Mpire launches a new widget service today with over 75 different widgets aimed directly at eBay and Amazon affiliates.
It’s a crowded space. On Sunday Michael Arrington described it well with a post aptly titled “The Attack of the Advertising Widgets“. A natural first reaction is what? more widgets!
I caught up with Mpire CEO Matt Hulett and Co-Founder Dave Cotter earlier in the week and it’s a question I had to ask. After a decent 30 minutes I found there was a lot to like about Mpire’s new widget offering, and some great potential. Yes, more widgets, but these ones are different.
The defining feature that makes Mpire widgets stand out from the crowd is dynamically grouped content. The widgets incorporate Mpire’s meta-shopping data, creating shopping trend results across 15 categories, including entertainment, sports, fashion, technology, games and youth/teens.
A widget can list and link to the top searches at eBay for a particular topic, for example Baseball. A widget covering fashion can provide a dynamically updated price watch chart. For lovers of Second Life, one widget provides updates of Linden Dollar average sales prices from eBay.
The new widgets have been in private beta testing prior to today’s launch and can boast of some significant results. On average in testing, CTR rates with Mpire’s widgets were up to 5 times higher than a comparable banner or Adsense unit.
The new widgets are completely free, and surprisingly do not require registration (although it is an option). Affiliates simply insert their affiliate code when setting up the widget and get to keep 100% of all profits made. There’s no revenue sharing model and affiliates deal directly with eBay and Amazon for payment.
I asked Hulett and Cotter the obvious question: where’s the return?
The aim of the widgets from a corporate view point is to drive awareness and traffic back to the core product.
What better way of getting your name out there than having thousands of people running widgets that include your company name and link in the footer!
The only draw back I could find from a publishers view point was a lack of dynamic contextual delivery. Much like AuctionAds (a TechCrunch sponsor), the widgets are delivered contextually only to the point of the topic placed in the code. For example a Digital Camera site would code the widget to run digital camera data, but the widget doesn’t pick up if the particular page is about a specific item, say a Panasonic DMC FZ 50, my own particular camera of choice. A fully fledged contextual version is something Mpire is considering for development at a later date.
John Cook at Seattle PI has more coverage.