Nov 10, 2007

Widgetbucks, a scam to avoid!





I don't understand why, I have noticed that a lot of reputable bloggers are all jumping into promoting Widgetbucks before actually reviewing the product in its entirety including Problogger Darren Rowse. I am a bit sick and tired of these reputable bloggers that are just trying to suck money out of their visitors by giving false or untested reviews of products so visitors are signing up under their affiliate link for them to earn a few bucks.

Bad take on their end to sacrifice reputation for a quick buck or two. What I personally like to do is actually use the product first before promoting them, so here's my honest review of Widgetbucks.

In short, I don't feel that they are a legitimate company and they do seem to fall under the categories of what I called a scam. At its first looks, I have noticed that there are claims by Widgetbucks that they are actually comparable to Google Adsense. Now, if anyone were to tell you that they are at par with Google Adsense this is definitely a red flag!! It's like a small fish saying that I eat sharks along with us humans.

With my pre-judgments aside, I have went ahead and test them out by implementing their widget onto my website. After a few days later I have realized that not one, not two, "ALL" of their ads are the same. Technical knowledge aside, are you interested in the same advertisements over and over? Even if you were interested at it the first time, are you interested in it at a second time? Chances are the answer is no. It is clearly reflective on the click rates of my experiment as well. The original advertisement that I was getting a 1-2% click rate now drops down to less then 1%.

Now waiting for a few additional weeks, I have noticed that Widgetbucks practice what is known as backdating. Something that is prohibited by Wallstreet which has gotten a lot of stock brokers locked up in jail and Widgetbucks is doing the exact same thing. Not only did they reduce my rate per click to 30% of the original pay rate, they have backdated all of my earnings from the first day that I have signed up with them. This is fraud!!!

To test out their customer service, I have went ahead and called the customer service line which promises to return all requests within 24 hours. Not only did I not get a response, after 48 hours there's no call no e-mail from them. What this has demonstrated to me is that this is another program which will turn out to be something scam oriented with red flags signaled everywhere. So if you are hyped to join Widgetbucks because of bloggers or webmasters wanting to join their affiliate links, be careful out there. Making money smart sometimes doesn't mean jumping on the bandwagon first but to jump in at the right timing! -Swapw


9 comments:

Darren Rowse said...

Ok - interesting post.

Let me say a few things in response.

1. I blog about the topic of making money blogging. As a result, when a new product launches that says it'll help bloggers make money - I think I should post about it.

2. When I do post about it I tell people to what level I've experienced it. If I've just started writing about it then I say that.

3. I don't hype products and I point out both the things I like and things I don't like. I also warn people with new products that it's new and to expect it to change, make mistakes and grow.

4. When I've then used the product for a while I update my reviews or post new ones. WIth WidgetBucks I've done this.

5. When it comes to WidgetBucks - I like the product. It out performs both AdSense and Chitika on two of my blogs and doesn't work as well as them on other blogs I've tried it on. I've said this numerous times on my blog (ie that it works on some blogs but not others).

6. Are they comparable to AdSense? Well they've obviously not as big, their product is only a couple of months old and needs to mature (AdSense has been around for years and has had time to grow) etc so in scale and maturity they're not in the same league - but in terms of performance I'd say that they compete well on some blogs (particularly product related blogs).

7. Your CTR has decreased - this is fairly normal when you put a new type of ad on a blog. Your loyal readers see something new and are more likely to click it - but after a day or two the CTR decreases as they become accustomed to the ad. I see the same thing with every ad network I've ever used and this is why I recommend rotating ads and trying new things.

8. You talk about 'backdating' and I agree that it's annoying - however they are not the only ad network to do it. Chitika do it (they call it auditing and it takes a month before you see your real earnings instead of a couple of days like WB). AdSense also audit their ads - but it's much quicker because they have the resources to do it quick. It's a frustrating thing - however when you signed up for WB you agreed to their terms and services - I think you'll find you agreed to allow them to audit your earnings. You'll also find that they do it for two reasons - firstly to stop click fraud and because their system is one where advertisers don't report actual earnings to them for a day or two. Both reasons are actually frustrating for publishers - but without them the whole system would break down.

