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Mpire Strikes Back : Launches Money-Making Widgets

Web shop owners are now just a widget away from making extra cash through both the Amazon and eBay affiliate programs.

Mpire launched a series of revenue-generating widgets that incorporate the company's meta-shopping data into Web sites, blogs and social network profiles. Mpire CEO Matt Hulett says it's the first time the affiliate programs of both Amazon and eBay have been rolled into the same widget offering.

Coding for Ka-Ching
The new widgets are completely free, and don't even require registration (although it is an option). Affiliates insert their ID in the code when setting up the widget and get to keep all profits made. There's no revenue-sharing model and site owners deal directly with eBay and Amazon for payment. Code to the widgets can be found here.

Seattle-based Mpire is a meta-shopping service that brings together on its site thousands of online stores and marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, Shopping.com, Target, Wal-Mart and Gap. The site combines proprietary pricing analysis for both new and used items and offers coupons and reviews in what Hulett describes as "the Kelly Blue Book for everything."

Widgets are Web-based interactive content tools that can be dynamically embedded into blogs, social network profiles, auctions, home pages and search sites. They are primarily used for brand building, lead generation and auction monitoring.

make money

Trendy: Mpire widgets track shopping patterns.

Pop Tops
Mpire's 80 widgets gives free access to packaged Amazon and eBay shopping trend results across 15 popular categories, such as entertainment, sports, fashion, technology, games and youth/teens. Historically, consumers, including eBay sellers, have had to pay a monthly subscription fee to find out what's hot or gaining in popularity.

By inserting these trend-tracking widgets that contain links to related Amazon and/or eBay items, site owners can drive traffic to the two marketplaces, and in return, earn money from those companies when users bid, buy or register. "It's for the casual to ultra hard-core affiliate types," said Hulett. "And for those who want to add some bling to their blog."

For example, MySpace layout provider, Whateverlife.com, run by 16-year-old Ashley Qualls, can offer her 300,000 daily unique visitors widgets that track 2008 presidential candidates, iPods and top selling teen clothing brands. Similarly, YouLookFab.com, a fashion advice Web site, can embed widgets that track the sale of jeans, handbags and dresses.

Capitalize on Cool
"At the end of the day, a lot of people want to be told how to be cool, they want to know what's popular," said Hulett. "An example is the half billion dollars of transactions that went through our eBay Pop site for Q4. And our new widgets offer the same type of compelling content that can add revenue-generation to a site."

Indeed, it is the dynamically grouped content, or shopping trends, that give Mpire's widgets an edge over similar applications, said Hulett.

Other sites currently testing the Mpire widgets include eBay Pop, eBay-Star Wars Celebration IV, ProBargainHunter.com, and SexyWidget.com.

The widgets are also integrated with TypePad, Blogger and WordPress, and can be placed on MySpace profiles.

"Widgets are changing and enhancing the Web today, and some analysts are even calling 2007 the 'Year of the Widget,'" said Hulett, citing research that shows that the 40 percent of MySpace pages have at least 2 widgets on them. "In this case, one of the best parts is that the users keep 100 percent of the money they make from the affiliate programs."

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