Helping you be your own product review expert


By: Karla Escolas

“What are you an expert reviewer of?”

The only reason I own the digital camera I have now is because my brother insisted is was worth what he paid for it. He showed me that the initial expense of the camera would turn out to be less than what I’d spend developing disposables in a year. And not to mention the quality far surpassed a camera housed by cardboard. Well, it may be easy to sway someone from using a disposable camera to using a nice digital but the point is I wouldn’t have known the benefits of making the switch if someone didn’t share with me their personal experience about it.

Taking up the challenge to provide product reviews can be done in two ways. One is to earn cash from paid-to-review websites like Epinions and “Videopinions” on The other is to start your own product review website or blog like Digital Photography Blog and I4U News and use CPC services like Chitika to help you earn revenue from it. As a Chitika member you automatically receive your own link to your custom store called a ShopLinc, this store can be linked from a page on your website or blog where you can display products related to the products you review. The great thing about this store is you don’t need to be a product review guru, you can choose to display your store by itself (without your own reviews) and still earn CPC revenue from it. All you have to do is grab your custom store and promote it.

Let’s say you do have product reviews, where are they displayed in your ShopLinc? If you look to the right hand column of this example ShopLinc, you will see a section labeled “Research from the Expert”. This is where this blogger’s own product reviews are displayed. The product reviews in that column go hand-in-hand with the Chitika product images within the rest of the ShopLinc which earn you CPC revenue when clicked on. Getting started is simple & you could be earning revenue within minutes. Sign up now and maybe your reviews will help guide someone the way my brother was able to guide me!

Monetizing Ad Space or Saving Brand Face

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Much speculation and debate erupted in response to a September 2007 comScore report on display advertising on the social network sites MySpace and Facebook. MySpace dominates over Facebook in terms of user base (measured by unique visitors), as well as number of display ads served per page. Let’s talk business. Pushing consideration of the systematic quality and integrity of these social networks aside, comScore’s findings categorized MySpace as being a far more developed advertising platform than Facebook. MySpace attracted 68.4 million unique visitors in September 2007, which is 2.2 times the 30.6 million that reportedly visited Facebook. MySpace users also viewed 1.4 times more pages per visitor and displayed 2.2 times more ads per page. Cumulatively, these stats indicate that while MySpace had twice as many unique visitors as Facebook in September, MySpace served six times as many display ads.

The debate? Should Facebook cowboy-up and increase its user base to begin to even compete with MySpace’s advertising business? I believe the biggest factor in this contention has to do with branding. Relative to the famous quote from 1988’s Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come,”; Facebook seems to be gripping tightly on to its original branding strategy; to be a college-based, highly secure, confidential, and exclusive networking tool. I contend that my peers and I feel more secure posting information on Facebook, finding comfort in the knowledge that only users in my college or ‘accepted-friend’ network can access my profile information. Furthermore, Facebook’s blue and white, clean-cut layout contrasts dramatically to the colorful, noisy, and animated templates often implemented by MySpace users. As WebProNews’s Jim Tobin reports earlier this month, he categorizes Facebook’s brand as, “clean and pure,” while MySpace’s brand, is the, “wild, wild west” of social networks. Tobin further remarks that the ads served on MySpace, “are just another part of the chaos”.

Blog Business Summit’s Teresa Valdez Klein confirms the integrity of the Facebook brand in her article, What Kind of People are on MySpace vs. Facebook? Klein debates class differences between the user bases of the two popular social networks, and concludes, “Facebook kicks MySpace’s patoot,” specifying, “Facebook is stronger overall for business networking.” The media and online marketing industry’s spotlight has certainly been on MySpace as of late.

But is MySpace’s reserved analogue Facebook simultaneously—and inconspicuously—involved in leveraging their brand to covertly monetize on their user’s personal information? Bob Johnson’s Blog on Internet Marketing article, Johnson advocates that recent media news sources are giving, “major play to news that Facebook would be dipping into personal information people put online so that advertisers can use this information to make sure that when Sally buys a new Sony TV or when Tom enrolls in a University of Phoenix online course, that information is sent along to everyone else who is a friend of Sally or Tom.” This strategy is commonly referred to as ‘word-of-mouth marketing’; working on the assumption that if one person likes something, their friends will too. Industry analysts predict marketers are going to pay major dollars for this Facebook “word-of-mouth” marketing, gaining access to user’s seemingly secure Facebook profile information. However, Facebook seems to be implementing this without properly notifying their user base. Bill Johnson explains, Facebook is tip-toeing into this marketing initiative, waiting to see if any users are upset. Or perhaps, even notice? Not to worry, a statement from the head of Facebook assures, if there is opposition, “We’ll react quickly to that”.

