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Publication numberUS20080104496 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/877,623
Publication dateMay 1, 2008
Filing dateOct 23, 2007
Priority dateOct 23, 2006
Also published asUS8560840, US20080215879, WO2008052013A2, WO2008052013A3, WO2008060828A2, WO2008060828A3, WO2008070320A2, WO2008070320A3, WO2009099403A2, WO2009099403A3
Publication number11877623, 877623, US 2008/0104496 A1, US 2008/104496 A1, US 20080104496 A1, US 20080104496A1, US 2008104496 A1, US 2008104496A1, US-A1-20080104496, US-A1-2008104496, US2008/0104496A1, US2008/104496A1, US20080104496 A1, US20080104496A1, US2008104496 A1, US2008104496A1
InventorsCarnet Williams, Olin Lagon, Kevin Hughes
Original AssigneeCarnet Williams, Olin Lagon, Kevin Hughes
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for facilitating social payment or commercial transactions
US 20080104496 A1
Abstract
A system and computer implemented method for providing a widget are described. The widget is embeddable, copyable and for dynamically displaying multimedia content. The method and system include receiving a campaign configuration for a campaign and a configuration of the widget. The campaign includes at least one goal related to at least one user action. The widget dynamically displays multimedia content related to the campaign. The configuration includes the campaign with which the widget is associated. The widget is capable of receiving at least one user input related to the action. The input indicates that the at least one action has bee performed. The method and system further include rendering the widget on a site, receiving input related to the action, tracking the action, and updating the widget if the action indicates that the at least one goal has been fulfilled. The widget may then be re-rendered on the site.
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Claims(3)
1. A computer implemented method for providing a widget comprising:
receiving a campaign configuration for a campaign, the campaign including at least one goal related to at least one user action;
receiving a configuration of the widget, the widget for dynamically displaying multimedia content related to the campaign, the widget being embeddable and copyable, the configuration including the campaign with which the widget is associated, the widget capable of receiving at least one user input related to the action;
rendering the widget on a site;
receiving input indicating that the at least one action is performed;
tracking the action;
updating the widget if the action indicates that the at least one goal has been fulfilled; and
rerendering the widget on the site.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the widget has an effectiveness percentage determined based upon an aggregate of the at least one action.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the widget is a personal widget.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from co-pending provisional application Ser. No. 60/853,829, filed Oct. 23, 2006, entitled “Method and System for Facilitating Social Payment or Commercial Transactions”, and from co-pending provisional application Ser. No. 60/854,018, filed Oct. 23, 2006, entitled “Method and System for Facilitating Social Payment or Commercial Transactions”, both assigned to the assignee of the present application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The World Wide Web has matured into an integral part of daily life for users around the world. The Internet may be used for commerce, social transactions, and sharing of multimedia content. For example, electronic commerce has grown significantly in recent years. Consumer commercial transactions that occur over the World Wide Web or use protocols that leverage the Internet such as SMTP (email) are collectively known as “electronic commerce.” The current model for electronic commercial transactions typically involves one merchant and one consumer engaging in a one-to-one transaction in which a consumer selects a set of goods and/or services and pays for those goods and/or services through the merchant, and the merchant fulfils the order. The Internet may also be used to facilitate merchants' ability to target potential consumers for commercial transactions. A merchant may customize advertisements and provide the advertisements to selected users. In Google™ AdWords, for example, the merchants' customized content may be selectively displayed based upon search terms users provide to Google™. The content provided also provides a mechanism for users to access the merchants' site and, therefore, make purchases. Similarly, affiliate marketing allows a promoter to serve up a static text/image link to a visitor that allows for a click through to a page set by an Organizer. If the visitor takes action as set by the Organizer (visit a page, complete a form, conduct a transaction, etc.) an affiliate marketing firm tracks this action that takes place on the Organizer's server and completes a transaction based on the agreement between the Organizer and Promoter. After an action is taken by a Visitor, the Promoter's text/image link is in no way modified to reflect this incremental action or changes in form, function, and content based on this incremental action. Such commercial mechanisms may be considered to be one-to-many, allowing a single merchant to reach a large number of consumers.

The World Wide Web has also experienced tremendous growth as a social media. As a social media, the World Wide Web provides a vehicle for sharing user generated content, such as through blogs, personal profiles, videos, podcasts, and the like. Platforms for sharing user generated content, such as Blogger, MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook have been developed and benefited from this growth. Other mechanisms for facilitating social interactions, such as eVite, have also grown. Using eVite, for example, an organizer may set up an event, sent invitation emails to potential participants, manage RSVPs, estimate budgets, and perform other functions related to the event via dedicated pages on eVite. Moreover, social media and fundraising combine in social payments to raise money for a variety of causes. Social media may be used to provide “Blogathons” that raise money for charities, political campaigns, allow musicians to appeal directly to their audience to underwrite albums, raise money for schools, parties, clubs and sports teams, or other causes. In such social payment transactions, organizers may solicit funds from other individuals visiting blogs or sites.

In order to display media for a variety of purposes, conventional widgets may be used. The conventional widgets are often used to display content from a widget owner to a user. For example, a user may load a page, or site, containing the conventional widget and view content, such as video, provided by the conventional widget. Conventional widgets are generally embeddable, portable applications that often run without access to a user's file system. The conventional widget may be copyable by users. Thus, a user may copy a widget from a site to a location of the user's choosing, for example the user's own blog. Conventional widgets are also generally small in size and less complex than typical applications, such as email or word processing applications. However, there is typically no agreed upon limitation in size or complexity for conventional widgets. Such widgets may be used, for example, by bloggers to share

Although electronic commerce and social transactions are possible via the World Wide Web, there are drawbacks. Many social and electronic commerce transactions involve many-to-many relationships. Such relationships are not well supported by current electronic commerce and social media platforms. In addition, the ability of tools, such as widgets, to reflect individual users' tastes may be limited. Consequently, users' ability to engage in social, commercial, and other transactions including sharing of multimedia content may be limited.

Accordingly, what is needed is a method and system for marketing transactions, such as affiliate marketing. The present invention addresses such a need.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A system and computer implemented method for providing a widget are described. The widget is embeddable, copyable and for dynamically displaying multimedia content. The method and system include receiving a campaign configuration for a campaign and a configuration of the widget. The campaign includes at least one goal related to at least one user action. The widget dynamically displays multimedia content related to the campaign. The configuration includes the campaign with which the widget is associated. The widget is capable of receiving at least one user input related to the action. The input indicates that the at least one action has bee performed. The method and system further include rendering the widget on a site, receiving input related to the action, tracking the action, and updating the widget if the action indicates that the at least one goal has been fulfilled. The widget may then be re-rendered on the site.

According to the method and system disclosed herein, social and other transactions via the Internet may be facilitated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of a group payment system.

FIG. 2 depictes an exemplary embodiment of new account creation and organizer verification from the provider.

FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary embodiment of new event setup and event management.

FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a widget.

FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a widget.

FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary embodiment of widget overview and rendering.

FIG. 7 depicts exemplary embodiments of widgets.

