Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Posts Tagged ‘clearspring’

Clearspring raises $18M – widget analytics here we come

Posted by widgetgirl on May 22, 2008

Widget Analytics – here we come! Yesterday Clearspring announced a series C round of funding from NEA of $18M. Our team is very excited about this announcement as it reiterates the momentum around widgets and the growing interest and support in the space.

I am personally excited because our team is continuously working to improve and build upon our widget analytics capabilities. There is so much cool stuff we have in the pipeline and I can’t wait for us to deliver it all to our customers.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and sends me emails on what you are doing in the space. Our team is on the warpath to deliver you more – better insights and data so that you can make better business strategy decisions on how you deploy your widgets. Keep the communication coming!

You can read the press release here in its entirety:

McLean, Va., May 21, 2008 — Clearspring Technologies Inc., the world’s largest widget syndication and tracking service, has secured $18 million in a series C funding round that includes leading venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Novak Biddle Venture Partners and other current investors. The new round will fund expansion of Clearspring’s viral marketing network, which currently serves and tracks almost four billion widgets monthly. It will also be used to extend Clearspring’s reach into international markets and further develop its rapidly growing advertising network and vast data infrastructure and optimization services. Clearspring’s category leadership is well-established — according to comScore’s Widget Metrix report, Clearspring tallied 126 million unique widget viewers in March 2008, making it the No. 1 widget platform in the world.

“No other widget company has the breadth of relationships with content publishers, advertisers, developers and social media, as well as the full suite of widget services including syndication, in-depth analytics and easy-to-use monetization tools,” said Harry Weller, partner at NEA. “Clearspring is the leader in this space, and we look forward to working with the company as it expands its platform and extends its reach into global markets.”

Weller will join the Clearspring Board of Directors, joining, among others, Internet pioneers Steve Case, Ted Leonsis and Miles Gilburne. Case, the co-founder of America Online, Leonsis, AOL’s Vice Chairman Emeritus, who recently became Clearspring’s Chairman, and Gilburne are all credited with driving worldwide adoption of the Internet by providing tens of millions of people with their first Internet connection. Also new to the Clearspring board is Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One.

“We are excited about partnering with NEA. This partnership will enable us to enter the next phase of our growth and pioneer the next generation of the Social Web,” said Hooman Radfar, Clearspring co-founder and chief executive officer. “Advertisers and publishers rely on us as a channel to reach audiences on the Social Web, and this funding will enable us to extend our platform and services to continue delivering on that promise.”

Clearspring provides the platform and services connecting widget advertisers and publishers to the evolving Social Web. The company has served more than 33 billion widget views since launching its platform in 2007. Clearspring’s platform enables publishers, developers and advertisers to distribute, track and monetize content as widgets to more than 80 social networks, blogs, start pages, and bookmarking sites — including Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Blogger, iGoogle, and Windows Vista.

“Clearspring is definitely hitting on all cylinders. A growing list of world-class customers, incredible growth in the usage of its syndication services, and a significant investment from a firm with NEA’s reputation provide validation that we’re leading the charge into the next evolution of the Web,” said Leonsis. “We’re thrilled that Harry Weller and Nigel Morris have joined the board. Harry brings a proven history of guiding early stage companies to success, and Nigel, who while at Capital One unlocked the market value of their data, brings experience that will help us leverage our vast amount of data to deliver the best end-user experience and the most efficient advertising network on the Social Web.”

Marketers who have used Clearspring’s widget network include mass market consumer brands such as Aquafina, Honda, Snapple, Snickers, Sprint and Virgin Mobile. Other customers include movie and entertainment companies like Blockbuster, Disney, Fox Broadcasting, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures, major sports leagues like the NBA, NFL and NHL, major advertising agencies including 360i, Digitas, JWT, Mediacom, MindShare and Universal McCann, and world renowned media firms such as ESPN, National Geographic, NBC Universal, Newsweek, Time-Warner and Washingtonpost.com. Also, top international recording artists including Linkin Park, Madonna, Radiohead and U2 have successfully launched promotions using Clearspring widgets.

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Introducing the Dilbert widget…on the Clearspring platform!

