An Interview with Chitika(CHIH-tih-ka)

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Founded in 2003, Chitika (pronounced CHIH-tih-ka), is a full-service on-line advertising network serving over 2 billion monthly impressions across more than 30,000 websites. For advertisers and media buyers, Chitika is a proven channel for targeting on-line consumers and qualified buyers. For all publishers, Chitika is an easy-to-use platform for earning daily ad revenue.

What does Chitika mean?
When Chitika co-founders, Venkat Kolluri and Alden DoRosario left Lycos in 2003 to start their own company, they sought a name that would suggest the speed with which its customers would be able to put up ads on their Web sites. Chitika, which means β€œsnap of the fingers” in Telugu (a South Indian language), captured this sentiment and Chitika Inc. was born. Chitika introduced its online-ads service in January, 2004.
Chitika-eventfamilypic
Since the start of the company it has been mentioned in many of the mainstream media and has been one of the favorite for many “A” grade bloggers. We also use chitika, its been so great in terms of income generation so far. Haven’t seen us, using Chitika, that’s the secret of Chitika(premium) ads. They are invisible to direct visitors!

Ok, without much delay, here we present you the interview that we did with Ryan Travis Director of Client Services
Chitika, Inc.

1. We are very much curious about all the guys behind Chitika, and we want to have a look at your office. If you have any video or photographs(of your employees and office) then please share it with our readers.

Ah – sorry – I don’t have any pictures other than what you can see on our family page!

2. Do you read blogs? If yes, then which are your favorite blogs?

Yes I definitely do read blogs. For keeping up with business, I love to read ProBlogger, TechCrunch, ShoeMoney, and many others. For pleasure, I read PitchforkMedia.com (great for news), Stereogum, N4G, and lots of other sites (I’m a big music and video games nerd!).

3. We know that Chitika was started in 2003. So its not that old, so how could you manage to get the exposure? What do you think, was a stepping stone for Chitika?

Well our first major step was actually somewhat of an accident. Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) came across our ads and began using them, and they worked really well on his sites. He ended up writing a very positive review on the performance, and we really got a lot of exposure from that.

More recently, our Chitika | Premium ads have taken us to an even bigger audience. Our original eMiniMalls ads worked great only for sites about products, but now our new Chitika | Premium ads are doing fantastic on all types of sites (finance, travel, etc. – and don’t worry – they still work great on product sites too!).

4. How do you define success?

Heh.. that is a good question! I would define success as meeting or exceeding the goals that you have set (or that are set for you).

5. What are the mistakes you see your publishers and advertisers are making, in using Chitika

Well I am on the Publisher side so I can only speak for publishers – but the biggest mistake that I see constantly is placement. Publishers will often put our ads in placements that are just not good at all, and then they get upset when they don’t get any clicks on the ads. It is very frustrating! We try to fix this by sending out emails and creating pages to educate the publishers, and by putting up placement guides like this one.

6. What repels you the most from a blog/website(animation at your face advertising etc) ?

Yes – extremely animated ads (“shoot the monkey”, etc.), and especially ads with sound. I really hate hearing “Congratulations, you have won a free iPod!”.. that drives me crazy!

7. What are the new year resolutions for Chitika?

In 2008, we surpassed Ask.com in monthly search-targeted ads served. The next largest provider is Microsoft, and in 2009, we want to surpass them too.

8. How is Chitika differ from other ad networks?

We do a lot of things differently from other ad networks, but I would say that the main difference is in how we target and display our ads. With Chitika | Premium ads, we will only display to search engine traffic, and we will target the ads to what the user was searching for.

This allows us to show extremely relevant ads, and gives the users a good experience. Regular readers who come to your site directly will not see the ads at all – which makes them happy and keeps them coming back.

9. What inspired the idea of targeting the search engine visitors ?

The basic idea is this: better targeted ads means more money – for both publishers and advertisers. If we can target the ads to what people are searching for, then that is really a win-win situation for everyone involved.

10. We see you in twitter, helping your publishers in all possible manner. How do you manage your time?

Ha – terribly! That is something that I am really trying to improve on. It is hard to find a balance between helping everyone out individually, and forming higher-level plans of projects and different items I want to do. I’m still trying to figure out the correct mix, but I feel that it is extremely important to get out there and interact with our customers, no matter what size their sites are.

11. How big or how small is Chitika, as a company?

We are medium-sized. You can see some of us on our “Family” page – that shows the people who have been here the longest. Also – we are currently hiring for several new positions.

12. What all features are in your to do list of Chitika?

Too many! If I list them all here, I might take up all the space on your server πŸ˜‰

13. If you knew what you know now when you first started Chitika, whats the one biggest tip you would give yourself today?

Do crazy stuff. I think that we all tend to get a little caught up in our worlds of trying to meet our numbers goals, and we get scared to try new/wild ideas. I have found that some of our most successful projects were the “crazy” ones.

14. Strategies used to promot Chitika ?

Lots – but mainly we rely on word-of-mouth. If we do a great job at helping publishers make money, then they will talk about it.

15. Your advice for all chitika publishers/advertisers to make the most out of chitika.

Try new things, and track them by using channels. It is amazing how much improvement you can make by just testing out little changes, like placement, link colors, etc. You should try a lot of different ideas, and see which ones work best. Check out the Chitika Blog for tips on where to place ads, and different ways to customize them.

16. Please tell something, that you would like all your advertisers/publishers/ and others to know about Chitika

Our ads work best when used together on the same page with AdSense – we are meant to be used as a compliment for AdSense, rather than a replacement. Our most successful publishers use both together.

Hope you enjoyed the interview. Ryan is really helpful for all the publishers. If you are a Chitika publisher, then feel free to contact him, if you have any problem or if you need any suggestions. Thanks Ryan and Chitika for the interview.

If you have not yet tried Chitika, then please give it a try. Chitika premium really works like a charm on many sites. Signup for chitika. And please leave your valuable comments in the comment section.

10 thoughts on “An Interview with Chitika(CHIH-tih-ka)”

  1. A nice read indeed. Just in the morn I was trying to optimize my chitika ads in one of my blogs.

    And this is really a blessing in disguise to learn that one of the co-founders is from South India where I too hail from.

  2. @Team Nirvana, Thanks for the Good Words.

    Nice to know that you are also from South India. I live in Karnataka. We all should be inspired by people like Venkat Kolluri(Chitika co-founders). They make us feel proud.

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