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Web Widgets and Viral Marketing

As I mentioned in my last entry, there are two primary reasons that web widgets have become such a phenomenon:
  1. Blogs and social networking sites have turned ordinary web users into amateur HTML programmers.
  2. They facilitate viral marketing.

Most blogging (e.g. Blogger) and social networking (e.g. MySpace) platforms provide a means of inserting HTML code in messages and profiles. As a result, people who never had any intention of developing ordinary web sites have learned some of the basics of HTML so they can do things like pepper their MySpace profiles with pictures and include YouTube videos in their blog entries. They don't compose complete web pages, but they do insert snippets of HTML code.

Widgets facilitate viral marketing. If you provide a useful service on the web, you can make it available as a widget by posting HTML code that someone can copy and paste in their page. Your service then becomes directly accessible from their page. Since so many people now have basic HTML knowledge, the potential for the widget "spreading" to other pages is enormous.

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