Chitika Audited Revenue Rip-Off

So, today was the day that I had access to audited revenue stats for the first time since I switched over to Chitika and to keep it short: I’m shocked!

It’s not only the major cut, but the unprofessional way this whole thing is being handled:

  1. It’s quite normal that a certain percentage will be taken away from the unaudited click stats (usually around 10-15%), but I never heard from cuts of 95% percent before
  2. Why do you cheat people by showing ads for a month and then not paying anything for it?
  3. IMO if you’re displaying ads to untargeted/unwanted visitors (people from countries who aren’t supported) then it’s up to you to pay for it…especially if you’re not providing a mechanism to not show ads to those users! – On another note: chitika just provided the user with this mechansim through alternative urls…but that’s two months too late, at least for me!

So, I’m stuck with ad revenue that is 5% of the original showed revenue for October (yes the cut with my sites was 95%! :-( )…and now I can wait for another month to see the results for November…this isn’t right and I’m really about to pull all their ads from all my sites immediatly – then wait for the November revenue to be clear (end of the year) and then see what will happen?!
Or what’s your plan of action? Serve another month worth of ads for (next to) nothing?

(More about this topic can be found on numerous sites, including: George B., Jason Golod, JenSense).

After calculating everything and trying to read up as much as possible on this whole mess if come up with some conclusions which I put up as a comment to Darren’s Reaction on the whole issue.

Here’s what I had to say:

My comment on Problogger:

Alrighty, after venting earlier on in one of my posts if had another look at the whole situation and have been reading up on it too. I guess the quoted 90% is a quote from my post in this sitepoint thread
(…and after recalculating everything I can say that the cut was an exact 96,28%. In another context I would be really proud to be quoted all over the blogosphere, but not in this case as you can imagine.

My conclusion (without having any insight into the inner workings of the audit process) the following things are sure IMO:

  1. My sites don’t receive invalid clicks in the common sense (or at least nothing out of the ordinary)
  2. I’ve optimized the ads as best as possible using the hints of you, Darren, and other experts.
  3. There’s a good possibility that there are >1 clicks per IP as I’ve got many returning visitors (daily)…so they will be substracted…okay.
  4. The main chunk of the substracted clicks would have to be clicks from unsupported countries (if I can trust Google Analytics) a rough estimation would be 50% unique visitors from US + Europe, the other 50% ranging from South America, China, and the Mideast – and I guess these are all considered “invalid” and substracted.

So, if you combine 3. + 4. I guess that you can cut the unaudited numbers in half, maybe even chop of 60%…that said: substract another “usual 10%” and you’re near the true numbers I’m looking at.

So, does this make the situation any better for me? Not really, but at least I know what’s going on now…although it’s a little bit weird to put on the sherlock holmes hat and go “fact hunting” to get behind this…especially if you’re looking at an ad-provider like chitika who doesn’t support you in the whole process left alone in the whole “audit scandal”…on a brighter note: now that they’ve done their homework (with the whole alternative ad functionality) it’s possible that the numbers will be more real-life than fiction…although this is still no excuse for two months of served ads without proper payment (after all november is already down the drain as I think the cut will be similiar right there).
Bottom line:

  1. Don’t let your customers (in this case the publishers) in the dark for two months or at least stop wondering why there’s all this uproar everywhere and try to explain the situation (why do they have a blog again?)
  2. Work on a quick solution of more uptodate stats (if not daily then at least weekly)
  3. If you can’t handle all the buzz, don’t take on all those publishers just to leave them back unsatisfied!

One additional thought: I embedded the whole “alternative ad url” thing into most of my sites and I’m going to keep the eMiniMalls up and running for now…although I’ve signed up with BrightAds and Clicksor in an effort to balance my ad-streams…

3 thoughts on “Chitika Audited Revenue Rip-Off

  1. I can see why you’re so upset, Ingoal. I would feel the same if not worse, if I were in your situation.

  2. Well, it seems that with the new Alternate URL feature the numbers aren’t so far off anymore, or at least I hope so as the clicks that are displayed in the unaudited revenue section are way down now for me…let’s see how this whole thing develops, at least I’ve got a second “ad layer” now as the alternate url (for people who aren’t supported by chitika) displays clicksor ads now…

  3. They cheat in various ways ! I’ve noticed that they do not count clicks properly even in unaudited mode :-(

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