’s Fan Widgets Offer Easy Brand Badge Building

by Jason Falls |

Okay, so I got pitched. Being a PR guy by trade, I normally overlook mistakes of social media noobs and listen anyway. Then I’ll offer them a pointer or two on approaching bloggers to spread the education of social media outreach. (Most of these cute-talking, right-out-of-college PR chicks just say, “Okay!” and “I’ll make a note of that!” and ignore me, but I try.) I normally follow that up with, “I’m not really interested in your new car stereo remote control thingy, but thanks for the offer.”

GydgetHowever, the PR folks for have been persistent in trying to get hold of me, despite my terrain-traipsing adventures of late, and the product does fall within my broad area of interest – social media and/or internet marketing – so I agreed to give them a look see, perhaps talk to their CEO (more in a minute) and blog about them if the information led me in that direction.

It did and turns out to be a pretty user-friendly, quick and easy way to add a fan badge to your blog or profiles on MySpace, Facebook and several other sites. They also have a code copy in case you use something they don’t support with their one-step grab. Geared toward musicians and sports teams, the current roster of badges allows fans of artists or teams to display a Flash-driven badge on their profile or site that offers news, events and even videos from the artists or teams.

Cool enough, I guess. I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan (not offered yet, probably because they suck) and might be interested. Still, if someone buys a ticket through the Gydget badge on my site I’m certainly not getting a kickback or credit for it (or I would assume), so these things are really for people (kids) who are just aligning themselves with these “brands” for whatever reason.

But Gydget allows people to build customized badges as well. Theoretically, I could go in a build a badge for Social Media Explorer. Well, not theoretically. I did. It was here but the code scewed my page layout up pretty bad. It’s on my Facebook page if you want to see — right under my mini feed called “My Stuff.” I also put it on my iGoogle which was easy. You can use your RSS feeds for news, put a picture (sorry about the clouds … working on a new header), use a YouTube video for your latest video deal and so on. I added SXSW as an event, but it doesn’t show up until March.

The point is that business can go do this now. It’s potentially very cool for small businesses or non-profits, but anyone can do it. It took me less than five minutes. While most brands and companies can certainly farm out this kind of programming, this is a cool feature for those that don’t have big marketing or interactive budgets. The only part of the equation missing is how you get people to put your widget/badge on their site, thus promoting and spreading the word about your product.

(Again, I see no reason why anyone would unless you pay them to, they are fanatical about you or your brand or you’re a non-profit they are particularly passionate about, but making that happen is different for everyone.)

There are small banner advertisements on the bottom of the widgets you can apparently re-point to your own ads. (Or delete like I did, causing some awkward emptiness down there.) You could, I suppose, sell banner ads on the widget and monetize it. Gydget does have a tracking report that shows basic click tallies. But the ability to swap out their banner ads makes me wonder how Gydget is monetizing this. Perhaps they’re planning sneak-attack banner ads … who knows?

The reason I don’t know and other questions are unanswered is that I never got the scheduled phone call from the CEO, Gerardo Capiel. My assumption is that he got busy, which is fine, but a head’s up would have been nice. This is one more reason why bloggers don’t need or want to talk to CEOs (please pay attention, PR kind). PR folks ought to be able to tell me what your site or product does, why is it interesting or unique and why it’s relevant to my blog audience. If you can’t, the CEO should be making the pitch call in the first place.

Gydget’s widgets are cool. I used my digits to fidget with them. I have no idea how they are planning to make money with them, but apparently you can sell your own ads on your widget. Give ’em a look see, particularly if you’re a small business or non-profit looking for a cool badge for your brand enthusiasts.

UPDATE: Mr. Capiel did call me back, calling himself lame and apologizing profusely. He was travelling and, well, we’ve all been there. No big deal. I’ll follow up with him and follow up this post with more information about the financial model and such next week.

[tags]Gydget, widgets, gidgets, viral marketing, brand fans, brand enthusiasts[/tags]

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).