I wanted to wait until it was ready to launch before posting, but I just couldn’t.
We designed this widget in-house, and we’ll host it at colts , but we’ll be employing a new “widget syndication service” from Clearspring Technologies to post the widget inside widget galleries, and to track the progress of our widget as it spreads across the Web.
Clearspring is in beta right now, but it promises some pretty cool visibility into your widgets life on the Web (i.e. stats on how many people grabbed it, viewed it, etc.). It will also give publishers control over where your widget is displayed. Both attractive services. Clearspring is also making it easier for users to grab widgets. You’ll be able to flip our widget over and click a button to “automatically” send the widget to your myspace page.
One of Clearspring’s founders has a blog. Check it out here.
Here’s what what we’re thinking about widgets:
1. Thought I – We need a “Myspace” strategy – Over 50% of the Colts fans who have pre-registered for the (soon to be launched) Colts Social Network already have built personal profile pages on myspace or other social net sites. And many of these fans are already grabbing our registered trademarks and photos and using them (illegally) to decorate their pages. So do we send them all cease and desist letters? Or do we go with the flow? We chose the latter…
Our first widget is a photo widget, offered to fans so that they can decorate their pages with authorized Colts content. Action photos happend to be one of the most popular content elements at our main site. The photos and news visible in this widget will be fed by XML so that as content is updated at colts , it will change inside the widgets as well. Now we’ve pushed our content and branding message out into the world in a more organized way.
2. Thought II – this has viral potential: Fans will be able to find the widget at colts /widgets or at myspace /colts. Once they grab it, fans can E mail the widget to friends, or their friends can simply grab the widget from them and put it their pages too.
3. Thought III – this could drive traffic: Embedded in the widget are several links for more Colts content which direct the user back to our Website. Widgets can be programmed to cause the content to pop up inside the widget, so that the viewer can stay on his own page, but we’re greedy about traffic, so we hope users won’t mind coming to our site. We’ll see.
4. Thought IV – Sponsors will love it: Depending on the content we put in the widget, we can include a sponsor tag, or even embed sponsor content into the widget. This makes it a money maker right out of the gate.
5 Thought V – this has enormous potential: there are so many ways to employ widgets that it’s tough to know where to start. Happily, other people – smarter than I – have already written extensively on the subject.
There are various widget galleries out there. Here’s a link to Yahoo’s.