All this talk about “widgets” is well and good, but there are a few holes in the theory that widgets are the next big thing despite the excitement buzzing round yet another old technology given new life by web2.0 — Next big gimmick may be closer to the truth.
Where’s the money?
Though Om Malik points out that business models are still emerging (web2.0 translation: “we dont have a clue, but it’s cool ok?”), to me at least, it seems a tough area to monetize. You have the “free mindset” to contend with for starters, then you have privacy and commercialism concerns if you try doing something obvious like inserting affiliate links in your widgets.
Really, where is the wonga in widgets?
Usability, and er… Usefulness…
I wrote about how widgets on web pages kills usability a while back, and nothing has changed really. As of yet, all i see are gimmicks and whirly flashy things, where’s the use?
A Place for Widgets
Im not saying widgets can’t be useful, just that the majority of them are useless fluff, and there’s no clear path to $$$’s in the production of widgets.
People like Ed Anuff of WidgetBox (who ive spoken to breifly and seems a good chap) may well make a killing at this yet — I hope they do. But I also hope they make it by making the web better, not by selling shiny badgets to the terminally stupid.
One Thought on $$$’s
Profit share apis.
powered by performancing firefox
A very nice post. I do echo your thoughts that widgets in most form will be difficult to monetize. The only straight-up sale of widgets that seem to work actually seems to be when there’s no pretention of its utility. Online games and social networks like habbo hotel, cyworld and second life all have thriving community willing to buy widgets to personalize their virtual world. Of course this is slightly different than the widgets you talk of. But even there I think there could be a successful model for widgets, just not straight-up sale. Widgets could be used as a customer retention device for instance. I know there are online travel agencies using widgets to broadcast personalized air or hotel fare changes. Personally I think the biggest future for widgets are in persoalized ad sales. Think contextual ad display widgets you can interface with and customize according to your preferences. Something akin to Chitika’s eminimall, just a lot smarter and more interactive.