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Product Review of Blog/Content Site Monetization Widget: WidgetBucks

Tech entrepreneurs have done it again, this time infusing money-making opportunities into Web 2.0 widgets.
My friend, Jim Kukral mentioned that WidgetBucks will have a launch at Tuesday midnight EST. But who can really make money out of this?

Before you rush out and install on your blog, I’d do some due diligence to make sure you’ll earn something decent and that you’ll get paid.

From WidgetBuck’s website: “WidgetBucks comes to you from the folks at Mpire Corporation, the award-winning meta-shopping service. Mpire’s extensive shopping data experience, including its proprietary contextual, analytics and relevancy algorithms, power WidgetBucks. Founded in 2005, Mpire is backed by Ignition Partners and former eBay executive and Pay Pal angel investor Richard Rock.

WidgetBucks Jim Kukral

What is WidgetBucks?
It’s a javascript-based widget (a small banner-like graphic) that you install on your website or blog, and it uses a comparison shopping type engine to pull relevant listings (the FAQ says “Product listings from 30,000 merchants including trusted leading brands”) and displays it there.

It works on a PayPerClick basis, so it’s similar to adsense, though at $3-6 eCPM ($3-6 per 1,000 visitors), it’s claimed to pay much higher than the industry average of $1-2 eCPM.

Of course compared to affiliate marketing, where I earn about $10-$100 per customer, WidgetBucks and AdSense will seem like chump change.

As has been mentioned before in this blog, affiliate marketing requires that you have some marketing skills, know how to present offers, convert leads into sales.

If on the other hand, you’re happy to blog about xbox360s or scrapbooking or weight management (what some bloggers label “pure blogging”), then the folks at WidgetBucks will take care of the moneymaking element for you.

merchsense widgetbucks

WidgetBucks has some intelligent contextual features- their MerchSense technology:
MerchSenseâ„¢ is Mpire’s patent-pending contextual algorithm engine. It detects and analyzes the content of your website or blog to determine what product offers are most relevant to your audience. If you choose the MerchSense option when creating a new widget, simply place the code on your site and let MerchSense automatically provide the most appropriate ad content. MerchSense evaluates your editorial information daily, so, as your content changes, WidgetBucks will dynamically offer the highest-yielding products.

Who’s like to benefit from WidgetBucks?
I’d hazard a guess to say that consumer-related sites would benefit the most.
You could have a blog or content website (and I’m guessing you should be able to insert the code into a Joomla CMS or a vBulletin forum pretty easily too) focused on:

  • celebrities

  • electronic gadgets
  • computer games
  • fashion/apparell
  • books

to benefit from this. I would guess that Internet marketers would try to hock ebooks on this, but I don’t think it’ll be that effective.

I don’t really fancy buying my ebooks from a comparison engine, or one of those eBay widgets, do you?

A couple of grouses I have with WidgetBucks:
Slow Load Time
I visited Jim Kukral’s blog and the widget took about 10 seconds to load (the content came up instantly). I’m using a pretty powerful machine on a 12mbps cable modem connection, so I think it might be WidgetBucks’ server trying to serve up an offer?

If your content is pretty sticky to keep the reader reading for that 5-10 seconds, you should be ok.

Large Banners/Ad Sizes
As the comparison engine needs quite a bit of on-screen real estate, the widgets are pretty large at sizes of 160×600, 300×250, 728×90, 468×60 and 660×330.

By virtue of its sheer size, it will become one of your dominant monetization strategies if you display it on your blog or website.

WidgetBucks Sign-Up Bonus
As a bonus to early adopters, new WidgetBucks members get a $25 credit in their account. Once you’ve earned $25, you’ll received $50 ($25 credit + $25 of your own earnings).

Payouts are made on the first of every month for all revenue earned during the previous month (subject to a minimum of $50.)

Although payments are available either via check or paypal, I’d advise Europe and Asia-based subscribers to receive paypal payments, as check clearing fees for US-drawn checks can get pretty horrendous. (unless it’s in the neighbourhood of $500 or $1,000).


Does WidgetBucks Really Bring In The Bucks?
Here’s the million dollar question.