Categorized by its flashy and chaotic profile templates, MySpace might be winning in terms delivering six times more display ad views than Facebook, but it’s preppy, clean-cut counterpart might be gaining some foothold behind the scenes. Sometimes it’s the quiet ones that win.

By Tessa Rudd -Account Executive – Advertising Media Division, Chitika Inc.

Turn ShopCloud$ into Your Holiday Wish List

Holiday wish lists are becoming a popular way hint to your friends and family some things you are interested in this year and believe it or not, they will thank you for it. Shopping isn’t always easy, especially if your one of those people who seem to have everything. You can actually make your own list using a Chitika ShopCloud$ and paste it right on your blog or website in under a few minutes. If you are using your ShopLinc store on your website, you can link your ShopCloud$ to your ShopLinc store within the feature settings. To make a list just LOGIN, and click ShopCloud$ Code

Chitika SPHERE almost at 600!

Chitika’s official forum quickly gained popularity as a direct connection between publishers and the Chitika staff. Product & feature requests started pouring in and publishers now look at the forum as a great way to ask simple/casual questions to the community at large. The member count doubled almost instantly once we opened the doors to non-Chitika users. Now, we have almost 600 members! I highly recommend you jump in on some of the great discussions, controversies & helpful publisher tips between Chitika users & non-Chitika users!

MOST POPULAR DISCUSSION Open House Optimizations- Attention non-Chitika users! Let our experts personally review your website and tell you if any of Chitika’s products would earn you revenue on your website, for free! Are you in? Create your account now!

Makin’ a List, Checkin’ it Twice…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This 2007 holiday shopping season the Chitika team family is working overtime to find out the hottest products in Chitika’s network. We like to know what’s going on with our customers, and thanks to our extensive data reporting systems (and amazing engineers) we are able to discern the most commonly clicked keyword categories. The Apple iPod family— the Nano, Video, and Shuffle in particular—continue to lead the pack, along with digital cameras, especially Canon products. When it comes to game systems the Sony Playstation and Nintendo DS out-rank the Nintendo Wii. Consistent with various consumer and media report trends, GPS systems are hot this year; in terms of Chitika’s network, the TomTom One dominates, with the Garmin nuvi 350 navigating closely behind. So to all you online consumers; keep shopping, keep clicking, and we’ll keep data analyzing!

By Tessa Rudd -Account Executive – Advertising Media Division, Chitika

Does Matter Code Really Order?


By: Karla Escolas

“Tis the season for code freedom”

In honor of “publisher tip day” on the Chitika Blog (since today’s previous post also happens to be a publisher tip) I would like to highlight a question asked by a publisher in our forum, Chitika SPHERE.

The question was:Are we allowed to rearrange the sequence of the code below, e.g. the location of ch_default_category = “80”; ?” In other words, can he manually edit his Chitika eMiniMalls code and rearrange where each line of code goes?

The answer is yes. Now I am not sure of any practical uses for this, but the important thing is it’s okay with us! In fact there is a lot of neat things our publishers are able to do, such as:

Choose what products to display in your ad unit by setting keywords: var ch_queries = new Array(“ipod mini”, “nintendo wii”, “dell laptop”);

Disable the search tab in your eMiniMalls unit: ch_nosearch = 1; 

Make the ‘Best Deals’ Tab the default: ch_default_tab = ‘Best Deals’;

And also, thanks to Chitika publisher Stasys Bielinis, check out his tip for better targeting, “Let eMiniMalls do your dirty work

Did we miss something? We are always open to requests & comments about our ad units, so tell us!

Let eMiniMalls do your dirty work -A Publisher Tip


By: Stasys Bielinis


My Blog

“You try to use the relevant keywords in your blog post headlines, don’t you?”

When displaying pay-per-click ads (PPC), the ad targeting can make the key difference between dismal and excellent click through rate. Why should anyone click a flower ad on your gadget website? Even default keyword suggestions and broad categories like “PC desktops” or “Pets” sometimes are not enough. When a reader is checking out my Dell XPS 1330 review, I want for the ads about Dell XPS 1330 or at least Dell XPS and other gaming computers to appear in in my Chitika eMiniMalls and Chitika RPU boxes. And ads about dogs have no place in my cat grooming blog post. But short of creating a separate ad code with relevant keywords for each blog post, there’s no way I can do it on my WordPress blog. Or is there? Actually there is, it’s pretty easy and if you know how to copy & paste the ad code into your blog template, you can do this too. The key here is this line in Chitika ad unit code.

