Last month, I was searching for Google Adsense alternatives to complement my Adsense earnings and decided to try Chitika. The feature that convinced me to try it is that it pays publishers via PayPal, which Google doesn’t, plus the minimum PayPal payout is $10, which in my opinion is the deal-maker for Chitika. Google’s minimum payout is $100 via check or Western Union, and for small businesses and personal blogs which rarely get decent page views per day, would take years before I can get my first payout. Signing up for Chitika was a breeze, although you have to wait before your application as a publisher is approved, but it took me around 24 hours, and I think it’s fast enough. Setting the ads up were pretty easy, though unlike Adsense, Chitika doesn’t save your ads on your account, it only gives you an embed code, thus, you need to modify your page if you want to modify your ads.
After running the ads for some time, I noticed that the ads never change. Yes, it’s true that the ads’ text changes depending on how it was referred by search engines. Other than that, nothing more. I’m not sure about the Gold-level ads on Chitika (I’m on Silver, by the way), but the ads are ridiculous. I understand that Chitika aims to be responsive to the search query, but in this case, I think it is better to just show a random ad than show a text ad every time that says,
Aitenshiproject near Makati, D9
<search query> near <your ISP location>
As a consumer, I don’t think that I will ever click ads of that type and quality. There’s a higher chance that I will click a random ad that shows purses and makeup even though I’m a guy who never use them (well, who knows?). I maybe ranting for the wrong reasons, but I believe that Chitika’s ad relevancy still has rooms for improvement. The part about responding to search engine queries is quite good, since it can dynamically adapt to what a visitor is searching for. But this technique only considers that a visitor is a casual one, one who is just led to the site through a Google search. But for the frequent visitors to the site who usually just click their bookmarks to load the page, it will only be a nuisance since all they are presented are a bunch of nuisance advertisements that can hinder their browsing experience. Though Chitika offers fallback options so that advertisements won’t show if there are no relevant ads, as a publisher, I think it is more profitable that advertisements are still shown regardless of the type of visitor, since there still lies a possibility that a frequent visitor may click an ad link (for the sake of pity) than click on a non existent ad.
It’s hard to comment on this topic based on how Chitika ads, in general, works since I’m not on the Gold-level ads, which they claim offers much more relevant advertising than the other types of ads. But based on my experience, and probably other small-scale publishers who never get more than 5,000 page views to qualify for a gold-level, probably need relevant advertising that suits the site that they worked hard for.