Widgetbox turns on 'Blog Network'
Maker of embeddable applications launches a network for online publishers and advertisers, categorizing widgets into 29 verticals, such as Autos, Music, Sports, and Politics.
So far, the company has 135,000 embeddable objects and 64 million monthly consumers of its widgets, which live on blogs, social-networking sites, and other Web destinations. The most popular widgets are "The Fun Classic Super Mario Game In Flash," BabyTicker: The Baby Countdown Pregnancy Ticker," "Cyber-pet," "Bubbles," and "Idiot Test."
While Widgetbox claims 462 million widget views in a month across 500,000 discrete domains, the big numbers don't add up to a big business. The majority of Widgetbox views are happening on blogs, which led Widgetbox CEO Will Price to become more than a widget supplier.
This week, the company launched the Widgetbox Blog Network, which catalogs widgets in 29 verticals, such as Autos, Music, Sports and Politics. "It's a natural step in the process for us to move away from a pure technology story about widgets," Price said.
The Widgetbox network, which is starting with close to zero unique users per month, will primarily appeal to the long tail of bloggers who lack distribution. Participants include the network channel widget on their blog pages, and Widgetbox applies algorithms to determine which content gets pushed up to the top of the network categories. It publishes leaderboards listing the top contributors.
"To date, widgets don't have the concept of a network effect. The more people who use them, the more utility is created for individual users. Given bloggers are one of our largest user sources, taking a blidget (RSS feeds turned into a widget) from a single source, and sharing it with the community, and showcasing it in the channel, and having leaderboard benefits bloggers, online content publishers, and advertisers," he added. "The new channels extend reach, drive traffic, improve brand awareness for bloggers."
The Widgetbox network also gives the company an improved business model. Currently, the majority of revenue comes from custom advertising campaigns for companies such as Intel, Wal-Mart Stores, and Apple. But the vast majority of Widgetbox inventory cannot be monetized, Price said.
The company is developing an ad network to take advantage of the categorization into verticals.
"We have 462 million widget views a month, but advertisers are not getting it. We want to target demographics and have a user story--64 million unique users broken into 29 vertical channels, each with 15 to 300 authors," Price explained. "We have to (determine a) domain, categorize them into channels, and understand ad treatments such as drop downs, pop-overs, peel-backs, and rotations, in a way that satisfies users, publishers, and advertisers. It's still early. There are no standard ad units or blueprints to follow, but we are trying to figure it out. The goal for the rest of the year is to answer questions and go into next year with some case studies."