Chitika tips, tricks and hacking : the definitive guide

I have been running Chitika “eMiniMall” ads for a few weeks on a few other websites and I quite like them (they’re cute :) . I have been collecting tips from various sources and from my own experience, so here is the full round-up I can share today. Improve your high tech gadget click-through :)

  • Make them compliant with Adsense Terms of Use
  • Optimize your product display
  • Further Chitika code hacking


Now onto the detailed explanations and examples :

1. Adsense Compliancy

This tip has been reported by several bloggers and among them quick online tips.

Basically, to be allowed by Google to run Chitika with Adsense on the same page, make sure Chitika ads are not contextually targeted to your content. This means : tell Chitika what keywords you want it to use. To do so, add the following lines to your Chitika code :


ch_non_contextual = 1; 
var ch_queries = new Array('keyword1, keyword2, keyword3');
var ch_selected= Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length));
ch_query = ch_queries[ch_selected];

You can even focus Chitika ads on one single keyword, and feel free to be very specific. For example, the following line will just do fine and display the Chitika ad you’ll see below :

ch_query = "silver ear ring";

2. Keyword strategy for product display

Now that your ads are not contextual, it’s up to you to chose the best keywords that suit your site. Most Chitika ads seem to be geek, gadget, technologically focused, but you can actually chose from a very wide range of products.

You have no less than 3 options here :

  1. Raaaaandom product
  2. Keyword(s) returning no product yet
  3. Fine-tuned keyword list

First option lets Chitika pick a product for you. This is a sensible choice if your blog is untargetted, and there may even be a possibility of picking optimization process in the background that would show most attractive products automatically (i.e. the ones that get good click-trhu rates)
To do so, add the following code :
ch_query = '';

To make up your mind on a product list, ask yourself “what is my blog about ?”. Tech gadgets ? Pets ? Cars ? Then, go to Shopping.com and start searching for items related to your topic. Pick products that you like : chances are, if you like them, your readers probably do so :)
The last step is checking if your keywords actually return products in Chitika eMiniMalls. To do so, simply go to Chitika home page and use the Search tab of their ad :)

Testing your keyword is important to check its relevancy : keywords that match no product will return some random gadget. For example, as juicy as, say, “mortgage” may sound ad wise, it will return no targetted product.

This leads to option 2 and 3 as described above.

Option 2, deliberately picking keywords that return no product, turns out to have the same results as option 1 : randomness. However, it may not be useless as it seems : indeed, you can bet that Chitika’s product index is growing and that your keyword will sooner or later return a relevant product. This option is a “display random until you find better” choice.

Eventually, option 3 will be considered by most of you : making your own hand picked keyword list.
Here are some suggestions of generic high-tech keywords :
blackberry, canon pixma, canon powershot, canon eos, communicator, exilim, gps, hdtv, ipod mini, ipod nano, ipod photo, ipod shuffle, lcd, lcd tv, motorola razr, nintendo, nokia n90, pda phone, plasma, pocket pc, portable, sony t7, sony w800, tablet pc, toshiba, treo, tri-band, vaio, videophone

This does not violate Chitika TOS. Although they are not telling about this on their Terms of Use page, this tip comes from them.

3. Advanced code hacking

You can actually customise quite a few things in your Chitika ads.
I am not sure it does not break Chitika TOS. I’m still waiting for a reply from them, but I have the feeling it’s ok. All the following stuff is done by modifying client-side vars.

Update: I’ve had a reply from the Chitikettes and guess what, everything below is compliant with their TOS, even modifying fonts.

:-) ..
Amazing .. How did you find the font variables ??
Frankly, they have been put there but not tested. You can use it at your own risk.
PS: you are not in violation of the TOS. But do be sure that the ads display fine.
Best Regards,
Michelle
Chitika Customer Service

Search box

I’m not sure why you would want it, but some people like it this way. I think it’s a bad idea : why prevent readers from finding another article to click on ? Anyway, if it’s your taste, here is the code to do it, as revealed by Liewcf.

Update: Quick Online Tips explained here why you would want to do so : you have to remove the Search tab when using Chitika along with Adsense for Search. Thank you, I had missed this one ! :)

Update 2: Turns out this is a myth, and you can use Adsense for search along with the Search feature of Chitika (since this is not a web search).

ch_nosearch = 1;

Default tab

By default, Chitika ads are displayed with a tab showing a description of the highlighted product. This is redundant : the product title already says it all. Why not then display Best Deals first ? Here is the code to ad :

ch_default_tab = "Best Deals";

Note that the syntax may vary : it has to be the exact name of the chosen tab in your Chitika ad. For instance, some ads have a “Best Deals” tab, others have a “Deals” one.

