It’s been a long awaited announcement and it’s finally come. Clearspring has opened The Clearspring Community Platform and it’s free. We’ve had the luck of being part of the preview and it looks great. There are still things to add and some things to tweak but it’s a very polished system. For more information, check out the feature list, documentation, blog and forum.
A few things we really like about the platform. It was easy to add and configure a widget into the system. The interface was clean and stepped you through the process. Once the widget is added the power of the platform begins to show. The “Grab it!” feature allows anyone to easily get or push the widget to numerous web properties and social networks (11 at last count) or you can grab the code itself.
In addition to viral distribution of the widget through the widget, the Clearspring system can also publish the widget to existing widget galleries and start pages; currently Google Gadgets Gallery, Live Gadget Gallery , Netvibes Widget Library and Pageflakes Flake Chooser.
To wrap up all this widget goodness Clearspring tracks and reports on the widgets. This is great to actually be able to know how a widget is performing and where. There are 5 reporting categories and with more detailed reports within each.
- Views: how many times the widget has been viewed
- Unique views: how many individual users viewed the widget
- Locations: where the widget is placed
- Viral hubs: where the widget is being spread from
- Geographic: where in the world are users viewing from
For developers there is also the beginnings of an API. It’s currently very sparse but it’s a good sign to see Clearspring developing an API for their platform.
And… If you’re large (lucky) enough to need an enterprise-class widget platform, there is the Premium Platform to consider.
While it’s not perfect and there a few more things we would like to see, Hooman and his team have done a great job overall and we look forward to more from Clearspring.
Clearspring and NBC Universal announced today that NBCU will be using the Clearspring widget syndication and distribution platform to distribute widgetized NBCU content. The initial launch will include content from Dateline, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, as well as content from NBC Sports, DotComedy.com and iVillage.com, according to the press release.
Plans are to expand on the available content and allow for “deeper engagement for fans of NBCU content.” Users will be able to personalize the widgets and post them to their personal blogs, social networking profiles, web sites, start pages, etc.
Clearspring is positioning itself to be the leading widget syndication and distribution platform.
NBCU appears to understand the changing landscape and is embracing it. They have been pushing their programing to broadband, mobile, iTunes and more. Back in March, NBC.com announced social-networking tools and the ability for their viewers to share NBC videos. This partnership with Clearspring illustrates that they are taking a lead in the new digital media landscape.
“We want to create a fun, shared experience for our users and understand their needs as they interact with our content beyond our online properties.” said Sab Kanaujia, Vice President, Digital Product Strategy & Development, NBC Universal.
We’ve updated the bLaugh widget. A bLaugh! logo was added and the buttons have been colorized to match. The biggest change is the new “Grab it!” feature. This new option allows anyone to easily get this widget onto their own site or profile page. There are currently 11 pre-defined site options (no more hand coding) and email or the embed code. What this means is easy access to blogs, Blogger, social networks, MySpace, Facebook, start pages, Pageflakes, etc.
The widget is also now powered by Clearspring. The “Grab it!” feature is part of the Clearspring platform, in addition to a slew of analytics. We are looking forward to seeing what the Clearspring platform can do and once the system officially launches we’ll provide a review.
Clicking on the logo will take you to bLaugh.com. Both the comic image and title will take you to the comic page. However, all three of these will not work on sites like MySpace where they set allowNetworking=internal. For those sites, you can use the old bLaugh! custom embed code that will work on sites that block external links like MySpace.
[update 2010/01/25: widget removed due to lack updates and interest]
Widgify has a couple of posts on start pages becoming widget management systems and allowing export of their widgets outside of their domains. Here are the Widgify posts on Pageflakes and yourminis.
It’s good to see these companies moving in this direction. We took a look at the offerings and noticed one major difference. The Flakes from Pageflakes are exported in HTML code snippets while the minis are Flash widgets. This means that the Flakes will be limited in where they can be used (social networks do not allow this type of code) and the minis can be used just about anywhere (MySpace, Stickam, blogs, etc).
It will be interesting to see where these two companies take this and if other start page companies will follow.
For NBA fans, here is a yourminis scoreboard widget for the NBA. If you don’t like the yourminis widget, there’s always the scoreboard from SpringWidgets.
[Widget removed, no longer supported.]
It’s been a while since we have posted about Pageflakes, an Ajax powered start page. We haven’t had the opportunity to work on additional features for the Stickam Contacts Widget which happens to fit will within a Pageflakes start page, utilizing the web page flake.
Over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington teases us with information regarding a complete redesign and new features for Pageflakes to be launched in the next couple of days. If this is the case, we may have to revisit the Stickam Contacts widget and see how it fits in with the new Pageflakes design.
Michael mentions the ability to “publish” your page for others to view. Some adjustments will be needed to the contacts widget so that the Stickam contacts list can be viewed by people other than the list creator. However, we are not sure we will make this change or what type of options we will provide. Providing the list to your viewers is one thing but giving them the ability to launch into chat is another. Chances are we will put an option in there to display the list only, without the other features for the list creator.
We will keep an eye on this. In any case, we will/should take a look at the Stickam Contacts widget and see what improvements we can make to it. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, suggestions or requests.