We’ve spent the last 24 hours reviewing the new revenue-generating widget from Wize. Wize is a product research site that consolidates product reviews from various sources and scores each product on their Wize Rank scale. The new widget aims to help bloggers who post about products by presenting relevant products in the widget from the Wize system. If the blogger joins the Wize affiliate program, they will get a share of the revenue generated from the click throughs. While we love the idea, it does seem to fall a bit short. In our opinion, Wize would have been wiser to build-out the system more before release. To be fair, this is only a review based on what we have researched. We do not have access to a TypePad blog, so we have not done any form of real testing. This leads to our first complaint.
It is understandable to release products and services in a controlled manner. However, you get very few chances to make an impression. While TypePad has a large following, why limit yourself to just TypePad. Our guess is that the much of this is probably linked to the development necessary to make the widget content specific and targeted. The traditional Flash widget is limited in this respect and content aware widgets need closer integration with various blog platforms. If WordPress was added to the list, we would have been more receptive on this front.
Without being able to test on WordPress, we did not bother to try out the affiliate program. Though, we did take a look around to see where and how one would join. As far as we can tell, the current process requires you to contact Wize via an email form. Again, we understand the development and planning necessary to build an affiliate system, but a more automated process should be part of the initial release process. At this point, there are 2 major hurdles to the adoption of the widget and we haven’t even touched on the widget itself.
With those two items aside, the widget itself is a bit lacking. It appears that there is only one defined widget size and display. Being an initial release the limited offering is understandable, but this doesn’t mean you don’t give more consideration to the widget. First off, the thing is huge at 160 by 950 pixels. The good thing is it will fit in most sidebars, but in our opinion the height of the widget should be shorter. Standard wide skyscraper ad size is 160 by 600 pixels, why deviate from the standard? Much of the content in the widget could be made smaller without sacrificing readability. A few more pre-defined sizes shouldn’t have been difficult and should have been provided.
Some interesting things could have been done with variable sizing. For example, rather than just one widget taking up the entire sidebar, you can attach a 468 by 60 pixel banner to the end of each blog post with targeted products specific to that post. This way, a page with 5 posts on 5 different products can get the appropriate relevant product reviews. Or, a square format that provides the top rated product. There are many ways this widget can be used and this initial release is just selling itself short.
Overall, Wize and their widget have potential. We feel that there is a place for them, but there are already other product widgets available and their initial offering is far behind. From a business standpoint, we get the feeling that they are being overly cautious. Another few weeks to develop a few extra features and a better framework would have been time well spent. Let’s hope their next iteration is much more impressive.