FIG. 8 depicts another exemplary embodiment of a widget.

FIG. 9 depicts an exemplary embodiment of authentication of a widget.

FIG. 10 depicts another exemplary embodiment of a method for authenticating widgets.

FIG. 11 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a system utilizing a proxy server.

FIG. 12 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a method for moderating widgets.

FIG. 13 depicts a comparison of an exemplary embodiment of the method and system as applied to affiliate marketing and conventional, traditional affiliate marketing.

FIGS. 14-15 depict exemplary embodiments of the method and system as utilized in affiliate marketing applications.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and system for providing a widget. The following description is presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention and is provided in the context of a patent application and its requirements. Various modifications to the embodiments and the generic principles and features described herein will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features described herein.

A method and system for facilitating social payment and commercial transactions is described. The method and system utilize an embeddable application, or widget. The widget is part of a payment system that allows organizers to offer a variety of individuals to participate in activities such as fundraising. The widget is customizable for a particular organizer, preferably through a widget panel. The widget may provide rich media to users and allow for the success of an event, campaign, and/or sub-campaign to be tracked. The widget allows for threaded text and rich media discussions/comments to be accessed through, recorded from, and uploaded through the widget itself. These discussions/comments can be published in real time throughout all widgets that relate to a specified campaign regardless of where the widget is being hosted from. That is, a comment can be made by a Web site visitor on a widget on one site set up by one Organizer and viewed in near real time by a different Web site visitor on another Widget hosted by another Organizer on a completely different Web site. Similarly, discussion/comments as well as other data may be published throughout only a selected portion of the widgets relating to a specified campaign. The widget allows not only for direct, individual donations, to a campaign but also for sub-campaigns, or group payments, as options for fundraising, commercial transactions, and/or other analogous applications. In order to reach potential contributors, the widget may be posted on an organizer's site or blog, posted on a dedicated website, embedded into an email, embedded into an XML feed such as RSS, or pushed to particular sites. The widget may also be viral in nature, allowing for copying of the widget, for example to other sites or blogs. In the act of copying, a code for the source widget is transferred allowing for the tracking and data mining of generations of widgets. This copying is preferably performed through the widget itself. The copied widget may also be customized. However, the widget may still be moderated by an organizer, allowing organizer control over sites on which the widget may function. Contributors may still make donations through the copied widget. Moreover, a tracking mechanism may be provided for the widget. For example, the effectiveness for content providers that carry such widgets may also be used to determine the efficiency of content providers in fundraising. In addition to allowing payment through the widget, the widget may also be authenticated. Moreover, widgets may be reused for other content. The widget may also reflect local data for the site hosting the widget. The widget may also be integrated with merchants or other organizers, for example through a button.

In particular applications, such as affiliate marketing and personal widgets, the method and system described herein may serve visitors dynamic widgets based on settings triggered by cumulative visitor actions. Such an application may have a variety of features including, but not limited to, one or more of the features described below. In such an application, the visitor is presented not with a text link but rather an image/widget that dynamically displays form, content, and functionality based on the cumulative actions taken by previous visitors during the life of the campaign and based on the rules, logic, and settings defined by both the promoter hosting the widget and the organizer. That is, for each action taken the widget may be dynamically modified if either the promoter or organizer set up a rule to modify the widget. In such an application the widget may self update in near real time based on the cumulative actions taken as a result of click throughs by visitors and/or other actions as determined by the multiple parties that have input in the organizer of that campaign. The form, features, content, options, offers, design, and state of the widget may be changed based on the rules applied to the cumulative actions and current state. Thus, the changes may be applied to all of the widgets hosted by all promoters, the organizer, provider, or other content provider, or a selected subset of the widgets. In addition, the service provider, promoter, and organizer may have real time controls to modify parameters and business logic of the campaign where those changes may be reflected in all live Widgets in near real time. The parameters of the widget may also be changed directly from the Widget and/or from a click through from the widget to a web Page of the provider where these parameters can be set. In either modification case, the provider's database and systems are updated securely in real time. The widget may be further configured by a Promoter based on options authorized by the organizer. A promoter may be allowed to create a sub-campaign of an organizer's campaign where the data presented in the widget is updated in real time and specific just to the click through actions taken as a result of the sub-campaign while allowing the widget to optionally display data about the master campaign of the organizer. Some or all of the system including but not limited to the widget and its customizations, payment or other action page, and actions desired, may be set up to be potentially 100% self service with no intervention necessary by the provider. Thus, the transaction, from account creation all the way through all actions such as settling financial transactions, may be performed at any time by organizers and/or promoters. Tracking code embedded by an organizer may be used not only for tracking purposes only but to send data to a central repository to which all live widget(s) are tied. All or a selected subset of live widget(s) may thus get live data feeds, thereby providing real time updates to all or a selected subset of live connected widgets based on actions taken by widget clickthoughs. An organizer may also embed code snippets that may push live transactional data after an action has taken place to a business process system that can determine, based on rules set by the organizer, whether automated business actions need to be taken. For instance whenever click through numbers reach increments of 100, the widgets may turn a darker shade of gray until the widget is black. Individual widgets, as part of a campaign or as an individual person's widget, may gain value based on predetermined conditional data such as widget views, widget clickthroughs, and widget actions. The ability to edit/modify a custom individual widget by logging in directly to the widget and having the modified parameters securely sent over to a provider's central repository over the Internet or other network systems may also be achieved. The providers, organizers, and/or the promoters may have the ability to grant other users selective access/permissions to modify individual widgets, where permissioned users have access as stated directly through the widget or via a secured Web page clicked through from the widget. Promoters and/or other content providers may be given the ability to either redeem points or buy points to redeem to unlock/add/edit/additional information including tabs on an individual widget which can also includes additional widget features, content, links, themes, sizes and functions. The widget may be customized by using either an html sidebar selection or a drag and drop feature, including a widget that is itself a widget maker. Moreover, the organizer or other entity may be provided with reporting of number of widgets in circulation, number of widget views, number of widget tab views, number of widget actions taken per widget, number of widget click throughs, number of widget signups. A unique effectiveness rating per promoter may also be made available to the organizer and optionally to a promoter, potential promoters, the general public, and/or other entities. This effectiveness rating is preferably a mathematical score based on a promoter's widget, a promoter's recorded actions, widget views, average widgets/actions/views per day, length of time widget is live, number of direct children widgets created, the cumulative results of the children widget, the number of grandchildren widgets spawned from the children widget out with no limits to degrees, and the cumulative results of the grandchildren widgets. This effectiveness rating provides an Organizer with a unique metric to judge the value of an individual widget taking into consideration all desired direct and indirect activity. An organizer may move a parent widget (created by the organizer) to any Web page and instantly set all children widgets to point to a new landing page—either the new page of the parent widget or any landing page set by the organizer. This dynamic setting can be automated based on passwords or done manually through the widget, through a Web page via a click through on the widget, through an online Control Panel, or another mechanism selected by the organizer. A visitor of a child widget (e.g. a copy of another widget) may instantly join the network by creating a next generation Widget. Thus, a virtually unlimited number of generations might be spawned off by a widget with all generations tied to detailed reporting that includes all degrees of separation information.

