The Wonderful World of Widgets

Nov 13, 2008 • 6:54 pm | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under WebmasterWorld PubCon 2008 Las Vegas
 

Moderator: Jake Baillie

Speakers: Lawrence Coburn, President, RateItAll, Inc. Peter Adams, President, Matchpoint Patrick Sexton, Search Engine Marketing Manager, We Build Pages Will Price, CEO, Widgetbox Peter Yared, CEO, iWidgets!

Description: With the Web 2.0 revolution, we have seen more and more sites offering widgets in all shapes and forms. Now, several years later, this session will examine how online publishers can take advantage of this trend to gain more distribution.

Session Notes:

First up is Lawrence Coburn...

Lawrence runs a blog called SexyWidget.com. He is going to talk about API strategies.

The four pillars of distributed web strategies: 1) Widgets but they are only downloaded one at a time 2) Toolbar extensions but the download is a barrier to success. 3) Platform Apps on Facebook, MySpace, etc actually a bit of a down turn in this sector 4) API like Yahoo Maps, Amazon AWS. This allow batch or mass distribution

He likes to think of APIs and widgets on steroids. It helps expand your footprint. Google rolled out the maps, got millions of downloads and now added ads to it for a great revenue model.

APIs can be used for branding, new business models, and internal content distribution.

Case Study: Netflix Every single actor, movie, description, etc is available. Publishers are free to use this data as long as they use proper attribution. This is used to drive new subscribers to Netflix.

Case Study: RateItAll Rolling out all content including ratings, reviews, etc. Using API to pull content back to home base. Using APi to spread brand, driver referrals, etc.

There are all sorts of business models for API launches. From free to pay per API call. You will need to decide what model meets your business goals.

Challenges and risks: limited number of developers, scaling, dupe content issues, fuel competitors, legal issues such as redistribution rights.

API resources include Mashery, Platform D, Swordfish and SexyWidget.com.

Next up is Patrick Sexton...

What are widgets? They are what is left when you remove all the headers, footers, sidebars and "phoophy stuff". For example just the YouTube video player.

Why use widgets?

Interaction. People must be pleased by what you are doing. Whether it movies, chat or even business applications.

Making money. Selling products, ad revenue and making things more efficient.

Traffic. Direct traffic is very important traffic (anything that does not come from a search engine). Widgets are not spread via search engines. They are spread by people. It is relativly easy to get ranked in major widget directories for keyword phrases.

SEO. Traffic and exposure can be big. Word of mouth communities will link to you. However his view on links is that links do not have credit cards, people do. Caution: your links need to be relevant!

Patrick believes in a cross platform approach to spreading your widgets. Your widgets should be tailored to the audience who will use it and the platform supporting it.

Put your widget in every widget directory possible. They will be found. Warning: viral installers do not not post your widget or brand in the directory. iGoogle has over 100 million users and most brands are not even listed.

Third presenter is Will Price...

Widgetbox is the #1 web widget provider with over 78 million uniques and 600 million widget views.

Web publishers are trying to reach new readers or visitors. They need to develop innovative content syndication programs. Widgets are ideal for this. Most sites offer content that can easily tranlate into a widget. RSS feeds, images, videos, slideshows, etc are all easy concepts to turn into a widget.

Widgets can be viral is you create galleries, use the invite feature or as feed updates on the social sites.

Next up is Peter Yared...

His first claim is that people are not going to websites any more. He gave a dozen example of major sites where the traffic is flat or decreasing. People are spending all of their time on social sites such as blogs, Facebook, MySpace, etc. So the new model is to put your content where the users are!

There has been a big move from just widgets to SOCIAL widgets. People like to interact with engaging, social widgets. Polls or other actionable widgets are very powerful right now. Think of widgets as a great tool to reach your fans.

Rich media (video & widgets) is by far the fastest growing ad spend. Widget creation can now be a drag and drop creation process, so the entry process is pretty easy.

Last speaker of the last session of the day is Peter Adams!

Advertising is an essential ingredient of any content web site or strategy. Widgets can help you do that.

Widgets can generate income via the widget itself being an ad, an ad can be embedded in the widget, or the ads can be initiated by the widget. If you think about it, even the Google Adsense ads are just widgets. Now all the major players, like Amazon, AllPosters, eBay offer widgets through their affiliate programs.

There are also some in-page examples such as Snap that display an ad widget when you roll over an incontent text link.

Peter warns that you need to make widgets a seemless part of your user experience, not an appendage. So you need to be able to customize, customize, customize.

These session notes were written by Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures a link building services and website publicity company. Please excuse any typos or grammar issues, the session notes are written live and meant to be posted as soon as the session is over.

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