Modifying fonts

Why not break monotony and go for a refreshing change in fonts ? You can indeed specify custom values for ch_font_text and ch_font_title. For example :

ch_font_text = 'Arial Narrow';
ch_font_title = "Chicago, Lucida Console";

Be sure to pick font names that are widely use, otherwise the default font will show. Common fonts is a nice list of common fonts for all operating systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux)

Tracking clicks

As of writing, this feature is planned but not enabled yet : you can embed channel tracking, just like with Adsense. To do so, simply add the following code :

ch_sid = 'my_ad_1';

When this feature is enable, it will be a huge improvement : you will be able to add channel names that match your custom keywords (ch_sid=’ipod’, ch_sid=’cell phone’ …) and efficiently see which keywords perform best and which dont.
You could even imagine hacking the code so that each random keyword automatically uses its own channel :

var ch_queries = new Array(item1, item2, item3');
var ch_selected= Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length));
ch_query = ch_queries[ch_selected];
ch_sid = ch_query;

Results

Just to illustrate, here are two screenshots of an ad, before and after modifying fonts and default tab :

Before :
chitika : normal settings

After :
Chitika : hacked settings

Other links

If you are a WordPress user, get this Chitika plugin for easy inserting Adsense compliant eMiniMall ads.

Check this other websites for more Chitika tricks and news :

Other articles filed in the same categories :

ads, adsense, chitika, shopping

14 Responses to “Chitika tips, tricks and hacking : the definitive guide”

  1. 1
    planetOzh Says:

    Chitika Tricks and Tips

    The definitive guide to get the most out of Chitika

  2. 2
    LcF Says:

    wow! great list of chitika tips! :)

    Update: we don’t need to put blank ch_query (ch_query = '';), the Chitika ads will randomly select a product, too.

  3. 3
    Ariane Says:

    Thank you Liew :)

  4. 4
    Quick Online Tips Says:

    The code to remove chitika search is required in case you use adsense for search.

  5. 5
    Ariane Says:

    Ho I see ! Thank you for explaining :)

  6. 6
    Weblog Tools Collection » Get the most out of Chitika MiniMalls Says:

    […] Get the most out of Chitika MiniMalls Another detailed insight into getting the most out of Chitika. I cannot stress enough that Chitika and Adsense do not go together without some hacking (you will violate their agreements).   […]

  7. 7
    [CA] Chitika v0.3 Released » My Other Side of the Stories Says:

    […] After reading this post, I found out that Chitika’s Search tab must be hidden in order to comply with AdSense for Search TOS. So, I made a quick update to my [CA] Chitika plugin and add additional parameter to display/hide the search tab. The code to hide the tab is based on LiewCF’s post here. […]

  8. 8
    fivecentnickel.com Says:

    According to liewcf.com, Google is requiring anyone using Google search on their sites to deactivate the Chitika search tab. See here:

    http://www.liewcf.com/blog/archives/2005/10/quick-message-to-adsense-and-chitika-publisher/

  9. 9
    John Says:

    Great info! this could be the “good list” for me! Thanks! ;)

  10. 10
    John Says:

    Below is what I’m find out:
    In order to display the Best Deals tab:

    As your guide…

    ch_default_tab = “Best Deals”;
    – this is for big ads

    while…

    ch_default_tab = “Deals”;
    – is for 250×250 or smaller

  11. 11
    Chitika WordPress Plugin + Tips Says:

    […] Chitika tips, tricks and hacking : the definitive guide […]

  12. 12
    Mark Says:

    “According to liewcf.com, Google is requiring anyone using Google search on their sites to deactivate the Chitika search tab.”

    Google has stated that there is no issue with using the Chitika search and that it’s not directly in competition with their own search.

  13. 13
    FreeStuff Says:

    Good info for chitika :) Expecially this tip “When this feature is enable, it will be a huge improvement : you will be able to add channel names that match your custom keywords (ch_sid=’ipod’, ch_sid=’cell phone’ …) and efficiently see which keywords perform best and which dont.
    You could even imagine hacking the code so that each random keyword automatically uses its own channel :” I will recommend this website to my friends.

  14. 14
    Irish Pete Says:

    I am very disappointed with Chitika. I have had their ads on my site for several months and a payment for $180.00 dollars was due, when I received an email claiming the following :
    Traffic analysis for your account highlighted plausible fraudulent activity or a breach of our terms and conditions and we are suspending your account until we resolve this issue. We are also working with our ad partners to reject all fraudulent clicks and refund the amounts.

    I have been very careful to follow the t&c’s from Chitika and even disabled access to Chitika ads via the Hosts file on my PC’s, to stop me accidentally clicking on the ads. Does this happen often? Is this a ploy to stop paying the amounts due? Chikita have not even had the courtesy to reply to my email requesting clarification of the problem. They have just suspended my account without paying any monies due.. I have now gone back to Google Adsense. Needless to say I am FUMING.