Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ads to be added to up-and-coming widgets

Michael Ronshausen

Max Levchin, the co-founder of Paypal, is currently undertaking a voyage into the world of marketing via widgets. Widgets are the high-tech shorthand for the mini-applications planted on the personal pages of online social networks such as Facebook and Myspace. Levchin’s widget company, Slide Inc., is the number one widget-maker to date. Upon looking at a Myspace pager these widgets can be noticed by such names as “slideshows,” “funpix,” or “skinflix.” Success of the widgets are known to be the ease of use to make the application add excitement and uniqueness to one’s personal page. Now, Levchin believes marketing within these widgets could be a profitable venture. Here’s the catch, instead of making the advertisements a nuisance to users, they will only deploy the advertisements if they are user-initiated.
I feel that this this marketing strategy could become a useful tool for marketers as a shift from television, radio and newspapers are turned to the internet. I, for one, know that many people ages 18 - 25 view individual’s personal webpages that include these widgets almost daily. Not to mention that it was reported that at least 221 million people were exposed to widgets from the beginning of the year until May. I can remember many times I would view someone’s Myspace page and view their pictures through these very same applications discussed. When understanding the recent success of Myspace and Facebook, which has recently tripled they’re customers, this type of advertising could easily be a new way for marketers to target directly to the type of consumers companies are trying to reach
The main problem that marketers will face, is that Levchin will make these advertisements available only if they are user-initiated. Although many people view advertisements as annoying, its surprising how many people are already a walking advertisement for companies already. Slide Inc.’s senior advertising director, Sonya Chawla say’s "We are really good at getting people to take things and include them on their social networking pages, "We think we can persuade our users to become brand ambassadors." And isn’t that statement true? What better way to ad your own personal flavor to your webpage, by showing a clip of a movie currently out in theaters rather than simply just adding it as one of your favorite movies.
Although Slide Inc. is the number one widget-maker, they have yet to show a profit. After companies such as AT&T and Viacom’s Paramount Pictures have they’re way, making an impact in exposure of their products, Slide Inc. might just make their way to crossing that line.
Article can be found at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20147281/wid/11915829/

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