Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

OAuth Helps ShareThis Double the Effectiveness of Its Sharing Widgets

Those ever-present little sharing buttons on content sites make it easier for people to send interesting content to their friends on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. But not easy enough, it turns out.

ShareThis, one of the largest online widget providers, recently doubled its conversion rates by implementing OAuth, the open standard for authorizing access to a user’s Web accounts.

With OAuth, readers can share a page directly from a ShareThis publisher’s site, rather than leaving the page to go log into a social network. They can also share to more than one service simultaneously. Then, their log-in information and preferences can be easily accessed on new sites that also use ShareThis with OAuth.

In tests with about 10 percent of ShareThis users, users that clicked on a “share” button and then actually shared that content grew to 16.4 percent versus 8.5 percent where users had to type in their credentials.

ShareThis is now extending OAuth as an option to all its publishers. The company predicts that due to network effects across its one million participating sites, conversion numbers may increase again.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto, Calif.-based ShareThis shared some other stats with us.

ComScore ranked ShareThis its No. 1 U.S. widget or application provider in March, with 172 million unique visitors. That beat out rival Clearspring, which had 159 million uniques.

In addition, ShareThis CEO Tim Schigel said his company’s revenue is growing 100 percent each quarter and his team is growing rapidly: the ShareThis staff grew to 50 from 35 in just the last two months. A couple of recent snags are chief scientist Yan Qu from AOL and chief architect of advertising systems Prasanta Behera from Yahoo.

It’s not all rah-rah-sis-boom-bah for ShareThis over here; NetworkEffect also plans to check in with Clearspring for an update this week.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald