10 reasons why you have no business launching a widget, yet.

“Whip up some numbers that make it look like we have, like, I don’t know, a thousand HD channels.” – Cable Corp, Inc. VP

You know those DirectTV spots that have been running as of late? A bunch of suits sitting around trying to guess what the customer might want. That’s happening a lot lately. What’s funny is that in a lot of situations, these groups have some really talented people sitting at these tables and yet they blamestorm or better yet, come up with really shitty ideas that are fast-tracked. I don’t get that. How can good smart people come up with such bad stuff? That’s probablyy a whole ‘nuther blog post in and of itself but for today we’re going to talk about something that I guarantee you is on the lips of some of these aformentioned people. Widgets.

I got a great idea, lets make a widget, that should drive some major traffic!


You don’t have a clue do you?

Reason #1 You probablly have heard of a widget but in actuality you don’t have a clue as to what they are. Widgets are essentially cute little applications that you can run on your desktop that will entertain you, provide informtaion, keep you in the loop etc. All in little snippets.  Here’s an example.

This widget helps you find cheap gas in your area. Good luck with that.



So anyways, you’re a marketer or an executive and you’ve now heard of these and sorta seen them in action and you think, we need widgets. Which leads to:

Facebook, what’s Facebook?

Reason #2 You probably don’t even know where to put your “company created” widget. Do you even know where to put it? “ok it’s built, now what”? If you’re group created it, does your company have a Facebook presence to support it since that’s generally where they thrive? How about a blog?

My audience is…

Reason #3 To build and distribute your widget, that would mean that you know exactly who are your target audience is and know that they would benefit from a widget. How well do you know your customer?

Let’s sell something and cut to the chase!

Reason #4 You will probabally bust out the sales speak on your widget and the pitch will be oozing all over your widget because you think it’s a way to sell more product. Wrong. Widgets are about branding, are about fun and are about entertainment. Though utility driven widgets are useful, they do not have the same impact as one that needs to be shared with others.

Yea we have a website, my son built it at school..

Reason #5 If your internet presence is not where it needs to be then you really don’t need to be jumping into the mix with a widget. To begin with, how do you rank organically in the search engines. What about any type of online presence? Does it exist? It’s one thing to brand a new product, but how about establishing some branding objectives for an existing product or company? What if your outfit has some negative stuff out there in cyberspace? What’s a widget going to do?

Customer service 101 and our monthly email blast

Reason #6 If you’re not talking to your customers, then you have no idea what your customers would want from a widget. If your marketing efforts are intrusion based, then chances are your widget would be the same.  If you’re talking at them, then chances are, your widget is going to miss the mark. If your marketing efforts consist of a monthly email blast with hundreds of bounce backs, then you got it going on.

If we build it, they’ll come

Reason #7 If you think your widget is going to drive traffic and sales, then you’re missing the point. Widgets are about building brand loyalty. Successful widgets encourage, promote, gather, share, and provide ways to communicate with…ta da… your customer. And ultimately a successful widget is viral.

I heard it works, isn’t that enough?

Reason #8 You don’t know what you want, and you don’t even use them, nor do you have any familiarity about them. Ahh that makes sense, let’s do it! Doesn’t it make sense to test drive something before you adopt it? Before you launch something, shouldn’t you see if its something that you are comfortable with? Do some research, knucklehead, don’t just listen to me! Here’s a nice snippet on What is a good widget from Phil Butler.

Just do it, we’ll worry about the little stuff later

Reason #9 You can’t build it on the notion or the premise that you hope it will work. You need to have a clear idea of why you’re doing it and what your expectations are. Is your message clear or will it be? Do you know what you want the deliverables to be? How you are going to measure the results?  If building a widget is something that came up in a meeting, move onto something more tangible.

The competition is doing it and thats good enough for me

Reason #10  Widgets can be and are a logical extension of your brand, but only if you’re knee deep in the online world.  You can’t just have a brochure ware type of site and expect that to be enough to push your brand over the top with a widget supporting it. The customer, the user, that you are trying to reach, is doing more now with the tools provided, than ever before.  Widgets, blogs, pod-casts, online video, pr, and microsites/landing pages are all ways to extend the reach of your brand online. But first things first. Make sure your offline house is in order and then do the requisite online things necessary before you even think about having the conversation about launching a widget. 

