Widget Strategies Panel

The four panelists did a great job yesterday handling my barrage of questions in the Widget Strategies and Social Platforms session, Hooman Radfar (Clearspring Technologies, Inc.), Walker Fenton (NewsGator), Pam Webber (Widgetbox), Ben Pashman (Gigya) discussed widgets strategies. I asked each of them to suggest an image or icon that best represents their company (an idea to make the panel more memorable from Pam) and they each suggested the following:

  • Clearspring was like a cable, as they were a connector
  • Newsgator was like a kitchen where you come and create
  • Widgetbox was like a DIY Pottery store where you come in and make your own product
  • Gigya was like a like a spine, as they were the backbone or infrastructure
  • While there are many challenges to widgets (and every industry) the panelists did a great job refuting them, demonstrating their expertise in the area, and suggesting how to work around any bumps that we may see. If you want to refute the challenges, I certainly encourage you to leave comments on that post or leave a link demonstrating how you can overcome those. It’s all part of a healthy dialog.

    The challenge questions? on the difficulties of measurement, lack of brand control, the hurdles of distribution, and how to monetize the space. I also asked them to share how they help clients develop strategies, and to provide clarity around the most common misconceptions. Each of them shined in their own right.

    To hear what the rest of the panel said, Alex Nesbit did a great job live blogging the session. Beth Kanter (who did a great job presenting with passion yesterday) shares her notes from the session. And Peter Kaminski, CTO of SocialText writes on his wiki the high level notes. It makes sense if everyone updated the wiki, rather than having several blog posts it could centralize and make the effort more collaborative and efficient.

    8 Replies to “Widget Strategies Panel”

    1. I wonder if widgets will ever directly become part of a site’s revenue model. I mean, of course we can serve up ads in them, but then will that slow down their distribution? Unless you’re giving the widget host a cut, but again, how will you track that?

      My feeling is that widgets will be a loss leader for a company looking to expand its brand into the social space. Strategy: Create a utility widget (one that directly benefits the ‘host’) and then use that to draw traffic back to your primary site — just make sure the function of the widget is complimentary to your existing product.


    2. Wayne,

      The question is why do widgets need to become part of a site’s revenue ? The monetization of distributed content is the future of online advertising, not the other way around. Banner ads don’t work. People are not staying on one web site anymore. There are more ways to generate ad revenue than driving people back to your site.

      The web is truly going social, where users jump from site to site, including their own social networking pages, blogs, personalized home pages, etc.

      Brand need to market from the inside out, not from the outside in…


    3. Jeremiah,

      You did a great job moderating the panel. Your preparation made it the most informative of the day. I especially loved some of the visual aids that were used to represent the companies (the frog pottery was very nice).

      At some of the meetings I’ve been at, those of us using Macs have written collaborative notes during the meeting using SubEthaEdit. This application was designed for collaborative coding but works great during meetings since multiple people can edit the same document over wifi. Then just one document can be posted for everyone. It can be quite a bit of fun. I actually think Peter was using it at GSP but I could not join him to help. Maybe I’ll have to update my copy.


    4. @David,

      Great points!

      And just to clarify, I wasn’t saying that widgets should be a revenue generating tool. I was saying they should be used as a utility that ultimately ads value back to your business in other ways (not necessarily traffic either, I was just using that as an example). I’m a big believer in decentralized technology and allowing users to interact with your app regardless of what site/device they’re on – we’re definitely in the middle of something big here, will be interesting to see how it all turns out.


    5. I liked your technique of making the panelists use lateral thinking. That would be such a useful way to describe the different services to a decision-making team that may not be technical and help guide the right selection of tools.

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