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Summary:

Update #2 at 12.35pm, Friday: A Fox Interactive spokesperson just emailed us this statement: “The toll booth rumor is categorically untrue. We have no plans, current or future, to charge people for widgets. We are working on a filter for security reasons – so there may […]

Update #2 at 12.35pm, Friday: A Fox Interactive spokesperson just emailed us this statement: “The toll booth rumor is categorically untrue. We have no plans, current or future, to charge people for widgets. We are working on a filter for security reasons – so there may have been a bug due to that…if so, it’s fixed now and working – no more quicktime worm or flash probs from here on out.”

Updated at 4.22 pm, Thursday:A couple of days ago Robert Young hinted that MySpace might be looking to block-and-tackle-and squeeze some of the widget makers in an effort to bolster its bottom line. Well, looks like the day has arrived sooner that we thought. A senior executive from a very prominent widget maker just emailed us and pointed out that:

photobucket.gif

So as of this morning, new embed tags to MySpace do not work. Photobucket, Youtube, etc… Their site might be broken, but there have been rumors for weeks that they are thinking of blocking everyone. This might be it, or just a test.. “

Our instinct on this one is that it is a test, and FIM is testing how far they can push the widget makers. Saber rattling is the word, but we would appreciate your feedback in realtime. If FIM does decide to erect a toll booth, well the widget economy is going to have its first fiscal crisis. We will follow-up with FIM and find out.

Update: We emailed FIM but have not heard back from them as yet. Mashable reported that there were some problems with the Flash-based widgets, but they have resumed working. Brad Greenspan, one of the original founders of MySpace is speaking out this very public muscle flexing. He is involved in a legal tangle with FIM. Here is what Greenspan had to say:

Anyone that understands MySpace and the internet space in general realizes MySpace is a monopoly. A great article identifying this came out this week by John Barrett a director of research at Park Associates. The media needs to wake up, shake off the spell of News Corp and realize that if we don’t educate the public on the abusive practices of News Corp and MySpace, then everyone who uses sites and services online can be considerably harmed.

  1. I just put a YouTube video in a MySpace profile no problem. And that was while I was freaking out about this news – so I’m sure in a calm state it would have been even easier! ;)

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  2. Teaches me to base my whole site around embeding in MySpace!!

    Just kidding… kinda. I didn’t base my whole site strategy around MySpace, but I was certainly planning on using it to help users share their content.

    So is that crashing sound the sound of WidgetBox falling?

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  3. For the widget economy to have a fiscal crisis, don’t they have to be making money? Are there any widget makers making money other than grabbing incredible amounts of funding from VC’s who have spent too much time at the trough?

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  4. Is MySpace giving the middle finger to widgets?…

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  5. Good thing we didn’t focus our strategy on embedding in MySpace either, then. Only a small percentage of our users are on MySpace, and the widget enthusiasts have been moving away from MySpace for precisely this reason.

    Ideally, FIM will come to the position where they are interested in implementing a coherent widget strategy that includes working with third parties and doesn’t leave their users guessing as to what web services can be included in their pages.

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  6. Hey Ed,

    I just discovered your service a few days ago. AWESOME! Keep up the good work! Myspace should have a widget factory (something like widgetbox) where users can 1 click install widgets into their profiles. This would allow myspace to do some quality control while still giving, for the most part, unfettered access.

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  7. Any business model that depends on a volatile platform is likely to get ass mulched.

    For their sakes, let’s hope this is just a test.

    J | sumolabs.com

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  8. Myspace blocking widgets…wow Fox. That would be a bold move that would serve their purpose of both keeping “outsiders” out, and keeping myspace users angry because they can’t even “customize” their custom website. I hope this isn’t true.

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  9. What a surprise, FOX is trying to make a little cash. They have to find ways to monetize the site. Its called capitalism! I think the Toll Booth analogy is right on but Widget makers can’t pay a toll if they aren’t making any money themselves. That’s why I’m sure the folks at Google/YouTube are in talks with the folks at FIM on how to make this work. Unfortunately for smaller Widget makers you might have to wait until the toll price has been set.

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  10. My question would be, does Myspace users have a say in this decision? I think that if
    MySpace tries to enforce such decision, the community will try to counter it.

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