We’ve seen the little icons on web pages that let you bookmark and share content to the various popular social bookmarking and networking sites. But what if you are a web publisher and you want to add this type of functionality to your site? What if there were a webservice or plugin to do it easily?
I went looking today and it turns out there are a few. The most compelling feature for me was a hosted service that would ensure someone else is updating it as the various services change their access details or requirements. From prior experience this is a major ‘make-work’ project to keep up with dozens of different social bookmarking sites.
ShareThis.com – The most professional-looking of the five services and with big names using it like Huffington Post, Techcrunch, MTV and Wired. Offers WordPress, Typepad, Blogger and ‘any’ website versions. Has a neat ‘import addresses’ feature that lets your site’s users import and send something by e-mail to their Gmail, MSN, Yahoo contacts. You don’t get the e-mail addresses, in case you’re wondering.
AddThis.com – Another widely used and professional-looking service counting ReadWriteWeb, Time Magazine and Myspace among its users. A Compete.com analysis of this and ShareThis.com show very similar numbers of users. These are users accessing the sites of publishers who are using the service – in other words, a pretty good barometer.
AddToAny.com – Looks like a single person developing it but seems to offer some nice features. Quotes some big names using it but it is clear some of these are no longer doing so, if only because two services here both mention Mashable as one of their users. (Out of interest Mashable appears to be using neither ShareThis.com or AddToAny.com any more. They’ve created their own it seems).
Bookmark Me – A WordPress Plugin for adding social bookmarking links to a blog or WordPress powered site
Alex King’s Share This – Another WordPress Plugin. One of several this developer offers.
If you have any experience of these services consider writing a comment below to help others who might be comparing these services. As for our site? I’m going to be taking a closer look at sharethis.com but as our site is Flash based, we will probably have to roll our own as usual. 🙁
UPDATE – I’ve just come across a 6th service that looks on a par with ShareThis.com. Tell a Friend seems polished and the user experience is very nice.
I have used AddThis and AddToAny, and I used to think AddThis was the best option, but having just tried ShareThis, I think it may be the new top contender. I’ve been trying them on Fireviews and both ShareThis and AddThis have performed well. They both have a ton of features.