Facebook Widgets Targeted by New Advertising.com Program

Advertising.com has jumped into the widget advertising pool with a program that allows Facebook application developers to earn ad revenue.

The Baltimore company’s new “WIDGNET” program enables creators of Facebook widgets to join Advertising.com’s ad network, said Joel Fisher, initiative lead with the company’s new product development group.

Facebook’s decision this year to open its platform to widget developers not only sparked a tidal wave of new applications but also a number of efforts to help the creators monetize those apps. Earlier this week, for example, Federated Media announced a couple of Facebook application deals with advertisers, including one between HP and Grafitti Wall.

Fisher said Advertising.com’s widget monetization effort differs from some others in that every widget gets a thorough review by a team that harbors “zero tolerance” for shoddy craft or inappropriate content.

“We have a review process for content and subject matter,” he said. “Our network quality group handles the final approval.” Once an app is approved, Advertising.com provides the app owner with ad call and recommendations on ad placements that will maximize response and effectiveness.

Fisher said there will be little to no targeting at first. “It really depends on the volume the application is receiving,” he said. “We start out just by… monitoring the volume. Once we actually get some impression counts, and figure out how they are doing, there is going to be some optimization on our side.”

Jupiter Research analyst Emily Riley said publishers “know that widgets are here to stay” and that their content is going to be appropriated into social networking environments, “so they better find out how to make money at it.”

The industry is currently in a shakeout phase. “There are a lot of hands in the pot,” said Riley. She predicted that both publishers and advertisers will eventually “want fewer middle-men” involved in the monetization process. While the increasing commercialization of popular apps might turn off some users, publishers wanting to succeed really have no choice, noted Riley.

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