A system and computer implemented method for providing a widget are described. The widget is embeddable, copyable and for dynamically displaying multimedia content. The method and system include receiving a campaign configuration for a campaign and a configuration of the widget. The campaign includes at least one goal related to at least one user action. The widget dynamically displays multimedia content related to the campaign. The configuration includes the campaign with which the widget is associated. The widget is capable of receiving at least one user input related to the action. The input indicates that the at least one action has bee performed. The method and system further include rendering the widget on a site, receiving input related to the action, tracking the action, and updating the widget if the action indicates that the at least one goal has been fulfilled. The widget may then be re-rendered on the site.

In one embodiment, a method and system for facilitating social payment and commercial transactions is described. The method and system utilize an embeddable application, or widget. The widget is part of a payment system that allows organizers to offer a variety of individuals to participate in activities such as fundraising. The widget is customizable for a particular organizer, in one embodiment through a widget panel. The widget may provide rich media to users and allow for the success of an event, campaign, and/or sub-campaign to be tracked. The widget allows for threaded text and rich media discussions/comments to be accessed through, recorded from, and uploaded through the widget itself. These discussions/comments may be published in real time throughout all widgets that relate to a specified campaign regardless of where the widget is being hosted from. That is, a comment can be made by a Web site visitor on a widget on one site set up by one Organizer and viewed in near real time by a different Web site visitor on another Widget hosted by another Organizer on a completely different Web site. Similarly, discussion/comments as well as other data may be published throughout only a selected portion of the widgets relating to a specified campaign. The widget may allow not only for direct, individual donations, to a campaign but also for sub-campaigns, or group payments, as options for fundraising, commercial transactions, and/or other analogous applications. In order to reach potential contributors, the widget may be posted on an organizer's site or blog, posted on a dedicated website, embedded into an email, embedded into an XML feed such as RSS, or pushed to particular sites. The widget may also be viral in nature, allowing for copying of the widget, for example to other sites or blogs. In the act of copying, a code for the source widget is transferred allowing for the tracking and data mining of generations of widgets. This copying is may be performed through the widget itself. The copied widget may also be customized. However, the widget may still be moderated by an organizer, allowing organizer control over sites on which the widget may function. Contributors may still make donations through the copied widget. Moreover, a tracking mechanism may be provided for the widget. For example, the effectiveness for content providers that carry such widgets may also be used to determine the efficiency of content providers in fundraising. In addition to allowing payment through the widget, the widget may also be authenticated. Moreover, widgets may be reused for other content. The widget may also reflect local data for the site hosting the widget. The widget may also be integrated with merchants or other organizers, for example through a button.

The method and system are mainly described in terms of particular systems provided in particular implementations. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will readily recognize that this method and system operate effectively in other implementations. For example, the systems, devices, and networks usable with the present invention can take a number of different forms. For example, the method and system may not be limited to the Internet, but instead may be usable with other networks and/or devices, such as cellular telephones and other hand-held devices. The method and system are also described in the context of particular transactions being performed. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize, however, that the method and system may be used in other transactions. The method and system will also be described in the context of particular methods having certain steps. However, the method and system operate effectively for other methods having different and/or additional steps not inconsistent with the present invention.

A method and system for facilitating social payment and commercial transactions is described. The method and system will be described in terms of particular components including a widget and payment system having specific components and features. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the widget and payment system may have other and/or different features and components not inconsistent with the method and system. In addition, the method and system primarily are described in the context of fundraising and social payment transactions. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the method and system can be extended to other transactions including commercial transactions.

FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of a system 100 in accordance with the method and system. The system 100 may be used for social payment transactions (i.e. fundraising). For example, an organizer such as a particular cause or charity may desire to use the system 100 for a variety of events. Such events might include a campaign based only on Internet contributions, blograising performed in conjunction with a traditional (non-Internet based) fundraising campaign, campaigns that want to drive and track traffic to a particular Web site, campaigns that want to drive and track visitor actions, campaigns based on the occurrence of a particular event, as an ongoing fundraising campaign, in a campaign of limited duration, or for other purposes. The system 100 allows an organizer to configure a widget for event(s), allows the widget to be disseminated, and manages payments or other data transmitted through the widget. The system 100 may include at least payment subsystem 104, widget maker 102, organizer data 106, widget(s) 122A, 122B, 122C, 132A, 132B, 132C, 132D, 132E, 142A, 142B, 142C, and 142D on sites 120, 130, 140, 150, 120A, 120B, 120C, 130A, 130B, 130C, 130D, 130E, 140A, 140B, 140C, and 140D, and, optionally, a proxy server 106. The system 100 may also utilize a widget panel 112 that allows an organizer to customize the widget and a payment page 110 through which the contributor actually makes a payment. The payment subsystem, widget maker, widget panel, and organizer data may be controlled by and accessed via a provider. The provider may, for example, charge a fixed fee or a percentage of donations for use of and services provided in connection with the system 100.

In operation, the organizer utilizes the widget maker 102 in order to customize a widget. In one embodiment, the widget maker provides a widget panel, which is a user interface that allows an organizer to provide input to the system used in customizing the widget. In one embodiment, the widget panel is a page presented to the organizer that allows the organizer to select features of the widget. For example, based on the organizer's elections in the widget panel, the widget maker sets the color, shape, event(s)/campaign(s) represented, rich media, level of detail and other aspects of the widget. The organizer may also specify that the widget is to be associated with specific event(s) and/or provide a profile for the type of events with which the widget is to be associated or content played on the widget. Thus, a single widget may be configured to display information related to multiple events. FIGS. 2-3 depict embodiments of methods 160 and 170, respectively, for creation and management of new accounts and/or events for which the widget may be generated.

The organizer's selections for the widget, as well as other data related to the organizer are stored in the organizer data 106. Thus, the organizer data includes organizer selected widget features, payment features, and event features. For example, widget features may include the content such as rich media displayed on the widget, thermometers or other mechanisms selected for tracking the progress of the campaign, colors, specific content providers authorized to host the widget, profiles of content providers authorized to host the widget, parameters related to updating the widget, and other data used in customizing the widget. The payment features may include allowed forms of payment, event tracking, rules for extracting funds, the look and feel of the payment page, and other data relating to payment. The event features may include event data such as the fundraising goal, event start time and duration, and the type of output for each event.

The payment subsystem 104 is utilized in managing the payments made and the payment page 110. Thus, the payment subsystem 104 may authenticate users and/or forms of payment, track payments, validate extraction of funds, validate and track payments and forms of payment made to content providers, and otherwise manage the actual funds provided to the event or paid out from the event. In one embodiment, the payments may be validated and held by the provider or other designated third party (not shown) during the event. In such an embodiment, an organizer may be allowed to extract some or all of the funds. In an alternate embodiment, payments may not be considered made and extraction of funds may not be allowed until the event closes. Further, the payment subsystem may allow payments to content providers, organizers, and/or other designated entities in a variety of forms including but not limited to cash or the equivalent, gift cards, or other items.

