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Widgets Come to Amazon Associates

There are 4,313 applications available for your Facebook profile, a multitude of gadgets listed in the iGoogle directory, and Apple tallies 3,213 Dashboard widgets for download to your Mac OS desktop.

But just in case that's not enough gadgetry, widgetry and application for you, Amazon announced just what you need: more. Sixteen more, to be exact.

According to an e-mail sent today to Amazon Associates, the company's affiliate marketing program, Amazon Widgets are small, visually dynamic, easily configurable tools that allow you to feature products from Amazon on your Web site, blog or social-networking pages.

So yes, they're just like the rest of them. Except these ones drive traffic to Amazon's gigantic store of products. If an Amazon Associate's widget leads to a sale, they get up to 10 percent in referral fees as reward.

Amazon said that users can populate a widget with their favorite Amazon products, comments about those products, and select from a set of color and layout themes to match both mood and Web site.

Amazon's e-mail details a few of the launched widgets. There's Slideshow, which allows users to pick their favorite images from the Amazon catalog and present them as a -- that's right -- slide show. That means users can push Amazon CDs, books, and even breakfast cereals on all their Internet friends and connections.

My Favorites, Quick Linker and Wish List widgets feature Amazon products of an Associate's selection. Product Cloud, another widget, displays product titles that are relevant to the content of the page in a cloud or cluster with the most popular product bolded.

Finally, Amazon highlighted the Amazon Unbox Video Previewer, which shows movie studio and TV network previews available from the Amazon Unbox video download service. Users can select by attributes, such as genre, for previews they want to show on their Web sites.

Amazon is the second major Web player this week to offer publishers embeddable mini-applications as a way to monetize their sites. On Wednesday, Google announced Google Gadget Ads, non-traditional ad units with interactive, rich-media capabilities.

With Gadget Ads, individual advertisers and agencies alike can develop the ads using Flash, HTML or both. They can incorporate real- time data feeds, images and video.

And where the Amazon Widgets reward publishers for their leads after customers purchase products on their online store, Google charges advertisers per impression or per click and shares the revenue with site publishers.