September 9, 2006

Chitika Vs AdSense

You may have noticed an interesting new kind of advertising that has taken the internet by storm over the last few months. It's the Chitika "eMiniMall". It displays targeted product advertisements, with a picture, descriptive text, and some useful features. The eMiniMall is a tiny tabbed pane, which allows the user to get a description, reviews, and the best prices for the given item. If the item isn't what you want, there's a search tab to allow you to search the Chitika partner sites, without even leaving the page.

So the question on everyone's mind is whether this is going to be as big as Google AdSense. I think the answer is that they are very different animals, and they might compliment each other nicely. Google AdSense text ads are designed to be unobtrusive. Unless you pick clashing colors, they blend nicely with the site on which they're displayed. The Chitika ads, while not ugly, tend to catch the eye more with their pictures and tabs. Once they've caught the eye, they offer the added advantage of allowing the user to interect with the ad without even leaving the page. The hope, clearly, is that the user will become interested enough at some point to click on an ad.

Google AdSense ads will appeal to a certain type of reader. One who has been desensitized to loud, colorful ads may still read a text ad that blends nicely with the site. The Chitika ad, however, may attract attention from the user whose eye might be caught by an interesting picture, and the chance to get some quick information on a cool product.

The good news is that the Terms and Conditions of both companies are compatible. You can display Chitika eMiniMalls on the same page as Google AdSense ads. The only catch is the Chitika ads cannot be run in "contextual" mode. Google ads, as you probably know by now, are tailored to the content on the current page. A Google crawler looks at the content of the page, and atttempts to serve up relevant ads that will be more likely to result in clickthroughs. Chitika, similarly, has the capability to serve up relevant products based on the text of your page. The Google terms and conditions specifically prohibit displaying contextual ads on the same page as AdSense ads, however. Thankfully Chitika off