The widget 122, 132, 142, 152, 122A, 122B, 122C, 132A, 132B, 132C, 132D, 132E, 142A, 142B, 142C, and/or 142D is an embeddable code snippet, for example a Flash, HTML, XML, XHTML, SBML, .NET, Java, JavaScript, JSP, VisualBasic Applet or analogous application. The widget may be embeddable in a multitude of architectures, for example web pages, mobile phones, PDAs, and/or provided via email. In addition, because the widget is embeddable, the widget is self-replicating in nature. Although the original code from the widget maker resides with the provider, the widget may be copied to multiple sites. In addition, the provider may be able to push data to widgets existing on other site as well as copies of the widget to new sites. Data may be pushed to all of the widgets or a selected portion of the widgets. Data may also be encrypted by the data source provider and decrypted by the widget based on private/public key cryptography, encryption, DES variants, passwords, or other secure means. Each widget also has identifiers, for example in a header, that may associate the widget with particular event(s), organizer(s), and/or content provider(s), indicate from which widget it was replicated (parent-child relationships), and allow the provider to validate and control the widget. When a potential contributor accesses the site, the provider may render the widget based upon the configuration selected by the organizer and/or content provider, accept content from widgets, allow and track payments via the widget, push content to the widget, and perform other tasks using the widget, as described below. FIGS. 4-5, and 7-8 depict various embodiments and features of the widget. Note that not all features of the widget are depicted in all embodiments of the widget. FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary embodiment 199 of an overview and corresponding real time for widget rendering.

Once configured, the widget 122, 132, 142, 152, 122A, 122B, 122C, 132A, 132B, 132C, 132D, 132E, 142A, 142B, 142C, and 142D may be placed in the organizer's page 120 and/or in a hosted page or blog 120, 130, 140, 150, 120A, 120B, 120C, 130A, 130B, 130C, 130D, 130E, 140A, 140B, 140C, and 140D. In one embodiment, the provider hosts a blog specifically for the event(s) associated with the widget. As a result, every event may have its own special URL. This unique address is tied to an organizer or individual that symbolizes a particular event or campaign. Further, the widget may be pushed to selected content providers (otherwise known as promoters) based upon the organizer's preferences and characteristics of the content providers. For example, suppose the organizer wishes to obtain contributions for a political campaign. The organizer may indicate that certain sites having compatible political views, that are known to reach a particular audience, that relate to a particular geographic area, and/or that have a requisite level of effectiveness in obtaining contributions are desired. Such sites may be Blog 3 and Blog 4 in FIG. 1. Further, the content providers of Blogs 3 and 4 may agree to host widgets for particular causes. If there is a match between the preferences of the organizer and the content providers of Blogs 3 and 4, the provider may push the widget for the political campaign to Blogs 3 and 4. In return, the content providers may receive payment for hosting the widget. Thus, because the widget has both many-to-one and one-to-many capabilities. Stated differently, a single widget may be associated with multiple events, organizers, or campaigns. In addition, a single fundraising event/campaign or events for a single organizer may be displayed on multiple widgets.

In addition to providing input to and receiving data from the provider, the widget may include several components for each event with which the widget is associated. These items may include as event progress tracking mechanisms, rich media, comments, payment buttons, status buttons, copying fields, sub-campaigns, and other features. These components, as well as the look and feel of the widget may be customized by the organizer. Further, the widget may be customized to change depending upon the status of the event or other input. For example, the rich media provided or comments displayed may change based upon how close an event is to terminating or the closing of a fundraising campaign. Examples of customized widgets are depicted in FIGS. 4, 5, and 7-8. FIG. 4 depicts a widget 180. FIG. 5 depicts a network of widgets 180′, 180″, 180′″, and 180″″. In FIG. 5, various examples of widgets 200, 200′, 200″, and 200′″ are shown. FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary embodiment 199 of the overview and event rendering. FIG. 7 depictes widget 200, 200′, 200″, and 200′″. FIG. 8 depicts a widget 220 and possible fields 222, 224, 226, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244, and 256.

The event progress tracking mechanisms, such as a thermometer, status bar, and/or count down clock, provide real time views of the event. Upon a refresh request and/or periodically based upon organizer and/or provider set preferences, the event progress tracking mechanisms may be updated by the provider to reflect any changes in the event. For example, upon donation from any of the widgets depicted in FIG. 1, the provider may push data to all (or some subset of) the widgets to reflect the change in the amount received. Thus, the level of a thermometer or status bar may change based upon real-time events. The event progress tracking mechanisms can be provided for the campaign(s) associated with the event or provider, as well as sub-campaigns, described below.

The widget may also include rich media customized by an organizer or other content provider. For example from an organizer can choose to include images as well as audio and/or video messages to encourage potential contributors to make a donation. Content providers might also be allowed add their own content to the widget on their site and copies thereof. The provider renders such rich media when the site hosting the widget is accessed by a potential contributor. Stated differently, the rich media discussions/comments can be published in real time throughout all widgets that relate to a specified campaign regardless of where the widget is being hosted from. Thus, threaded text and rich media discussions/comments may be provided via the widgets themselves.

The widget may also display and accept comments via the comments section. The comments provided by the organizer may appear in the comments sections. In addition, comments provided via one of the widgets of FIG. 1 may be disseminated by the provider to all or a subset of the widgets upon a refresh request and/or periodically based upon organizer and/or provider set preferences. The status buttons provide a mechanism for viewing further details relating to the event and/or organizer. Comments may be in textual or rich media format including video and audio.

The payment buttons allow contributors to make payments through the widget without leaving the site hosting the widget. In one embodiment, selection of a payment button by a contributor results in the corresponding organizer-configured payment page being accessed. The contributor may then make a payment that is managed by the payment subsystem. In addition, the widget may be authenticated, which facilitates payment through the widget. For example, a user may click on an authentication button in the widget. The widget may then make a call back to one or more authentication services. The authentication received is passed back to the widget. Alternatively, a widget may automatically and/or periodically request authentication and present this to the user. This communication with authentication services may be performed via the provider. The authentication allows a user to have a greater level of assurance that payment through the widget is secure. FIGS. 9 and 10 depict embodiments 250 and 275, respectively, of authentication of the widget either directly with the third party authentication service or through the provider. Although FIG. 10 depicts a third party authentication service, in some embodiments, the third party authentication service might be created by the provider. Note that authentication of the widget may be extended to other embeddable applications, such as Flash applications. The authentication process may also use an embedded, dynamically generated by a third party, site seal on the widget. This embeddable seal may be provided in the form of a code snippet by a third party authentication firm to be embedded in the organization's widget. Before an organizer embeds the code snippet, they complete a validation process between itself and the third party authentication. Once authorized, embedded, and published live on the Internet, the visitor of the widget sees a dynamically generated seal directly within the widget that may also include dynamically generated code specific to that widget from the third party authentication firm. When a visitor clicks on the seal, they are taken to the trusted third party's site to authenticate that the widget is registered with the third party and to view any security levels, if present, that protects the visitor on widget to visitor communications. Upon arriving at the third party site for validation, the visitor may enter a code that is present on the seal. If the code entered matches what the third party expects for that seal, the profile of the company and other attributes are shared with the visitor. The third party may also use URL information to ensure, if desired, that a widget is being hosted on a Web page or other Internet host medium, if URL information is required as part of the authentication process. This might include an additional check that the source code of the widget remains with the trusted third party and/or has been checked by the third party and that the visitor is viewing an un-tampered version of a widget based on digital signature credentials embedded in the widget by the third party firm. The seal may also include dynamically generated content directly into the widget that show information including the current date and time to show visitors authentication information without having the visitor click through the widget.

