WidgetWatch: MySpace Whacks Webcam Widget?

In another bamboozling move, MySpace has now blocked Stickam webcam codes. At the end of last week, the team reported that newly-created Stickam widgets wouldn’t work on MySpace, and yesterday I was forwarded an email (thanks James) from Stickam that claimed the widgets had been “blocked” by MySpace. I assumed that they were being affected by some kind of glitch that prevents Flash embeds working properly – something along the lines of the MySpace update that broke many Flash widgets (it was supposedly a reaction to the MySpace hack). As it turns out, there’s something more sinister afoot: today I logged in to MySpace and realized that all links to Stickam are being blocked. If you try to link to anywhere on your profile – either inserting a widget or using a plain old link, it will be removed. Apparently it’s been this way for a few days. Since only links to are affected, it seems that MySpace is intentionally blocking the service.

Never underestimate the potential for greed to cloud the vision: MySpace could indeed be wondering why they should let some third party build a business on the back of their popularity. Of course, the response would be that MySpace's popularity is, at least in part, due to how these widgets add to the MySpace user's experience, allowing them to truly customize their MySpace pages.

On the other hand, never underestimate the potential for fear to cloud the vision, either: MySpace may not actually care about Stickam's widgets from a competitive perspective—they may very well want to play an open game here. They may, however, care very much about what images may be broadcast through these widgets; imagine the headlines when a parent finds out their teenage kid has been flashing their friends. Whose name do you think the media will sieze on: Stickam or MySpace?


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