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December 01, 2005

Chitika publishers see drastically reduced earnings in audited reports

When publishers first joined Chitika's eMiniMalls and saw the fact that Chitika would be auditing revenue, many publishers were not alarmed. AdSense has this as well, and I only know of a handful of publishers who have ever had their monthly income audited, and they were mainly for obvious click attacks. So I saw no reason to worry over audited income, and if I expected to see audited income, I would expect a drop in the 2% or maybe as high as 5% range.

In a thread at DigitialPoint, it didn't take long to see the full extent of just how significant these audits actually were. One publisher saw one day's income drop from $28.02 to $3.05 and saw similar drops on other days. Publishers are reporting drops anywhere from 10% to as high as 60% of revenue cut.

And over at SitePoint, the news gets even worse. In a thread there, several publishers report their income being audited by 70% or more... with one publisher reporting he lost 90% of his income in the audit.

I saw a cut in my earnings from my own ad displays of about 15%. And I lost well over HALF of my referral revenue for the month of October. And since I was running the referral program for nearly all of October (instead of just since the 18th, like most publishers) it isn't just 14 days I saw half my revenue cut but rather it was 26 days of promoting Chitika in October that I lost over half my income on. And I suspect I will see the same for November as well.

You also have to wonder exactly what they are auditing for? Did they drop every click that didn't convert into a sale? If so, that is definitely not what publishers signed up for. But with so many publishers reporting such high % of revenue being audited, it is a possibility.

I also suspect it is likely that Chitika knew audits were going to be this drastic when they released the newly designed ad units on November 16th. They should have started to release audited figures then, even if they were unable to release the entire month's audits. This would have given publishers more time to prepare for the fact that the payments they were expecting to be issued yesterday (as per net 30 terms) would be less than expected, rather than finding out last night when the updated figures were finally released.

The other thing that hurt publishers with this is that they took a full 30 days after the end of the month of October to release audited revenue numbers. And I suspect many publishers would have removed Chitika from their sites if they had known that ad space would only be worth half as much as what they expected. And now publishers are looking at the fact they have promoted Chitika (both for referrals and by running ad units) for the entire month of November without knowing the true impact of the audits and wondering just how much of that effort will be wasted when audits are finally completed on November earnings at the end of December.

And it is also the holiday season, I suspect that many publishers were counting on that income for holiday spending. And for some publishers, losing 50 or even 90 percent of their expected earnings could add up to some pretty significant dollars for some publishers.

Also, I have not heard of any publisher being paid yet. And since most publishers receive payments via PayPal and on net 30 terms, publishers should have been receiving PayPal payments already. So one also has to wonder if there is a delay in getting those audited earnings to customers. But when I double checked on the net 30 terms in the Chitika Terms, I was reminded of this clause:

Chitika will not be responsible for any payments to Client until payment has been collected from Chitika's advertisers.

Could this be the reason no one has received a payment yet?

All in all, this audited income fiasco is a huge disappointment for publishers. And I have to wonder if the many people who dropped AdSense for Chitika now find that Chitika really was the more profitable one now that audits have been done. And more than a few publishers on the forums are already stating they are dropping Chitika after seeing these drasticly reduced audited income reports. And I don't blame them. Seeing half my income go is giving me second thoughts as well.

Posted by Jenstar at December 1, 2005 05:59 AM

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Comments

People will find out the truth about chitika.
I have been doubting the credibility of them for a while.
Stop and have a look round and read between the lines.
You will get a big shock

Posted by: Earl Grey at December 1, 2005 07:55 AM

The audit has been a disgrace, I lost 40 percent, and know of others who have lost upwards of 60 percent to this hatchet job of an audit.

The whole affair seems to have be been cloaked in shadow and fog.

First the image wasn't clickable, then they removed the product titles.

Curiosity clicks, invalid clicks, fraudulent clicks? What kind of clicks does Chitika like?

Posted by: Isabelle at December 1, 2005 08:40 AM

Do you think people will file lawsuit agains Chitika?

I know the guy at problogger promotes them heavily, I wonder that he'll say now?

