Widgetbox has launched to exploit the growing interest in widgets, the little boxes that bloggers and companies are inserting into their Web sites.

A widget is, in its most basic form, a box from a third-party that sits on your site. It can be a game, a weather box, advertisement — any service that you want to tuck away into a corner of your site. Take a look at our SiliconBeat widget, for example. It is pictured below. It is a little box that you can download onto your desktop and which serves up our SiliconBeat posts right so you don’t have to go to our site (we only have a Mac version, right now, so ping us if you’re interested in getting a Windows version). There is also a way to put this box on your Web site.

Widgetbox, owned by San Francisco start-up PostApp, launched a private testing version of its service today. It is designed to help Website developers and bloggers keep track of which widgets people like to use, gives them directions on how to turn anything on the Web into a widget and then helps them figure out the business terms of using the widgets, via a dashboard. Our SiliconBeat widget is free, but others might charge a subscription, or demand a revenue share model for anything bought via the widget, or offer a referral fee, etc.

Widgetbox will also helps with personalization. So, for example, if we wanted to download a book-recommendation widget on our homepage here, we’d probably want to personalize an Amazon/Barnes&Nobles mashup widget that pulls out only start-up and finance related books — and then also ask Widgetbox help us figure out how to get a referral fee from Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

Here is the Widgetbox press release. Widgetbox calls itself a widget “marketplace,” and intends to make money in the support process, for example by taking a small cut from the subscription a developer may pay for using a widget. Those details are being worked out, Ed Anuff, the chief executive of PostApp, told us yesterday.

The company has just raised $1.5M in a first round of funding from venture firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, something we mentioned earlier (scroll down). Hummer partner Mitchell Kertzman has joined the board.

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