How Does Chitika Work?

by JoHarrington

Chitika provides on-line advertisements that complement, or act as a replacement for, Google Adsense; but they work in a different way.

Chitika isn't Adsense. It wouldn't be allowed to be on the same page if it was, because Google would fire heavy rounds of policies at it.

This is a common mistake to make, for those trying the on-line advertisement provider out for the first time. So used to jumping through Adsense hoops, web-pages might not be optimized for Chitika. Thus the pay-outs are on a slow-burner.

Can you make money with Chitika? Yes, you can, but first you need to understand how it works.

Chitika Ads are not Contextual

The links on offer relate to the reader's search engine queries, not to the content of your site.

The first and most important thing to note is that Chitika advertisements aren't the same for everybody. They are geared towards much more data than what's on your page or website.

As a web content writer, you are likely to have clicked straight onto your site. You will not be seeing the advertisements as others do, unless they too have followed a direct link. 

In this regard, promoting your article on social networking sites is great for publicity, but terrible for Chitika ad revenue.

These advertisements rely upon search words and phrases. So if, for example, someone has found your site by looking up 'fluffy bunny rabbits' in a search engine, then the ads will all be about leporidae in all their forms. But particularly the cute ones.

If this is what you wrote about, then it may appear that Chitika is being contextual. It's not. That fact becomes obvious when you have searched for several different things, before arriving at a page with Chitika adverts on them. Then there's an array of subjects, none of which may match the current web content.

For example, the other day I was writing about British Royal Diamond Jubilees and also about genealogy. I didn't need to look up either, because I'm surrounded by history books in my room. But I did need to know if anyone else on Wizzley had written about them. It's a matter of common courtesy to my fellow writers, and those reading our pages, if we're not repeating each other.

Eventually I came back to one of my articles to answer a comment. It was about a man facing the death penalty for writing a computer program, but none of the adverts referenced that at all. Instead they were all about history, royalty and genealogy.

Incidentally, I write about human rights a lot, so I've had plenty of opportunity to see what happens with Adsense in this situation. It tends to shrink to a single vague advertisement for a lawyer or else disappears entirely, depending upon the initial keywords. Advertisers generally don't like things like torture, death and injustice appearing next to their products!

Chitika can cope though, because its cookie has checked what else I'm interested in. We all leave a trail of temporary files behind, whenever we browse the internet, so the data is all there in our internet cache. The advertisements might not be relevant to the page, but they are a good match for the person reading them.

You can check out how search engine visitors are seeing your adverts by doctoring your URL. Type *your URL*/#chitikatest=*any keyword* into your browser window. This will imitate a query and change your advertisements accordingly.

Why Doesn't Chitika Serve Contextual Ads?

Until 2007, Google specifically banned their Adsense publishers from featuring other contextual advertisements on the same web-page.

As the corporation has the biggest share of the market, the policy basically stopped people experimenting with other suppliers.

Chitika developed a model that completely avoided this issue; and it worked!

Do you prefer contextual or search related advertisements?

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Why do the Adverts Sometimes Disappear?

Losing the ad block in certain situations could be a greater benefit than you think.

Chitika Select advertisements may not be displayed on your website, if someone follows a direct link to it.

This might not sound great to anyone trying to monetize their site, but there are two major benefits here.

Both become apparent, when you consider who is most likely to click directly onto your site and who is more likely to find it via a search engine.

The former include your regular readers, plus the family, friends and associates in your social networking circles. Therefore, those loyally checking out your content day after day are the ones not being spammed with offers to buy things. The pressure is immediately off on them making duty purchases, because they love you. Think of it as your way of saying thank you to your nearest and dearest.

But it's protecting you too. These are also the people more willing to 'help' you with a few invalid clicks. That might bump up the click through rate, but it's destined to see you kicked off any ad supplier's books. If they can't see the adverts, they can't touch them.

Instead, the advertisements are served to people coming through search engines. They are often the individuals in the frame of mind to be shopping on-line, hence the initial query. You can be certain that anyone, say, looking for 'best Valentine's gifts for activists' is probably wanting to treat their eco-warrior to something lovely.

If you are not getting a high click rate, then it's a huge signal that only friends and family are reading your website. It's time to get optimizing for search engine traffic!

Chitika do allow you to customize your space. In the event of a non-display, you can instruct that area to redirect to another URL - a pretty picture, perhaps, or an advert of your own. Alternatively, you could let it just remain hidden.

Where are you Getting your Site Traffic?

This matters a lot with Chitika, as the company won't display adverts to visitors in certain countries.

The company will accept publishers from around the world. Anyone, from any nationality, can display adverts and earn money with Chitika.

However, only search engine traffic from a dozen listed countries will be served them. Your visitors need to come from Canada (CA), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Guinea Bissau (GB), India (IN), Italy (IT), Netherlands (NL), Norway (NO), Spain (ES), Sweden (SE), the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (US).

The obvious tip here is that, if you are using Chitika advertisements, then you need to be creating content which attracts the above nationalities.

Anyone viewing from outside these territories will receive whatever you instructed to be placed in the space instead.

More on Chitika

As Google and Bing demand payment for their maps, Chitika provides a free alternative. Webmasters will get commission for using their services.

