- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Over the last couple of years I’ve written about my view that widget advertising will be huge. Sadly it seems to be taking longer than I expected to see widgets dominate advertising slots across the Web.
Today Widgetbox and Linkshare have announced a partnership that could help get widget advertising moving in a forward direction. The partnership will create “ad widgets” which will contain affiliate-based products. The ad widgets will feature Linkshare’s network of companies and will be served via widget technology provided by Widgetbox. Linkshare members can create the widgets and share them across the Web potentially providing more income than a traditional affiliate advertisement.
From the announcement, “The LinkShare widgets display targeted products from single or multiple advertisers, giving publishers the hottest and most valuable products in a single widget. The widgets are dynamically updated and feature the freshest, most popular products. Other custom features include: multiple tabs of product content, multiple product display modes, custom sizing and custom styles. The widgets are easily embedded onto websites, blogs, and social media sites – including Facebook.”
Read more about my thoughts on widget timing, communications and ethics.
Musician ecommerce widget service TheBizmo has announced their public U.S. launch today. Previously TheBizmo has been operating in private beta here in the U.S. and in full operations mode in the U.K.
TheBizmo has a NYC presence as well – David Hazan heads up their U.S. operations. You should see TheBizmo around NYC this summer as they are sponsoring a number of music conferences.
TheBizmo is described as offering, “a new embeddable e-commerce widget that enables artists to sell MP3s, videos, merchandise and more, straight to fans, from any social networking page, website, or blog.” The service is free to setup and both the musician and TheBizmo share in the revenues. The musician earns the following:
- Music – 70% of retail
- Tickets – 100% of the face value of all tickets
- T-shirts – musician decides on the share
- All other offerings (ringtones, e-books, sheet music, etc.) - 70% of retail
After the musician creates their store, they can push it to Facebook, Ning, MySpace and other social networks. And since it’s a widget, it can be embedded anywhere. The service could be a good way for musicians to gain more visibility and new fans.
A year ago this month AOL acquired Goowy which included the Goowy desktop and the YourMinis widget creation tools. Goowy was one of those companies (like Feedburner) that had great potential and I was a bit disappointed when they went under the AOL umbrella. Back in October AOL announced that the main YourMinis site was going to be discontinued but widgets would continue to work.
Update: In the comments, Gary Benitt from yourminis/AOL notes that they have removed the ads and are working on better ads and will also make an announcement when the ads begin again. Thanks Gary!
On our sister site HTMLCenter, we run a Yourminis widget which includes the latest posts from CN (you can see two examples below). When I did my cruise around the sites this morning something made me do a double-take. The Yourminis widget now has an ad inside the widget! But not only is it any ad, it’s a completely non-targeted ad. And on the first load, it was that ^%$&@$*@$ stomach ad. Unlike many of the major tech blogs, I absolutely refuse the run the stomach ads that seem to be everywhere. I spent hours making sure they never appear on any of my network of sites. I’d be ok with an ad in the widget as long as the ad was targeted and I could provide a banned companies list.
I was on a panel last summer in Washington where we discussed widgets and widget advertising. I believe widget advertising will still be huge this year. Why? Exactly for reasons like this. You find a widget you like and install it into a popular post. You don’t come back to check the widget each day and so you missed the fact that the company jammed an ad (or other content) into the widget without notifying you. This is going to be a hot topic this year especially if the economy continues to decline.
The example I used on the panel included the following: let’s say you install a widget for a new movie that’s coming out in theaters. What happens to that widget once the movie has left the theater? Does the movie company have the right to change the content of the widget without notifying the site owner? Once consumer brands realize that by getting a user to install a widget they own a piece of real estate for free "for life" brands will start creating widgets on an exponential scale. Why pay for just a simple ad unit when you can push out a widget at the same time?
Part of the issue with widgets is that unlike ad networks, there’s no real record of where the widgets are posted and who is the site contact. I strongly believe that widget creators have a responsibility to notify the site owners when content in the widget changes. Even if it means they need to go to every single site where the widget is installed and send a contact inquiry.
I am certainly disappointed in the method yourminis decided to go about jamming the crappiest possible ads into the widgets on HTMLCenter. The widgets will be removed tomorrow and I highly doubt I will use another widget from Yourminis/AOL in the near future.
We initially covered Blist when they launched at DEMO a year ago and then they raised $6.5 million later in February 2008. Blist helps you share data online. The tool usage ranges from simple databases for to-do lists through corporate CRM projects.
Today Blist is announcing the launch of Blist Widgets. The widgets can be used to display data from a Blist file or they can also be used to capture data from users. It’s a good way to create a collaborative workspace for data. The idea is to replace the static HTML table with a more rich experience using a Blist widget. The widgets look like good competitors to the Google Docs widgets.
Interestingly, when I load the widget in IE7, it loads fine the first time. If I browse away from the window (minimize, change tabs, etc.) and then come back to the widget window, the widget disappears.
The Blist team also noted that new U.S. President Barack Obama is using the Blist widgets on the change.gov website. Xconomy has a good article about the Obama tie. Here’s an example Blist widget:
NY-based KickApps has announced the launch of a new application platform named "App Studio" this morning. The App Studio concept takes web applications and content, bundles everything together and creates a simple piece of code that any KickApps publisher can integrate into their site. Third-party publishers can also push their applications to the KickApps publishers through the App Studio. The company is announcing that Meebo and Yahoo Maps are the first two partners to join the platform.
Web developers need to submit their applications to KickApps to be included in the App Studio. It appears the applications must be in Flash to be accepted. The App Studio uses a WYSIWYG interface which should make it easy for KickApps publishers to integrate applications from the App Studio into their websites.
It would be interesting to find out if KickApps is working on opening the App Studio to work on any website regardless if KickApps powers the site. Opening up the studio would provide more usage and could provide a good way to get more visibility into KickApps.
In September KickApps launched a pretty innovative and customizable video monetization service.
MTV and Clearspring have announced a new distribution partnership today that will allow MTV to have their widgets shared via the Clearspring network. Today’s snnouncement comes a week after Clearspring refreshed their launchpad widget service. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MTV will provide show- and media-related content in widget form and fans of the content can grab a widget and place it on their blog or social network page. MTV will also look to monetize the widgets as well.
By creating the set of widgets, MTV hopes to get tons of free advertising by getting users to distribute their ads for them.
Widget sharing service Clearspring has announced the launch of their latest version of Launchpad today. The new Launchpad allows for more customization than before including colors nad layout. Clearspring is now also supporting a variety of additional languages within their sharing feature.
The sharing menus within the widgets also prioritize the destinations based on each user’s history with other Clearspring widget interactions. The company has also launched "liquid sizing" which allows the sharing menu to morph to the right size automatically based on the size of the widget. Clearspring serves ads in the widgets on their free version.
The company has also pointed to new tracking analysis from comScore which shows them at 254 million unique visitors worldwide in September while I assume they are pointing to Gigya at 161 million visitors. comScore also notes that they had "reached" 101 million U.S. consumers for September. "Reached" is a tough word to use — I’d very much prefer to see actual interactions. Widget views are easy, interactions are a whole other ballgame. Part of the bump in numbers comes from Clearspring’s acquisition of AddThis.