Gigya Widget Ads to Challenge Google, Clearspring

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-01-13

Gigya Widget Ads to Challenge Google, Clearspring

Gigya Jan. 14 launched a widget distribution network to help advertisers deliver ads to social network users, joining a fray first joined by Google and Clearspring.

With the Gigya Widget Advertising & Distribution Network, the startup is making the same bet Google wagered with its Gadget Ads, and the same leap of faith Clearspring made with its Widget Ad Network in 2007-that bringing social site users interactive ads is a smart, noninvasive way to market products and services. 

Showing the ads in widgets, mini-applications that pop up on Web sites, is an alternative to showing them as banner ads, which tend to get ignored on social network sites. Advertisers believe using widgets to market their products will get more people to view and interact with the advertisement.

Ben Pashman, vice president of sales and business development at Gigya, said that while Google's widgets are designed to run ads on its own content network and Clearspring drops the ads into the widgets and hopes they get clicked on, the widgets Gigya distributes are the ads.

So why corral a whole ad network to do this? Pashman said that though advertisers can create a widget to promote their products and services, there are no reliable options for managing it and making sure that it's installed by its targets throughout the course of a campaign. 

Click here to read more about Clearspring's online widget system.

  Gigya's widget ad network is designed to remedy that situation, providing a dependable platform through which advertisers can funnel their ads to social media consumers.  

Pashman said Gigya's service is attractive because the company charges only when someone actively chooses a branded widget by installing it on their profile page, blog or desktop. At that point, the network works like any other ad network, with Gigya and the content publisher getting cuts of the click-throughs.

JupiterResearch analyst Barry Parr told eWEEK Jan. 11 that Gigya's widget network addresses a problem in the industry, which is that many companies are building widgets but have no way to get them into users' hands. Today, most users get widgets from their friends.

Doubts About Widget Ads Value


However, Parr also said there is some doubt about the value of widget ads going forward.

"I think it remains to be seen the degree to which these ads will be able to scale, or whether a year from now there's going to be any demand for the delivery of ad-supported widgets," Parr said.  

Gigya, of Palo Alto , Calif. , also uses its Wildfire technology to track all the ways consumers are interacting with a widget's features and functionality.

Wildfire tracks more than two billion widget impressions per month and installs more than 300,000 widgets per day from more than 400 widget sites to the top social networks and blogs.

AvenueA/Razorfish, Kimberly-Clark, Jive Records and 360i are some of the advertisers reaping the benefits of thousands of widget installs per day through the Gigya network, which currently has more than 400 members.

Pashman said Gigya is offering widget design, development and hosting to its advertising clients through its Social Media Marketing Platform, but the company prefers that advertisers build and customize the widgets they want and then turn them over to Gigya, which will distribute and track them.


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