Posted by: Bill at December 1, 2005 10:47 AM

The biggest problem I have is the fact that I actively recruited other people to join Chitika. I feel responsible for giving them such high hopes. After they see the audited figures, they will curse me. It might sound melodramatic, but I feel dirty. I hope these Chitika fraudsters end up in jail.

I just want to say how much I admire you. I know you pushed the program and stand to lose some money by being so honest about Chitika right now. What you lose in Chitika money, you win in respect.

Posted by: frank at December 1, 2005 11:01 AM

Maybe now that people aren't going to get paid as much as they originally though, they will finally open their eyes and realize that these Chitika things are just plain UGLY!

Posted by: Julie Chadwick at December 1, 2005 11:28 AM

I seem to be lucky in that the cut has been less than 20%, even with about half of my visitors being outside the US. On the other hand I get low traffic and low clicks even before auditing (I think the highest day had 5), so it looks like Chitika being pretty firm with a rule along the lines of one click per IP per day.

Posted by: Paul Wells at December 1, 2005 03:09 PM

To answer your question Jen, I HAVE been paid (today) for October's revenue.

Posted by: Tim at December 1, 2005 03:43 PM

Not sure what the total reduction I saw from auditing was, but it wasn't more than 10% or so.

Also, I got paid today, via PayPal, as well, for whatever that's worth.

Posted by: Josh Bancroft at December 1, 2005 04:16 PM

Actually, I went and did the math, and I saw a 40% reduction in clicks and revenue. Much bigger deal.

Posted by: Josh Bancroft at December 1, 2005 04:38 PM

I lost 50% of my click revenue. My traffic is mainly European and North American; mostly physicians so I know they have money. My eCPM turns out to be about 1.00 USD which is a joke for my quality traffic. I am really insulted actually with this eCPM figure. I can make about 30 times this with other contextual programs. Besides this, isn't the internet global? I don't believe that ecommerce sites tend to reject purchases from asian countries. If they aren't going to pay on Asian traffic, then they shouldn't serve ads to them.

Posted by: John at December 1, 2005 05:08 PM

They grabbed about 45% of my revenue as well. I'm so chuffed I'm gathering up stories to help spread the word.

Posted by: Chitika In My Review Mirror at December 1, 2005 05:20 PM

90% of my revenue has gone in a blink of an eye.

Posted by: Chitika Sucks at December 1, 2005 06:45 PM

I only lost 2% after audit. No complaints here.

Posted by: Emory at December 1, 2005 07:49 PM

Hate to be a jackass here -- but I'm not suprised. This kind of affiliate hanky panky is nothing new. There have been plenty of fly by night affiliate programs in the adult industry.

And if their TOS allowed this there isn't a chance in hell you can sue them and expect to see a penny.

Posted by: Andrew Johnson at December 1, 2005 09:58 PM

I got paid today...

Posted by: M Freitas at December 1, 2005 10:10 PM

I got paid today, with a drop of 44%.

Posted by: Dirk at December 2, 2005 12:23 AM

They absconded with 45% of my earnings as well!

Posted by: paul at December 2, 2005 04:23 AM

If I were a syndicated ad network looking to get rid of low-quality publishers, I wouldn't be too upset by the fact that many low-quality publishers are leaving.

Reward the performers, cut the rest. Repeat. You then end up with a quality network, and the performers are even more well rewarded.

Problem: the negative PR needs to be nipped in the bud. There are productive publishers, waiting on the sidelines, wanting to know if the ad supplier is the real deal.

Posted by: spud at December 2, 2005 09:12 AM

They didn't take any of my money for October. Of course that was my first month, and I only made $2.44. It is indeed upsetting that we have to wait another month to see what they're going to do to our November earnings...

Posted by: Gary at December 2, 2005 01:31 PM

Is it just me or has chitika started ignoring the keywords i enter?

Posted by: JD at December 2, 2005 02:14 PM

Is it just me or is Chitkia ignoring my keywords. I don't have contextual as i still have adsense on my site, but my ads have been really off topic the for the last week.

Posted by: JD at December 2, 2005 02:15 PM

Spud: There is one way for them to get rid of the negative PR, change their name.

Posted by: Andrew Johnson at December 2, 2005 09:03 PM

Is there a net equivalent to the Better Business Bureau? This should be investigated. I will begin removing most, if not all, of their code from my site. I haven't been audited yet...have to wait at least one more month. Doesn't matter anyway because I doubt I'll get paid.

