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January 01, 2006

Chitika delays audit and payments by two weeks

With Chitika facing issues with publishers who have stopped running their eMiniMalls product until audits for November earnings are complete, you would think that they would make it a priority to not just get those audits completed within the thirty days, but get payments sent for November earnings. But Chitika has announced that November earnings audits - and thus payments - will not be completed until January 15th. And not only that, they announced this Saturday, December 31st at 6:20pm, a day after publishers are expecting to see those earnings hit their PayPal accounts (based on net 30).

This is definitely disappointing to publishers, especially when faced with the entire auditing issue on October earnings that saw publishers lose as much as 90% of their total income. So many publishers were waiting to see how the November earnings audit shaped up before pulling eMiniMalls or before adding it back to their sites.

And with it being just after the holiday season, you would have to expect that many publishers were counting on those earnings to be in their accounts by January 1st. And Chitika did not sent out any notice to publishers that they would be breaking their own Terms & Conditions by not sending out payments in the net 30 terms. Instead, the only announcement on this issue was simply through a post on Chitika's blog.

Publishers are definitely upset with this latest turn of events. More discussion at DigitalPoint, ThreadWatch and WebmasterWorld.

With all the negative publicity Chitika received following October's audits, you would have thought they would bend over backwards to have November audits ready well ahead of the end of December, or at at the very least, have them completed by the time publishers are expecting their payments. And if they knew there could be an issue with audits not being completed on time, they should have sent out an email notice to all publishers well before the blog post they did do. Telling publishers the evening of the 31st - and only on their blog - was not the smartest move.

I believed it was going to be an uphill struggle for Chitika to restore publisher's faith in the eMiniMalls product after the previous auditing issue. However, this new 16 day delay that contravenes their own T&Cs has the distinct ring of a nail being driven into the eMiniMalls coffin. Very disappointing for a program that had so much promise.

Posted by Jenstar at January 1, 2006 05:19 PM

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Regarding the 30 days it is not made clear whether those are calendar or working days. If it's working days (because of Christmas) they have plenty of time. Google did exactly the same thing with Adsense a while back (paid people late).

As is made clear on Chitika's site the program is in beta anyway! Perhaps they are suffering from their own success (eg popularity has been more than they thought). However these things happen.

Posted by: John at January 2, 2006 09:25 AM

Yes while back Google did exactly the same thing with Adsense. Well these things happen now and then...

Posted by: Sale at January 2, 2006 10:43 AM

I have been with Chitika for three months and could not be happier.
I ran adsense but found my blog topic was paying a few cents per click with adsense and have found chitika well worth the time I put in per day (about 1 hour finding key words) that my readers are actually interested in.
I have loss less than 1% after audited clicks and am willing to ride this out too.

Posted by: Paul at January 2, 2006 11:33 AM

I have pulled Chitika from all of my sites until the my payment comes through. Then I will decide if it is worth placing them back.

Posted by: Scott at January 2, 2006 05:13 PM

There is really no comparison here to what happened with Google's October 2003 earnings that were issued on December 9, 2003. Chitika clearly has a massive problem on their hands here. Actually two problems...first, the issue itself and second, not having the simple courtesy of even properly informing their publishers.

Read the blog carefully. They have made no indication of when publishers will be paid. They only say that they hope to have the audit completed by Jan. 15.

Big shame on you Chitika!

Posted by: BlueFin at January 2, 2006 06:19 PM

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 12:35 AM

I too came to conclusion that Chitika is a fraud. The October earnings were in my opinion the last ones that have been paid. They did it so that people sticked with them throughout December.

They had first inflow of users in last weeks of October which they were able to pay as there was not many publishers and it was not full month. They did it to make themseves look credible.

There were masses of users coming since then but there's no information what they earned since 11/01. So they were gathering money since then (i assume it's much less than we can see in unaudited reports as ecpm it quite unrealistic in some cases ) and now they trying to get couple more weeks before they announce there is a "real problem". I expect another blog apology and posponement of audits to end of january or something like this.

Right now they're silently booting the users with higher amounts (or "higher than very low" ctr) in their account so maybe they're also considering the possiblity of paying for november too but only to the users with less money on their account to get another month of free traffic.

This is just my speculation, still, there are many facts proving that something is decaying in Chitika.

If I wasn't booted from Chitika yet, I would remove the ads and waith for both November and December audit numbers and for money for November and December and if it's worth it i would jump back. Just as a friendly reminder ...

I lost faith in Chitika after October audit numbers and removed the ads ... but my greed made me to put them back after two weeks .. and ending up booted from the program before end of the year because of "fraudulent traffic". I asked for an explanation as i'm sure that there wasn't any fraudulent traffic. I still got no reply from them; instead they removed my account (i can't log to it anymore) so now I not only can't see my unadited numbers but i can't see referral numbers as well (though they have nothing to do with my "fraudulent" traffic as they're running on other sites belonging to people i don't even know of course)

That's my story.

One more thing, i would like to hear if any of people who still defend Chitika got any reasonable amount of money for October ... let's say more than $1000 ...

Posted by: leon at January 3, 2006 03:00 PM

I'm another victim of Chitika...just received word from them that they are suspending my account. No specific reason given...either fraudulant traffic or breach of terms they say. Neither is true. I've run other programs with no issues surrounding my traffic...most of which is North American or English speaking countries. I definitely have to give Chikita the thumbs down.

Take Care All!

Posted by: Allen Reed at January 4, 2006 12:04 PM

I too recieved a notification my account was shut down. What a coincidence considering it happened a day before I expected to see my LEGITIMATE profits sent to me. Now I cannot get ahold of them no matter what I do, via phone or email or support ticket.

I see how it works. I earn you money Chitika. You shut me down before you have to pay me. Niiiiiiice.

Posted by: Andy at January 5, 2006 08:01 AM

Thank you for the information on Chitika. This corresponds to what I've heard elsewhere. Sad news. By the way, just found Jensene this morning via a link in an IM newsletter. Probaly the best free advice I've received in a long time. Thank you for publishing!

Posted by: Evan Davis at January 6, 2006 05:05 AM

Wow, this is just after I was doing some research to consider using Chitika for one of my sites. I guess my decision is made for me. Thanks for all of the information.

Posted by: Kara at January 9, 2006 07:25 PM

These stories are starting to sound really familiar now--- and I can sense some legal trouble coming about to Chitika if they don't straighten up their act soon.

Posted by: FRank at January 11, 2006 09:14 AM

The simplest answer is oftentimes the best one. Odds are Chitika is facing a cash crisis at the moment, not uncommon for new companies. How are they addressing this crisis?

1) Delay payments as long as possible
2) Aggressively audit accounts
3) Delete as many accounts as possible at the hint of any possible 'foul play'
4) Ignore their core publishers

While it is counter intuitive, the best publishers for Chitika are probably the ones earning very little. The thousands of chitika publishers making under $10/month are great because they do not have to pay them as often and in aggregate they are probably worth more than the top publishers.

It will be interesting to see what happens...

Posted by: Dan at January 12, 2006 08:13 PM

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