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Web widgets (small modules of content or advertising that users can add to profile pages, blogs and other sites) are becoming ubiquitous, and US companies will spend $40 million in 2008 – up from $15 million in 2007 – to create, promote and distribute them, eMarketer projects.

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Widgets are being implemented by many of the 69 million adults and 15 million teens who, eMarketer estimates, will be using social network sites in 2008. That’ the equivalent of 43.5% of the adult and 77% of the teen internet populations, eMarketer said.

“Since Facebook opened up its doors to third-party applications in May 2007, nearly 15,000 applications have been developed,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst and author of the report, “Web Widgets and Applications: Destination Unknown.”

“Overall, some 100,000 developers are working on widgets and applications worldwide,” she said.

Widgets and applications may hold exciting marketing potential, but spending will account for just 2.5% of total US online social network ad spending in 2008, up from 1.6% in 2007, eMarketer projects.

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Total US online social-networking ad spend is forecast to reach $1.56 billion in 2008 – up 70% from 2007’s $920 million.

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