Have you had success building and launching a widget? have a horror story? Know of a clueless boss? What Sayeth you?

10 random social media facts, lists and questions I have for our web 2.0 world


According to Aaron Barnes , In 2006 the total marketing spend on social media was $350 million, the forecast spend for 2011 is more than $2.5 billion. A couple of thoughts cross my mind. 1-who is spending the money now and is the spend worth it right now given the fact that a lot of marketers are still feeling their way around in the dark. 2– by 2011, How many social networks will there be? 3– How much of that projected budget will go towards social nets that exist today?

4-I had heard that there were currently 850 social networks and that within the next 2 years we might see upwards of 250,00!  5-Do you believe that?

With that being said check out some interesting stats from september according to emarketer

The most widely used social media strategy used by US businesses was Blogs for editorial staff at 78% of total respondents. Check out the following in order of use:

Discussion Boards 76%

RSS 57%

Ratings and Reviews of articles or site content 47%

Profiles of Social Networking 45%

Photo Albums 39%

Chat 35%

Personal blogs 33%

Video-user submitted 35%

Podcasts 33%

Social Bookmarking 29%

Video Blogs 29%

Widgets(deployed on FB, Myspace and Google) 22%

Mobile Video/image text submission 16%

Wikis 16%

Citizen Journalism 12%

Micro-blogging (twitter, Jaiku) 6%

Virtual Worlds 4%

Other 8%

Couple of questions: 6-What constitutes other at 8%? and since this was done in September, 7-How much and in what directions do you think those numbers have moved for each that is mentioned? I have some thoughts but am always curious as to what other think. BTW, 8-How many of you do use what is mentioned? 9-How many of the list do you still use daily?, and 10-How much is for business use as they, say and how much is for personal use?

What’s the deal with widgets?

Ok so I’m going to go out on a limb and here and say that chances are that most of the common masses do not know what a widget is. Even if you use your computer on a daily basis, there is still the slight chance that you might not know what a widget is. No big deal. Yet…

Simply put, a widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate web page by an end user( You or I) without requiring additional work or previous knowledge on the users part.  Other terms used to describe widgets include: gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini and flake.

Widgets often but not always use DHTML, JavaScript, or Adobe Flash.  A widget adds some content to that page that is not static. Generally widgets are third party originated, though they can be home made. They add a more rich, entertainment, multi-dimensional feel to a site that might be otherwise static.

Widgets are now becoming more commonplace and are used by bloggers, social network users, marketers, advertisers, and owners of personal web sites. They exist on home page sites such as iGoogle, Netvibes, Pageflakes, SpringWidgets and yourminis, and hundredes of other sites.

Widgets are used as a distribution method by ad networks such as Google’s AdSense, by media sites such as Flickr, by video sites such as YouTube and by hundreds of other organizations.

Applications can be integrated within a third party website by the placement of a small snippet of code. Which is now becoming a primary distribution or marketing channel for many companies. The code brings in ‘live’ content – advertisements, links, images, and video – from a third party site without the web site owner having to update.

Thus the end users can utilize widgets to enhance a number of web-based hosts, pages or drop targets. Categories of drop targets include social networks, blogs, wikis and personal homepages. Although end users primarily use widgets to enhance their personal web experiences, or the web experiences of visitors to their personal sites, corporations can potentially use widgets to improve their web sites using syndicated content and functionality from third party providers. They are also now using widgets as a carrier of their branding message or product.

So where can you find some widgets? The easiest source would be generally on the page you are currently reading, either on the left or right side of the pages. The widgets are dropped in via a widget managment system. Should you feel compelled, check out KickApps which states: The KickApps hosted, white-label platform puts social media and online video functionality directly into the hands of every web publisher who aspires to be a media mogul and turns every web designer and developer into a social media rockstar! With KickApps, it’s now easier than ever for web publishers to leverage the power of social and rich media experiences on their websites to drive audience growth and engagement.

