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Innovation

Widgets matter: Now monetize them

Comscore took a crack at sizing up the world of widgets on the Web and it's clear there's a massive distributed audience out there. The challenge is monetizing that audience.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Comscore took a crack at sizing up the world of widgets on the Web and it's clear there's a massive distributed audience out there.

The challenge is monetizing that audience. Comscore's results, which were reported in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, detail some eye popping figures.

In April 2007, Slide was the top widget provider with 117 million unique viewers, or 13.8 percent of the global Internet audience. Other top widgets included RockYou at 82 million unique viewers and PictureTrail, which has 31 million viewers.

Comscore also adds that Facebook's move to open its site to third party widget developers will boost the numbers more. Here are Comscore's Widget rankings:

Now this ranking only covers flash based widgets and doesn't include YouTube. But it's clear that these widget firms can aggregate eyeballs and distribute them throughout the Web.

The big question: How are widgets going to make money? These widgets ride shotgun with sites like MySpace. The problem: MySpace doesn't allow its widget pals to deliver ads.

But there's no question that the ads will come. The audience is just too large. Widget ads can arrive at profit utopia two ways:

  • Acquisitions: MySpace buys Photobucket. Comscore's report might as well be a "buy me now" list for the remaining top independents.
  • These sites develop into distributed portals. The problem is that these widget giants are too dependent on other sites like MySpace.

How quickly this monetization happens remains to be seen, but Comscore has highlighted the possibilities.

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