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Meet Britain’s Digital Elite

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Although turbo-charged widget Zebtab was crowned the winner of the Customer Interaction category, here we reveal the two other finalists…

Even your gran’s probably got a digital camera. You can’t go to a party, school play or, if you’re an England cricketer, the local strip joint without flash bulbs going off. But what to do with the pics? Moo.com prints your snaps onto stickers, business cards and dinky little minicards.

Being a Web 2.0 sort of firm, Moo allows you to do all the ordering over the internet. Toensure the ordering process is part of the fun, Moo has created applications within Flickr, Habbo Hotels and Second Life so you can order pictures of your avatar as well as normal snaps. And extra functionality means you can insert your own speech bubbles into photos. This is all part of Moo’s strategy to get close to the user as much as possible so that established rivals such as Boots and Prontaprint don’t get a look in.

Tailgate also hit the judge’s highly commended list.

Retail websites worry incessantly about drop-out rates. A consumer starts to order, wanders off to make tea or opens a new window to do more product research, and their basket never gets to the checkout page.

Tailgate’s interactive advertising banners address this problem by letting consumers buy direct from inside the banner. All it takes to buy is a quick bit of form-filling and then two clicks and heypresto – the deal is done without ever leaving the page the ad is located on.

Tailgate’s patent-pending technology is as secure as any web cart and offers the fastest purchasing experience on the web. “For impulse buys or low cost purchases, this is extremely convenient,” says judge Simon Hughes. Navman Sat-Navs and Boots are already using Tailgate’s banners to ensure that their online ads are as capable of closing a deal as wooing the customer.

Winner of our “Customer Interaction” category: Zebtab

Cricket fans are big users of widgets. The BBC produces a little scoreboard that sits on your computer desktop and keeps you up to date with the Test Match. It’s less obtrusive than a browser window and keeps refreshing automatically.

There are hundreds of other widgets on offer – from clocks to train timetables. Windows Vista has a sidebar built specifically to host them. But what is the next stage in the evolution of the widget? It might just be Zebtab.

The Zebtab widget hides at the side of your screen, only to emerge when you summon it with a click. At ten by 15 centimetres, it is larger than current widgets andhas significantly more functions.

Like a pre-loaded tabbed browser, it stores the latest information from whichever websites you subscribe to. For gambling addicts, it stores the latest odds and fixtures from AtTheRaces, or for boys’ toys you can check out the latest deals from Firebox.com. Each separate channel can be accessed with one click, making it the first all-in-one widget.

Even better, unlike RSS content, Zebtab streams pictures and “rich” media to your desktop. By blending RSS with Ajax and .net, Zebtab makes browser-based aggregators such as Newsgator look dated.

Launched at the end of 2006, Zebtab has already signed up 25 content partners. There are two price models for partners: £5,000 a year with revenue share, or £20,000 a year non-revenue share.

Visits to gambling site AtTheRaces has been upped by 45 percent, with page impressions increased by 77 per cent since signing up in January. “Zebtab’s desktop alert system has undoubtedly been a key factor in the significant increase in visits to our site,” says James Singer, AtTheRaces’ head of marketing.

“We’re excited about future opportunities, including integrated video content and delivering more tailored services direct to our users.” Closet gamblers and cricket addicts will be pretty chuffed, too.

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