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We All Love Widgets

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There's plenty of exuberance about widgets.

As website publishers, we embrace widgets for many reasons. Let's count some of the ways:

1. They help us create social functionality.
2. They cut down on development cycles.
3. They allow us to share our published content.
4. They enable us to provide more external content.
5. They let us become more dynamic and relevant.

So, how do publishers decide which widgets matter? Seems to be based on differentiation. Some publishers choose to push the envelope -- incorporating widgets that enable them to offer services unlike their competitors. In most cases, it's all about keeping up with the Joneses.

When hearing about the dizzying array of social tools, publishers have to determine if these tools really matter competitively or are merely representing a tech-wave.

Even when sold on widgets, many publishers express concern when trying to insert anything from external suppliers. Of course, these concerns emanate from control issues. What if inappropriate content or terms appear? How much branding do we need? What if the performance is slow, and the widget doesn't load properly? All are appropriate concerns -- whether the widgets are freely available or obtained by cutting deals with specialized suppliers.

As competitors seek to increase their visitors and traffic flow, there's no question that widgets enable publishers to move more quickly. No publisher can afford to specialize in all the content and sharing tools out there. It's not a perfect world, but it's pretty nice that we have all of these amazing features at our fingertips. Let's at least encourage a little risk taking out there.


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