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Forbes: New automated tech firms reshaping digital media posted an insightful piece today on the rise of an emerging set of ad technology companies that are helping brands conduct their media buying more efficiently and effectively as people increasingly spend their lives online.

Mpire Corporation, maker of both WidgetBucks and AdXpose, was among the private companies cited in this lengthy article. The other technology companies in the piece include Mpire partners OpenX, Rubicon Project and Pubmatic, as well as Google and Yahoo! [full article here]

Matt Hulett, Mpire's CEO, (pictured) was quoted in the article -- "We've seen half a billion dollars of venture capital poured into building optimization and planning companies." -- and Mpire's new service -- AdXpose -- was highlighted as well:

This week, Hulett's firm unveiled an application to help advertisers track on which Web sites networks place ads, where on the actual screen the ad appears and if Web surfers pause their cursor over the ad. The tool is intended to help marketers better figure out how much of their ad spending is essentially worthless.

For more information and background on AdXpose, check out last week's press coverage, press release, and demo on YouTube.

Widgetbucks - It's Time to Vote! Seattle 2.0 Awards 2009

This may be considered a very "local thing" but every vote counts, no matter its location. The Seattle 2.0 Awards recognizes accomplishments and exceptional people of the best of over 300 Seattle area technology startups. Voting ends April 28.

WidgetBucks is honored to be a finalist in four categories:

  • Best Startup CEO: Matt Hulett
  • Best Startup Technologist: Greg Harrison
  • Best Blog from/about Startups: Startup Whisperer by Matt Hulett
  • Best Venture Capitalist: Bill Bryant, WidgetBucks board member and Venture Partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which led WidgetBucks' Series B funding in June 2008.
Those outside of the Seattle area may not realize the amount of innovation coming from the Puget Sound region from names like Picnik, Redfin, Wetpaint, iLike, and BuddyTV. Check out a full list here. We encourage to offer up your support and vote.

Here's a full list of categories -- Vote now!
  • Best Startup
  • Best Boot-strapped Startup
  • Best Startup CEO
  • Best Startup Technologist
  • Best Venture Capitalist
  • Best Angel Investor
  • Best Startup Product Designer
  • Best Service Provider to Startups
  • Best Blog from/about Startup
  • Best Social Event for Startups

Widgetbucks The Beginner's Guide to Ad Optimization

WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett is a featured contributor in Monday's edition of Adotas, one of the interactive advertising's most targeted publications. Matt delves into the world of ad optimization, where he feels there is a lot of innovation happening today despite very little other good news coming from within the sector.

Matt discusses a group of optimization startups, including WidgetBucks, that are adding a tremendous layer of value between the supply and demand. These companies are still getting funding when other sectors have gone dry, and some have even been acquired recently.

The five areas of focus in what Matt calls the "ad optimization stack" include:

  • Container Optimization. Companies such as SnapAds, Tumri, Clearspring, Gigya and WidgetBucks
  • Targeting Optimization. Companies such as BlueKai, Exelate, Lookery and OthersOnline
  • Yield Optimization. Companies such as Pubmatic, Rubicon Project, YieldBuild, YieldX and WidgetBucks
  • Exchanges. Companies such as Right Media’s Publisher Media Exchange, Microsoft’s AdECN, DoubleClick
  • Auction-based marketplaces. Companies such as ContextWeb's ADSDAQ, AdBite, Turn, Google AdSense, and Yahoo! Publisher Network
Check out Matt's full Adotas post here.

Widgetbucks Make Room for AdSpace - Special Discount Code Available

There is a new conference called the ADSPACE Contextual Advertising Conference + Expo on April 22, 2009, at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco. It is co-located and associated with the ad:tech conference that runs April 21-23.

There are two tracks, one focused on small to medium sized publishers and another focused on advertisers. WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett is participating on a panel, "10 Proven Methods to Increase Your eCPM and Generate More Revenue." Hats off to the folks who put this together -- it promises to be a very informative few days.

For those who might want to attend, here is an early bird code that is good thru this Friday: Promo Code: ADSPACEB. It will deduct 20% off the rate of $395. At times like this, every bit helps.

