Adams on free Dilbert widget: 'risky' but 'fun'

On Wednesday we highlighted the world premier of the Dilbert Widget, which comic creator Scott Adams had just made available for free on his blog. The widget delivers not only the daily strip -- in color for the first time -- but also access to the Dilbert archives. Want it on your blog? Just grab a copy.

As might be expected, they're popping up everywhere.

This morning Adams replied to questions I had e-mailed to him. Here is our exchange:

How does the Dilbert widget work with the Dilbert business model? In other words, are you giving away the store?

The Dilbert Widget is primarily a way to grow audience size and interaction. It's designed to recognize the realities of social networking, especially sharing. And it is ridiculously cool, which is reason enough for me and most Dilbert readers.

Will we need to hold a bake sale for you?

Widgets can accommodate ad banners, and we will test that in the future.

I have no idea if this will help or hurt revenue. It's risky. But that's where all the fun is.

Are there exceptions as to what sites can use the widget? In other words, are commercial sites such as networkworld.com excluded?

The widget is intended for private use. Commercial users would presumably want more control over that tiny piece of real estate, and we could accommodate that with a syndication arrangement separate from the widget.

Have you learned anything interesting from the initial reader/user feedback?

I can't say I've learned anything yet that wasn't obvious, at least on the business end of it. Readers love cool, free stuff, and they are responding enthusiastically.

In a related note, I also turned off the feature that was restricting my blog posts to the first paragraph on RSS feeds. The biggest factor in all of this is being consistent with what readers think is their natural Internet "right" in some way. You can fight it, but you can't win. So we decided to join.

Ah, the RSS snippet-or-everything issue: We'll leave that one for another day.

In the meantime, go ahead and grab all the Dilbert you want.

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