The answer is that it doesn’t really matter…
See, any monetization strategy is workable…if you work at it.
I could have a niche blog generating $0.05 per adsense click, but if I brought sufficient volume, it would be a lucrative business.

With WidgetBuck’s $3-6 eCPM, it isn’t anything to shout about.

If you’d like higher payouts, you’d probably have to get more involved with affiliate marketing or develop your own products.

WidgetBucks IS a fairly passive source of income generation and would be good for those with static content sites or would like to focus solely on their blogging efforts.

Sign up for WidgetBucks now

40 comments on Product Review of Blog/Content Site Monetization Widget: WidgetBucks

  1. Sean Crotty
    October 2, 2007 at 4:07 pm (4621 days ago)

    We’ve been listening to your feedback as WidgetBucks takes off and have decided to respond rapidly by improving our Referral Program. Mpire will now pay a 10% Referral Fee on commissions for a year. If someone you refer earns $100, you get $10, etc. The new details are going up on our site now.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    VP Product Marketing, Mpire

  2. Andrew Wee
    October 2, 2007 at 4:59 pm (4621 days ago)

    Great to see a company proactively address feedback and tweak their systems on-the-fly, Sean.

    What would be interest would be revshare for the lifetime of the referred downline, and possibly a 2-tier revshare system, maybe toggled at 10% for tier 1 and 5% for tier 2, the viral aspect of the system will really take off then.

    [It's pretty impressive to see you responding at 407am EST too!]

  3. Chris Jacobson
    October 3, 2007 at 12:00 am (4621 days ago)

    It’ll be interesting to see how fast WidgetBucks picks up. By the looks of things, it won’t be long.

  4. Rita Wilhelm
    October 3, 2007 at 3:50 am (4620 days ago)

    I just added WidgetBucks to my Ning site at http://www.PetBoogaloo.ning.com . The ‘Pet’ category was one of the offerings that WidgetBucks had.

    I have several other sites where I would have liked to include WidgetBucks, but their current niche offerings are still a little limited. WidgetBucks mostly serves up ads in the electronics/computer/camera niches. I’d like to see something available in the toy sector, or something related to business-to-business services. Of course, they are still new and growing.

    I will say that the ads look great. It’s actually fun watching the ads.

  5. Rita Wilhelm
    October 3, 2007 at 8:37 am (4620 days ago)

    Hi Andrew,

    I just placed the WidgetBucks ad on my Ning community at http://www.PetBoogaloo.ning.com . I must say that I like the ads it serves up. They are actually relatively entertaining to watch. (Google Adsense is boring in comparison).

    It seems that they serve up ads mainly in the computer, electronics, video, and camera type of niches. I was lucky that they had an option for the pet market.

    I have several other sites where I’d would have liked to add WidgetBucks, but their other ad categories don’t fit my markets. I’d like to see something in the toy sector, or business to business sector.
    From their control panel, you can select the category of ads you want, or you can have their spider crawl your site and decide what kind of ads to serve up. I’m not sure their spider is as robust as Google, where the ads are really tied to the content. I tried it on my toy site, but the camera ads kept showing up. So I decided to just keep Adsense on that for now.

    I think it’s smart of them to offer the referral program. They should make it a 2-tier program.


  6. analogstuff
    October 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm (4619 days ago)

    I have tried widget bucks for about 3 days now, i got around 7 clicks and when it comes to money it is zero dollars. I dont know whether they some more time to update or some thing like that. But i will wait for about a week to decide whether to keep them on my blog or not. The problem with widget bucks is that u dont have too many options with respect to the ad size very limited. I personally like to have 250×250 which is my favorite. Let see how it goes.

  7. Sean Crotty
    October 6, 2007 at 7:39 am (4617 days ago)

    Hey Andrew, Thanks. We’re getting huge adoption and are happy to keep in close touch with our users. We’ve just today started showing an RPC metric, since that’s what people were asking for. The 48-72 hour delay in revenue reporting is due to the audit process from our feed provider. We’re talking a lot with them to get that reduced so people can have faster numbers. I’ve requested the 250×250 size and it is being designed now. We’re also expanding the list of available categories – the initial list was picked by what our beta testers requested. Open to other requests. Thanks, Sean,

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