Widgets are big business. A recent report on Techcruch showed that 81% of the US web audience were exposed to a widget. While I doubt their metrics the fact is widgets are generating a stack load of impressions and it's all unpaid media and most times in content or prominent positions. No one complains about "Widget blindness".
Gigya and Clearspring are two new companies that both offer the widget creator a simple one click way of embedding your widget on the huge variety of social network sites out there. It's the "build once" mentality and then let these companies worry about the implementation hassles. So you create your widget, add their code and then you're ready to roll. It auto creates the jpegs for iGoogle and Facebook, users can login to many of the networks form the widget and post without leaving the site. It even imports their email contacts to make sending an email simple.
We've used Gigya for a little over 2 weeks now and have found it an invaluable tool.
You can also use Gigya custom reports as a replacement for Mochibot tracking (although Mochibot provides more detailed info for what we need.)
Gigya also allows you to fully style the format of the buttons and size. Although I prefer to keep it generic.
Here's what the reports and interface for Giya looks like
Clearspring's "Launchpad" tool looks similar and I'd say it's worth checking out both.
Clearspring offers a page based way of embedding the Widget and also an in WIdget version. These don't seem to have an option to style the look and feel though.
So if you're still using a simple Youtube style of embed code text field in your widgets then do yourself a favor and check out Gigya and Clearspring.
What about poor old paid media?
Both companies will be in a position to offer ad serving through the widgets. While the better way to go is to create a branded widget that actually enhances the user's experience there will always be money to be made from paid media. Revenue share is one way to greeze
I find it funny that both companies present themselves in a similar fashion. Way to differentiate yourselves.
If Widget's aren't your thing but you like this idea of a one click solution for the myriad of social networks out there check out.
Addthis.com: Let's you put one button on your site instead of the 20+ you need to hit Digg, Del.icio.us, Redit etc etc
Flux.com: A way to have your content shared across users Myspace blog, Facebook accounts etc etc