See you in San Francisco. by Dean

Widgetbucks- Three Reasons Why Amazon Should Buy Twitter

Matt Hulett
With Twitter currently experiencing explosive growth and visibility, WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett takes a look at why it would make some sense for Amazon to buy Twitter. Check out his blog on AlwaysOn's VC & Money section -- a good read. If you're having a hard time visualizing it, below is a mock up of what might look like if Amazon were to integrate Twitter into its listing pages.

Eric Engleman of Seattle's TechFlash also wrote about this today as well.

Speaking of Twitter, check out this like-gold add-on that makes your Google searches real-time with Twitter.

Do you use Twitter? If so, start following WidgetBucks here. by - Dean

Part II: Fast Company TV's Robert Scoble Inside WidgetBucks

Robert Scoble
Widely-known tech geek Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV recently visited WidgetBucks' offices in Seattle. Along with talking to WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett and CTO and Co-Founder Greg Harrison in Part I, Robert ran Part II of his video interview that featured more with Hulett along with an inside look at new creatives and a short demo by WidgetBucks Creative Overlord Nick Redmond.

Part II of II (Watch Part I now)

Peek Inside WidgetBucks with Fast Company TV's Robert Scoble, Part I

Blogger, tech evangelist, author and widely-known tech geek Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV recently visited WidgetBucks' offices in Seattle, Washington, on a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. He spent some time chatting (and videotaping) WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett about the company's background, what we're focused today and where we're headed tomorrow. Check out the video below or directly on the site here, and stay tuned tomorrow for Part II here on the WidgetBucks Blog.

Robert also interviews WidgetBucks Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Greg Harrison, who explains WidgetBucks' biggest challenge today, its stance on cloud computing and iframes, as well as how lack of Flash capability on mobile devices like iPhone limit the user experience, especially with ads.

Part I of II (Part II comes tomorrow)

WidgetBucks December Payments Distributed

PayPalWidgetBucks earnings for December 2008 were distributed to publishers today. Our apologies for the delay in payment this month.

WidgetBucks Publisher Payment Update

Last week we announced WidgetBucks payments would being made today- Feb. 17 - due to the odd timing around the previous weekend and U.S. President's Day holiday. Unfortunately, due to an unrelated technical glitch with PayPal, those payments are further delayed and are now scheduled to be delivered no later than Feb. 23.

We apologize for the inconvenience. -by Dean

WidgetBucks Reporting: Enhanced (and Proud of It)

Don't say we didn't warn you. When you use WidgetBucks' updated MyWidgets reporting pages, you are knowingly and willingly using performance-enhancing data. That's what WidgetBucks publishers are going to find when they log in to MyWidgets reporting pages today. Publishers can now:

  • view by-country reporting within their MyWidgets page
  • download data reports as a CSV file (to view within Excel)
We heard from many publishers who wanted this feature given their amount of blended domestic and international traffic, so the wait is over. This change ultimately helps you as a publisher figure out exactly how much you are making in the U.S. versus the UK, Germany or France, for example. (See WidgetBucks' full list of CPC and CPM countries)

In all, publishers' MyWidgets pages now consist of four reporting sections, or tabs:

  • Summary. This view continues to roll-up of all impressions, earnings and total eCPM, along with the graph of daily earnings and all the widgets you've created listed below.
  • Widget Detail. This view breaks down the performance of the widget by the type of advertising "views" (as we call them) of CPM, CPC, and International CPM (that is, CPM ads for countries not supported by a CPC widget) advertising.
  • Referrals. This view lists all your referred WidgetBucks publishers and what amount you've earned through them. In case you haven't heard, WidgetBucks has increased its Referral Program payout to 15%! Check out our new referral creatives here.
  • By Country. As discussed above, this view breaks down the traffic at the country level for impression, click, and revenue volumes. Each of these reports can provide useful information for optimizing our advertising to best fit your site and the type of traffic you receive. Note that the country-level reporting is only from February 5th forward. We had to change some of the ways we tracked data and this could not be applied retroactively to provide a more historical view.

Combine all four tabs (click the screen shot above for a better view) with the ability to download any report to a Excel/CSV file and the analytic crowd can have some fun playing with the data. We hope these new features prove useful to you and as always, we welcome your feedback on things you'd like to see added to the WidgetBucks platform.

If you feel you are having trouble with these new features, please contact us at WBHelp [at] widgetbucks [dot] com

- Gary Kamikawa
VP, Interactive Marketing

Widgetbucks PaidContent: In A Widget Economy, Is Your Ad Smart Enough?

