Friday, January 16, 2009

SpringWidgets, Flektor, Sprout Dead - The End of the Flash Widget?

I have long maintained that Flash widgets are a nonstarter on all the growth areas of the net - social networks like Facebook and MySpace which use FBML and OpenSocial, portals like iGoogle which uses Google Gadgets, and mobile platforms like the iPhone and G1 that use native APIs. In the past few days, Fox Interactive announced that it is shutting down Flektor and SpringWidgets, which is an obvious move since these properties are not compatible with MySpace's OpenSocial API, and SproutBuilder is shutting down its free service in order to target ad agencies, which focus mainly on banner ads rather than full-fledged widgets. The only area where Flash widgets are competitive is embedded in websites and blogs, and Clearspring, Widgetbox and Gigya all have excellent solutions for distributing and tracking such widgets "in the wild".

At iWidgets we are strongly committed to delivering the next generation of deeply integrated widgets for the growth destinations where content sites want to be like Facebook, MySpace, iGoogle, and iPhone. Each of these platforms provides great APIs for destination-specific features like viral channels, caching, and native components. We will definitely maintain our free widget solution, as it is very cheap for us to host via Amazon's EC2 and provides us with invaluable advertising and cross-promotion space, and our paid offering is pay-for-performance rather than hosting charges. Our customers have validated that native widgets, advertising-based free widgets, and pay-for-performance premium widgets is the way to go, and it is our job to continue to add features and refine the user experience so that more and more content sites can grow through off-domain impressions.

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