What Is the Conduit Toolbar?

By Bayard Tarpley

The Conduit toolbar is a custom toolbar for websites and businesses. The Conduit system allows people to create a personalized toolbar without any previous detailed coding experience. The company advertises the speed of toolbar creation and browser compatibility. Toolbars produced using Conduit, while created by individual content providers, are called Conduit toolbars.

Customized Toolbars

The Conduit toolbar system allows different websites to create their own personalized toolbar. This allows a direct content delivery system to the user's browser instead of requiring users to visit the creator's website to search for the information. The toolbar can also be used to access any social networking capabilities the creator's site provides. The creator chooses what buttons are displayed on the toolbar. These may include links to Conduit-supported games, content on the creator's website or simply customized links chosen by the toolbar creator.

Benefits

Conduit advertises many benefits to their system. They suggest that the use of a toolbar to provide content to your audience will increase traffic to your website with RSS feeds delivering headlines that viewers will click to visit the main website. They also claim that users downloading your toolbar will encourage their own brand loyalty to your website and content. It also gives you an easy way to alert your audience to new content and a way to advertise any promotions you may run.

Search Engine Switch

In the beginning of 2011, Conduit made an announcement that their toolbar would no longer be based on Google's search results. Instead, it would be based on the results of Microsoft's Bing search engine. Since this move, Bing's search engine traffic and advertising profits have risen 10 percent. This has led to some controversy among advertisers who preferred the Google-based search. Some analysts, such as Mark Ballard at the Rimm-Kaufman Group, have taken this as a threat that perhaps Google is to be surpassed by Bing because of Bing's alliance with Yahoo! and now Conduit.

Other Controversy

The Conduit toolbar has been fairly controversial among Mozilla Firefox users as people debate its trustworthiness and whether it deserves to be distributed through the Mozilla Add-ons platform. In particular, many users believe that the system is not particularly secure. There are also complaints of Conduit not co-operating with Mozilla in resolving some of these concerns.