Monday, July 7, 2008

Waiting on Widgets

Should we be wild about widgets?

There is quite an upside to these bite-sized software applications that allow users to share third-party content. Widgets play right into the strength of social networks, which are merely Web-based communities created around a common set of interests.

As such, their viral potential is stunning. Consider the widget called Top Friends from a San Francisco-based software developer called Slide. It has been downloaded and shared by more than six million users.

In the Washington, DC market, there is a healthy amount of buzz around several emerging growth technology companies working with widgets. These include ClearSpring ( and FreeWebs (

To date, widget use has been primarily the domain of consumer advertisers with adoption gradually increasing. Market research shop eMarketer reports spending on widgets will reach $40 million this year, up from $15 million in 2007.

Are there any viable uses for widgets by public relations professionals? I see possibilities:

--Public companies could utilize widgets to make it easy for retail investors to share with friends and family information about their investments.

--Internal communications/HR executives could build a stronger sense of community among geographically dispersed employees.

--Relevant news, analyst coverage and thought leadership content could be shared with journalists who track a specific company or issue.

It’s just potential though and until there are examples of widgets in action to further the public relations mission I hesitate to make a formal recommendation to a client.

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we don’t consider ourselves to be early adopters of social media technologies. We follow a more disciplined approach and embrace a tactic once we are confident in its ROI.

Plus, widget makers are still working through the financial model of how they should be paid for their work. All of this adds up to a lot of uncertainty.

Tiny Widget Apps Can Lead to Some Big Bills
Brandweek (7.1.08)


Justin Thorp said...

Hi my name is Justin Thorp and I'm the Developer Community Manager at Clearspring Technologies (

Thanks for the plug in the post. Yeah... we're pretty excited about the whole widget space and how it allows you to get your content shared all over the Web.

Would love to talk about it with you sometime! I could show you some examples of HUGE successes we've had.

Drop me an e-mail -

noobis said...

I think that widgets definitely have the potential to grow. They are very useful tools, and I feel in the near future when all the kinks are worked out on the financial side, they can definitely become very useful in the corporate world.