About 3 months ago, I reviewed Chitika's eMiniMalls product. (I joined Chitika in June.) Chitika have since made several changes, addressing basically everything I had issue with. This is a new review, replacing the old one, that I have left up for reference.
The first thing I want to point out is these guys just rock. They have always promptly responded to emails (within minutes), have been very professional, courteous and available. When I recently noticed they had made some improvements, I took a new look.
I emailed my contact, Alden (Co-founder and CTO), to let him know I was pleased with the changes, and told him I was looking to update this review. His response? "Welcome back .. As you can see, we made significant changes since you last reviewed us. I know I didn't respond to your review .. I thought I'd "walk the walk" .. rather than "talk the talk"." One word describes his attitude and response - class.
Ad Sizes - See them here
They have upped from three sizes to the 10 most popular sizes. I took some screen caps and put all formats online here. Please excuse the hasty crop job, I wanted to leave enough border to show the full ad size.
Now you can grab ad code, select colors, keywords, channels etc. right in the admin panel. Alden assures me a more attractive panel is forthcoming, but who cares, right? As long as it works and we can get at the data we need.
You can now track by channel. This was a major problem before, I had no idea what sites were making the revenue. Now you can track by domain/page/whatever and more. For example to track by ad size and product term use ch_sid like so:
ch_sid = ch_width + " x " + ch_height + " - " + ch_query;
It doesn't produce the most efficient reports, but it works. Alden tells me he will have additional sorting by channel available within a few days.
eMiniMalls self promo tab removed.
Ability to remove Search tab.
Removed ugly embossed frame on 468 x 180 ad unit.
I have requested the ability to remove the "Reviews" tab since we aren't paid for those clicks. Alden said that should be coming shortly.
Part of working with this product is knowing how to use it. The best way to leverage eMiniMalls is to promote it on product-driven sites and define products for each individual ad. Doing so, you disable the contextual format, and the ads will be within TOS rules of YPN and Adsense. Doing things like passing page titles as the search query can work well to automate the process, on product pages.
Working with the new ad formats, targeting specific products, and tweaking the placement, I have achieved 5-10% CTR plus. With the EPC on these ads, this is a great revenue producer, often outperforming my other ads. In other words, if you work it, you should be able to earn much more with Chitika on product-centric sites.
Verdict - Give It a Shot
If you have a product type site, or have a way to cross promote products, give Chitika's eMinimalls a shot. It may be well worth the time.