The widget may also allow copying through the widget, for example through copying field(s). The original code for the widget may reside with the provider. Consequently, upgrades, changes to the widget configuration made by the organizer, and other content may be pushed from the provider to the widgets. However, as discussed above, the widget is also self replicating and may, therefore, be copied and placed in multiple sites by multiple content providers. To facilitate this feature, copying field(s) may be provided. Embedded in the copied code may be a reference to the source widget as well as a new identification to identify the child widget. In addition to copying, an email may be requested so that the person copying the widget may request set up of an account identifying that person as the copier of that widget and thus retaining any tracking, benefits, or rewards as a result of traffic generated from the copied widget. The copying field allows the widget to be replicated through the widget itself. In one embodiment, the copying field provides a link that displays the code for the widget and allows a user to copy and paste the code to another site. Consequently, a separate field or a link to a different site for replicating the widget need not be provided. Moreover, a content provider may be allowed to customize the widget at least to a limited extent. Thus, replications or copies of a widget may not be identical to the widget. For example, the code for the widget includes an identification of the event(s) with which the widget is associated and parameters related to the size, shape, and color of the widget. The content provider copying the widget may be allowed change and/or add to the event(s) with which the widget is associated and alter the parameters to change the size, shape, and/or color of the widget displayed on the content provider's site.

In addition to being copied, for example through the copying field, in some embodiments, the widget may be copied to other sites through the proxy server. In particular, the organizer or a content provider may wish to replicate the widget on other site(s) not directly associated with the provider. In order to do so, the proxy server may provide an indirect connection to the other site(s), credential the site(s), and replicate the widget to the site(s). Furthermore, the proxy server may allow content, such as rich media audio or video, from site(s) not directly associated with the provider to be played on the widget. In addition, widgets may communicate directly through the proxy server, for example to disseminate comments, donation amounts, and/or other information. FIG. 11 depicts one embodiment 280 of the use of a proxy server 284 in conjunction with widgets.

Because the widget may be copied and further customized, sub-campaigns may be formed and tracked through the widget. For example, a content provider may copy a widget to his or her own site. The content provider may then be allowed to add a sub-campaign. In one embodiment, the content provider registers with the organizer (via the provider) in order to do so. The content provider may be allowed to specify the terms of the sub-campaign within the context of the campaign, but generally would not be authorized to alter the specifications of the campaign. The sub-campaign might be considered to be a group payment from contributors to the sub-campaign. Such a sub-campaign may be tracked, including using event progress tracking mechanisms in a manner analogous to the campaign. For example, an organizer may initiate a fundraising campaign for one million dollars and provide a campaign thermometer as the event progress tracking mechanism in the corresponding widget. A content provider might initiate a sub-campaign for five hundred dollars. This sub-campaign would be provided on a widget that has been copied (e.g. from the organizer's site), further customized, and placed on the content provider's site (e.g. their blog). The widget corresponding to the sub-campaign may provide event progress tracking in the form of a sub-campaign thermometer. The sub-campaign might include any contributions made through the content provider's widget and copies of the content provider's widget. A contributor may make a fifty dollar contribution to the sub-campaign. The provider updates both the campaign thermometer and the sub-campaign thermometer. Although the fifty dollar contribution would not significantly alter the campaign thermometer, such a contribution may be visible on the sub-campaign thermometer in the content provider's widget. Thus, further contributions are facilitated.

Data related to contributions through the widgets may also be tracked. As discussed above, contributors may make payments through any of the widgets in FIG. 1. Various aspects of payments made and other features of the widgets may be tracked. For example, the number and amount of payments made through a widget and/or its copies, the number of visits to the widget and/or its copies, the time the widget and/or its copies have been available, the amount of time taken by the widget and/or its copies to receive donations, user comments, and other data related to the widget may also be tracked by the provider. As a result, the provider may determine an effectiveness for various content providers and/or widgets. In one embodiment, an effectiveness percentage is determined based upon the number of views of a widget, the number of donors through the widget, the average contribution per donor, the aggregate donation through the widget, and analogous data for copies of the widget. Based on this effectiveness percentage, organizers may determine the content providers that are desired for particular campaigns.

Although widgets may be copied, pushed to other sites, and sub-campaigns formed, these and other dissemination of the organizer's event may be moderated. Moderation allows the organizer to control the sites with which their widget, event, and the organizer themselves are associated. For example, the organizer may authorize only specific sites and/or sites fitting a particular profile to host the widget. The provider would not push the widget to sites not authorized by the organizer. If an unauthorized content provider copies the widget, then action may be taken based upon the organizer's preferences. For example, when the unauthorized content provider's site is accessed, the provider may send a message to the organizer requesting validation. In some embodiments, the widget may not be rendered until the organizer has expressly approved for the site. Alternatively, the widget may be rendered unless and until the organizer has expressly disapproved the site. FIG. 12 depicts one embodiment of a method 310 for moderating widgets.

The widgets may also reflect local data. The widget may be provided to multiple sites in a variety of ways, such as copies of widgets from the organizer's site, copies of widgets from provider's site, and copies of widgets from other content provider's sites, pushing the widget to specific sites, and allowing subsequent copying of the pushed widget. These copies may reside on sites subject to local conditions. For example, the sites may serve distant geographic locations, disparate countries, multiple time zones, and users speaking different languages. In one embodiment, the widget may be configured to account for at least some of these local conditions. For example, the event progress tracking mechanism may display the donations using the local currency and indicate relevant times using the local time. In order to do so, the widget may query the local computer system hosting the site to obtain local data, such as the time and/or language. The widget may then convert various components to reflect the local data. For example, the language may be translated to the local language and/or the time of relevant occurrences such as the event ending may be updated to reflect the local time.

The widgets may also be reusable. As discussed above, the widget may be copied and/or pushed to sites. Once a widget resides on a site, it may remain on the site unless and until expressly removed by the content provider or the provider. Furthermore, data may be pushed to widgets by the provider. The widgets are generally associated with particular events that have specific closing dates, such as a fundraising campaign. Once the event closes or for some other reason the widget is not longer associated with the event, the widget may be available for reuse. The widget may be reused by the provider pushing data to the widget and/or by the content provider re-customizing the widget for new events. For example, when configuring the widget, an organizer may indicate that once an event has closed, specific content is to be pushed to the associated widgets. This content could be a thank you message, an indication of other events that may be of interest to the content provider, or settings that reconfigure the widget for another event. Similarly, a content provider could reconfigure the widget to be associated with another event or indicate to the provider that the widget may be reused for other events meeting certain criteria. The provider may push new settings and parameters to the widgets residing on other sites based on content providers' and organizers' specifications. For example, a content provider may specify that the widget on its site is available for causes fitting particular profiles. The provider may then push data to the widget on the content provider's site to reuse the widget for events fitting the profiles. The content provider may be paid or otherwise rewarded for use and/or reuse of the widget on the content provider's site.