Posted by: gt at December 3, 2005 03:16 PM

I had read on Webmasterworld and other forums that there is a drop of 2 - 10 %. 10 % was considered way too much. But now after reading 40 - 50 % Chitika seems ridiculous. Do they take into account clicks which convert into sales or clicks from the USA only ?

Posted by: Dhiram at December 4, 2005 04:05 AM

I was paid on a night between dec 1st and 2nd. Deduction - minimal... Visitors mainly from UK on my website.

Posted by: Ginty at December 4, 2005 06:54 AM

Nothing was deducted from my earnings for October, but earnings were really poor as hardly anyone ever clicked on the ads. I ran Chitika for a total of 6 weeks and only accumulated about $6. It has been removed from my sites with no regrets.

Posted by: Linda at December 4, 2005 08:57 AM

Would be interesting to see stats from a larger dataset of webmasters. I only lost ~10% which isn't so bad... definitely still a viable adsnse alternative for some of my sites.

Obviously the people that lost bigger percentages are going to be making the most noise, but I'm not convinced it was the majority of chitika users that had the 20% or higher cuts.

Posted by: Nitin Malhotra at December 6, 2005 09:46 AM

That is too bad for chitika. It looks good on my site. I signup before the audit warnings. I was torn between adsense and chitika, mainly by the looks. These turning point just made up my mind. Googles for me.

Posted by: lewilcox at December 6, 2005 04:49 PM

Why doesn't everyone just grow up??

"Money is the root of all kinds of evil" - and it sure shows...

1. Chitika is not a scam - it's a startup
2. The ToS always talked about audited and unaudited earnings.
3. Any business is allowed to change its model - they have to serve both advertisers and publishers.
4. Chitika's admin features and design are not fantastic at present but they are being developed.
5. Not everyone 'lost' huge sums of revenue (Lost is in quotes seeing as one hadn't earned the revenue in the first place)
6. Some people flit from program to program far too quickly, blaming everyone and anything but themselves when it appears to be changing/going wrong.

I for one (and no, I'm not pushing affiliate links except on 2 blogs) will keep going with C. because my earnings are still growing. And even if they hadn't, I never put my eggs all in one basket. I'm happy to see how C. develops, rather than badmouthing it.

Chitika isn't pathetic, it's all the naysayers. You really should get out more.

Posted by: Andy Merrett at December 7, 2005 02:10 AM

Oh and as for:

"Could this be the reason no one has received a payment yet?"

Huh?? Do you expect to get payment the exact second the month ticks over (in whatever time zone you're in)? My PayPal account had been credited well before close of play 1st December (GMT) - actually before I expected it, to be honest.

Give the guys a break.

Posted by: Andy Merrett at December 7, 2005 02:16 AM

Well put Andy. Seems more like mass hysteria than anything else. Wonder what will happen if everything begins to come around again...will all of these people go back and sing their praises again??

Posted by: Victor at December 7, 2005 01:25 PM

Well, I'm not someone who's about to bad-mouth them; but i have backed off my use of C majorly. I have no idea how much they're going to audit...and some of these legitimate 40-50% reports are scareworthy. I'm willing to use em - but have to know whether i'm wasting my ad money...

Posted by: Andy at December 7, 2005 02:49 PM

I feel physically sick...

This whole thing has gotten RIDICULOUS.

The complete MORONS (and honestly, I don't mean the author of this site, or the commenters here) have come out of the woodwork, bigtime.

Darren has had his critics, but this is totally SICK...

(that link may have been taken down, as it's a disgusting, depraved comment)

I am sure this "BloggerKiller" (who's too scared to go under their real name, despite their violent physical threats (albeit slightly veiled)) - has bigger motivations, but is quoting Chitika (and all the stupid play-on-words that have sprung up) as a motivation for attacking Darren.

Why can't people GROW UP?

I don't know if these threats are real - hopefully they're just some sick prank by a sick individual, possibly one of the Jack Of All Blogs idiot supporters (he's someone that should shut up, quite honestly) - but this is totally unacceptable.