Are you on Premium or Gold Tier Chitika Advertisements?

The quality, and therefore potential revenue, depends upon the number of hits on your site.

In the old days (by which I mean last year, this being the internet and all), Chitika categorized its publishers according to a triple rank system. That has all changed.

Today, everyone approved to display adverts is automatically placed in the Premium section. That recently morphed into being given Select ads (i.e. the ones that disappear), but the name remains.

Until your website receives a minimum of 5,000 visitors a day, then the Premium/Select tier is where you'll stay. Once it's over that, you have a chance to join the ranks of the elite.

This is when Chitika will formally review your site, in order to evaluate its suitability for Gold status. There are stricter terms and conditions here, as the advertisers are expecting the highest standards. If your site is attracting so much traffic because your content is outstanding, then you will be awarded the publisher promotion.

The Gold tier provides the most lucrative adverts. These are the ones where clients have paid that little bit extra to only be shown on popular platforms. It's the internet equivalent of commercials being played on prime-time television, as opposed to part way through the Paint Drying Championship Semi-Finals at 2am.

They can be guaranteed more revenue, which means they're willing to give Chitika more money for the privilege. This gets passed to the publisher by allowing them the honor of displaying the advert. Each click is worth much more than in the Premium tier. Everyone's a winner!

Naturally, this means that you want traffic for your site; and lots of it!  So write often, write well and never miss a trick to publicize your content.

Good luck!

Sign Up for Chitika Here!

Use this link to make me eligible for a commission, as your referral source, at no cost to yourself!

Update! Sarah from Chitika Answers Questions Here

A member of the support team checked out this page for accuracy. There really are human beings working there!

Dealing with Chitika can be so refreshing, after being faced with the automated brick walls of other ad providers. Real life people reply to every query. The evidence is in the comments below.

I am an ordinary publisher there. I applied for, and was approved, to display advertisements, just like anyone else. I don't personally know anyone on the team and I'm not even in the same country as the company. As a fairly new writer, I haven't the hits to warrant any urgency on the part of the support team towards me.

I state this so that you know no special favors were pulled in, when I e-mailed Chitika support and requested that someone check out this page for accuracy. Within 24 hours, Sarah had not only done just that, but she also read the comments and replied to reader queries there.

When asked about website content deemed appropriate for advertisements, Sarah answered:

In terms of content, I'd say if you were too embarrassed to show a site to your grandmother, it won't be approved for Chitika ads. Any Mature/Adult content is against our Terms and Conditions.

I also received a personal e-mail, thanking me for writing this Wizzle, as well as clarifying a point I'd made within it. That was then edited, so the information given here is absolutely correct.

Articles about Chitika

Wizzley is one of the few on-line writing platforms which allow publishers to monetise with their Chitika advertisements.
As Google and Bing demand payment for their maps, Chitika provides a free alternative. Webmasters will get commission for using their services.
Updated: 03/18/2014, JoHarrington
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


JoHarrington on 01/16/2014

I hope that it eventually turns out lucrative for you, Lindylou. It's good to have options.

Guest on 01/15/2014

Thank you for sharing, I have signed up with Chitika already, but will wait to use.

JoHarrington on 09/02/2013

You're welcome.

CeresSchwarz on 08/30/2013

Okay. Thank you very much.

JoHarrington on 08/30/2013

I used my real name, but then I write under it too.

I'd say give it 5 - 10 articles, then try. The worst they can do is say no, then you can try again another time.

CeresSchwarz on 08/29/2013

Thanks for the welcome and for answering my questions. So, when you signed up for Chitika, did you give them your real name or just a pseudonym?

How many Wizzley articles do you think I should have before I try signing up for Chitika? I haven't done so yet as I've been trying to read their terms and conditions and figuring out whether I need to give my real name or not when I sign up as well as wondering how many articles I should have to be accepted by Chitika.

JoHarrington on 08/29/2013

You're welcome, and welcome to Wizzley!

You do need to have enough content for the Chitika team to evaluate your suitability. As for the subject matter, Sarah from Chitika popped into here once. She said, "If you're happy with your Grandma reading it, then it's good for Chitika." Naturally that's just the rule of thumb, but in keeping with Wizzley rules will also keep you good with Chitika.

I don't know about the real name v pseudonym thing. But as your name never crops up on the advertising, I doubt it matters too much.

You can use Chitika for other sites and blogs, but you have to add them separately to your account. It's one umbrella account, with domain names/URLs all registered under it.

CeresSchwarz on 08/28/2013

Thank you for the very informative, helpful and useful article about Chitika. I'm new to Wizzley and I'm now just looking into Chitika, which appears to be very interesting.

Are there any requirements for joining Chitika like with Google AdSense, there are a number of things you have to take note of like having sufficient content, etc? What about with Chitika?

Also, when you sign up for Chitika, do you really have to give your real name or can this be just your user name like with Wizzley?

And, when you sign up for Chitika using your Wizzley account, can you also use Chitika for your other sites or blogs? Or do you have to make another account there?

JoHarrington on 03/05/2013

Awww! Thank you very much, Mouse! And I'm glad that you found this useful.

mouse1996 on 03/05/2013

Another great article. I've learned so much. If I go the Chitika way I'll be sure to use your referral link. :-)

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