Wibiya: Helping Web Sites Seamlessly Integrate Social Tools

Written by Bonnie Boglioli...March 15, 2011

Social media integration on websites and blogs is critical today,  serving to broaden reach and engage users. A side effect, however, is that various widgets can easily convolute an otherwise sleek website without giving much in return. Even worse, social media plugins can lure users away to their social networks just when they should be staying put. Enter Wibiya.

Wibiya is an all-inclusive toolbar that allows you to integrate social features seamlessly on your site while a platform full of valuable apps provide everything you need and then some. From social tools (yes, it includes the Facebook ‘Like’ button and the requisite Facebook and Twitter buttons) to money making apps and translators, there is an app for every site. Custom colors, fonts and logos round out its array of options and take little more than a couple of minutes to edit and install on the page footer so that your sleek website skin stays that way. No more wasted time revising widget dimensions or tracking analytics, either. Wibiya covers it all… and for free with its basic version.

With so many big name publishers and retailers using Wibiya in addition to a slew of bloggers and small businesses, we wanted to learn more. Co-founder and co-CEO Dror Ceder took time out of his busy schedule (not to mention a nine hour time difference) to speak with us about what Wibiya learned from its predecessors, popular apps in the Wibiya ecosystem and what every website should be doing to better manage social integration tools.

STR: Widgets were the talk of the social media world a few short years ago, yet you and your co-founders came up with Wibiya which takes a different approach to social integration via an all-inclusive toolbar and app platform. How did you, Daniel Tal and Avi Smila (co-founders) come up with the concept?

DC:  We were creating a search feature bar for sites and we talked to a lot of publishers. Every one of them wanted additional buttons on the bar to tie into their social networks and do other things so that users would stay on their site. There was a clear need for extra functionality beyond search and we found that there was no single application for websites to consolidate everything in this way. So we decided to start with an easy to use toolbar which was a great solution. It was plug-and-play so publishers could add it without changing their website layout at all or needing a developer.

STR: Wibiya is incredibly intuitive. How important was ease of use in the overall design?

DC: It was one of the primary things we focused on. We looked at the iPhone and noticed how easy it is to find an app and quickly add it. We wanted that same kind of experience for Wibiya users. It has to be simple so that everyone from big publishers to small businesses to bloggers can use it without any technical knowledge at all.

STR: Wibiya has a large number of apps that users choose to integrate into their customized toolbar. Recently, you unveiled a 3rd party developer tool, which has brought in even more apps. About how many are on your platform now?

DC: There is something like 70 different apps right now and many more coming in each day since we opened our developer marketplace a few months ago. We had a lot of companies approach us and ask how they could add their own branded apps to our marketplace and the developer tool came from that. They submit their app and we review each one to make sure it is worthy of being on Wibiya. Our marketplace is big and getting bigger every day.

STR: Tell us about some of the popular apps that publishers and websites often include on their Wibiya toolbar? What are some favorites for analytics and social commerce?

DC: Obviously, the social network apps like Twitter and Facebook are all very popular. An app called Real Time Users show online users on your website and their geo-location. It also shows how many users are on each page of your site and for how long so you can track relevant data there.

Another popular app is our Live Notifications app that lets you notify users of alerts and messages. You can even target which users see the message based on the page they are viewing. For instance, if you are running a campaign and giving away a free iPad, all pages that mention iPad can have the message alert for the give-a-way. It’s a great tool and I know TheStreet.com uses it as well as many others.

Our Social Chat app gives people a way to talk to one another without leaving a website, increasing their time spent on a site. Wazala lets you add an online shop to your site for social commerce which is a really cool way to increase revenue by selling virtual or real goods.

STR: How important are analytics to the Wibiya platform and to users?

DC: Analytics are very important for Wibiya and our users. A few years ago widgets were big and they essentially took up valuable real estate on websites without measuring anything. Every Wibiya app, by contrast, has its own set of statistics. We help you follow your social networks to see engagement, what pages people click on, how long people are chatting and staying on your site and more.

STR: Wibiya has a freemium model with a basic, no-cost membership and additional upgraded versions available for monthly fees. What are the advantages of the premium versions and what types of sites might benefit the most from them?

DC: It really depends on the site. A majority of our publishers use the free version which is fine. We have big brands that still use our free version and small websites that use the premium ones. It comes down to how much you want to customize things. Garnier, Jelly Belly and Glam are some of the publishers (that use Wibiya) who have created highly customized toolbars. Some more sophisticated apps are in our premium model and one of the advantages is that you can grab most anything out there to integrate into your bar.

STR: Wibiya has continued to attract new users and grow at an extraordinary rate in just two years. How big is the current Wibiya network today?

When we launched Wibiya in a private beta period in 2009, we hoped to have 50 blogs in the first month and we had about 3,000 websites. So it was really astonishing for us and proved that there was a distinct need for our service. From that point on, it’s been continuous and fast growth. Today our network reaches 200million unique users a month across some 120,000 active websites that have our toolbar. 1,500 websites join Wibiya every day and we haven’t spent a dime on marketing. It’s been phenomenal and very busy!

STR: What insight would you share with websites looking to increase their traffic?

DC: We live in an era where every website needs to integrate at least Twitter and Facebook and we all hear a lot about it but many people don’t comprehend the true benefits. We built the Wibiya bar to get the most out of these networks. You want to attract people to your site and keep them there. Always think about leveraging social media but keeping users on your site.

STR: What’s on the horizon for Wibiya and its users in the coming months?

DC: Our vision is to become an application marketplace for websites going beyond the toolbar itself. We have all types of apps that interact with the content of a website and next month we’re launching Wibiya mobile which provides the same solution for mobile sites. Another big thing we call Wibiya Boxes will make almost every website’s life easier but you’ll have to wait on further information. Mobile first, then Boxes.

STR: Sounds great, Dror. It’s been a pleasure hearing about Wibiya and what it offers sites big and small.

DC: Thanks! I appreciate the opportunity.

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