PayPal partners with MySpace to deliver fundraising widgets for a handful of charities, non-profits and political candidates. The fundraising widget is pretty typical for what it is. There is an interesting drag and zoom interface for viewing supporters. However, once there is a more than a few supporters it’s no longer all that useful. We would have liked to see a more functional way to browse the list even if it’s not as cool. The partnership with MySpace comes along with unrestricted access from Flash. With allowscriptaccess and allownetworking, the PayPal widget has external links enabled from the widget.
While it’s not advertised, you can take the embed code provided and paste it anywhere. Once the widget is outside MySpace, it is actually aware of that and changes from “Add this to your Profile” to “Add this to your Page.” This allows PayPal and MySpace to customize the way users interact with the widget and copy the widget. The flow presented to users viewing the widget on myspace.com is different than that of users viewing the same widget embeded on another site.
PayPal gains users of their service as contributions and funds are provided via their service. The is definitely a smart play for PayPal and gives them access and exposure to MySpace users. They also benefit from the power of social recommendation and the good will of charitable giving. Let’s not forget that they left the back door open for the widget to go viral outside of MySpace.
As social networks continue to open up their platform and allow access to their social graph, it will be interesting to see how companies take advantage of this. Due to possible security concerns and other policies, it will mostly only be large legitimate companies who will gain the trust of the social networks and be allowed unrestricted Flash embeds. Imagine a widget that goes beyond the one we just described, a widget that is aware of its embed location, interacts and presents different features to users with specific information from the available social graph.
We will continue to see widgets evolve to be intelligent full featured applications.
There is a very interesting widget that was released by SpringWidgets specifically for MySpace. This is not a unforeseen partnership and we’ve pointed this out in the past. SpringWidgets is developed by Fox Interactive Media which links them to MySpace and the new Fantastic Four movie (20th Century Fox). The widget is actually pretty cool. A screenshot is provided but it only works properly on MySpace so we did not embed it.
Once a user has put this on their MySpace profile page, there are some things you can do. Clicking on any of the 5 movie character images will change the profile page theme on the fly. This is done by applying new style sheets temporarily. If the user’s profile page is reloaded, the original style is present. Each character theme also comes with a custom “Super Power” animation that can be activated from the widget.
This is a typical SpringWidget so the standard options and feature exist. You can grab the code and embed this where you would like. However, as we mentioned earlier, this is specifically built for MySpace profiles. If this widget is placed on any other location, the movie themed styles will be applied to the page it is on. But, it will pretty much break the page, unless for some odd reason the page is coded and structured very similar to the MySpace profile page.
It is a very clever widget that is well executed for the intended purposes.
[via Snipperoo Blog]
Update (2007.04.25): Here is the “official” announcement by Tom when you log into your MySpace profile.
Latest Update: Apr 25, 2007 12:00pm, PST
Hey everybody, we just launched another program to stop dirty spammers from hasseling you. When you input a link in myspace it may be converted to a redirect link. You’ll start seeing them around the site. They look like this: msplinks.com/adf9sd9f. These links are legit and we are creating them. They are not viruses or whatever else your conspiracy theorist friends told you. They still point to their original url, but let us easily turn off links to spam, phishing, or virus sites. booyah!
News and speculations has been circling on the new changes to links within comments on MySpace. It appears that MySpace recently rolled out a change in which links in comments are posted as an encoded link from http://www.msplinks.com/. So, if you post a link to http://stickiwidgets.com in a comment, it will show up as something like http://www.msplinks.com/somerandomcodehere. As with the typical MySpace changes, this only applies to new comments and old comments are intact.
This change has many implications as other have suggested and pointed out. MySpace will have much more control over comment links now. They will be able to filter, redirect, approve, deny and track outgoing links. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it all depends on what they do with this power. Based on history though, it doesn’t look good. MySpace has blocked external links from Flash widgets and blocked some domains entirely .
One effect is that links in MySpace comments will no longer provide any link backs and SEO benefits. This can be good in cutting down on comment spammers, whether intentional or not. However, we’re not entirely convinced that MySpace is doing this purely to protect its users from comment spam.
Add PhotoBucket videos to the growing list of widgets/companies blocked by MySpace. This time around, they are specifically blocking the video embeds. Photos and slideshows have not been affected.
If you have PhotoBucket videos on your MySpace page, you may want to hold off on updating your profile to see how this plays out. MySpace is not applying the filter until a profile is updated, so existing PhotoBucket video embeds will continue to work.
For more information from the source check the PhotoBucket blog.
TechCrunch received and has posted a response from Photobucket CEO Alex Welch.
Sexy Widget has some additional comments.
TechCrunch has the first (that we know of) official statement from a high level executive representing MySpace regarding the blocking of sites, services and widgets. Head over to TechCrunch for the statement from a SVP of Corporate Communications at Fox Interactive, MySpace’s parent company. The quote specifically addresses the block on Revver and others in general.
We believe it’s a pretty general statement and everyone should take care in dealing with MySpace. However, if your entire business model relies on widgets and MySpace, you should probably rethink your business plan.
The fact is there are questionable statements by other execs over at MySpace, as Michael Arrington points out. Additionally, there is content on YouTube that violates copyright, yet YouTube is not blocked. We don’t believe it’s as simple or as clear cut as the statement makes it sound.