This is the first in a series of articles about the top widget and gadget platforms. I asked the same specific questions about each platforms usefulness to developers, advertisers, and search marketers. I will also highlight my personal experiences with each platform and provide my own review.
Widgetbox™ helps people express, connect, create and inform using web widgets that can be easily shared and distributed anywhere on the web. Our community of tens of thousands of widget makers and over 30 million widget users is growing every day. Widgetbox widgets have been on hundreds of thousands of websites. And, best of all, Widgetbox is free!
I like Widgetbox. It has many capabilities that are directly useful for Google gadgets and Facebook Apps, particularly for the new developers or anyone trying to “dip their toes” into the gadget world.
I want to thank Pam Webber (VP Product and Marketing) of Widgetbox for her time in responding to the questions I have given to every major gadget platform to help introduce different platforms to developers and marketers. Here are her answers…
Please describe in a paragraph why developers should know about and use your platform.
Widgetbox is an open community that enables people to express, connect, create, and inform using web widgets. We have over 30,000 developers in our community and we bring those developers an audience of over 30 million viewers every month. We have free tools for developers to build widgets and a DevShare program that enables developers to make money from their widgets. Our developers’ widgets represent 10% of Facebook’s application directory and 50% of Bebo’s application directory.
What is your gadget approval/disapproval time?
We manually approve every widget within 24-48 hours
What resources (urls/tutorials) should new developers use to learn about your platform?
We have documentation on our site to help developers through the widget-making process. http://docs.widgetbox.com/developers/.
Additionally, we invite our developers to quarterly conference calls to learn what’s new in the widget space and to help them with building their widgets. Our next one is scheduled for the end of March and we will be doing a tutorial on how to build a widget.
Does your platform or it’s products have (or plan to have) a revenue share program for developers?
Yes. We have a rev share program called DevShare which is currently live on Facebook. Our App Accelerator enables you to turn your widget into a Facebook application and opt-in to share in advertising revenue earned from your application. We will be expanding that program beyond Facebook in the next few months.
Do you reward or highlight top developers? How?
Yes. We highlight developers’ top widgets on our gallery home page (http://www.widgetbox.com/galleryhome/). We also highlight top developers on our blog (http://blog.widgetbox.com/) and in our emails to our community.
Do we get t-shirts?
Please describe in a paragraph why advertisers should use your platform.
Advertisers should use our platform because Widgetbox can enable them to reach 30M people monthly across over 200,000 domains. Our widget-building tools are free to use. We have partnered with advertising networks to deliver ads. Interested advertisers should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are not part of an existing ad network.
Where should a advertiser go to learn about your platform?
Advertisers should visit us at: http://docs.widgetbox.com/about/ or contact us via email at email@example.com
From the perspective of a small or mid-sized company that is considering using gadgets as part of their promotional efforts, but are not sure of the cost or procedure to do so could you please describe or outline briefly the procedure of creating and/or promoting a widget on your platform?
Widgetbox is free to use. You can use Widgetbox to create a viral marketing tool that will drive traffic back to your website and allow you to maintain strong customer relationships. You can do this by:
1) Going to Widgetbox.com
2) Selecting “Create a widget”
3) Selecting the type of widget you want to create (i.e. blog widget, HTML widget, Flash widget, etc.) and customizing it as you would like
4) Choosing a description, the tags, and the category for your widget
5) Selecting all the ways you want your widget distributed (i.e. Widgetbox.com gallery, Facebook, Bebo, your own website)
For search marketers:
SEO and SEM firms are playing a larger and larger role in budget decisions for widget strategies, what would you have a savvy, knowledgeable search marketer know about your platform?
When you create widgets on using Widgetbox, you benefit increased traffic from search engines as we:
- Optimize Widgetbox.com pages and your widget’s page on Widgetbox.com for the search engines
- Ensure you widget is indexed
- Enable embedding of your widgets throughout the web so that increases links, raises seo value and has proven an effective seo optimization tactic
Are there SEO specific features of your platform that you want to highlight?
Everything is built into our platform. We are always testing and optimizing Widgetbox widgets for SEO.
If a search marketing firm is making a decision of what percentage of their budgets and efforts should go into a widget strategy, what would you recommend and why should they consider using your platform?
Our platform is free and our audience is large.
Where can a SEM firm get a real answer on budget numbers from your company? Example: A SEO firm wants to “dip their toes” into gadget strategy, but does not know the cost of such an effort, who could they call or contact to ask?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to thank Pam again for her time, and now I will dive into what I think is noteworthy about Widgetbox.
I made the same gadget on several different platforms, let’s look at the Widgetbox version of these example gadgets…
What I did (with each gadget platform) is create the above two gadgets, and see how they did with absolutely no marketing or linking whatsoever. This is the interesting part, and for those of you into SEO, pay attention.
Let’s look at the Big Brother gadget. I made this Widgetbox version of it 30 days ago ago. I did not link to it, nor did I tell anyone about it. This is the first time I am even talking about it. Let’s see how it did…
In the Widgetbox gadget gallery, it is now number one for the search term of big brother and has 512 “subscribers” (remember, it was not linked to, or promoted in any manner whatsoever)
In Facebook the Big Brother app has 451 total users, 193 active daily users, and 50 fans. The Facebook app page is on the first page of Google results for several keyword phrases, like “Big Brother live cams”. (again, zero links, marketing, etc. I did nothing but create it.) note: Widgetbox provides a tool to make your gadgets into Facebook apps- more on this later
The above numbers are pretty impressive for a non-marketed or linked to widget and they speak volumes about why Widgetbox is an important platform to know about.
There are three Widgetbox features that are very, very impressive to me. Knowledge of these features can literally improve your gadget spread with immediate results.
Google gadget import tool -
The Google gadget import tool lets you put the url of any Google gadget and immediately turn it into a Widgetbox widget, with the ability to spread it to virtually any other gadget platform instantly. Very cool, very useful.
Facebook App Accelerator -
Widgetbox has the most impressive Facebook App creator that I have seen and allows superior control you have over your app and it’s contents. This tool helps you turn any gadget into a Facebook app, even if you don’t know anything about coding. It steps you through the process in a simple manner, and I highly recommend this feature.
Viral Installer –
The Widgetbox viral installer is the little button beneath the gadget that says “Get Widget”. This button when clicked shows a menu of places where the widget can be placed (Facebook, Bebo, Google, WordPress, Blogger, etc.) This “installer” can actually be placed separately by the developer to another place, for example if you have a popular Google gadget, you can place this button beneath it, so that your users can add it elsewhere.
Overall, I highly recommend Widgetbox to anyone. It is a great platform with a great deal of options for developers and marketers of any knowledge level. They are Open Social ready. The people at Widgetbox are pretty cool, I met a couple of them at the Widget Summit in San Francisco, and have taken part in some of their web based developer talks. I appreciate their time alot, and thanks again to anyone involved in providing me answers!
It is also free. I like that.
To get started with Widgetbox, I suggest their developer page.
Stay tuned for more widget platforms, I hope to do at least ten of these reviews for different platforms. I will also create tutorials for each platform. If you are a widget platform that would like to be reviewed or you have not received my email yet, please contact me at email@example.com