The notion of a "widget economy" was the focus of a post today by PaidContent writer Tameka Kee, who took a look back at recent investments in widget companies and asked, now a year later, if the opportunity is still viable. It's an interesting read, which includes WidgetBucks.

eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson provided this perspective in the article: "This is still a developing market, and most of the companies are spending their resources on making the widgets smarter, more intuitive and improving their tracking capabilities." Kee called out WidgetBucks and Gigya as those companies that have built in-depth analytics and other features into widgets.

If you are a WidgetBucks publisher, you know this means YieldSense, WidgetBucks' yield-optimization technology that makes publishers' ads super smart so they provide the best rate of return.

WidgetBucks December Payment Timing Alert

This post is to alert WidgetBucks' publishers that December 2008 commission and referral payments will be distributed on Tuesday, February 17 -- exactly one week from today. Funky calendar timing has February 14 & 15 falling on a weekend and February 16 is President's Day, a national U.S. holiday, meaning payments are being pushed to the next business day. Thanks for your understanding.- by Dean

WidgetBucks Profiled on

Earlier today,, the voice of the entrepreneur, posted a WidgetBucks profile on its site along with a video interview with CEO Matt Hulett. If you haven't looked into, you should. It's a social media company for businesses, leveraging community-generated content to connect investors, strategic partners and startups. The site's CEO and co-founder is Bambi Francisco, who started the site a little shy of two years ago. If you've followed the tech space for any length of time, Bambi's name probably rings a bell. She's written for Dow Jones MarketWatch and also produced at CNN's financial news network.

She did a nice job of capturing WidgetBucks in this piece. Check out the written piece here or the video below, and/or view WidgetBucks' profile on

Widgetbucks-What's in Your Affiliate Marketing Toolkit?

As many of you may know, WidgetBucks increased its Referral Program rate to 15 percent recently, so as referred publishers earn money through their ads, affiliate marketers get more bang for their WidgetBucks.

What you may not have noticed is that WidgetBucks has also updated its Referral Toolkit, a whole new set of pre-designed ad creatives with related code for easy placement on your site. (Note that you'll need to be signed-in to your WidgetBucks account to view this page).

There are 20 various sizes and new creatives from which to choose, including six of the popular 125x125 size option, animated ads and plain text referral links to include in your email and forum signatures. Each is also integrated with TypePad, WordPress and Blogger. Just grab the ad code, drop it into your site and you're done.

WidgetBucks Referral Program highlights:

* You earn a 15 percent referral fee based on the commissions earned by the publishers you refer.
* You receive this 15 percent for the full 12 months after the new member joins.
* Payouts to you are monthly, along with your commission payment.

Here's how one WidgetBucks' publisher used the code on their blog. - by Dean

Michael Vernon Joins WidgetBucks Board

Former aQuantive CFO Michael Vernon Joins WidgetBucks Board. I wanted to jump on the WidgetBucks' blog this morning and share with everyone that Michael Vernon has joined our Board of Directors. For those of you who know about Michael, this is a real coup for us here at WidgetBucks. For those of you who don't, Michael was the former CFO at aQuantive (acquired by Microsoft in 2007 for $6B -- yes, with a B) so he knows online advertising technology, knows how to inject ‘big thinking’ into an emerging company like ours, and he's a fantastic complement to our existing experienced Board and management team. His background includes being responsible for financially guiding aQuantive to profitability and a multi-billion dollar market cap before the Microsoft acquisition.

He joins WidgetBucks' Board at an important time, as we hit our second full year of rapid growth after seeing ad impression volume grew by 150 percent over the course of 2008.

In Michael's words: “When it comes to core fundamentals within the online advertising space – monetization, expansion and targeting – WidgetBucks is well positioned to be a big ad play. What further attracted me to this appointment is the management team’s successful history, new proprietary optimization technology, including YieldSense, and their sound financial backing and infrastructure.”

We've added a lot of industry experience lately. Michael is the third industry veteran to join WidgetBucks’ management team and/or Board in the last several months: Chief Revenue Officer Kirby Winfield joined in August, while Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bergstrom came on board in October. Combined, the two chief officers represent over $3 billion in shareholder value from past acquisitions.