Anthony and I spoke at length about widgets, strategy, and upcoming possibilities. He is one of very few people I could discuss gadgets with in such depth. One of the more interesting facts about Google gadget ads, for example, is that few large campaigns have successfully created gadget ads that have converted to personal Google gadget use. In other words, it is great to display your gadget ad, but wouldn’t it be better if you had a gadget ad that was so useful that users “grabbed” the gadgets and used them on their homepage or profile?
Early on, this simply didn’t happen. This is mostly due to the fact that the first implementers of Google gadget ads did not have this as a specific goal, or lacked some basic understanding of the widget world.
mediaFORGE actually gets this, and has created widget ads that have the user in mind and that enjoy success because of it.
One of the best ways, like it or not, to get a widget strategy that will work long term is to think outside of the box as far as revenue share goes. To be blunt, I turn down some jobs because I can make more money as an affiliate using my methods than I can as a consultant sharing my methods.
mediaFORGE has created some innovative relationships as far as revenue share goes. He discussed some in his presentation, but instead of giving a specific example, I want to discuss the general theory of widget campaigns and why large companies may want to rethink how they approach them.
Widget campaigns are different than virtually any other type of advertising. The ROI on a successful widget campaign is ridiculous fabulous. To achieve a successful campaign however requires combining serious talent in strategy, development, and promotion. Bottom line is this. Widgets are the portal between modern users of the web and your brand.
Here is the problem. Successful developers don’t need you. Successful strategists don’t need you either. Those who are good at spreading widgets have a great set of resources to monetize their creations already.
To get around these facts is tricky, but not impossible.
mediaFORGE is a great company that delivers smart solutions, and they are already using the revenue method that I envisioned using myself. Okay, enough about mediaFORGE.
Affiliate widget stuff:
I want to point out something about marketing and affiliate widgets. If you are the marketing/affiliate decision maker for a company, I have some very real advice for you.
If you see one of your affiliates using gadgets/widgets successfully, be very careful when dealing with that person. If you like the links and the business that the widget is providing, but think that you want more control of your brand, I suggest simply contacting the affiliate and voicing your concerns. It is extremely rare to find someone who can spread widgets, and you might not want to piss them off.
When someone authors an affiliate widget and spreads it to tens of thousands of users, they have also created tens of thousands of links to your brand as well. Here is the thing…
The author can simply change their widget to your competitor. In an instant, the tens of thousands of links that went to your brand will not simply disappear, they will also start benefiting your competitor instead of you.
I am dealing with this right now, and I won’t mention who it is. One of my widgets has about 500,000 views a month and creates tens of thousands dollars per month of transactions.
They have informed me that they don’t want me to do it anymore.
God that is dumb.
If I don’t work it out, and if they are not more communicative with me, I will switch the code over to one of their competitors.
Regardless of what happens, the important bit is to understand that people spreading your widgets have existing ways of making money. Brands need to consider having “Super Affiliates” that have unique permissions. This can greatly help in controlling your brand while retaining the talent that became interested with your brand because of your affiliate program in the first place.