Don Dodge writes about how widgets can be monetised:
What is the business model for widgets?
* The Freemium model, upselling from free to premium services seems to be the best bet, at least for now. Many of the widgets provide a free service with options to buy premium services such as more detailed traffic statistics, more powerful services, enhanced customization, or higher levels of service.
* Sponsorship might make sense. A simple “Sponsored by Big Company” tagline across the bottom of the widget might fit well. I don’t see how larger advertising units would work for a small widget, and I doubt the “hosts” would allow it.
* Revenue sharing with your host – Facebook and MySpace don’t need to share their advertising revenues with the widget guys, but a smaller social network might want to. If I were the owner of a social network and wanted to build an ecosystem of developers building cool widgets on my platform I would indeed share some advertising revenue with them.
* Syndication network – If your widget distributes content widely,, think YouTube, then the content owners might want to pay you to get their content on your widget.