Monday, October 29, 2007

A Thousand Ways to Widget in the Age of Web 2.0 Marketing

In the age of web 2.0 marketing arrives the widget. A widget is a piece of code that can be inserted on a web page that serves a specific function. Widgets are generally written in JavaScript or Flash. An example of a widget may be a plug-in that displays the last 5 blog entries you published from your personal blog page. Another example of a widget is a music player that rotates your favorite songs streaming over your Myspace page through the widget.

More recently we have been made aware of companies purposely creating widgets that in-directly push their products or services. Radio stations are offering widgets that stream a station’s broadcast live. Airline companies are offering ticket purchasing widgets that allow you to purchase a ticket through the widget without having to visit their website.

Widgets have been around for years. In the past you were able to insert a snippet of code on your page to pull the latest ticker feed from your favorite stock exchange. Another old school widget is a simple page hit counter. Widgets are becoming more creative and more versatile. Political candidates have turned to widgets to promote the latest news from the campaign trail.

The great thing about widgets is that they help build awareness and promote a product or service in a new way usually through an in-direct channel (i.e. a blog or a person's social network page).

The goal is to try to create a widget for your product that promotes value in some way where a publisher will be willing to place it on their web page. The widget has to be relevant, have utility and should not blatantly try to sell something. Create a widget that creates value for the user and you will earn authority points just by being the developer behind it.  The more value you create in a widget - the more people that are going to be willing to include the widget on their page.

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