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Widget Networking - the next in-thing? | Digg | Google | Reddit
MyBlogLog has had a fair share of criticism in recent times. It was accused of revealing Google Adsense information that was hereto confidential under the Terms of Service. However, MyBlogLog continues to be popular and rightly so.

MyBlogLog has probably been the first service that has rejuvenated bloggers' interest in other blogs. Till then, communication between bloggers tended to be restricted to commenting on blog posts. But, ever since MBL got popular, bloggers tend to have struck a chord with their readers. For example, I now know many of my blog's readers by face. Thanks to the MBL widget.

Widget networking seems to be the next in-thing on the net after social networking. Widgets are small pieces of code, predominantly javascript that can be inserted anywhere in your code. MBL in particular lets you know your recent visitors.

Recently I was approached by another website who introduced to me their new widget called AutoRoll. Their product fit well into this topic, so I decided to introduce the widget on my blog. AutoRoll is a network of blogs like MBL, except that the widget for AR displays links that my site visitors would most likely want to visit. In effect, it is a self-learning widget that tracks the link which my visitors click on the widget and learns to display the most clicked ones on my blog. Similarly with my blog on other AR user blogs.

Widgets as these are getting common. Every blog has quite a few widgets running on them, which do much more than simply increase the page-loading time. For example, both the widgets that I have discussed here help the blogger get closer to his readers by knowing their preferences and tastes.

However the question remains if this widget networking phenomena shall last. There cannot be just too many widgets on a blog. The page would simply stop loading then. In my opinion, given this constraint of only a few widgets that can be put on a blog, there is going to be a fight for this blog space. And in this, only the widget that fulfils the needs of the blogger shall last.

MBL has indeed taken a leap ahead. Not only has it established a social networking between the blogger and the reader, it has also become property of one of the Internet giants, Yahoo. However the other widgets like AR need to keep innovating to make sure that they don't die a natural death. For example, while reviewing the AR widget, I felt that the 'site statistics' link not being optional can be a great negative aspect. Not all bloggers might want to reveal statistic. Another point is that over a period of time, some blogs become popular and others might not. That would mean that these less-popular ones pull out the widget because their statistics are bad compared to the links that are shown on the widget. In the course of time, the widget might come to a stage where it cannot grow further.

AR is no doubt in beta, and hopefully the product can only improve much more from here, but I am only trying to highlight the constant-competitiveness that these widgets must ensure in order to remain popular amongst users.


Comments on "Widget Networking - the next in-thing?"


Anonymous Franck L said ... (6:32 AM) : 

Thanks Anand for testing Autoroll. Don't hesitate to give us some feedback on the widget.
About the statistics page, you should know that the detailed trafic stats are only visible by the blog owner. So hopefully, that shouldn't be a problem. However, we are aware that that page needs a lot more work to make it good. We're working on it :) Thanks again !
Franck, criteo


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