The method and system may further be applied to other transactions, such as affiliate marketing. As discussed above, in conventional affiliate marketing, a promoter provides up a static text/image link to a visitor that allows for a click through to a page set by an organizer. Action taken by the visitor on the organizer's server may be tracked and, based on this action a transaction between the organizer and promoter may be taken.

In contrast, the method and system presented not with a static text link but rather an image/Widget that may dynamically display form, content, and functionality based on the cumulative actions taken by previous visitors during the life of the campaign, as well as on actions taken by the current visitor, and based on the rules, logic, and settings defined by the promoter, the organizer, and, optionally, the provider. FIG. 13 depicts a comparison of conventional affiliate marketing 340 and an exemplary embodiment of affiliate marketing 250 utilizing widgets described herein. Thus, for each action taken the widget can be dynamically modified if either the promoter or organizer set up a rule to modify the widget. For example, a visitor clicks through and makes a contribution to a non profit. The widget might be updated by a setting such as: adding the visitor's contribution amount to a campaign goal both visually in a graph and textually the number of contributors can be increased by one or posting the name or initials of the latest contributor on the widget. If a visitor contributes the final incremental amount needed to meet a campaign goal, the widget could be updated to show a success image, to not accept any more click through for donations, to provide a special thank you message can appear, and/or have the widget's the look and feel changed. Other examples may be found in voter registration, mailing lists, or purchasing. A visitor may click through and complete a form such as an online voter registration form. In response, the widget may be changed to show that one more person has taken the requested action. A visitor who clicks through and signs up for a mailing list may be the 1,000th person from this widget. The widget may be changed to now add a video/audio file that only shows up on widgets that drive at least 1,000 signups. A visitor clicks who through and makes a purchase may be the 100th purchaser through this widget. The widget may now show a 20% discount message and content and all future purchasers get the same discount. The types of actions, content changes, form changes, link changes, and element changes are not limited to the examples above. Rather the promoter and the organizer have free control over the rules to apply to actions taken by visitors. These rules, settings, and content may be configured and controlled via a Control Panel, such as the widget panel discussed above.

The widget may also “mature” and increase in value to both the promoter and his/her audience. To the promoter, as the number of actions recorded from their widget increases, their widget potentially takes on increased functionality and/or they get a higher level of reward and/or recognition from the organizer. For the audience, they get to share in the value by either having a better experience (due to the increased features/functions on the widget) or share in promotions/discounts passed on by the organizer. The increase in value (through functionality or other features) of the widget, as well as the event(s) and/or actions triggering an increase in maturity may be controlled all or in part by the organizer. These actions may also provide unprecedented data mining to organizers that wish to track how social networks interact with content and actions. Thus, in affiliate marketing applications, the method and system may provide significant advantages including but not limited to increased value to not only the organizer, but also the promoter and the promoter's audience. FIG. 13 depicts a comparison of the method and system as applied to affiliate marketing and conventional, traditional affiliate marketing.

Operation of exemplary embodiments 360 and 370, respectively, of the method and system in this application are described below in connection with FIGS. 14 and 15, respectively. An organizer sets up an account with the provider and is granted access to login to an organizer's control panel on the promoter's server(s) once the promoter has confirmed they are granted privileges to create campaigns. This could include validation measures of the organizer, some automated and some manually accomplished by the provider personnel. This also includes periodic reviews, automated and/or manual, to validate an organizer and organizer at regular and random intervals.

An organizer creates a campaign by logging in to the organizer's control panel. At the organizer's control panel, the organizer sets the campaign parameters. This may include setting campaign information, campaign goals, financial information, content, business rules, marketing rules, rich media files, payment information, links to external sources of campaign information, commission information, moderation rules (approve promoters who can post widget), and other data that would be needed for a dynamic campaign. The organizer may change these parameters at anytime during a campaign. The organizer may also create draft campaigns and at a later time move draft campaigns into live campaigns. Live campaigns may also be ended early or suspended indefinitely or until a later date. Campaigns may also be tied to end based on actions such as a finite number of sign ups, a specified dollar volume of actions, etc.

The organizer may set conditional goals to track and reward. The tracking may be based on actions such as widget views (like page views), number of click throughs, or number of specified actions taken. The conditional goals set by the organizer may dynamically modify each widget in their campaigns as the goals are met. The widgets may be modified to look different, include different content, or offer promotions. The conditional goals might also impact each promoter, such as reward of points, revenue share, and recognition on a list of top widgets.

The organizer may set up conditional points system based on performance of each specific widget in their campaign. It is up to the organizer to determine how points are accumulated and at what interval. Examples of point calculations can be number of widget views or the number of actions taken by audience/visitor. These points may be awarded to the promoter to be redeemed for organizer prizes and privileges (tickets, guest passes, and additional content). The organizer may also set promotion levels for rewarding points for referral signups. If a visitor signs up for an organizer widget through a promoter's widget, then both the existing promoter and new promoter get may receive bonus points. The organizer may also set up different widget types based on conditional levels. The system may thus serve up the different widget types based on the accumulated value gained by each promoter's widget. For example a movie fan widget may get enough points to have a tab showing new movie trailers 24 hours before they are released to the public.

For each campaign, via the organizer's control panel, the organizer may set up visitor's action(s) that are tracked. These action(s) may include a contribution and/or proof that a specific page was viewed (like a payment confirmation page). The action may be set by providing the URL(s) a visitor gets to when they have completed the specified action. The organizer may also select a type of code snippet (JavaScript, IMG tag, or other code) that is used to track a specified action. This may be accomplished via the organizer's control panel. The organizer embeds this code snippet into the Web page(s) and/or on to Web sites that the Organizer has control over and is directing traffic to. Alternatively, the code snippet may be pushed to selected Web sites, for example by the provider. The code may be used with no modification or it could be dynamic. For dynamic code snippets, the organizer embeds additional information about the action such as the purchase price or the name of a contributor to the code snippet in real time so that information specific to an action gets passed on to the provider for data compilation.

The provider and the organizer may promote this campaign by driving potential promoters to the provider's promoter's Web site, live Widgets for the campaign hosted by promoters, through pages set up by the organizer, and/or through other mechanisms. Based on moderation rules set up by the provider and the organizer, promoters may be allowed to request permission to take part in the campaign. If the campaign is moderated, the promoter may wait for approval from the moderating authority(ies). One embodiment of providing moderation of the widgets is discussed above. The moderating authority(ies) may include the provider, the Organizer, and/or a third party. As part of moderation, the provider or the Organizer may request specific information such as destination URL, information about the promoter, statistics about the promoter's destination URL, etc. be provided as part of the request to promote a campaign.