If you are the casual reader, then hopefully this helps you. If you are a certified blogging fool, then this is nothing that you already don’t know. If you are somewhere in the middle, then now you have been enlightended.

The top 10 hottest Social Networking Widgets

 Comscore released the November 2007 U.S. rankings of the top web widgets. For those of you who do not completely understand what a widget is, it’s essentially independent objects or an object that can be embedded or downloaded onto another site and can be used as a tool, have automatic content updates, or are or can be interactive. Though they go by the name of “widget”, Facebook calls them “applications” and Google calls them “gadgets.”

In November 2007, nearly 148 million U.S. Internet users viewed widgets, representing 81 percent of the total audience. MySpace.com widgets had the widest audience, reaching more than 57 million Internet users, while Slide.com ranked second with 39.2 million viewers. Google.com has the sixth widest widget-viewing audience with more than 19 million viewers.

What’s the “skinny” on what widget usage means to the lay person? Simply put, it means that widget usage can be computed as eyeballs on the site, which also means that if the widget is cool, you can bet others will go to get the widget. The widget is essentially another form of advertising. If they have your widget, that means they came to your site or heard of your widget from someone else. Word of mouth, Seth Godin, word of mouth!

Having said that, take a look at these November numbers.

Comscore Widgets

Obviously MySpace is the dominant player here but look at the others on the list. Slide for example is the largest personal media network in the world, reaching 144 million unique global viewers each month and more than 30 percent of the U.S. Internet audience. They help people express themselves and tell stories through personalized photos and videos created on Slide.com and viewed anywhere on the web or desktop.

Slide’s products — including Slideshows, FunWall and SuperPoke! — are popular on top social networking and blog platforms, including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Tagged and Blogger. Slide is also the leading developer on Facebook with more than 84 million applications installed and the most active users than any other developer.

Clearspring though is NOT a social network. Clearspring is the leading provider of cross-platform widget services. Their goal is to make it easy to use content and services from across the Internet to weave personalized experiences. Clearspring is the leading enterprise-class widget syndication platform. With our out-of-the-box syndication solution you can quickly repackage your existing content and services as viral widgets and syndicate them across multiple platforms.

RockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5. RockYou’s cost-effective, results-focused advertising platform is the largest Ad Network on Facebook and the most dynamic method for rapidly acquiring Facebook application users. New applications can reach over 100k users in 24 hours, spanning a suite of applications across multiple publishing partners

Photobucket Owned by News Corp is the most popular site on the Internet for uploading, sharing, linking and finding photos, videos, and graphics.  Photobucket, According to Comscore is: 

  • 24.1 Million unique site visitors/month in the US, and 34.6 Million unique site visitors/month worldwide.
  • #1 most popular Photos site in the US.
  • #3 most popular Entertainment/Multimedia site in the US.
  • #7 most popular Entertainment/Multimedia site in the world.
  • #24 in Top 50 Sites in the US and
  • #47 Top 100 Global Sites

The next one is BunnyHerolabs, bunnyhero pets bebo app the pets have been available on bebo for a while now as “widgets,” but now bunnyhero pets are available as an application on bebo’s new application platform.

What this means for bebo users is now when they adopt a pet on bebo, they can add the “bunnyhero pets” application. With the new application, they are able edit their pets after they’ve added them to their profile, like changing their pet’s name and color.

Next are the Musicplaylist.us and myplaylist.org widgets, which are a no brainer in the land of “can’t-miss” and “must-have”, widgets. And lastly if you ever wondered where all of the kitschy graphics on the MySpace pages was coming from, look no further than, and the name seems awfully apropos, BlingBlob.com. BlingyBlob.com, for us uninitiated, is the hottest source for FREE high quality graphics, animations, Flash and much more for your MySpace page, personal site, or blog. Makes you giddy, doesn’t it?

Look for music, video and image sharing widgets to continue to evolve to an extent that perhaps one day they become part of someone’s v-card or email signature, along with the location of their MySpace, FB or Linkedin pages.