Apigee buys Usergrid, shifts focus to mobile

Apigee, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based API management platform and services company is buying San Francisco-based Usergrid, as part of its increasing focus on the mobile app business as the web shifts to a mobile-first development model. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Today in Social

I spoke with the CEO of Widgetbox yesterday, prior to the company’s announcement of an advertising platform partnership with Wikia. Widgetbox lets brands and publishers create engaging, rich-media ad units that can include social content streams (e.g., Twitter feeds, YouTube videos) and themselves be shared and embedded. Widgetbox claims that these units work for products other than movies and games. For instance, other clients like IDG and Federated Media advertise white papers and tech products – and adding social content amplifies those messages equally well. Publishers supposedly can charge advertisers a 30% to 50% premium over their usual online ad rates. Ad operations and sales staff at the publishers do a lot of the “creative” work, using templates and simple tools a la Apple’s iAd Producer. Widgetbox isn’t doing anything magical, but these kinds of initiatives help address format and measurement issues necessary to open up social media ad spending.

Investors Take a Stroll with Widgets

2007 was supposed to be the Year of the Widget, according to Newsweek, and Jon Swartz of USA Today apparently agrees that the promise has been fulfilled. He says:

[Widgets] are all the rage on the Web. Marketers are thinking of ways to use them to sell ads, and venture capitalists are mulling investments in the hottest widget makers. The stampede reached a roar this month, when market leader MySpace and Facebook expanded their services for targeted ads, including widgets designed by marketers.

But look at the numbers for investments in widget distribution platforms and widget suppliers, and it becomes clear that this not a stampede but more like a Sunday stroll through the widget park.
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