vFlyer and “The Year of the Widget”

Online classifieds content and distribution platform vFlyer announced a new product line that could represent a shifting direction for the company. It has come out with a line of widgets that it will offer to companies and individuals to display products or inventory on their websites or blogs.

Previously, vFlyer’s main product was a “virtual flyer” that let anyone create a multimedia-rich and professional looking classified listing. Rather than being a classifieds destination, It distributed these flyers out to existing classifieds marketplaces and aggregators. Up to ten flyers are free while higher price points, including a subscription, are available for larger volume sellers such as car dealerships or real estate professionals.

This was and still is an attractive seller-centric tool in a marketplace where such a thing is lacking. But the penetration possibilities are only so great according to Oliver Muoto, vice president of business development for vFlyer. Though it’s a nice tool for any business or individual to establish a relatively easy and inexpensive web presence – a microsite of sorts – it doesn’t address the other portion of the marketplace that is already online.

The new widgets have this segment in mind. Anyone with a website or blog can plant these widgets on their site to display products or inventory in new ways. The widgets will likely grow in number but for now mostly include photo slide shows. Monetization of the widgets will be similar to the virtual flyers according to Muoto, in that they will be free for a certain amount of products and contain various price points for upsells to new features and higher volumes.

This should gain the most traction in the real estate and autos verticals. Here, multimedia is important due to the margins and valuable leads that have forced sellers to be more progressive with online marketing (for the most part). The need to get that coveted lead in these verticals has also made promotional tools like this more price inelastic.

Muoto believes the demand in the marketplace for new functionality that is easy and cheap to integrate to any website will make this “the year of the widget”. He also hopes the buyer-centric nature of these widgets will cause them to market themselves in a viral way, as each one displays the vFlyer logo and a link to go to the site and create your own.

The widgets involve simple HTML code and come with directions on how to set them up, but this extra step to actively plant a new piece of programming on your blog or website could be an adoption barrier. If the attractiveness and need for such a tool in the auto and real estate verticals is strong enough as mentioned above, it should outweigh this adoption barrier though. Much of the product’s success will hinge on this.

More details can be found in the press release.

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