Chitika, Inc. (pronounced CHIH-tih-ka) was a search-targeted advertising company. It was located in Westborough, Massachusetts, United States. The name Chitika means "in a snap" in Telugu language.[1]

Chitika, Inc.
Company typePrivate
IndustryInternet advertising
FoundedShrewsbury, Massachusetts (May 2003 (2003-05))
Key people
Venkat Kolluri, Co-Founder, CEO
Alden DoRosario, Co-Founder, CTO
ProductsSearch Targeted Text Ads, Mobile Ads

On April 17, 2019, Chitika announced that they were shutting down their business.

History edit

In 2003, co-founders Venkat Kolluri and Alden DoRosario started Chitika after leaving their jobs at search engine-based company "Lycos". Since launching its online advertising service in 2004, Chitika has added a Mobile advertising Division as well as a Real-Time Bidding Division.[2] In 2015, Chitika's founders announced Cidewalk, their local mobile ad platform, would spin off into a separate business unit with $4 Million in seed funding and new office space in Southborough, MA.[3]

On April 17, 2019, Chitika wrote to publishers advising them of their immediate cessation of business. The email advised publishers to remove all Chitika code from their website. The email further advised publishers that they would not be paid for impressions or clicks occurring since March 1, 2019.[4]

Partnerships edit

In 2009, Chitika began a partnership with[5] the b5media Network.[6]

In 2010, Yahoo! closed their AdSense competitor Yahoo Publisher Network Online (YPNO) and recommended publishers migrate to Chitika as a replacement.[7]

In 2013, Chitika announced a multi-year extension of its partnership with Yahoo!. The agreement includes off–network search syndication, monetization of Yahoo! owned and operated properties, and mobile ad serving and monetization.

Awards and recognition edit

  • 2007
    • Inc. top free services for generating revenue on your website: Best For Promoting Ancillary Products[8]
  • 2008
    • AlwaysOn: Top 100 fastest-growing companies in the Northeast
    • Red Herring: Leading private technology companies in North America
    • MITX 2008 Technology Awards: Finalist, Marketing/Customer Relationship Technologies Category[9]
  • 2009
    • Red Herring: Top 100 Global 2008 Winner
  • 2010
    • DPAC Award Finalist for Best Mobile Advertising Network Innovation
  • 2011
    • TiE Boston: Chitika CEO Venkat Kolluri Awarded "Crystal Award." The Crystal Award is given to a TiE Charter Member for building and growing a company from the ground up with no external funding.[10]
  • 2013
  • 2015
    • AdExchanger: Cidewalk Hooks Up With Yahoo Small Business To Reach More Mom-And-Pops.[11]

Controversies edit

In December 2005, some publishers reported a reduction in revenue after auditing between 25%-90%.[12][13]

In 2010, Chitika removed their ads from thousands of websites. The company stated that the sites they had been doing business with were all suddenly placed under "Pending Review" or "Pending Further Review" status. This meant the company would no longer show ads on the sites. Many dropped the advertising service.[14]

On March 16, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appeared before the United States Senate Commerce Committee and announced its first behavioral advertising case, filed against Chitika for use of a deceptive opt-out mechanism. According to the FTC, Chitika's cookies that opt users out of behavioral tracking were expiring in ten days rather than the stated ten years.[15] A settlement was reached under which Chitika was forbidden from making misleading statements about the extent of data collection about consumers and the extent to which consumers can control the use of their data. Further, the settlement required that Chitika link all its advertising to an effective opt-out mechanism in future. It has been commented that, “this requirement of a hyperlink embedded in online advertisements is a good indicator of the type of Do Not Track mechanism that will be acceptable to the FTC if “Do Not Track” becomes mandatory.”[16] According to a press release by the company, their opt-out cookies have been set to ten days since March 2010 when the FTC began their investigation.[17] Chitika subsequently claimed to have made only a total of fifty-five cents from the ten-day opt-out expiration.[18]

Delaying and denying payments edit

In 2017, Chitika shocked its publishers by changing the minimum payout from $10 to $50. It affected many existing publishers who joined Chitika for its lower payout option. Publishers who cross $50 are banned from the network.

On April 17, 2019, Chitika wrote to publishers advising them of their immediate cessation of business. The email advised publishers to remove all Chitika code from their website. The email further advised publishers that they would not be paid for impressions or clicks occurring since March 1, 2019.

References edit

  1. ^ "Snap ( English - Telugu )". MyMemory Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  2. ^ Grossman, Naomi. "Chitika looks to make online advertising a 'snap'". IndUS Business Journal. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  3. ^ Micucci, Emily. "Chitika to spin off mobile segment". Worcester Business Journal. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Chitika Is Shutting Down". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  5. ^ Sterling, Greg (May 7, 2013). "Yahoo Expands Search-Ads Relationship With Chitika Into Mobile". Third Door Media, Inc. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  6. ^ Chitika and b5media Premium ads Partnership
  7. ^ Wauters, Robin (Mar 31, 2010). "Yahoo Publisher Network To Be Axed, Customers Referred To Chitika Instead". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  8. ^ Clicks for Cash BY Michael Fitzgerald
  9. ^ 2008 MITX Innovation Awards Finalist. Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "TiE-Boston gives Awards to Members and Recognizes Ash Dahod at Annual TiE Gala". The Indus Entrepreneurs. 2011-11-14. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Cidewalk Hooks Up With Yahoo Small Business To Reach More Mom-And-Pops". AdExchanger. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  12. ^ Chitika Publishers Furious Over Revenue Audit That Has Taken Up To 90% Of Their Revenue
  13. ^ "Chitika cheaters?". TMCNET. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  14. ^ [1] Archived May 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "FTC Puts an End to Tactics of Online Advertising Company That Deceived Consumers Who Wanted to "Opt Out" from Targeted Ads". 14 March 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  16. ^ Clinton J. McCord. "How to Respond to Recent Developments in Consumer Information Regulation". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  17. ^ "Chitika FTC Settlement: The Facts". PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  18. ^ Leena Rao. "Opt-Out Cookie Error Earns Chitika A Whopping 55 Cents And An FTC Inquiry". Retrieved 2013-10-23.