Netvibes Grows Up

Netvibes, with today’s release of the latest version of its personalized start page service, Ginger, thinks it finally sees a way to revenue. The three-year-old company, which has offices in Paris, London and San Francisco, aims to begin monetizing its technology through a widget advertising platform, and through the creation of customizable web pages for media companies.

Ginger allows a user to place widgets, feeds and even information from their social network of choice onto a web page that can be used as a home page. CEO Tariq Krim says Netvibes is charging content companies such as Tagged.com and Alot.com to create personalized content sites within their own sites, and he said Netvibes will start creating an ad network for widgets by the end of the first quarter. He admits that there’s no one standard right now for widget ads, and would like to help set standards, but in lieu of that, he’s going it alone. (Going it alone has become a theme for Krim; co-CEO Pierre Chappaz left Netvibes over the summer.)

As a corollary to placing ads on widgets, Krim’s also creating an AdSense model that allows widget makers to pay to place their widget more prominently on the Netvibes site. Sponsored widgets will be clearly labeled. If an open standard for widget advertising doesn’t work out, established brands are still likely to follow this model, as long as the company can bring in quality users willing to set Netvibes as their home page. GigaOM has been given 100 beta invites, just visit the Ginger start page.

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