Sure, Chitika may just be a veil - there are a lot of angry people with too much time who can't find or wish to do anything damn constructive with their lives, like helping earthquake victims, or feeding the poor ... they just spend their pathetic little lives badmouthing, jerking off on threatening innocent, honest people (anyone who thinks Darren is dishonest should get their facts straight - I've met the guy and I trust him implicitly)

I should stop ranting on others' comment sections, but I've had enough. This sort of crap brings the whole reputation of bloggers down. It's wrong. It's potentially criminal.

"Money is the root of all kinds of evil" How true.

People, there's too much wrong with this world already - why can't we just make the best of what we have and move forward in positivity? These jerks feed off the bad vibes going around about legitimate things. It's EVIL.

Posted by: Andy Merrett at December 8, 2005 01:23 AM

I feel physically sick...

This whole thing has gotten RIDICULOUS.

The complete MORONS (and honestly, I don't mean the author of this site, or the commenters here) have come out of the woodwork, bigtime.

Darren has had his critics, but this is totally SICK...

(that link may have been taken down, as it's a disgusting, depraved comment)

I am sure this "BloggerKiller" (who's too scared to go under their real name, despite their violent physical threats (albeit slightly veiled)) - has bigger motivations, but is quoting Chitika (and all the stupid play-on-words that have sprung up) as a motivation for attacking Darren.

Why can't people GROW UP?

I don't know if these threats are real - hopefully they're just some sick prank by a sick individual, possibly one of the Jack Of All Blogs idiot supporters (he's someone that should shut up, quite honestly) - but this is totally unacceptable.

Sure, Chitika may just be a veil - there are a lot of angry people with too much time who can't find or wish to do anything damn constructive with their lives, like helping earthquake victims, or feeding the poor ... they just spend their pathetic little lives badmouthing, jerking off on threatening innocent, honest people (anyone who thinks Darren is dishonest should get their facts straight - I've met the guy and I trust him implicitly)

I should stop ranting on others' comment sections, but I've had enough. This sort of crap brings the whole reputation of bloggers down. It's wrong. It's potentially criminal.

"Money is the root of all kinds of evil" How true.

People, there's too much wrong with this world already - why can't we just make the best of what we have and move forward in positivity? These jerks feed off the bad vibes going around about legitimate things. It's EVIL.

Posted by: Andy Merrett at December 8, 2005 01:30 AM

There are far too many "angry teenagers who are angry at life" types running rampant. They get their thrills by stirring up trouble. BloggerKiller is no different..trying to play the same old game others seem want to do. Something like that will only serve to bite them in the backend, hard, when they're least expecting it.

Honestly, I think the best way to deal with them is to use two steps: 1) ignore them, hoping they will just fade into nothing 2) delete their comments


Posted by: Victor at December 8, 2005 06:46 AM

Coupled with my observations, I am concerned about this program.

Posted by: Angsuman Chakraborty at December 9, 2005 07:26 AM

My rev was cut by 70%+. From $500 to $100. Pathetic. I am going back to Google for sure.

Posted by: Ethan at December 10, 2005 12:55 AM

I'm not sure what's wrong with my Chitika.
For like 5 days, my clicks has been ZERO.
Usually I do have a couple of clicks. Moreover, all my stats remains at Unaudited.
Start to doubt Chitika!

Posted by: Raymond.CC at December 10, 2005 06:13 PM

Yawn, Ethan. Why have all your eggs in one basket? I use a combination of revenue schemes? "Going back to Google" - why did you drop them in the first place? Jump ship to something in beta and then complain when it's not earning you enough. Again I say GROW UP.

Posted by: Andy Merrett at December 12, 2005 02:07 AM

Chitika is a FRAUD, I am a victim of them , First they deducted 57% of my earnings in Audit and next month I received a mail that my traffic is Fradulent however I am being paid by Adsense for the same traffic, This is really ridiculous, My traffic is 100% legit and I had offered them to have my server logs and prove my site clicks as FRAUD,Moreover I had referred 14 publishers to them, If they really have a legit reason to boot me out why are they not responding to my questions, the help ticket is wiating for a answer since last 8 days??? I am a international publisher, and I am unable to take legal action against them. I pray GOD Chitika pay for their actions.

Posted by: ChitikaVictim at January 3, 2006 12:37 AM