Friday, September 26, 2008

Local & Travel Widgets Now Available to All WidgetBucks Publishers

Publishers and bloggers now have full access to WidgetBucks' local and travel ad widgets for their sites. After last week's announcement, these new CPC ad units are widely available for use, along with our original shopping widgets.

Our local ad widgets are targeted to users' specific geographic location and offer local content such as gas prices and weather. We combine these features with high-performing CPC ads for local services and businesses to give you additional revenue opportunity.

Our new travel ad widgets are some of the most attractive and interactive ads in our network. Show your visitors real-time deals for multiple locations around the country, or give them eye-catching CPC ads that rotate deals to hot destinations such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York.

For a look at the new MyWidget page, click the small screen shot.

A number of media outlets have written about the release of these two new verticals, including Adotas, the interactive advertising news site (story) and MediaPost (story).

- Dean

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mashable: Top 5 Blog Trends Coming Out of BlogWorld Expo

It was great seeing all the Mashable folks this weekend at BlogWorld. This afternoon, Adam Ostrow just posted this excellent recap that focuses on key trends the Mashable team saw coming out of the show:
  • Users Own The Comments, Not Bloggers
  • Widgets Are Evolving Into Web Rings 2.0
  • Everyone is Launching an Ad Network
  • Twitter, Twitter, Twitter
  • Blogs Are Increasingly Becoming Mainstream Media and Vice Versa
Thanks, Adam and Pete.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

WidgetBucks' Hulett Speaking at WTIA Event

WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett is joining an accomplished cast of panelists at Thursday night's Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) event.

The night's discussion topic is "Cashing In on Web Services: The Display Ad Model and Beyond" and delves into options beyond traditional display ads, as well as trends and innovations in monetizing Web services today.

The full slate of panelists:

If you are interested in attending, contact the WTIA for information and pricing.

- Dean

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Top Affiliates Share Their Money Making Secrets at BlogWorld

One of the kick-off panels at BlogWorld Expo today in Las Vegas comprised of some of the blogosphere's top affliate bloggers -- Jim Kukral (moderator), Darren Rowse (Problogger), Zac Johnson (, John Chow (, Brian Clark ( and Jeremy Shoemaker ( Pictured are (l-r) Rowse, Kukal, Johnson and Matt Hulett, CEO of WidgetBucks.

With many bloggers turning to veterans such as these to find out strategies for making blog money, the group provided points of view across various topics of revenue. Here were some of the topics and trends they are seeing:

What is their greatest source of revenue? Here's a collection of their viewpoints: 1) direct ad sales, 2) affiliate promotions, 3) ad networks and 4) Google AdSense, call the webmaster welfare by one of the panelists. The point was made that direct sales take a lot of time and the pure profit may be worth it, however, you need to have a reasonable amount of traffic and following to attract advertisers -- this is where ad networks make it easy. Affiliate promotions can be incredibly profitable, but you need the trust and following to make those work as well.

In spreading the word, RSS or email newsletter? While RSS is a growing in popularity, Darren Rowse made the point that people like what's familiar, and that's email. But putting the email newsletter signup isn't necessarily enough. John Chow recommended creating a free offer to give people incentive to subscribe, such as a free e-book or t-shirt. There are services that automatically distribute a collection of your recent blogs last number of stories (a figure you determine).

Should my personal brand represent my site? It depends. Where do you want to take it in the future. For example, Darren Rowse after admittedly messing up domains in the past, chose because it is representative of what he does., which helps people with content creation is also descriptive. and are in a different position where the site IS their brand and can have huge benefits if you are working toward consulting and services, but potentially more challenging when it comes to be acquired down the road (if that happens to be a goal).

For another summary, check out this recap of Zac Johnson.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Weekend Only: $25 Sign-Up Bonus

If only 2500 of the 15 million active bloggers are attending the BlogWorld Expo this weekend in Vegas, where does that leave the other 14,997,500? With enough time to take advantage of WidgetBucks' BlogWorld Weekend Sign-up Special!

New publishers who join WidgetBucks this weekend will earn $25 bonus when their account reaches $50. Just hit our home page -- or click here to be on your way to better site earnings in no time.

WidgetBucks' Hulett Honored by Puget Sound Biz Journal

Each year the Puget Sound Business Journal's 40-Under-40 awards program spotlights the next generation of business leaders who work hard to drive the business community’s future and demonstrate dynamic leadership and social responsibility. We are pleased to announce that WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett, 38, is part of the 2008 class. Matt and the other 39 recipients were honored Thursday night.

Matt is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully built profitable companies from scratch. After joining Mpire, WidgetBucks' parent company, as CEO in early 2006, he turned what was a standalone comparison shopping site into a multi-vertical ad distribution platform that serves over a billion impressions a month, known as WidgetBucks. Matt is a proud fourth-generation Seattleite, whose grandfather was a lumberjack in the small town of Port Angeles in the Puget Sound area. Check out the rest of Matt's bio here.

Anyone wanting to glean Matt's extensive executive business insights can read his personal blog,

Congratulations, Matt!

- The Team

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Here & There: WidgetBucks' Local, Travel Ad Widgets Arrive

WidgetBucks today announced the release of its two newest ad widget verticals: local and travel. New publishers can now apply for access to these new ad widgets, while existing publishers and bloggers will have these verticals come available within their accounts over the next 7-10 days.

Local ad widgets are targeted to user’s specific geographic location and offer a combination of highly-relevant information such as weather and gas prices along with performance-based ads such as local businesses and services. Click here to see local ad widget examples.

