PostApp launches WidgetBox, a marketplace for widgets

Stealth start-up PostApp announced at Thursday’s SuperNova Connected Innovators session the launch tomorrow of WidgetBox, its new beta marketplace for managed web based widgets, and $1.5 million in funding from Hummer Winblad.

If you like widgets, there’s about to be a whole lot more of them available for use in your blog or profile page. If you’d like to develop widgets and have some one else deal with the details, this could be for you. If you’re unfamiliar with widgets, see the “community powered search” box on the right side of TechCrunch – that’s a widget. Videos, slide shows, music players and news tickers that can be dropped into web pages are common types of widgets.

PostApp is headed and B2B veterans Ed Anuff, Giles Goodwin and Dean Moses. The company debuted its first offering, an eBay widget, in partnership with Typepad at the end of March.

PostApp will manage the process of turning web services into widgets that bloggers, social network users and others can insert into their pages. Outside developers will create web services, submit them to PostApp for transforming into widgets and content publishers like bloggers, auction sellers and social network users will select the widgets they want from the WidgetBox marketplace. The service will also manage the money for widgets that involve financial transactions like affiliate links or subscription, though developers will have first say in determining the business rules of their projects. PostApp will act as a master affiliate or subscription center, as appropriate.

As the number of photo, video, eCommerce and calendar widgets available online proliferates I can’t help but think that a central place for lots of widgets sounds like a good idea. I also hope that this will make it easier for developers to create other kinds of widgets, as the choices out there can feel pretty stale.

One of the first highlighted widgets will use the Yahoo images API to insert contextually relevant images into any website. RSS will be the basis of many, but not all of the widgets. If you love RSS as much as I do, you can probably imagine almost any information being delivered by feed and thus displayed in a widget. If an interesting variety of feeds are widgetized and then mixed with intermittent contextual advertising – then everybody wins. I’ll eagerly await the widgets of the future.