Founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Slide has developed many of the top Facebook applications, including SuperPoke and Top Friends. The site enables users to create custom slideshows, videos, and guestbooks that can be posted on social networks and blogs as widgets.
Why It Matters: As a leading Facebook application developer, Slide hosts an ad network that allows advertisers easy access to millions of viewers. Corporate clients: AT&T Wireless, Paramount Pictures, Discovery Channel
Slide's main competitor, RockYou! has also developed many of the top applications on Facebook and other social networks. RockYou! features similar templates for custom widgets, including slideshows and glitter text. Like Slide, RockYou! hosts an in-widget ad network on Facebook for marketers.
Why It Matters: In December, RockYou's SuperWall became the #1 application on Facebook, and the company's applications edge out similar offerings by Slide and other developers in popularity. This popularity boosts RockYou's ad network, which offers advertisers the largest reach of Facebook users.
Corporate clients: Nettwork Records, SNOCAP, Yahoo!, Sony
Widgetbox offers a set of tools for widget developers, including distribution and metrics analysis. Authors who publish widgets for Facebook and OpenSocial can also monetize their widgets through Widgetbox's devShare program -- developers share advertising revenues with Widgetbox 50/50 . Widgetbox also links corporate clients with developers to create widget campaigns.
Why It Matters: Widgetbox's App Accelerator easily turns widget developers' products into Facebook and OpenSocial applications, without them having to recode for each service. Widgetbox also boasts the largest widget directory for Web publishers and social network users to add a widget to their own pages -- which means more exposure for marketers whose widgets are listed.
Corporate clients: AOL, Gap
Like Widgetbox, Clearspring offers turnkey management for widget development, including configuration, distribution, and tracking. It also features an in-widget ad network that lets publishers monetize their content as widgets.
Why It Matters: Clearspring offers marketers the ability to have their messages appear as ads, while still retaining their viral capabilities of widgets. The company also features Launchpad, a tool that converts Web pages into widgets through the installation of a sharing menu.
Corporate clients: ESPN, Disney, NBA
Gigya's Wildfire feature -- used by RockYou!, among other widget publishers -- enables instant publication to about 20 different social networks, aggregators, and blogging platforms, including MySpace, Netvibes, and Blogger. Gigya also offers tracking tools that provide metrics on views, placements, and interactivity.
Why It Matters: Gigya has a network of over 400 partners ranging from MySpace to traditional media companies such as Oxygen Media and Hearst Communications. Gigya's premium service allows clients' widgets to be advertised on other popular widgets within the Gigya network. When users install a widget, they can choose to install other advertised widgets at the same time. Gigya shares the advertising revenue with the partnering widget publisher.
Corporate clients: Jive Records, Kimberly-Clark
MuseStorm features a complete suite of tools for widget development, including widget authoring tools, one-click distribution, monetization tools, and metrics analysis.
Why It Matters: MuseStorm's Widget Engine has a PowerPoint-like interface that simplifies the process of creating multimedia widgets, allowing less savvy developers to create more sophisticated widgets.
Corporate clients: Simon & Schuster, Universal Music Group
The free Website hosting company, formerly Freewebs, helps develop rich media Internet campaigns, including custom widgets, for corporate clients.
Why It Matters: Because Webs.com is not solely a widget company, it offers a bundle of rich media marketing features, including integrated video and chat rooms in custom Web pages for particular brands.
Corporate clients: Six Flags, Reebok, Procter & Gamble
Yourminis' partner program allows companies to transform Web content into widgets. Partner companies can either use their own developers or hire members from yourmini's team. Yourminis also offers distribution and metrics tools and hosts a gallery of widgets.
Why It Matters: Unlike other widget companies, yourminis also has its own startpage builder that enables users to create custom pages from news feeds and widgets from its gallery -- boosting the number of views for featured widgets.
Corporate clients: CBS, Red Bull