipedia as

"...a software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used"

Sample ad, not targeted

Hmm. Is there a case to be argued that, strictly speaking, Chitika falls within that definition. Banner ads and Adsense text/image ads don't change once they've been downloaded. The tab feature in Chitika that allows a user to control what they see more of does result in a change of what is displayed on the screen after the page has been downloaded. That also happens with Adware.

That this screen change is by user choice rather than the unwanted activity of a stealth program running in the background needs to be accounted for. Currently Kaspersky doesn't make that distinction and warns you and your visitors who use Kaspersky that there is an adware threat on the page. The Wikipedia article above does go on to make clear that consent is what distinguishes adware from normal software. It is expected that Kaspersky will make the necessary changes in due course just as McAfee did.

Update: Oct 13th: Kaspersky has now fixed this.

Error messages

When the Chitika server can't be contacted your visitor will probably get a warning box popping up. This is quite disconcerting to the visitor, gives the impression there's a problem with your site and, what's worse, it'll appear once for every Chitika ad you have on the page.

Chikita doesn't suit all sites

And it may not suit yours. So, before you go changing all those ad units test a corner first to see if the colour runs. Chitika is best suited to product sites. It doesn't advertise services, a vacation or real estate themed site may not be best suited to run Chitika. You cannot have quiet, unobtrusive text ads blended in to be indistinguishable from the content in the hope that the user will click an ad accidentally. Eminimall ads are bold and in your face and that's why they pay so much more per click.

Bad luck if you're from India or China

Or if your traffic is predominantly from there. Apparently, the high rates of fraud from these countries makes it uneconomical at the moment. Isn't that racist? The Chitika CEO, Venkat Kolluri, is from Andhra Pradesh in India. It's kinda hard to call him anti-Indian.

Bad luck if your site's not in English

While the French may get lucky soon, so far Chitika eMiniMalls is for English language websites only.

There is no alternate ad facility and no webmaster feedback when a merchant discontinues an ad

You've taken time and trouble to identify the product that'll be best suited to your cookery site and you've embedded the code with the custom keywords as suggested on our tips page. You are now getting the non-stick pan advertisements you wanted. Great. Three months from now the advertiser ceases to advertise. What happens to your ad spot? Unfortunately, it's not targeted anymore and the only way you'll know that your page is not fully monetised is by careful monitoring of your channels in stats.

Ads don't show in some browsers

There was a temporary problem with viewing in Firefox 1.5 Beta and Safari 2.0.1 ... but that's been fixed.

Colours and fonts can stick

If you don't go for the default options and instead specify your own colours and fonts in the first ad on your page you may find that subsequent ads on the page use those same colours and fonts even if you don't insert the relevant code again.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Webmasters who want all the ads on the page to have a consistent look will be glad to have less work. But a workaround is available on our Chitika bug fix page.

Earnings you see may not be earnings you get

Because auditing of the clicks is done at the end of the month you may find that you don't get paid for all the clicks generated. It's unlikely that you will lose more than the odd click (and initial stats from several publishers suggests that some don't get any deductions at all) but this is a point you want to bear in mind when you're getting excited about your daily stats.

What are you likely to lose in the audit? Early indications are that it doesn't exceed 10%. The chances are that these "losses" happen at Adsense and other contextual advertising programs. However, as the suspicious clicks are removed on a daily basis - and you don't see the unaudited figures - you don't feel the pinch.

Stats not the best around

Stats are slow to update (only once a day - so not good for the Adsense stats addicts). Even that once a day is often late. They claim that they start processing at 3 AM EST and that it takes up to 12 hours. So, in effect, you may need to wait till 3 PM EST (8 PM GMT) to see your previous day's unaudited stats. Their notice says: "We are working on speeding up the process so that we can shorten the turnaround time".

Further, the detail provided is very little. You get a choice of Unaudited, Audited or Referral revenue. The image (click to open in new window) shows what Unaudited looks like; you've got four columns with Date, Impressions, Clicks and Earnings. And, that's it. No channels, no choosing data range, no choosing by Page View or Impression. This will change in due course. With the addition of the channel feature etc the stats should become a lot more interesting. And, hopefully, a lot quicker to update. But, for the moment, this is it:

Clicking on Referrals provides this level of detail:

At the bottom of each column you don't even get a total. Want to know how much you made so far this month? Get a calculator and work it out manually.

Limited colour controls

At present you have controls for background, text, title and border.


Bear in mind that the Chitika Minimalls program is in beta and, like Adsense, will evolve and improve. The above criticisms may not be valid in a week or month from now (Oct 2005). Given all the caveats would we recommend the program? Heck, yes we would and with a great deal of enthusiasm. OK, we're getting a 10% cut for it but we'd still recommend it even if we weren't. Why? Because it costs you nothing to try it and you could be very, very pleasantly surprised indeed. Take a gander down to Chitika today.