Making Widgets Work
Attended WidgetCon today, said to be the first-ever conference devoted solely to Web widgets. Was fun to see Steve Rubel (above) show a picture of a T-shirt that said "Every time you say Web 3.0 a startup dies :( ", and also fun to ask him what he thought about whether PC mag should have widgets. (He graciously laughed, and then said they do well with that kind of technology but need to be more open, more of a vertical portal, showing others' relevant content, too.) He also gave tips for what widgets, or distributed content, has to be in this day and age, including open, shared, fitting into any platform or device users want, and so on. Pretty standard. More guidance here, and on widgets for the Nokia cellphone. Also on new Web page-making WYSIWIG technology from Freewebs, which hosted WidgetCon.
I asked Chris Cunningham, head of sales for Freewebs, why the heck we even need a conference for widgets, which he, himself, noted are far from well-known in a joking video of himself on the streets of New York asking confused people about the Web apps while supposedly trying to find his way to the conference. (Widgets, if you need to know, are generally little applications you can use to paste into your Web page that sort of form a Web page within your page. They can display videos, or calendars, or voting applications, or thousands of other things. Very big on Facebook right now, as well as iGoogle and being experimented with on Yahoo.) Chris talked about how all the excitement last year at this time was about video, especially YouTube, but that media buyers are still wondering how to buy ads on YouTube. So, he wanted to be "ahead of the curve" for widgets, and work now to get revenue models and sales ideas in place.
There was lots of talk about whether and how widgets can make money. (Forbes.com yesterday announced widgets with ads. They were created by Widgetbox, which was at the conferene.) There will probably be more on this for Jack Myers Media Business report on MediaVillage.com, and perhaps on PaidContent.org.