Web widget provider JS-Kit has been doing a lot of growing up since starting as a simple commenting widget, founder Lev Walkin’s pet project in his off hours. Since then, that single widget has grown into a company with the addition of CEO Kris Loux, 12 engineers from Filmloop, and today’s $1.2 million round of financing led by the Entrepreneur’s Fund III.
Over 5,000 sites have added the widgets, adding 1,000 more each month. Combined, the sites generate over 70 million impressions each month. They’ve already got some ideas of how they want to monetize that traffic. One route is dropping advertisements into the widgets. Rather than putting ads in all the widgets, they’ve decided to only put ads in the “top rated content” widget. Publishers can either keep the ads and split the revenue 50/50, or pay about $40 a month/1 million pageviews your widget gets.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is one client which has simply opted to pay. They originally added the widget to their site to save themselves unnecessary development time. We made a similar choice when adding their ratings widget to CrunchBase.
Widgets as white labeled website features is a useful concept for publishers who don’t want to re-invent the wheel. Kickapps has done this somewhat with social networking. However, JS-Kit still has a bit to go in making their widgets viable for larger clients.
As easy to use as JS-Kit’s widgets are, it’s a tough proposition to ask larger businesses to hand hosting and control of their user’s data to JS-Kit. Businesses that depend the most on these features (and would therefore pay the most) may choose to spend the time to develop the feature in house and hedge against any future risk from depending on a web service.