Widgets: Build my own or use a commericial site?
August 25, 2008 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Widgets for embedding on other web sites: Write/host your own, or use one of the commercial services?

I'm curious about whether there is an advantage to using one of the "professional" widget providers (widgetbox, springwidgets, etc.) or whether simple writing and hosting your own is "better." My woolly thinking so far:

Do-it-yourself advantages:

* Aside from potential bandwidth issues, no day-to-day costs
* Widgets could be tracked with site's own analytics
* No cross-branding or "brand contamination"


* My clients are all in shared environments. To the host, this would simply be another page view, I'm assuming, but don't know. They all have plenty of spare bandwidth, these are sites that are lucky to get 1,000 visitors a day
* I assume there would need to be some basic security issues (though at this point I would probably simply output the widget content into flat HTML or text files since they wouldn't need to be that dynamic. so security concerns should be fairly minimal)

Ready-made widget pros:

* The heavy-lifting of providing an embeddable object is done.
* (Probably?) the ability to provide a variety of formats
* Security not my problem, if there are any issues
* Possibly a bit more exposure


* The terms of service are worrying on some - loss of content control
* Possibility it can or will cost an unknown amount of money
* Co-branding

I figure I'd have a few more hours invested writing my own widget code than figuring out how best to leverage a commercial source, but that's not a compelling factor at this point.

If you have been in this position, please share your thoughts on your decision-making, and what you did in the end.
posted by maxwelton to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I always prefer to host my own. Mostly because of the control I can get out of doing so. Also, because from a geek factor it's more fun.

Sometimes though, other services just do it better. Sure you can create an image gallery, but there's a reason flickr is so popular on blogs.

Also, using other site's widgets can bring you traffic.

Plug in the widget in question, instead of youtube, but read this essay, and you pretty much get my take on this:

posted by cjorgensen at 8:03 AM on August 26, 2008

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