AddThis Sharebar Coming Along Nicely
The AddThis Sharebar was released into beta back on December 17, 2009. We’ve played around with it on a couple of sites and generally it’s been a good experience. Getting the code and deploying on a site is dead simple, just copy and paste some code. Out of the box you get the all the sharing features as you would expect. One of the features we really liked is the personalized services feature. What that does is it presents a list of personalized sharing options based on the user. So, if I share to Twitter more frequently than any other service, the Twitter icon would be the first option. You don’t have to lock yourself into a specific list of services, just let AddThis manage the personalized list of top services for each individual.
There were a couple of things we thought AddThis could have done better on. While there are a good number of customizations and options available, we felt that it could be expanded. For example, something like a fixed width on the Sharebar to match that of the site. The AddThis staff have indicated they are evaluating more customization options and will add them as appropriate.
Another thing we didn’t like initially was the hardcoded link to Yahoo search. However, in this case, a few people (we were among those people) posted in the forum requesting the ability to turn off or customize the search link. Within days, the AddThis developers released the feature to disable or customize the search link. Upon providing feedback, their team was able to quickly provide another update to address our issues. The result can be seen on this site. If you do a search from the Sharebar you will be directed to the Google CSE (Custom Search Engine) that’s integrated into this site. This is perfect for what we wanted.
Overall, the AddThis Sharebar is looking like it’s going to be a pretty decent product. There are somethings that could be improved upon, but this is a beta so they get a little slack there. If they can keep up the rapid development of the product, as they have shown with the search feature updates, then they are well positioned to succeed. However, it won’t be easy as there are a few other people in this space.