Travel ad widgets show real-time airfares and deals for multiple U.S. destinations based on a user’s closest major airport. Publishers can also choose from among several snappy looking ad creatives that rotate through destination hot spots, such as Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A hot deals module is also available at launch. Click here to see some travel ad widget examples.

Both of the new ad units pay on a CPC basis.

These new ad verticals introduce new ways consumers can interact and immerse themselves in an ad. Smart, application advertising provides people with interesting snippets of real information to help publishers monetize their ad space and brand advertisers see greater return on investment for each ad unit.

“Our publishers are telling us they want the best mix of application-style ads and performance-marketing widgets, and these two new verticals address those needs,” said CEO Matt Hulett.

New Reporting Page
WidgetBucks is also introducing an overhauled reporting interface that provides more digestible earnings figures, trends and charts. As WidgetBucks has expanded its revenue types and sources being paid to publishers (including CPC and CPM in the U.S./Canada, CPC and CPM in Europe and CPM around the rest of the world and more), we felt it was important to provide a simpler way of quickly capturing essential data.

Specifically, publishers will be able to view number of impressions, net revenue and eCPM per widget per day. The widget detail tab will break out the views and net revenue for each revenue stream per widget per day.

You will also notice that the pie charts have been replaced with a bar graph. Under the summary tab, the bar graph will show total net revenue earned by all widgets for that particular day. Under the summary tab, the bar graph will show the total net revenue earned by all widgets for that particular day. Under the widget detail tab, the bar graph will show the total net revenue earned, color coded by revenue stream.

- Dean

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's Your Ad Network's 'Secret Sauce'?

Hi everyone, Kirby Winfield here, WidgetBucks' Chief Revenue Officer.

Some colleagues and I are in New York this week at OMMA Global. Undoubtedly, ad networks will be a topic of the conversation at the show and it got me to thinking of an article I recently came across on Adotas, the interactive advertising news site, titled "Can 314 Ad Networks Really Thrive?"

It takes a close look at the sheer volume of ad networks today, where the industry is headed (what sort of consolidation will there be?) and factors that differentiate one network from another (more on this later).

The article's premise -- the number of ad networks -- makes for an interesting discussion launch pad on the current state of the network space, but in and of itself is a pretty big red herring. Do SEO firms, creative shops, media buyers, or any other online media service cease to proliferate at some arbitrary numerical inflection point? Absolutely not.

In any industry, talented and experienced individuals constantly create new businesses in spaces that have borne fruit in the past. Those who become successful (i.e. scale and staying power) displace the less efficient incumbents, either on the tail or at the head. In healthy economic or nascent growth spurt periods, the number of firms which receive exposure or become part of the accepted set that defines the industry may grow, but as the industry matures this normalizes. I guess one could say it all settles out in the end.

Yet this still raises some interesting questions: What makes a network viable? How do you become one of the “314”? Or better yet, a top 50 ad network?

To that point, the article ranks major differentiators by percentage, according to U.S. Agencies and Advertisers. Here they are the top five:

  • 28% Web Inventory Quality
  • 27% Targeting
  • 11% Site Transparency
  • 8% Service
  • 8% Optimization
I agree that Quality is tops on the list - no surprise there -- but I'd add four more to the list:
  • Scale
  • Ad fill
  • Specialize/verticalization
  • Sales team that knows the space cold
Even so, in this day and age, the attributes listed above are pretty much just the price of entry to the top-end network space. True differentiation comes through innovation. Some networks are on the forefront of behavioral targeting and data mining; others are focused on yield optimization and management; still others are stuck in the tent pole publisher remnant inventory game.

Here at WidgetBucks our own "secret sauce" involves creating engaging, interactive in-page applications that make all types of online inventory more valuable to publishers and more accessible to (and at the end of the day, safer and more comfortable for) brands.

And later this week, WidgetBucks publishers will be hearing a lot more on improvements and expansions around a number items on both the lists above, including targeting, optimization, reporting, and specialization/"verticalization." Stay tuned.

- Kirby

July Payments Distributed

PayPalWidgetBucks payments for July have been distributed via PayPal and check. As always, we encourage you, if at all possible, to switch to PayPal. It's faster than mail, more secure and there's no fee when receiving the money.

- Dean

What's Blogged in Vegas, Stays in the Blogosphere

What do you get when you put 2500 bloggers into a single convention center surrounded by the pinging of slot machines? BlogWorld Expo!

Later this week (Sept. 20-21) in Las Vegas the 2nd annual BlogWorld Expo is taking place. It's the largest single conglomeration of bloggers anywhere, ever (I think). Over 130 speakers will present their insights to attendees, which will include Darren Rowse, Jim Kukral and Zac Johnson. Bloggers will learn about blog monetization, traffic boosters, creating content and much more.

One speaker at the show will be one of WidgetBucks' own, CEO Matt Hulett (picture, left) who is joining five others on a panel called "Beyond AdSense: Exploration of Practical Monetization Streams."

If you plan to be in Vegas for BlogWorld, be sure to swing by this panel -- it's sure to be a good one. It's Sunday, Sept. 21 from 12:15 - 1:15. That panel is immediately followed by buffet lunch sponsored in part by WidgetBucks at the exhibit floor. Yes, free food and drink brought to you in part by WidgetBucks.

UPDATE: If you are having a hard time finding a place to stay in Vegas, here's a very cool alternative: Bed & Office, the bed & breakfast for business. This is a new kind of B&B — a high-end luxury experience suiting the needs of the business traveler and convention attendee. And it's about 5-7 minutes from the Convention Center.

Blog on!

- Dean