Once approved, a promoter may set up a sub-campaign through their account with the provider or through the provider promoter's control panel. The promoter may set up specific parameters about their sub-campaign. They may be allowed to set up specific parameters as authorized by the provider and the Organizer. For instance, an organizer may allow a promoter to use a custom title, end date, target amount to raise, and number of target widget page views. An organizer may also allow a promoter to modify the size, content, colors, graphics, rich media, functionality, features, and other aspects of the widget/image. For example, a promoter may be allowed to use a custom image backdrop on a Widget. At the end of this process, the promoter gets a custom code snippet to place on their destination document (Web page, email, RSS, etc.).

When a visitor views a widget, the widget makes a call to the provider's server(s) to obtain the latest data feed. Each widget pulls data from a unique data feed customized for that campaign or sub-campaign. Based on the contents of the data feed and the parameters set by the provider, the promoter, and the organizer, the widget displays itself accordingly. A widget may also check for an update to the data feed after a certain interval, for example every few seconds. Thus while a visitor is viewing a widget and if the widget receives a changed data feed based on a recorded action, the widget re-renders based on the new information. For instance, if a donation from another visitor went through the widget and was confirmed, a campaign raised amount could be increased by the amount of that donation. For every view of the widget, a call may be made by the widget to the provider's server(s) to log that page view and all relevant data about that page view (client IP address, campaign ID, Promoter ID, date, time, URL, etc.). A widget may also show a particular state of the campaign such as suspended, active, or end of campaign with each state showing customizable messages.

When a visitor clicks through a Widget, they may be directed to the provider's logging server(s). The server(s) set a cookie on the Visitor's computer that embeds both the Promoter's ID and the campaign's ID then redirects the visitor to the Web page or other destination as set by the organizer. The visitor, now on the organizer's site, interacts with the organizer's site as he or she sees fit. When the action that the organizer wants tracked (for instance a contribution to a campaign) occurs, the embedded provider's code that the organizer seeded onto the confirmation page makes a call back to the provider's logging server(s) to record the action, any desired data about the action, and information about the promoter, organizer, and visitor. In one embodiment, this process involves using cookie technology.

Once the action and data is logged, the provider server(s) update the provider's database/logic server(s) which control the data feed sent to the widget. The specific data feed for that sub-campaign is updated and all subsequent widget calls to the provider to get the latest data feed are subsequently be re-rendered based on the updated data logged as a result of the visitor's action

As described above, the widget may be distributed in a viral manner. An audience member may sign up for the organizer's campaign either on the promoter's widget or by clicking through to the organizer's campaign page. This new promoter receives whatever promotion the original promoter's widget has achieved as set out by the conditional goals of the organizer. Each widget also gains “value” based on the conditional goals set by the organizer and that value can be passed on to the audience by means of enhanced features on the widget (video, audio, sneak previews of movie trailers) or by offering additional value to an action taken by the visitor not available to all campaign widgets. Promoters may also gain points on the system as a calculation of certain data such as: widget views (like page views), number of new users signed up through widget, number of actions taken by audience members viewing widget.

Through this application reporting may also be provided. A detailed report may be available to organizers, while a subset of that report may be made available to the promoter. Information included in the report may include information per widget, as well as other information such as promoter, audience, or other information. Information per widget may include: number of widgets posted, locations of widgets posted (by IP or reverse IP lookup), number of widget views (by individual widgets), number of determined action taken, number of click through, number of new signups from widget, number of tab views (of individual tabs within the widget). Such data may be valuable to organizers or other entities for use in marketing or other activities.

A subset of this system used in affiliate marketing may also be used to allow individuals to create customized personal widgets. An individual may create an account on the system (name, email address) for example by coming directly to the provider's site, by signing up directing from an existing widget that allows direct sign ups, or by clicking through from one of the widgets (see flow below). During customization, the individual may select features of their widget in a manner analogous to that which an organizer uses. An individual might give permission for other users to selectively modify parts of their widget. This may be done by other individuals logging in directly on the widget and having access to modify certain parts or tabs. An individual might select whether their widget is listed on a public widget directly on the provider's system or partner systems. An individual may also create a customized personal widget by selecting from an assortment of options: size, color, decorations, content, forms, tabs, features, or other characteristics of the widget.

If an individual signs up directly on the provider's site, they may given a certain number of points as determined by the system (based on promotions, etc). These points may be redeemed for add-ons for the personal widget (decorations, additional tabs, features such as audio/video, custom content). But the customization of this new widget may be limited by the number of points a new user is given. If an individual is referred to create an account by an existing personal widget, both the new user and existing user may receive a promotional bonus of points to be redeemed for widget customizations. An individual may also select to have their widget sponsored by one of the provider's partners so as to receive additional points for customization. By being a sponsored widget the individual may be limited/refrained from making certain customizations to the widget and also agree to share their widget information with the partner.

An individual user may able be able to modify/edit their widget in multiple ways. For example, an individual may login in to the system and use a widget editor dashboard. This widget editor dashboard may be considered to be analogous to the widget panel described above. The user may be allowed to modify their admin (parent) widget wherever they have it embedded (login on their own widget) via forms embedded directly in the widget that connect back to the provider's server(s). The user may also be able to modify their widget via mobile device using mobile browsers, SMS codes, MMS codes, telephony, and/or other devices. In addition, modification through other methods that can pass information to the widget provider's system, including email, may also be allowed.

An individual user may also be allowed to set up moderation levels for their widget. For example, an individual user may select no moderation, allowing anyone to copy and paste the widget anywhere. The user may select pre-approved moderation to allow certain friends as defined, for example, by address book preferences set on the server (email addresses), having an account on the system, standing/rating on the system, and/or predetermined domains (where the widget is placed). The user may also select individual moderation in which an individual moderates each request to copy their individual widget and approve/disapproves/holds each copied widget.

Promotion of individual custom widget may also be allowed. The audience for a promoter's site may copy or request to copy widget code directly from widget. The audience may thus select widget from a marketplace of available widgets. Individual users may also be able to provide email invites for others to copy/embed their personal widget.

Additional functionality may also be provided. These functions may include but are not limited to the functions described below. In one embodiment, widget tracking for individuals' personal widgets may be provided. An individual may place tracking code for their widget either on their site or by posting their “parent” widget on the page to which they want to track click throughs. For example an individual user may place tracking code or a tracking widget on their MySpace page so that users who click on the widget (or their copy of the widget) end up at the individual's MySpace page. Audience members may “ping” an individual via the widget, that is send the individual a message, by clicking on a widget. In this way an individual can know when people contact him/her from their widgets.

Widget points and value may also be accrued. An individual (e.g. their widget) gains points on the system as a calculation of certain data such as: widget views (like page views), number of widgets posted, activity on editing/modifying widget, number of new users signed up through the widget, and other mechanisms to be determined. Individuals may redeem their widget points for additional features functions on their personal widget (such as decorations, additional tabs to place features on, and/or exclusive content). Individuals may also redeem their widget points for goods/services as determined by the marketplace interacting with the personal widget(s). Points may also be given as promotions to get new users to sign up. If a new individual user signs up for this personal widget service by clicking on an existing widget, both the original individual user and new individual user may be awarded points.

