Chitika running adult ads and images in their ad units

It’s been a while since Chitika has been high up on my radar. However, a couple of Chitika ad units caught my eye due to their very adult nature, complete with images.

The chosen keywords in the script is the benign sounding “magazine subscriptions”. Nothing terribly exciting there. Except the images included in the ad units happen to be nearly-naked women gracing the covers of Hustler and Genesis magazines. And there is absolutely no supporting text on the page that would influence these types of ads. It is strictly “magazines subscriptions” as the targeted keyword phrase that is triggering these adult ads.

A reload of the ad units shows “Purely 18” magazine, where someone has gone and blue barred out the otherwise naked woman on the cover.

Here are screenshots of the three ad units I saw. I have blurred out the “family un-friendly” portion of the magazine covers, but if you so desire, you can click on each to see the ad as it appears on the page.




I find it interesting that most magazine stores hide the covers of these types of magazines, yet Chitika is showing these images front and center on an otherwise extremely family-friendly page. I would have thought anything potentially adult oriented would have been removed from the ad rotation before they went public, unless the publisher had explicitly chosen “Hustler magazine” for the keywords. But this certainly should not happen for “magazine subscriptions”.

If you are running Chitika, be very aware that these types of ads are running on the ad network, and could potentially be appearing on your site without you knowing it, so checking your sites for this kind of thing is definitely needed, since Chitika doesn’t seem to be checking for them, or they are perhaps allowing it.

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12 comments to Chitika running adult ads and images in their ad units

  • ooh a ad network s3x scandal 🙂

    I’ll bet these slipped through their system somehow – nice pick up Jen.

  • Not very “adult” content. Chitika is heading to europe. Advertising soap and cosmetics is done with similar pictures over here.

  • Does that mean I can start running Chitika on my adult sites?

  • Ken

    Great catch, Jen. I better check my parenting blog. Other parents will really wonder what kind of dad I am if the adult ads start showing up my site.

  • Yeah, Even I pointed it out and reported it to chitika. So here is their reply

    “Hello Thilak,

    Can you send me the URL to your blog with our unit on it so I can check this out for you?

    Best Regards,
    Chitika Customer Service

    But I later found that It was due to “Books” Keyword

  • Bob

    Jen, you say “And there is absolutely no supporting text on the page that would influence these types of ads.”

    But then you also say “the chosen keywords in the script is the benign sounding “magazine subscriptions”.

    That is contradictory… either the ads were being run in contextual mode or they were not. If there were in fact keywords being used in the code (which I suspect) then the content of the page would have nothing to do with it.

    Since we all know Chitika gets most of their inventory from….. go to and enter “magazine subscriptions” into the search box there…. Same content.

    Did the user not preview the query before using it? If you search for “magazine subscriptions” on the Chitika ad preview page you will see the same ads. If you don’t like the results of that query, use a more specific one.

  • Bob: That is correct. Our adult filters are set up to block adult related queries. But in this case, looks like adult related paid listings started showing up for queries related to “magazines”.

    We released a quick fix to this problem by blocking queries related to “magazines”. For now, network default products will be displayed for “magazine” related keywords.

    We are working on a more robust solution to address this problem.

    Chitika, Inc.

  • I put Chitika up yesterday on one of my fitness sites, and put magazine ads as one of my keywords – thinking I’d get ads relevant to my site topic. I got the same sort of ads… Hustler, etc.

    Totally weird.

  • Adult Ads in Chitika eMiniMalls

    Jen picks up appearances of a couple of very adult nature Chitika ads, complete with images. The chosen keywords in the script is the benign sounding “magazine subscription”.
    The ad units show nearly-naked women gracing the covers of Hust…

  • Yeah…even with parental controls on browsers, the adult ads can still be seen by impressionable children. It’s getting to the point where if you want to preserve your childs innocence, you will have to simply remove the televisions and computers from the house. Mind you, then what – have to pluck out their eyes and stick cotton batton in their ears as well. Maybe move to an isolated shack on top of a mountain.

    I see nothing wrong with adult sites, but let the kids grow up good and slow.

  • I’m glad to see that Chitika is still around and that the CEO (Venkat) is able to post about this issue. I had expected them to go down the tubes after they started closing the accounts of affiliates for no reason and keeping all the funds that had been earned. Yes, I am one of MANY bitter people that spent quite a bit of time promoting Chitika and trying to earn some honest money only to be cut off at the knees and be accused of click fraud on our own sites. I guess some people are still making money from Chitika, but I think all it will take is for them to get a few extra clicks and find their account closed as well.

    Chitika was a great concept ruined by bad policy/management and should be avoided at all costs, in my personal opinion. Don’t take my word for it, just do a search for “Chitika Sucks”.

  • I’m in the same boat as you Chris. Lost over a thousand dollars, completely defrauded. I haven’t recieved a single response to my phone, fax, email, and mail to them to try to recover my funds. There was never any click fraud, they just wanted to keep my money. What a 100% complete scam.