Chitika Beta Tests EMiniMalls

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Chitika Inc. is beta testing eMiniMalls, which allows comparison shopping within a banner ad unit while keeping the user on the publisher's Web page.


The window shopping is designed to let users browse products and prices through a banner that dynamically targets content in real time on the Web page. Users clicking on the link are taken straight to the chosen merchant's Web site.


"We believe that Chitika's eMiniMalls product has the opportunity to capture online merchandising the way AdSense did contextual advertising," said Josh Wetzel, director of business development at Shopping.com, Brisbane, CA.


He said Chitika's product lets publishers deliver the comparison-shopping experience to their pages with relevancy and without the hassle of human programming of product selection. The eMiniMalls are interactive, with mouse-over tabs and integrated search capabilities.


The eMiniMalls focus on promoting the product and not the advertiser by combining search, recommendation and shopping engine.


"We realized the visitor is interested in the product, not the advertiser," said Venkat Kolluri, CEO of Chitika, Marlborough, MA. "Our engine works at the back end to pick the right product for the given page. It's a product merchandising unit, not an advertisement."


The solution is easy to implement. EMiniMalls selects the top product for the site's Web page and displays information like product ratings, reviews, descriptions, related blog content and where consumers can get the best bargain on the Internet.


Also, eMiniMalls units can be displayed alongside current advertising on the publisher's site and are compatible with Google AdSense. To incorporate eMiniMalls, publishers must insert a few lines of content on their page.


Shopping.com is working with Chitika to run its listings on the eMiniMalls. The merchant pays Shopping.com for the clicks. Shopping.com passes some of that revenue to Chitika, which, in turn, gives a fee to the publisher on whose site the unit appears.


"We're aggressively talking to other shopping services," Kolluri said.


Upromise Inc., a membership-based college savings program based on buying from participating retailers and marketers, signed up to run eMiniMalls on its site. The window appears on the right side of the site when accessed by members.


"EMiniMalls ... may enhance our online comparative-shopping experience for our site visitors while continuing with our mission of helping families save for a college education," said David Coppins, vice president of the online mall at Upromise, Needham, MA.


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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