Monopoly Buxx With Hidden Links – WidgetBucks Review

 

Last night I was siting by my computer and my mate Jim Kukral sends me a invite to a new monetization program that he feels is giving good results on his blog.

By new, I mean this was pre-release, extremely exclusive private invite to be in “ahead of the curve”

It is CPC (cost per click) based rather than CPA (cost per action), thus you get paid based upon every click.

Another widget that is very much product based, I suppose going head to head with Chitika so it will be good on product related sites.
widget bucks

Notice I am not including a live widget? This is CPC, and and I am writing about the product, thus the naturally curious would be clicking on the adverts to give them a trial… and I can’t display a test advert which isn’t tied to my account or possibly someone else’s.

There Are 5 Big Questions Regarding WidgetBuckz

  1. Where did they get the silly name?
  2. Can keywords and products clicked be tracked? – Adsense is part of your product research for things you really should be promoting directly as an affiliate, or finding topics for content either free or paid. From the terms it seems like you are not allowed to use your own tracking.
  3. Why did they include the display domain in the configuration of a widget? There are much better ways to authorize or claim a site. How would you use this widget on 7000 blogs?
  4. This is the initial launch – they claim it is possible to achieve an effective CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of between $3 and $6 – is that before or after click fraud reductions?
  5. The referral scheme – initially $5 was offered for every sign up who achieved a balance of $50 ($25 earnt + $25 free bonus), then that was updated within a few hours and it is now 10% over 12 months – that doesn’t seem to be in addition to the original $5 – where do you draw the line between being reactive to your customers and being a feather in the wind?

Positive Notes

The widgets will catch the attention of the audience, and might generate clicks. Payment is via Paypal or check

More Questions, or Questionable Things

This was interesting within the terms of service

Back-links placed by Mpire in the HTML code must not be removed.

Lets take a look at the code

<!-- START CUSTOM WIDGETBUCKS CODE --><script src="http://www.widgetbucks.com/script/widgetMagic.js" type="text/javascript"></script><div id="container_TiVAnRMsyRoS1hSy" class="wbtw300x250"><a href="http://www.widgetbucks.com" target="_blank">WidgetBucks - Trend Watch - WidgetBucks.com</a></div><script type="text/javascript">writeWBStyles("www.widgetbucks.com");setTimeout(function(){var day = "" + new Date().getMonth() + new Date().getDate() + new Date().getYear();var widget = new mpireWidget("http://www.widgetbucks.com/widgets/wbtw300x250.swf?uid=TiVAnRMsyRoS1hSy&apiURL=http://www.widgetbucks.com&day="+day,"TiVAnRMsyRoS1hSy");widget.write("container_TiVAnRMsyRoS1hSy");},Math.floor((Math.random() * 150) - (-(Math.random() * 150))) - (-200))</script><!-- END CUSTOM WIDGETBUCKS CODE -->

So they are currently giving themselves a sitewide paid link, potentially more than one per page, and you might eventually earn $50 from placing the adverts.
Bidvertiser do something similar, including a text link using “noscript”, but you can easily add nofollow to that link or remove it.

As Mpire, the company behind WidgetBucks don’t allow you to remove the link, I wonder if you are allowed to modify it by adding a nofollow – the terms suggest you are not allowed to modify the code in any way?

There also seems to be a restriction in discussing CTR data, so when/if you have a problem with clicks being discounted in the future, I would be careful what you say in public.

Conclusion

Who wants to earn lots of… Monopoly money and vapour bucks?

Go somewhere else for an affiliate link – I have no confidence in a site that changes their payment structure a few hours after launch, surely they asked for professional feedback before launch?
I also don’t like the sneaky links you can’t remove, and which most people won’t be aware of.

I don’t like the way geo-targeting wasn’t mentioned in any way.

Sure I am throwing money away or “leaving it on the table”, but then I turned down $1500 worth of paid reviews last month as well.

There are plenty of widgets available in multiple designs which work on a CPA (cost per action) basis, with lots of affiliate products.

CPC really starts to be a problem when you look at GEO Targeting and the country of origin of traffic – I didn’t see anything regarding different click prices depending on the source of traffic, and I just have a feeling this will be a major problem in the future.

I really don’t trust CPC based product widgets launched just before Christmas, such that all the problems only appear after the busiest time of the year, and the record Christmas earnings turn into a flop.

Sorry Jim, I don’t like vapour bucks

 

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Comments

  1. dining chair says

    So a competitor to Adsense. In the process, if you make money per click what is the hassle? Let us give some time to see how it works.

  2. says

    Andy, I commend you for actually analyzing WidgetBucks rather than just mindlessly jumping on the bandwagon and promoting it like everyone else. If Darren and Yaro aren’t careful they’re going to lose their credibility by promoting stuff like this and BlogRush.

    To me switching to 10% for the first 12 months is probably due to pressure from the big guys who want to make as much money as possible from their hoard of mindless followers.

    • says

      Ben in some ways I actually “promoted” Blogrush more than most, but I did it in a way that I explored every fact I could find.

      The articles that became popular on various social sites generally contained less facts, both the positive and negative perspectives were generally based around the click stats in the reporting interface.

