I’ve been really happy with my earnings through the new Chitika eMiniMall system, thrilled that it was even exceeding my Google AdSense revenue, but now that it’s time to get paid out, I’m suddenly notified that the projected payment was “audited” and that a whopping 39% of my commission was invalidated as being fraudulent. What the heck? How could I have that high a fraud level??
There’s actually quite a buzz in the online world about this “audit” from the Chitika folk prior to their November payments, actually, so you’re definitely not alone.
The numbers are so high, however, that it’s extraordinarily odd. With some of my colleagues, it’s really hard to imagine that they have even a single fraudulent click, let alone 30-50% being classified as fraudulent by the Chitika folk.
I dug around a bit to see if I could ascertain what algorithms they use to determine whether something is fraudulent or not, and found this interesting passage in their terms of service:
Interesting, but here’s an even more interesting snippet (with my highlights):
“Chitika reserves the right to withhold payment of any Revenue Share Payment in the event of any breach of this Agreement by Client, pending Chitika’s reasonable investigation of any of the foregoing or any breach of this Agreement by Client, or in the event that an advertiser whose Paid Listing are displayed on the Site defaults on payment for such Paid Listing to Chitika.”
I have also heard through the grapevine that Chitika automatically rejects any clicks from Asian countries as part of its sweeping anti-fraud strategy, so if you did happen to attract a large audience from, say, Japan, that could be a big problem.
The other issue is “impressions co-mingled with a significant number of fraudulent impressions or fraudulent clicks”. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that suggest that if their fraud algorithm detects fraudulent clicks for whatever reason that all clicks during that period of time are discounted, even legitimate traffic?
In any case, what baffles me is why Chitika doesn’t just filter its traffic numbers on the daily reports against the “typical” fraud numbers so that if the average Chitika fraud rate was, say, 25%, then they should just automatically subtract 25% from the numbers they display. Then if you had a typical fraud rate, you’d have accurate numbers, and if you had less than the typical fraud rate (one pal of mine tells me he was penalized only 13%) you’d have an end-of-month increase, which would be darn nice.
Anyway, perhaps someone from Chitika can pop on here and give us a bit more of a definitive answer on how they calculate fraud rates? We’ll hope for the best.
Hope this helps you understand what’s going on with your Chitika account.