The Power of Widgets

Posted on September 2, 2006

Fred Wilson blogs that he thinks the "widgets" provided by MySpace and YouTube are at least partly responsible for their huge sucess.
In the case of MySpace, the ability to simply click "add" when you hear a song you like and then you are broadcasting that song on your own page was pure genius. It brought the musicians to MySpace because they saw the viral aspects to music on MySpace. The more musicians came to MySpace, the more value accrued to being a member of the MySpace social network.

The founders of YouTube must have thought a lot about that trick because when they made their video player embeddable on a MySpace page, the MySpace community reacted swiftly, putting YouTube videos on their pages the way they put music on their page. They find something they like and they show it to their friends. Not a link, that's old school, they showcase the media right their on their page.
MySpace now has plans to take music to another level but letting MySpace members sell their own original music from their profile. YouTube's embed video feature allowed it to quickly viral out as more and more bloggers starting inserting videos in their posts. A website called Bunchball is trying a similar technique by letting blogs and websites embed Flash games. Offering content via embedded code has become a way for services to quickly get noticed. You could also call this post the power of blog add-ons or blog tools. Flickr also spread quickly by offering tools for bloggers.

Individual bloggers are also realizing the possibility. Gapingvoid recently launched the Gapingvoid widget. The BLaugh comic also offers syndication code. Maybe if Robert Scoble created a widget he could regain his blog power? We don't actually think Scoble has lost his blog power but he is discussing the possibility here.