Widgets may also be used tracking and reporting. Individual users have access to a report of their widget individually and as an aggregate: number of widget views, number of tab views (tabs within the widget), number of signups, number of widgets posted, other authorized users logging in and their edits.

Thus, the method and system disclosed herein may be applied to affiliate marketing and personal widgets. For example, the method and system described herein may serve visitors dynamic widgets based on settings triggered by cumulative visitor actions. Such an application may have a variety of features including, but not limited to, one or more of the features described below. In such an application, the visitor is presented not with a text link but rather an image/widget that dynamically displays form, content, and functionality based on the cumulative actions taken by previous visitors during the life of the campaign and based on the rules, logic, and settings defined by both the promoter hosting the widget and the organizer. That is, for each action taken the widget may be dynamically modified if either the promoter or organizer set up a rule to modify the widget. In such an application the widget may self update in near real time based on the cumulative actions taken as a result of click throughs by visitors and/or other actions as determined by the multiple parties that have input in the organizer of that campaign. The form, features, content, options, offers, design, and state of the widget may be changed based on the rules applied to the cumulative actions and current state. Thus, the changes may be applied to all of the widgets hosted by all promoters, the organizer, provider, or other content provider, or a selected subset of the widgets. In addition, the service provider, promoter, and organizer may have real time controls to modify parameters and business logic of the campaign where those changes may be reflected in all live Widgets in near real time. The parameters of the widget may also be changed directly from the Widget and/or from a click through from the widget to a web page of the provider where these parameters can be set. In either modification case, the provider's database and systems are updated securely in real time. The widget may be further configured by a promoter based on options authorized by the organizer. A promoter may be allowed to create a sub-campaign of an organizer's campaign where the data presented in the widget is updated in real time and specific just to the click through actions taken as a result of the sub-campaign while allowing the widget to optionally display data about the master campaign of the organizer. Some or all of the system including but not limited to the widget and its customizations, payment or other action page, and actions desired, may be set up to be potentially 100% self service with no intervention necessary by the provider. Thus, the transaction, from account creation all the way through all actions such as settling financial transactions, may be performed at any time by organizers and/or promoters. Tracking code embedded by an organizer may be used not only for tracking purposes only but to send data to a central repository to which all live widget(s) are tied. All or a selected subset of live widget(s) may thus get live data feeds, thereby providing real time updates to all or a selected subset of live connected widgets based on actions taken by widget click throughs. An organizer may also embed code snippets that may push live transactional data after an action has taken place to a business process system that can determine, based on rules set by the organizer, whether automated business actions need to be taken. For instance whenever click through numbers reach increments of 100, the widgets may turn a darker shade of gray until the widget is black. Individual widgets, as part of a campaign or as an individual person's widget, may gain value based on predetermined conditional data such as widget views, widget clickthroughs, and widget actions. The ability to edit/modify a custom individual widget by logging in directly to the widget and having the modified parameters securely sent over to a provider's central repository over the Internet or other network systems may also be achieved. The providers, organizers, and/or the promoters may have the ability to grant other users selective access/permissions to modify individual widgets, where permissioned users have access as stated directly through the widget or via a secured Web page clicked through from the widget. Promoters and/or other content providers may be given the ability to either redeem points or buy points to redeem to unlock/add/edit/additional information including tabs on an individual widget which can also includes additional widget features, content, links, themes, sizes and functions. The widget may be customized by using either an html sidebar selection or a drag and drop feature, including a widget that is itself a widget maker. Moreover, the organizer or other entity may be provided with reporting of number of widgets in circulation, number of widget views, number of widget tab views, number of widget actions taken per widget, number of widget click throughs, number of widget signups. A unique effectiveness rating per promoter may also be made available to the organizer and optionally to a promoter, potential promoters, the general public, and/or other entities. This effectiveness rating may be a mathematical score based on a promoter's widget, a promoter's recorded actions, widget views, average widgets/actions/views per day, length of time widget is live, number of direct children widgets created, the cumulative results of the children widget, the number of grandchildren widgets spawned from the children widget out with no limits to degrees, and the cumulative results of the grandchildren widgets. This effectiveness rating provides an Organizer with a unique metric to judge the value of an individual widget taking into consideration all desired direct and indirect activity. An organizer may move a parent widget (created by the organizer) to any Web page and instantly set all children widgets to point to a new landing page—either the new page of the parent widget or any landing page set by the organizer. This dynamic setting can be automated based on passwords or done manually through the widget, through a Web page via a click through on the widget, through an online control panel, or another mechanism selected by the organizer. A visitor of a child widget (e.g. a copy of another widget) may instantly join the network by creating a next generation Widget. Thus, a virtually unlimited number of generations might be spawned off by a widget with all generations tied to detailed reporting that includes all degrees of separation information.

Thus, a method and system for facilitating social payment, commercial, and/or other transactions via the Internet is described. The method and system utilize a highly customizable widget that is easily integrated into social media. The customizable widget may provide rich media to users, provide event progress tracking, and may allow for the effectives of the widget to be determined. The widget allows not only for direct, individual donations, to a campaign but also for sub-campaigns, which are analogous to group payments. In order to reach potential contributors, the widget may be posted on an organizer's site or blog, posted on a dedicated website or pushed to various sites. The widget may also be viral in nature, allowing for copying of the widget, for example to other sites or blogs. Because this copying is may be performed through the widget itself, the copying is further facilitated. Consequently, a powerful blograising network may be created. The copied widget may still be customized and contributors may still make donations through the copied widget. However, the widget may still be moderated by an organizer. Consequently, an organizer may remain in control of the image of the organizer and/or event. In addition to allowing payment through the widget, the widget may also be authenticated. Consequently, social payments may be made simpler and more trustworthy. Moreover, widgets may be reused for other content. Thus, the ability to repeatably provide fundraising through the blograising network is improved. The widget may also reflect local data for the site hosting the widget, facilitating the interaction of the potential contributor and the organizer. The widget may also be integrated with merchants or other organizers, for example through a button. According to the method and system disclosed herein, social payment, commercial, and other transactions may be facilitated.

A method and system providing and utilized widgets have been disclosed. The present invention has been described in accordance with the embodiments shown, and one of ordinary skill in the art will readily recognize that there could be variations to the embodiments, and any variations would be within the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the present invention can be implemented using hardware, software, a computer readable medium containing program instructions, or a combination thereof. Software written according to the present invention is to be either stored in some form of computer-readable medium such as memory or CD-ROM and is to be executed by a processor. Consequently, a computer-readable medium is intended to include a computer readable signal, which may be, for example, transmitted over a network. Accordingly, many modifications may be made by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification715/209
International ClassificationG06F17/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q10/107, G06Q30/06, G06Q30/02
European ClassificationG06Q30/06, G06Q30/02, G06Q10/107
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 10, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: CHIPIN INC., HAWAII
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WILLIAMS, CARNET;LAGON, OLIN;HUGHES, KEVIN;REEL/FRAME:020348/0161;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071206 TO 20071207