This is where Chitika servers read the suggested keywords from, match them to their inventory and serve the relevant ads. Just get the relevant keywords for each blog post in here and your ad relevance should increase significantly too. There are quite a few ways to do that. The easiest one involves getting your blog post headline into the Chitika ad code as a keyword string. You try to use the relevant keywords in your blog post headlines, don’t you? Then ad this line of code into a place where Chitika keywords go: “< ?php the_title(); ?>”, so the ad code looks like this, and you are done.

Now you have a different post headline with relevant keywords in Chitika ad units, that load with every individual blog post page. And you can still fall back to relevant categories on the main category, archive and blog home pages. If you want to be more precise and insert the keywords exactly how they should appear, you can do that as well. You just need to know a little PHP and actually write down the keywords after each blog post. Use any of the tag plugins or tags functionality in WordPress 2.3 to enter relevant keywords as tags. Or you can have a separate custom field where to enter the keywords. Then you just use the function that outputs the value of these fields as a text string and you get a highly targeted ads again. This actually worked for me quite well when Chitika Linx was in very early beta and their contextual spider truly sucked. I just switched to the non-contextual mode and copy/pasted to custom field the words from my blog post, to be highlighted as Linx. But I haven’t tried this after recent Linx changes so I’m not sure how that will work today.

-Posted by: Stasys Bielinis, Staska.Net, Unwired View

Have a good tip? Be featured as our next A Publisher Speaks! Just send your story to karla(at)chitika(dot)com!

Check your Linx; better targeting & more to come



By: Mike Axiak

“Sympathizes with Linx Servers”

Linx is out! I know you all know this already, but I still don’t believe it. Three weeks and over 300 publishers later, there are still many improvements that are being pushed out, and many really cool changes that will come down in the not-so-distant future. Here are some of the improvements that have come out in the past week or so:

  • Default include classes: No more need to specify, unless you really want to.
  • Better keyword targeting: This will be improved in the future as Linx figures out how keywords performed.
  • Increased ad pool so that more keyword can have higher-quality ads.

Improved relevancy? You be the judge. (Source)

Each of these have had tremendous impacts on the performance of Linx, and there is a nontrivial list of things to keep working us busy and the product performing even better. Linx has a lot of really cool features to it, but most (if not all) people probably don’t know what the coolest ones are. You might have noticed, but we designed Linx to be *fast*. What does that mean? With many in-text ads, the browser itself has to look around for the keyword. With our system— if you use HTML classes —our servers tell the client exactly where the keyword is on the page (or at least as close as it can). Our servers work very hard to download your pages and give the right information to your browser via JavaScript to display ads. When a person puts their mouse cursor over a keyword, the ads will come up almost instantaneously. The main price to pay for this is that we need to work extra hard to ensure that all the pages in the world can be understood by our server. We have been in the process of working through all pages that call us. If you happened to try Linx and saw no keywords highlight, trust us— we know, and are working to fix it. (You may even get an email saying that we personally ensured your site works.)

That’s it for now. If you have any more comments or suggestions for Linx, please let us know! We are definitely open to change things to fit everyone’s needs. About Chitika | Linx

More than an ad unit – a complete comparison shopping tool


By: Karla Escolas

“Do you have a shopping mall on your website?”

I’m guilty of two things: last minute holiday shopping & comparing prices. As I walked into my third mall of the day yesterday I realized it had taken hours to find the same product at different prices, when instead I could’ve searched for it in an eMiniMalls unit & seen the different deals in seconds. Which is why I want to show you how neat a Chitika | eMiniMalls unit truly is. One thing in the back of my mind while shopping is, “I wonder if there’s a better deal elsewhere?“. This is a comparison shopping thought that eMiniMalls can answer for you because an eMiniMalls unit is packed with millions of products including about 25,000 different brands. Most ad units include a link to only one item with usually only one place to purchase it, and on top of that you have to view it on another page which takes your visitor away from your website. An eMiniMalls unit gives your visitor the chance to view descriptions & multiple purchasing choices for up to 4 products in the unit itself!

Searching for products here will refresh your unit with more products – NOT take you to another page. Chitika | eMiniMalls ad units are not only a must-have for holiday shopping on your website or blog, but an informative tool that your visitors can benefit from year-round. Sign up for eMiniMalls today! Learn more about this new way of shopping with eMiniMalls.