Why AOL Acquired Yourminis
In the very noisy announcement of Microsoft's bid to acquire Yahoo last week, very little attention was devoted to AOL's acquisition of Goowy, the company behind Yourminis. Granted, this acquisition was not of a comparable scale, but it was still a significant step for AOL in building stronger relations between its users and advertisers.
Yourminis is a fully customizable start page (a.k.a. personal portal) similar to iGoogle that users can personalize with any number of widgets including weather forecasts, e-mail, instant messaging, games and more. Widgets can live on a web page inside a web browser, or can stand-alone on the desktop. Unlike Google's Desktop Gadgets and Yahoo's Widgets, Yourminis desktop widgets use Adobe AIR and thus don't require the installation of a large local application.
The growth in widgets, combined with the shift away from pure advertising toward the creation of marketing experiences, and the projected decline in traditional advertising dollars, has created a "perfect storm" of change in the industry.
One size no longer fits all users' needs any more and thus some degree of personalization and engagement is required to get people's attention. Likewise, the internet has brought greater accountability to advertising which means that measuring users' behaviors is critical for gathering business intelligence and determining best spent advertising dollars. Widgets can help accomplish both of these goals, making this acquisition a little more important then the media coverage reflects.