Friday, 19 January 2007

The Widget Is The Message

Vallywag was vallywaging (or as they put it 'hypebusting') about widgets:

"A widget is an affiliate marketing program, no more, no less; the maker is entirely dependent on the tolerance of the page's owner or a network such as Myspace."

Are they right? You do the math....

Your company's brand on 100 billboards across the US = $$$$$$
Your company's brand as displayed as a widget on 100 blogs = free

Vallywag goes on to state:

"Any widget maker that tries to sneak in their own advertising -- and most of them entertain such fantasies -- will be swiftly slapped down."

Seems to me that if your business model is the widget itself, sure maybe they have a point. But if your widget is a way to drive brand recognition, drive traffic to central service and/or provide an incremental value (ala gapingvoid on my site) to your community, seems just like very smart (and very free) advertising to me.

In other words, the widget IS the message.

update: apparently Fred Wilson agrees


Fraser said...

I found their analysis off base, so it's nice to see that I'm not alone.

The benefit of a widget isn't limited to free exposure/marketing. They're a valuable source of aggregated user data; something that can make an apparently absent business model rather exciting.

Leigh said...

Hum...good point. Here's a question for you, but maybe it's a longer conversation, how many companies do you know that actually use their user data. And I am not talking about SAYING they use it I mean functionally making money off it (other than ad targeting). My clients used to always want to collect tonnes of info but in truth never had the resources to make it meaningful and the technology that is available ala “CRM” is woefully inadequate for the most part. I would be interested to hear who you think is actually making this work.

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