Posted by widgetgirl on January 24, 2008

Hello Dilbert fans! Clearspring had a monumental moment yesterday when we discovered that the official Dilbert comic widget is now using the Clearspring platform for viral distribution. How cool is that! For anyone who knows a little bit about our company, we are the anti-Dilberts of the world. The Clearspring crew is nimble, creative and so not into the office politics that poor Dilbert has to endure.

So let’s dissect this widget. The widget creator (WC) did a great job of building this widget. From a design perspective:

  1. Ability to pull comic strips for the past two years.
  2. Ability to view weeks at a glance within the widget to select the week you’d like to read (they show thumbnails within the widget that you can click on).
  3. Ability to rank the widget – and a display of how many times the widget has been ranked (bonus).
  4. Various sizes of the widget so that you the user can choose which size you would like to grab for yourself.

This is the type of widget that would be perfect to download to your desktop. And speaking of Desktop, we are on the cusp of releasing a new report in the Clearspring Analytics console that will help you to analyze your Desktop widgets. We currently support the ability for you to “grab” your widget and push it to Konfabulator, Vista Sidebar or Mac Leopard. A successful “grab” (new placement of the widget) to desktop is measured as an “Install”. More on this metric later once the report is deployed to production.

Desktop widgets have the exact same capabilities as web widgets, but introduce some interesting new data. For example, a web widget may have an average time spent metric that ranges in the minutes to up to an hour. For desktop widgets, most users power up their computer and then leave it on all day long. So an average time spent metric could range from 1 hour to 12 hours (depending on how much of a workaholic you are). For this reason, we are separating out the desktop analytics from web analytics so that the data points aren’t skewed.

Look for an upcoming post that defines all of the metrics available for your desktop widgets (some oldies and some new ones).

You can check out the widget at the official Dilbert Widget Site.


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The widget-mobile. Allowing your distributed content to travel freely.

Posted by widgetgirl on December 31, 2007

I went out to lunch with a friend the other day and once again I got the question of “what does your company do again??”. “We have a widget serving platform” was my response. Come again?

So what is a widget serving platform? Really, it is a vehicle to allow your content to leap off of your site and traverse the Internet without parental guidance. Think of a car, plane, train, etc. Each one of these vehicles serves a purpose – they get you from point “A” to point “B”. The vehicle itself is just that, it does not care who the passengers are, it is there to provide a service. Widget platforms, and Clearspring’s specifically, serves that exact same purpose. We provide the vehicle, you provide the passenger.

Monkey Car

The basic steps of “wrapping” your widget (think of “loading your car”) are as follows:

  1. Create an account on Clearspring.com (this takes literally less than 30 seconds).
  2. Select “Add Widget”.
  3. Select your widget type (flash, js, image, RSS, web site).
  4. Enter the parameters about your widget – source URL and widget name.
  5. Click on “Save new widget”
  6. Publish your widget by either “grabbing the embed code” to place it on a specific web site – OR – use one of our sharing tools to publish it directly to a social network or widget gallery.

Here is a technical description of the above: Provide the widget serving platform with the source URL path of your widget and we’ll provide you with our widget code that will request your specific widget when it loads on the page. As visitors want to “grab” your widget for themselves, our platform (the flash container that is wrapping your widget) will provide the “bridges” for the widget to travel to MySpace, Facebook, iGoogle, Netvibes, etc. The “bridges” and the ability to track where your widget is traveling is what the widget serving platform brings to the table. A one or two click process to push the widget from one page to another is the vehicle itself. Going back to the “automobile” example, the car has an engine, ability to travel through rain, snow and sleet. The widget container has the ability to drive from MySpace to Facebook, Facebook to iGoogle and so forth.

These are the steps you need to take in order to successfully load a widget onto a widget serving platform. The main thing to note here is that the platform doesn’t host your content, you do. So you have control over updating the content, deleting it, modifying it – you are in control of what your visitors see.

Is it easy to publish a widget, yes! The difficult part is designing a widget and determining what the content will be. I wrote a post a few weeks ago that outlines the steps for a successful widget strategy. Anyone can build a widget, just as anyone can build a web site. Content is still king – and the creation of content that is engaging and compelling to the user is critical in launching it for viral promotion.

Happy New Year!

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