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MySpace Blocking Widgets?

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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:


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.

29 Responses to “MySpace Blocking Widgets?”


  2. MySpace has problems. Flash widgets help them if they didn’t know. While it does allow other websites to piggyback on the myspace money train, it also help myspace to gain users interested in sprucing up their page. I doubt they will ever block widgets. They did for 2.5hours and had users furious. They are huge, but internet users are easy to switch from one online community to another. Speaking on the topic. is a new site where you can create mp3 playlist by either adding your own songs or using its search engine to play them on your MySpace, frienster, blog, or personal webpage using its stylish flash widgets. They plan to release a new one every month.

  3. Micki here from Revver…

    While MySpace reinstated service for many widgets, they are still blocking Revver.

    Of course, many Revver users are MySpace users and it’s important to a lot of them to be able to share their videos and promote their shows there.

    More than that, I agree with Adam and thatotter in that people like choice and that the community will demand some kind of say. They’ve done it before when MySpace blocked YouTube and other services. It’s a lot easier to open up a service and to provide more options than it is to take things away from your users.

    We hope that MySpace will respect their community and keep the site open to widgets from all over.

    It’s important to note that Revver has one of the most creator-friendly member agreement of all the video sharing sites. We use creative commons licensing and share all ad revenue with the creators 50/50. We really do put online creators first.

    We hope that MySpace users will let them know that they prefer to share videos through a service that supports open syndication and rewards creators for their work.

  4. FIM needs to think outside the box in regards to monetizing the site. Charging a Toll for Widgits obviously isn’t the way to go as they have already realized.

    Their members create the content why not put them to work. Imagine what a million viral entrepeneurs could do to monetize the site. Let the members make some cash and FIM will make even more.

  5. Bah, I set my page up and now I’m not even going to waste my time editing it anymore. Rupert Murdoch owns the boat now and he’s not there to operate it for the good of the community – he’s there for HIS WALLET.

    Sadly they’re worried more about blocking widgets than they are child molseters. Kinda makes me wonder if MySpace was actually bought by the Catholic Church than News.

  6. thatotter

    I would think, that if Myspace did indeed decide to host all of it’s own content, that it would open a lot of doors for other social networking sites to scoop up a lot of new users. Some very amazing new partnerships could be formed.

    People like choice and do not like to be told what to do.

    …can’t wait to see what goes down.

  7. Good to see the Toll Booth rumor was just that. FIM says they do not plan on charging for widgets but I can guarantee they will find some way to monetize the site.

    They certainly have eyeballs but users don’t want to pay for anything and too much advertising ticks everyone off so some type of Toll Booth may at some point have to be erected.

  8. Adam,

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the community will have a say. People will complain but will not be sufficiently motivated to move just because of this. And Fox knows it. This is more of a legal dilemma for them.

  9. I do agree with Ed. If Myspace wants to block these widgets, then they should develop their own. Or maybe they can also make their own myspace tools too like layouts or something. But then again, it’s a sure sign of monopoly. is this how they want to be known?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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?