Sprout Commerce, the company behind MyPickList, has launched a new product today, called FavoriteThingz. A widget for social networking sites like MySpace, FavoriteThingz lets users identify their favorite bands, movies and other branded products and display those brands in a nice looking slideshow. Their readers can click through to purchase the same goods and affiliate revenue is split between FavoriteThingz and widget publishers.
After identifying a product category, users select between hundreds of bands, for example, with press photos to display and affiliate revenue percentage listed next to each. Widgets can be customized a bit, which is liable to be appealing. Press photos can also be replaced by any image you chose – which seems like a branding disaster waiting to happen.
The slideshows don’t link out in MySpace any more, so FavoriteThingz has added an HTML link below its flash widget to take users to the full account page of a widget publisher. They say it works well, but I think it’s a serious loss of functionality. Fortunately for FavoriteThingz, MySpace isn’t the only social networking game in town – though it’s close.
Will this type of service take off? Sprout Commerce and many other people think that social commerce is set to be big in the future, not because of the affiliate revenue it generates for users but because of the existential opportunity to associate ourselves with brands. Sounds pretty vapid to me, but if brand association is an important part of being a teenager then FavoriteThingz could be a winner at monetizing it.
This service is easy to use and the widget can look quite nice. Its success will probably come down to marketing. Who can guess what will go viral in the wild frontier of youth oriented online social networking?