eBay has launched a Flash widget applet that allows sellers to embed their auctions on sites around the web.

The auction site has billed the move as "a fun and easy way for you to share the interesting things you've discovered on eBay and personalise your blog, social networking page or website".

Three types of widget have been made available:-

  • One showing item information for an auction listing
  • Another enabling a slideshow for multiple selected items
  • And another showing multiple thumbnails related to keyword search queries

The widgets can be displayed on a website by any user and not just auction sellers. The auction house has unveiled a new togo.ebay.com site on which users can make the gadgets and gives examples on a demo blog. A viewer cannot bid without clicking through to the main auction listing, however.

Now that the web is host to hundreds of millions of blogs and social networking profiles, each of which can be edited by their creators, widgets are seen as an increasingly lucrative marketing opportunity.

eBay's roll-out suggests these fragments of syndicated, functional content may also be a radical new e-commerce channel.

See our recent interview with Ivan Pope of Snipperoo for his thoughts on widgets' potential role in both areas.

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