9. All I'd really say is that if you don't like them, if they don't work for you or you're not happy with them that it's totally in your rights to stop using them. However that doesn't make them a scam - and it doesn't mean that anyone else who promotes them do anything wrong by promoting them. I'd actually encourage you to think about the words you use to describe them - using a word like 'scam' or 'fraud' could get you in legal trouble (defamation). While they might not be up to your expectations I don't see anything in what they've done as illegal or fraud.

My personal opinion is that web publishers need to be realistic and responsible when testing new services. You see they take time to develop so don't expect the world at first. Most of these ad networks start out with problems (I remember in the early days of AdSense when they had lots of problems too). Publishers also need to read the terms of service before they sign up. Lastly - they need to know that there is NO get rich quick system online that really will convert as much as some people hype up these systems. I personally have indicated numerous times on my blog that WB works well for me - but that it's not perfect - however others have hyped it up. This is irresponsible on their part - but I think it's also irresponsible for people to believe everything that they read online.

J said...

Widget-Sucks

Swapw said...

In my own defense, here's what I think in response.

1. Nothing wrong about letting others know about new techniques, but when your blog is of an authority in the eyes of the general public what you say is got to be taken into more consideration.

If programs you've pushed and it fails, it damages your own reputation and no one esles.

2. Ok, no comment on this one.

3. I am not sure about this area Darren, I see more hype rather then the negative side to things. I have actually followed reputable blogger's post on a regular basis and this area seems to be quite universal.

4. Not on the area in earning drop, this is vital to any blogger running into this advertiser. You cannot say you've updated unless the most important part is mentioned. Earnings drop!

5. Okay, but I think this is similar to my last comment which you have to let others know when there's a drop in earnings.

6. Comparable is something Widgetbucks claim, I don't claim it for them. Whether it works or not, I think the point is that the rate drop to anyone including raise in some sense should be communicated clearly to not some bloggers but to ALL bloggers.

7. That is actually not true at all. My rates have never decreased with other advertisers or CPM companies. As a matter of fact, NO advertiser display the same ad unless it performs well. Widgetbucks doesn't change ads at all period. This goes with all sectors, not just one or two.

8. Click fraud is based on their algorithem, if they are not ready to handle the general public they shouldn't. Fraud is everywhere and you cannot eliminate it at all. In a perfect world we all follow rules, unfortunately we're not.

About earnings change, I think if they tell you ok! But if they don't and they just changes your earnings, it's fraud. Yes I know that Adsense audits their ads, however this stops and stabilizes after the first few days.

In the case of Widgetbucks, they audit after one month? Again, this is not a right practice for any type of business period!

9. I won't go into further depth, but if I was the only guy talking about it okay maybe I'm a bit off. However, this is not so...open your eyes and you'll see that others are in the same boat. Most reputable forums are all echoing the same results as myself.

Earnings aside, 24-48 hour turn around time in customer service I've never ever heard from them and it's been two weeks is wrong business practice. And it is fraud, I don't care how you look at it.

Let's say that you earn $0.15 on RPC with WB. If it drops down to $0.03 I am really curious to see if you will still say that their practices are completely legal and legitimate. It's easy to criticize others until you are in that boat. The RPC adjustment is not just on bloggers alone, this is across the board and once you are hit with it, I'm sure you'll be saying things similar to my blog.

Merrick said...

How can I email you? Saw some of your videos and wanted to talk about some ideas with you. Anyways, you can email me at merricklackner@gmail.com as well.

Brenden said...

Very good post. I think I'll stick around.

Gerri said...

You and Darren have made some good points that made me think a bit more about Widgetbucks. A few people seem to be unhappy with them. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Widgetbucks is repetitive exactly as you said. On top of requiring an enormous amount of clicks to earn a penny, you don't receive any commission if anybody buys anything from the ads. Until they can get better and more diverse ads that change daily, I'm pulling it off of my blogs.

Anonymous said...

widgetbuck is a shit

Anonymous said...

Just popping in to say nice site.