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Posts Tagged ‘Strategies’

Google Gadgets at e.day and Widgets Presentation by Sexy Widget

September 14th, 2007 No comments

Lawrence Coburn of Sexy Widget/RateItAll.com has an interesting summary of Sep Kamvar’s presentation on Google Gadgets/iGoogle at e.day yesterday. Head over to Sexy Widget for the full post.

Here are a couple of bullets and a comment from Lawrence.

  • Sep talked about it as a virtuous circle – more gadgets attract more users, and more users attract more gadgets.
  • He talked about the evolution as being: 1) hobbyists developing gadgets for their friends; 2) businesses developing gadgets for commercial reasons; 3) an economy rising around the development and consumption of gadgets complete with acquisitions and companies whose sole focus is Google Gadgets (Lab Pixies)

It sounds like Google is working on more ways to put Gadgets in front of people… with all the Facebook buzz, it’s easy to forget about Google Gadgets. Maybe we shouldn’t. – Lawrence Coburn

Lawrence himself was also a presenter at e.day. He has posted the presentation on his blog, Sexy Widget. It’s a great presentation on widget strategies, so go check it out. We are honored to have received a mention in the presentation. Thanks, Lawrence…

Categories: Widgets Tags: , ,

Widgets Are Here to Stay

July 28th, 2007 No comments

Lawrence over at Sexy Widget has compiled a great list of widget related ventures and those who are funding them. With the diversity in companies and sources of financial support, widgets are here to stay.

Here’s the first 5 from the Sexy Widget list. Head over to Sexy Widget for the complete list.

Benchmark – Benchmark has invested in avatar company Gizmoz, widget distribution platform Gigya (review), and start page / widget aggregator PageFlakes.

Sequoia – Sequoia has invested in widget powerhouse RockYou, and is also rumored to have invested in Widgetbox.

Mark Cuban – Mark Cuban is an investor behind Goowy, which is the developer of widget platform and aggregator YourMinis. Cuban has also invested in file sharing service Box.net (review), the developer of one of my favorite widgets.

Union Square Ventures – Union Square Ventures has invested in Feedburner (sort of a widget company), Adaptive Blue (review) (a toolbar / widget powered service), and avatar company Oddcast.

Trinity Ventures – Trinity was the lead investor in Photobucket.

Categories: Widgets Tags: ,

Digg Widget Do We Really Need It

July 26th, 2007 4 comments

Digg released a Digg Widget a few days ago. It seems odd to us that no official widget existed before; at the same time it seems odd to us that Digg needed an official widget. This new widget is basically a customiz-ed/able RSS reader (of sorts, see note below). As far as we can remember, Digg has provided RSS feeds for various categories, topics, users, actions, etc. These feeds are pulled into the widget and displayed for the user. Items link back to digg.com as to be expected. Design of the widget is simple and to the point.

Customizing the widget and getting your own is just a few quick steps away. You can choose a few default themes or customize the color scheme yourself. Next, you have the decision of what you want to show in the widget. Such as, all stories, by topic, top 10, by user, among a few others. Lastly, you get to choose what and how items are displayed. Number of items, Digg counts, titles and descriptions are some of the elements you have control over. The preview widget is displayed and updated as you make your selections, which is a nice touch.

The code is presented at the bottom; also as you make your selections. Overall, it is a nice implementation and clean design. As this widget evolves, we believe it will be even better.

However, we do have some reservations about the widget. It’s currently a JavaScript widget, which means it won’t play nicely with most social/controlled networks. Again, this widget seems to be just a RSS reader so why not provide a Flash version? Granted, with security restrictions, the Flash widget may not have much value if you can’t link back to Digg. But, you still get the name and brand out there.

For a completely integrated blog experience, you could just plug the RSS feed into a WordPress RSS widget/plugin. What is the real draw for this widget to a blog owner? If the RSS feeds are already available, then why mess with the additional Digg Widget code?

Or, if you like a completely customized widget (and you have the skill), just find the RSS feed you want and build your own. Or, if you like a RSS widget that already exists, just plug in the RSS feed into your favorite RSS widget.

To be fair, the official Digg Widget is simple to use for the general public. And, we did notice the option to restrict the items to a specific domain. We don’t believe there is a standard RSS feed for that option, so it does seem this widget has additional value that you can’t get on your own. However, this option is likely useless for a small site that doesn’t get much traffic or “diggs.” Only larger sites with digg activity will benefit from this feature.

Note: The Digg Widget is not a RSS feed reader by definition. It does not utilize the existing RSS feeds on the site but rather a new web service API which returns JSON responses. We describe the widget as a RSS reader because conceptually and visually that is what it is.

For additional coverage, check out…

Categories: Widgets Tags: , , ,

10 Things to Consider When Building Widgets

July 17th, 2007 6 comments

Here is a list of 10 things to consider when building widgets. The items are not in any particular order (hence no numbering) and it does not necessarily mean you have to meet each item. However, we do believe that each item should be considered and conscious decisions should be made regarding each point. Each widget, project and company has its own set of requirements and time lines, so as long as though was put into the process, a widget can meet your goal without delivering on every element listed.

  • Compelling content for reader and publisher

    If the content is not interesting for anyone, then why would anyone bother to use or spread it? It’s not just about RSS feeds and cute badges, the possibilities are endless.

  • Remember it’s a three way relationship; engage the reader, benefit the publisher and brand yourself

    Many forget that this is a complex relationship. Not only do you have to brand yourself through the widget, but you also have to give a reason for a publisher to use the widget. Are they getting cool content, new features or something unique? What do the readers get out of this?

  • Customizations, the more the better

    Beyond branding for yourself, keep in mind that widgets live outside your domain. This means that the more customizations available the more seamless publishers can integrate the widget with their own site, brand and design. Whether it be size, color or headers, flexibility is the key.

  • Distribution mechanism, embeddable everywhere

    Why limit your audience? As technology barriers are lowered, more and more people become potential “publishers.” This can be anyone with a profile page, blog or full fledge site.

  • Internalize functions, keep as much in the widget as possible

    While your brand, product and site are important, so is the publisher’s. It’s a fine line and a balancing act, but if you can strike a mutually beneficial feature set that is able to keep the readers attached to the publisher while driving traffic home as needed, then you have a potentially successful widget.

  • Remote updates

    The ability to update widgets in the wild remotely is important. Widgets must be able to evolve as conditions change and if you are not able to push updates remotely, you risk hurting your brand with outdated or broken widgets.

  • Performance

    Everyone is vying for everyone’s time. The web is no exception. The widget must perform without delay for both the reader and the publisher. The reader will not wait for content and the publisher will not tolerate a widget that bogs down their entire page.

  • Tracking and analytics

    You do know where your widgets are and how they’re doing, right?

  • Business and marketing goals

    What was the purpose for the widget? If you didn’t know that to begin with, how can you start to measure the usefulness or success of the widget? Or, even build a widget in the first place…

  • Lastly, don’t forget about the users

    We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth stating again. Don’t forget about the users. In this case, the user is anyone that will have anything to do with the widget, publishers and readers.

Categories: Widgets Tags: ,