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Treat Your Company Like A Star, Get A Widget

In the center of GwenStefani.com is an RSS-injected calendar of the pop star's concert tour, which fans can copy to their own Web pages. The startup behind these viral marketing widgets thinks your company can rally its own fan base in the same way.
In the center of GwenStefani.com is an RSS-injected calendar of the pop star's concert tour, which fans can copy to their own Web pages. The startup behind these viral marketing widgets thinks your company can rally its own fan base in the same way.For the past year, Attendio has been distributing widgets like the one on GwenStefani.com to concert goers and sports fans. On Oct. 15, Attendio will relaunch itself as Gydget.com and aim its technology more directly at businesses. Gydget.com's target market will continue to be entertainers, sports teams, and their promoters, but CEO Gerardo Capiel says nonprofits, retailers, and media companies are all potential users, too. "It lets you turn your customers into a marketing channel for you," says Capiel.

The new Gydget.com will serve as an online platform where businesses can create widgets, then distribute them to consumers from their own Web sites. In addition to providing the widget-making capability, Gydget.com will provide analytical tools to track widget distribution and click throughs.

Attendio's widgets are intended for repurposing on social networks like Facebook and MySpace and on personalized iGoogle pages. That's still the case with Gydget.com, though PC and Mac widgets are on the company's roadmap. Facebook has its own tools for writing widgets. By comparison, Gydget.com's widgets--the company's calling them gydgets--can be created once, then used across different social networks. They're based on the Ruby on Rails programming language and framework. Each widget is an RSS-fed applet capable of displaying a calendar of events, news, and video.

How will Gydget.com make a business of widgets? For small companies, the gydgets will carry a small advertisement at the bottom of the frame, while video content pulled in from YouTube might carry ads, too. When used by entertainment companies, transaction fees could be associated with ticket sales that originate at the widget. For enterprise accounts, a licensing fee may be required.