ScratchBack, the new advertising/tipping system from Jim Kukral got thrown into drive a little earlier than he had planned today. It was originally planned for the 31st or 1st, but it seems that it went a little bit viral late this last week and he decided to release it to the beta list.
If you’re still wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the orange widget thing talking about top spots on the right under the text link ads.
It has some potential. There are several options for setting it up. You can make the links last until someone bumps them off the bottom (like I have set up), 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days. Lot’s of flexibility there. There are several different color schemes that you can select as well. Most of the most used colors, so should be something to fit into just about any theme. You can also select between text links and image links. I couldn’t find anything saying whether the image links would default to a text link if the “tipper” didn’t upload an image, but I would assume so. And if you’re worried about Google getting mad at you, the links are hardcoded with the nofollow attribute.
Now, it’s not all roses with this. Several things jumped out at me right away. The first is that they plainly state that they are taking a commission on your tips, but nowhere does it say how much. Not the biggest deal in the world, but I’d still like to know. Especially when it’s a widget that could be programmed independently pretty quickly by anyone with some coding experience. It’s just easier to use ScratchBack. (*Update: I’ve sold one link so far at $1 and received a total of $0.333 for it. Seems a little steep for me. Not even TLA takes more than 50%)
And if you’ve looked at the widget here, you’ve noticed that it’s a little big for the sidebar. That’s because there is no flexibility for size. 180 pixels or nothing. I’d love to see some of the more standard sizes. Or at least an option for a standard sized 160 pixels. And maybe a horizontal option as well. Lots of people have a 468X60 banner spot that would work great for something like this.
And finally, there isn’t an affiliate program. Not really all that surprising considering that they don’t disclose how much they are taking. Hopefully they’ll work on that. I think it would help with acceptance and use if people were aware of how much they were losing per transaction as well as maybe able to get a kickback for referrals.
Another thing that I noticed, but that really isn’t a bad thing per se, is that during the sign up and in the FAQ’s, they try to make it very clear that this is not an advertising program. It’s a tipping platform that just happens to have a link kickback function. Sounds fine to me. Also sounds like double talk. Especially when you go and read the TOS and the only words they use for both buyers and sellers are the words advertiser and ad publisher. And they are called text link advertisements. Which is it? Are they tips or ads?
btw. I’ve priced the links in my scratchback widget at $1. And it’s set to bump down, so after 10 are purchased, the next purchase will bump #10 off the list. Should make for some interesting times if it’s used at all. Of course, if it’s never used, your link could sit up there for quite a while for only $1!