AddThis announced support for sharing of HTML widgets today
Photo Credit: Hofstra
which led us to post about their announcement. Originally, this post was going to be a review of the AddThis HTML widget sharing service
. The news was good for widgets and those interested in widgets; from users to developers to marketers and publishers.
As we began writing about the impact of the announcement and thinking about the widget sharing service, we reflected on the widget space as a whole and some thoughts of late began resurfacing. The various thoughts, questions and ideas prompted us to rethink and change change the post entirely. This is now a generic look at widgets and the possible resurgence of widget conversations in 2011.
This is pure speculation and we are obviously biased towards this view. Indulge us, read the post and let us know what you think.
Iron Man 2
We came across the official Iron Man 2 movie trailer widget today via a friend’s Facebook stream. After clicking through to view it, we felt compelled to give it a quick review.
There is so much wrong with the widget that we will only focus on the top 3 items. Let’s hope the movie itself is much better.
Interestingly enough, a quick Google search returned an official UK version of the Iron Man 2 movie trailer widget that was significantly better. Both widgets are below for comparison and reference. They are not easy to find on the official Iron Man 2 movie site.
A few days ago, we’re not sure the exact time, something changed which caused problems when sharing an AddThis WordPress plugin enabled blog page to Facebook. The FB shares do not have the correct page title, description or images. This problem actually affects any page that uses the AddThis code specified in the technical section later in the post. However, we are only going to address the plugin related problems at this time and provide you with a simple patch.
Here’s a quick little patch for the WordPress AddThis plugin. Follow these instructions at your own risk. This patch has only been tested on WP 2.9.2 and AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget 1.6.1. We do not guarantee the patch nor do we take any responsibility if something breaks.
This patch will only fix pages that are considered by WordPress to be A Single Page, Single Post or Attachment (WP Codex: is_singular). These pages are probably the majority of your important shares.
Team USA has been promoting their athletes and the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with a couple of widgets. With the games just 8 days away, we thought we should take a closer look at the widgets.
The widgets themselves are pretty straight forward. The 2 widgets are essentially the same widget in 2 sizes. Both widgets are 300 pixels wide with one being a standard IAB 300×250 pixels. In each widget you get video and athlete content along side a twitter feed. The twitter feed is a nice touch as it gives the widget fresh content more quickly and engages the visitors in the conversation.
As standard practice, you can share this widget and this is where the widget gets interesting for us. Now that Clearspring has announce the end of their Launchpad platform in favor of the AddThis product, a few key items have surfaced as a result of the transition to the AddThis sharing platform.
Built-in gadget, app and embed sharing are now gone as they are not currently supported by AddThis. Google gadgets has been replaced with Google Bookmarks, apps were replaced with stream/feed posts and embeds are now up to the widget coders to support on their own. These changes are not necessarily bad, but they were nice features within Launchpad (not to mention a slew of other features but we’ll save that for another post).
So far so good, even with the loss of the Google Gadgets and Facebook/MySpace Apps.
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.