      With Widgetbucks I started off optimistically at 2am UK time yesterday. At that time I knew there was more that needed to be written than just a 5 minute overview / promotion, so I slept on it.

      I almost didn’t write anything at all, as I don’t intend to use the widgets myself, but with so many articles promoting the widget I felt it was important to write about my concerns.

      Some things can be easily fixed, such as using nofollow on the html link if it has to be there, or ensuring it is at least of benefit to the widget user by being an affiliate link, possibly blocked with robots.txt or nofollowed.

      Lots of CPC programs don’t pay for clicks from outside North America because they don’t provide any geo-targeting.

      I think personally based on the product selections I have seen, they should be displaying ads only to North America or only pay for clicks from there.

      People using the widget would then be strongly advised to use Openads targeting.

      For me the 10% switch should have happened before launch, and maybe multi-tier, but after launch in fact just a few hours doesn’t give me a confidence signal.

  3. says

    Ouch……almost a scathing review. It would be better for sure the backlinks were not in the Widgetbucks code.

    However, for a site that has the right content it may still be a good thing.

    Here are two more Widgetbucks reviews:

    Darren’s:

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/10/02/widgetbucks-a-new-advertising-option-for-your-blog/#comment-1801260

    Mine:

    http://www.zulit(dot)com/2007/10/02/widgetbucks-review/

    Now I have to go and put some Widgetbuck ads on my laptop site!

    Terry

  4. says

    $1500 worth of REVIEWS??? GAH, why didn’t you send them my way???? I could have paid off my bills this month! :-(

    Actually I had to turn down a review offer myself, and I was all psyched because it was my very first review offer, but then I find out I already did a paid review for the company when they were doing a campaign run. Sheesh. Ca’t very well do the same review twice now, can I. :-P

    I hate hype by the way, which is what Blogrush was, but there’s always a chance that by not jumping in early you can miss out on some decent opportunities.

  5. says

    I don´t see a problem in trying in things. No one is asking you for money, and it it doesn´t give you the results you want after a month you just just remove it. No harm, no foul. I don´t make 12k a month on the internet by staying on the sidelines all the time.

  6. says

    Good work Andy, I was almost tempted to try them after reading Darren’s write-up, but the sneaky links and TOS have put paid to that.

    Thanks :-)

  7. says

    Thank you, just found this article over google. I thought about testing it myself but I guess you saved me a lot of time and effort. Damn there are so many programs comming out which no one seems to have tested before. I heared about problems with joomla updates and podpress updates and several more. Just strange

  8. says

    Personally, it doesn’t bother me that they changed their affiliate structure. The new program offers more of an incentive.

    It also says alot about big business vs. small business. Larger businesses are not as flexible to make changes based on the feedback they receive. Smaller companies can make those changes with out getting approval from a bunch of middle managers. And, if those are options that can easily be changed and don’t require major programming changes, why not?

    I put WidgetBucks on my PetBoogaloo site. I really like the ads it serves up, and the product comparisons it makes. It will be interesting to see how it performs in comparison to Adsense.

    Rita Wilhelm

  9. says

    I’m really not impressed with these guys. The fact that there was a link in the ad code just pushed me to the point of removing all their ads from my site.

    I also noticed (and maybe others have too) that their stats don’t seem to track any ad impressions unless they’re at the url specified in that particular widget. I run my ads with an ad server plugin and I serve out ads to all my pages by percentage or weight. I’d been running 50/50 with AdSense and WidgetBucks for the last day or two, and my impressions stats were WAY off between the two. AdSense was showing about 1000 impressions per ad per day, while WidgetBucks was showing 50. My guess is that only those shown on my home page were counted. The method of requiring a URL sucks — there’s no way I’m going to create 500 widgets and place each one manually just so I can show the ad on my blog.

  10. says

    Since it was pre-release with exclusive invites only, do you think crushing them on changing payment structure is premature?

    I think its great you were honest about this widget. Seems that as of late responsibility has been slipping at quite a few of the major blogs.

    I posted something similar today about the million$wiki’s out there. I’d value your feedback:

    http://www.whydowork.com/blog/wdw-insider/135/

    Thanks! :)

  11. says

    I love your article, Andy!

    This new “service” doesn’t clearly identify the advertisers. The “sites in our network” promotional slogan (on their “home page”) fails to explain what role these companies play in their “network”.

    When so little “valuable” information is provided to web publishers, perhaps it’s smarter to stay away from this potential waste of time… and money.

  12. says

    I am using on my blog. I don’t find any problem in earnings now. However just 2-3 day before, the clicks and impression were not updating but now they are getting update.
    What I m curious to know that they pay or not. I’ve earned around $6 till now. As they say you have 25$ as bonus so i need 19$ more to reach 50$. I am sure I will do it by this month.

    I also saw they have starting advertising through Adwords also.

  13. DJ says

    WidgetBucks removed the hidden link today (though you have to update your code to get rid of it).

  14. teq says

    These adverts are the most annoying thing ive ever come across. I would never trust them to purchase anything and spend five minutes trying to find where to turn the damn thing off and discover… you cant. So it sits there blocking the page that its on meaning you cant use the site.

    I personally hope every one of the people behind these dies in a horrifically painful and slow manner to reflect the sheer annoyance of what they induced on internet users.

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