The Wall Street Journal & Red Herring weigh in on monetizing the Web
June 13, 2007
Widgets Already Ready for Prime Time
The Wall Street Journal
So-called "widgets" (no, not the economics term for "product") could become major drivers of advertising on social media sites, says The Wall Street Journal. In the Web 2.0 world, "widgets" refer to interactive photo, video and music tools that allow everyday users to post content--movie trailers, photo slide shows, music playlists--to their site or social networking profile. New research from comScore shows that consumers are increasingly interacting with this type of broadband content: in April, nearly 178 million people Web-wide viewed content made with these so-called widgets. The comScore report is one of the first to measure the reach of widget-producers like Slide, Inc. RockYou Inc., and PictureTrail, Inc.
Advertisers, no doubt, must now sit up and take notice. Those are some big numbers from a relatively new phenomenon, and the sky's the limit: a widget could also be anything from an interactive video ad to a branded advergame. For a video provider like YouTube, a "widget" is another piece of content to sell advertising against.
Part of the reason that widgets have caught fire is their ease of use. Slide, the category's top provider with 117.1 million users in April, makes producing a video slide show on your MySpace page as easy as clicking a few buttons or copying and pasting a piece of code. As the Journal report says, widgets are rapidly becoming the de facto form of self-expression through broadband content. However, the problem for widget makers is that they largely depend on MySpace and Facebook, which have a history of blocking third-party content makers, for distribution. - Read the whole story...
Social media and online advertising
Jeremy Liew, a venture capitalist and former AOL and Citysearch executive, shares his thoughts on social media and his predictions related to online advertising. He notes that in keeping with current trends, advertisers will have to examine their willingness to be present with content that they have no control over and may not know about in advance. Click here for the whole interview Red Herring
This is exactly what Peter Pham of Photobucket and Don Loeb of Feedburner had to say at the Digital Hollywood seminar. Right now, in order for advertisers to measure the reach and validity of online advertising it appears that widgets are going to be the direction this takes; Which I personally find very interesting since it's taking a traditional way of analyzing value (applying it to the subscriber base and how many eyeballs read something) to something that's new media.
Loeb mentioned Sony and another company that now pay to have widgets attached to content that is distributed through Feedburner. Pham discussed the fact that brands must become comfortable with being associated with content that rapidly changes and may not go along with a brand's ideology. He also shared that photobucket now has a group based in Iowa that is there to strictly monitor pornography on certain brand associations. The Yahoo guy joked and said he'd applied for the job which drew a big laugh.
The other person who was very interesting was Mark Friedler formerly of GameDaily and now Time Warner (lots of mergers going on right now apparently.) He gave the analogy that the Web is like medieval times where the castle owner and the serfs have a huge moat between them and everyone's trying to figure out how to cross the moat.
I met him briefly afterward to let him know I was working on promoting the World Series of Video Games to the Dallas area and he greeted me warmly since he knows the owner. Turns out even he doesn't feel the current WSVG promotion on his GameDaily site has crossed the divide to reach the intended demographic because he feels it's too niche a market.
I disagree because last year alone the WSVG event in Dallas drew 15,000 attendees and that's not small numbers for a first-time event. Now that we've been promoting to over 1,000 businesses, 2500 hotels and one of the largest shopping malls in the area and are creating promotions with huge entities, I foresee this becoming mainstream very quickly.
In my humble opinion, I think technology overall is in an upswing similar to the late 90's and we're going to see more and more money coming out of this industry again. Even now! However, if other women are interested in tapping into this VC money, I highly recommend staying away from Chad Kinzelberg of Scale Venture Partners - he's extremely sexist as evidenced by his unwillingness to call on me during the Q & A. I've NEVER been ignored before in a professional setting and he was so blatant about it people sitting around me commented.
Victor, if you're reading this, please don't ask him to moderate again. He didn't control the panel, he didn't ask interesting questions, and he wasn't fair in his managing the audience. Just my two cents. I detest sexism and will out it every chance I get. Get a clue Chad - you're not the only gender with a brain at these conferences.
What was so ironic is that in the next session's Q & A I was the first person to be called on and asked the LA Times speaker a very pointed question about them cutting so many journalists and becoming more interactive with the community which caused numerous people to come up to me afterward to compliment me. Just because I'm blonde definitely doesn't mean I'm dumb. Give me a break Chad.
Onwards and upwards. Have a good one and I hope you enjoyed the read.
The first conference designed specifically for widget marketers is happening in NYC soon. See :http://www.widgetcon.com/index.html.
This conference was alluded to by Shervin Pishevar in the discussions in Jeremy's blog:"We need a standard for social network advertising". See link: http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/we-need-a-standard-for-social-network-advertising/
Posted by: amisare | June 17, 2007 at 01:33 AM