More articles by Sarah Novotny
Freewebs Gives Users A Voice & Publishers New Ad Space
These seemingly simple applications have drawn a lot of attention recently in reports from Facebook and other sites that have seen these features drive a lot of traffic to partnering sites. What else are the benefits of widgets besides something fun and pretty to put on a profile page that bring numbers of viewers to another site?
Which companies are specializing in social platforms that can be highly personalized?
Freewebs is a company that stands out. This privately held company was founded in 2001 by three brothers and since inception, has been looking to make it effortless for anyone to create their very own multimedia web site. The company had amassed millions of users by 2005 and was turned into a profitable business the following year.
The platform allows users to build web sites within minutes with their own domain names for free. The advertising market has been excited about this company seeing the potential with branded widgets. This is to say that branded widgets are publishable anywhere on the web that allow advertiser to extend their brand.
This introduces a new form of advertising that is still fresh and being explored by the industry as only a year ago the definition of a widget was a downloadable desktop application provided by Apple or Google.
Despite the relatively unchartered territory of widgets, Freewebs has launched 10-12 successful campaigns in the past few months and has been seeing positive feedback through case studies as well as great client feedback.
On August 1st, the company put out an announcement that one of the sites made from their site received an award for most outstanding Teen Republican website. This award went to three high school seniors that have used their site, which was made through Freewebs technology, to raise interest and transparency in politics.
At the company’s inaugural event, WidgetCon, industry leaders and publishers were brought together to talk about the big questions regarding widgets and the current online infrastructure. They addressed the issues of how to create an ecosystem for publishers to get paid fairly, how do widgets get tracked and move around, and how do companies work together to make the market profitable for everyone involved.
The most comparable company to Freewebs is Facebook in that both companies believe in open platform which offers users choice and mobility in their experience. Chris “Widgetman” Cunningham, VP of Advertising for Freewebs said, “Where Facebook opens up their API for developers to build their own widgets, Freewebs allows users to use any tools published in our “widget bank”. It’s good for the publishers, but it’s better for the users, because they feel like they’re a part of this movement.”
“Widgets are a pull concept, rather than a push. Banner advertising is push. Widgets are things that the user finds utility in,” he continued. “The difference between this form of advertising and any other form of advertising is that you want to use it. You’re actually making a conscious decision to use it. So it’s personal too.”
With the increasing desire for personalization and interactive features, Freewebs is successfully making it possible for advertisers to capitalize on users’ ingenuity, but most importantly they are giving users the ability to have their individual voice heard throughout the online world.
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