A wave of Dilbert widgets is about to wash over the Web

And the price is right, too

So you think Dilbert is everywhere already?

Think again, my pointy-headed friends, for Dilbert is about to become as common online as the winter cold is in a kindergarten class, thanks to a free widget from comic creator Scott Adams that's certain to prove irresistible to legions of bloggers and site operators.

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From The Dilbert Blog yesterday: "To underscore your special status as readers of The Dilbert Blog, here's a sneak peak at the totally free and ridiculously awesome Dilbert Widget. You can't see this anywhere else until the end of the month."

Actually, you can see the widget on plenty of other blogs already - and presumably countless more by day's end - which is the whole idea.

More from Adams: "The Dilbert Widget allows you to see the daily Dilbert comic, for free, and in color for the first time, on your own page. You can also see the Dilbert archive all the way back to January 2005, with the entire archive coming online in batches. All free, which is your favorite price."

Free isn't a business model in and of itself, of course, a reality with which Adams and other content creators are fully and painfully aware. I sent Adams a couple of questions regarding the business strategy behind his widget giveaway (and Adams is much better at answering his e-mail than, than say, Google, so we may actually get answers.) ... (Update: Here's his reply.)

Adams writes that he is hoping to gather feedback from early adopters regarding the widget's design, as well as the ease with which it can be integrated and shared.

The early returns are wildly positive, although not universally so regarding the current panel-by-panel format.

"I'm not sure if this is just something that applies to me, but I find reading the strips like this very awkward and weird," writes one reader of The Dilbert blog. "Having to wait or click to see the next panel seems to 'hammer home' the lines of dialogue, like having someone read a comic to you. ... When I read it this way I feel like there should be a canned laugh track over the top."

Adams says a version of the widget with a full-strip view is in the works.

Among those who've already incorporated the widget into their blogs, the glowing reviews offer a glimpse of the interest that is likely to follow.

"Being a huge Dilbert fan ... I didn't hesitate a second when he offered the possibility to install a Dilbert widget," writes one blogger.

Another has been converted into a widget guy.

"I've been reluctant to add widgets, because I think they slow down the loading of the site and I haven't seen the value in most of them," he writes. "I'm experimenting with the Dilbert Widget, though, because it resonates with me."

There were bound to be hiccups. This blogger reported that the widget was providing a glimpse into Dilbertian future, as upcoming comics were visible along with those already published. "I imagine they'll solve this problem pretty quickly when they find out," he writes. They did.

There's buzz.

"This dude is smart," offers one early adopter. "There are varying sizes for the widget depending on where you want to embed it. So pop over to the site, find a size that suits you, as we know one size does not fit all and bigger is not always better, and spread the Dilbert word now."

And, appropriately enough, humor.

"Adding this widget to the blog is the second best thing I've done today," says this guy. "The first one, obviously, is taking a bath."

So go ahead and check out the Dilbert widget ... provided you've already bathed.

(Update: Mississippi Mountain Man reports having widget trouble.)

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