Adsense and Chitika compared!

by Mark Wallace

You've heard about Chitika but need to get a feel for how it differs from Adsense and whether it'll be of use to you in making more money from your site? We attempt to outline the main differences between these two major affiliate programs.

The Differences

Age of the program: Adsense has been around for a few years now but Chitika is only a few months old. In fact, despite all the news and buzz, it's still in beta.

User Base: Having been around for a long time, Adsense is the grandfather of contextual advertising and has the largest base of publishers competing for the ads it serves. Chitika has only a few publishers so far but is likely to grow fast especially as it has a referral program paying 10% commissions.

Appearance: Adsense ads are primarily text ads that fit into about 10 standard sizes from 728x90 to 120x600, 468x60 and others. There are a limited number of image ads created by advertisers and pre-approved by Google. When an image ad runs it tends to fill the whole ad block. Chitika ads come in the same standard sizes but every single ad space is filled with a hybrid of text and image but, crucially, promoting just one product from one advertiser. Further, one consistent feature across the Chitika ads is the interactivity. Each ad has a selection of tabs which change the content of the ad block when a visitor hovers over them. The tabs provide information like "Best Deals" where prices for that product are compared across different sources, "Reviews", and even a "Search" box that allows your visitors to search for and get results for similar products without them having to leave your page.

Terms of Service: Adsense has a fairly restrictive set of terms that you have to agree to. They've been modified numerous times and when fine tuned are made more rather than less restrictive. Among the things publishers are not allowed to do are to change the Adsense code, specify keywords that ads should be targeted to, and have more than three blocks of ads on a page. None of those apply to the Chitika program. There are other Adsense specific rules that don't apply to Chitika.

Features: Adsense has added several features over the last 2-3 years. They include channels - a way of identifying which pages are better earners. It's not perfect and isn't anywhere near as efficient as a click tracker program but it's more than what Chitika have; though they are planning a channels feature soon. Adsense also provides better stats data (and analysis), AdLinks and other minor improvements. Chitika, on the other hand, has some interesting features we've never seen in Adsense. They include targeting a particular product or advertiser in an ad block so it always shows the same product/advertiser, rotating keywords per refresh or by the day of the week, changing the font and colour of the text in the ad (Adsense offers only colour change, not font and font size), enabling and disabling contextual serving of ads, enabling and disabling the search function within ads, and a lot more.

Contextual serving: Adsense serves ads based on the context of the page. Chitika does the same but has the option of turning context off. Webmasters can choose to either run it in contextual mode or specify the keywords/products they want the ads targeted to. Note: When running Chitika on the same page as Adsense ads you need to turn the Chitika contextual engine off to stay within Adsense terms and conditions.

Referral program: Adsense has a new referral program that pays you $100 if you refer someone who signs up as a publisher provided that referral earns $100. Chitika pays a flat 10% of what your referral earns and pays that for a period of twelve months from the date of signup.

Earnings: Which pays more? It depends. Chitika can pay very well but it takes a slightly different mindset to what you may have become accustomed to with Adsense. If you have the patience to learn about it Chitika could prove very profitable particularly if you combine it with Adsense. Our sites tells you how to run them both safely on the same page without violating the legal agreements.

This isn't an exhaustive comparison of their very detailed legal terms of service but we hope we've whetted your appetite to find out more about Chitika.

About the Author: The author's website presents an extensive review of the Chitika program, and offers revenue enhancing ideas particularly in relation to using Chitika together with Adsense and staying within the legal agreements for both.
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