Undoubtedly, Chitika is one of the most popular Google Adsense alternatives and many people swear by their service and often they are the only option for Bukisa and Infobarrel contributers who do not have an approved Adsense account.
Definitely Chitika has a lot of advantage over Google Adesense, but an issue that has been coming up a lot in the recent past in a number of forums is the highly controversial Chitika Revenue Audit, and you will be best advised to know about this before signing up for Chitika Publisher Network.
What is a Revenue Audit?
In case you have not yet guessed what a revenue audit is, it simply means evaluating or rather estimating the number of VALID clicks (as decided by your Ad server's T & C) and paying you accordingly. This amount will be definitely lower than or equal to the raw data displayed on your account dashboard which is displayed throughout the month (assuming your ad provider pays Net 30).
Is the Revenue Audit Unique to Chitika?
NO! If you would care to read through the fine print, you will find that almost all ad providers including Google Adsense performs a revenue audit before charging their advertisers and paying their publishers. This is the reason why some ad providers will tell you your ESTIMATED earning for the month is $x.y
So What is Wrong with the Chitika Audit?
The concern with the Chitika audit is that they are regularly decreasing the raw amount earned from your site by around 20-30% and may even be as high as 90% according to some publishers whereas for Adsense the numbers are almost always less than 10% and generally varies between 2-5%.
According a forum post one publisher allegedly had his earning reduced from $28.03 for 44 clicks to $3.05 for 4 VALID clicks!
So Is Chitika a Scam?
Chitika is positively NOT a scam in the sense that they always pay your audited revenue on time, in fact they are probably the best Adsense alternative available in terms of the ability to serve contextual ads on your site and has a remarkably high click through rate. However, whether their auditing technique is faulty is a totally different issue. And before we get too judgmental, bear in mind click frauds are not entirely unheard of and it is just possible that some unscrupulous publishers may have taken the efficiency of the Chitika click tracking system a bit too lightly.
My Personal Take on the Chitika Audit
I have had no personal experience with the Chitika audit yet, and would stick with Chitika at least until I get approved by Adsense. I will just have to be careful I don't buy that DSLR camera I'm after before my Chitika earning is safely deposited to my Paypal account.