Tag Archives: Steve Bowbrick

BBC appoints blogger-in-residence

The BBC has employed Steve Bowbrick as a blogger-in-residence for six months, to look at making their site more open, and to specifically work on the Common Platform project.  It’s worth keeping an eye on his progress (he promises to blog everything).

His specific aim is to address these questions for the BBC Future and Technology team:

• How open can we be?

• Should we share this insight with outsiders?

• Should we be opening our banks of content and code to licence fee payers, entrepreneurs and organisations?

Round-up: Widgety Goodness 2007

The overriding theme at yesterday’s Widgety Goodness conference was: if you produce enough, some are bound to stick.

Widgets were described both as ‘chaff’ by speaker Steve Bowbrick and as existing in an ‘innovate and dump’ industry by Nooked CEO Fergus Burns.

This idea was echoed by speaker Matt Trewhella, an engineer with Google, who said that of 20,000 widgets produced under Google Gadgets, half the total traffic for these is produced by only 150 applications.

Success stories of individual widgets used to promote specific events or products dominated rather than evidence of long-term benefits to site traffic.

“There’s tremendous reach, but unlike Google, high investment can’t guarantee that reach. Success is highly elusive,” the situation was explained by Chris Cunningham, vice president of ad sales at website designers Freewebs.

While compared to a marketing campaign, widgets are relatively inexpensive to produce, yesterday’s speeches suggested that online publishers should be wary about jumping on the widget bandwagon until more is known about the long-term advantages.

Predictions for widgets in 2008:

– widgets will be aware of other widgets you’re using and be able to interact with each other;

– more personalised widgets – though some warnings about how this made lead to overfamiliar advertising were also issued;

– developments in widgets for mobile – though the speakers were still scratching their heads over who would lead the way in this market.

For more thoughts on the event Steve Bowbrick has re-produced his speech, there’s a useful round-up by Roger Warner on the marketing side of the conference.

Oh my Widgety Goodness, it’s the survival of the fittest…

Widgety Goodness 2007 was right on our doorstep today in Brighton, so I popped down to check out if there was anything new and interesting from an online publisher’s point of view.

We heard about widgets that automatically deliver content tailored to you and your friends’ Facebook profile, and we heard about widgets that overlay full-screen internet TV, to provide additional information about the video you are watching or just so that you can chat to your friends online.

We even heard the burgeoning widget universe being described as a Darwinian disco (© Steve Bowbrick), which conjured up for me a vision of a lot of middle-aged publishing execs trying to get on down with the young things on the dancefloor and dancing out of time like deranged orangutans.

Naturally, we heard a lot of pitches. But also a helpful dose of scepticism, as the following video sample from Russell Davies of the Open Intelligence Agency, shows:


Not good news for glossy magazine publishers then. Those perfume ads help pay for a lot of people’s wages.

Laura will update with more tomorrow, but bottom line, widgets will be getting smarter, cheaper and more ubiquitous in 2008. As long as publishers and marketeers don’t forget to put the user in control, they can be a good method of delivering personalised content across a number of social and local platforms.