Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

MyBlogLog, Widgets and the Future of Online Marketing



The widget over to the right which displays some of the faces of visitors to this site is powered by MyBlogLog. That widget has helped me to realize some new things about the future of online marketing and the growing power that community has in ad expenditures. Viewers are able to make their presence known by a simple sign up and pic upload process, and then see who else is reading and interacting with a blog such as this.

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If you click on the “View Reader Community” text at the bottom of the widget, you are taken to the Cost Per News Reader Community where (at the moment 19) readers have added themselves as a part of the community. These are the dedicated and loyal readers of the site that have also added the most comments, sent the most emails and have genuinely made this a valuable community to be a part of. Size matters not in such a community, as quality is the main metric which should be achieved. This is exactly the type of tool I was looking to find and make an active part of CostPerNews since the site was created.

For example, viewership of the site has skyrocketed since I installed the widget in early October. My analytics have also shown me that since that time the number of page views, time spent on the site, links in from other blogs and the general word of mouth about CostPerNews have all grown exponentially. Not all of the credit can be given to the MyBlogLog widget of course, but my stats point to a good correlation between implementation and site growth, activity and value to both myself and the readers.

The MyBlogLog widget has caught on in our sector of online marketing and in the online world in general. Blogs such as ReveNews and TechCrunch have implemented the widget, allowing you a brief mugshot on sites such as this which serves as a positive for both the reader and the site owner… you are given brief exposure as a reader of a similar blog to other potential business partners, and the site owner is able to qualify and quantify their readership. I’d be interested in hearing how the widget has affected those sites in terms of metrics such as page viewership and time spent on the site.

Even the folks at MyBlogLog seemed surprised at the growth of their site due to the widget…

On 30-Oct, I was surprised and happy with our widget stats. How little I knew. Now there’s 2,398 Recent Readers widgets installed (vs. 1,325 then). And, yesterday was our first million widget day. i.e. a million of our widgets were loaded into web pages. That’s a bit over 9% of the 10.2 million pages (also a record!) that we tracked through the system yesterday. It’s somewhat under 10% as a few pages have both widgets. Thank you all!

What does this have to do with affiliate marketing and online marketing? Everything. A month ago (today) I made a post titled Widgets and the Future of Affiliate Marketing in which I spelled out many of the sentiments that are resurfacing in this post:

Similarly, affiliate marketing in general (from the mom-and-pop sites up to the large loyalty sites) could see such a transformation if a 3rd party platform was made available to the industry. What would spur this metamorphosis? Limitations of scaling.

Providing a platform for delivering personalized data based on registrations in exchange for a piece of generated advertising revenue sounds very much like the model which most affiliate and CPA networks already operate under. That is no accident, because serving widgets and serving ads (particularly customized ads based on user choices and user registrations) have more in common than anyone in the affiliate marketing world has taken time to notice.

However, let’s move beyond those models which still enforce that top-down dictation model and focus on models (like widgets) that produce a back and forth between user and affiliate site. That’s where affiliate marketing shines, and that’s the promise that widgets specifically have for pushing certain parts of the industry in the right direction.

The link is dead. Content customization based on a relationship (even as simple as user registration or co-registration) and micro-systems of delivery of that content is the new black. Affiliate marketing, with its ability to make relationships, has a great opportunity to make use of widgets and widget delivery to set the larger industry standard.

In this mode of widget usage, scalability is not a detriment to affiliate marketing. Rather than adhering to that long held belief that the non-scalability of affiliate marketing is what’s holding the industry back from the major leagues, realizing that new platforms (such as widgets) provide a way for affiliates and networks to utilize the relationship factor as a positive… an incredibly profitable and long-term solution positive.

This silent revolution has already begun. It is spreading on the medium of widgets like tiny pieces of energy combining to form a tidal wave in the medium of water. Don’t discount the ability of widgets and user interaction in your affiliate and online marketing program.

Keeping with the fashion analogy, relationship is the new color for 2007. Widgets, such as the MyBlogLog Recent Readers widget, function as a platform and sounding board for realizing the increasing power of voice in the online world. Has your program, site, network or even arbitrage site (joke) tapped into the value of community empowerment?

Lorelle VanFossen has compiled a list of posts on other blogs which describe some of these quiet changes which are slowly spreading across the landscape of online marketing which serve as a great resource for further reading…

What do you think?



Posted: 12.08.2006

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