In the past few months, I’ve received emails from both AddThis and ShareThis to use their respective sharing widgets on our site Menuism.com. Since we were already using AddThis, the first email came from ShareThis, asking us to try out their widget. Not having a great reason not, we gave it a try since it looked like they had some nice financial backing and might be evolving the product a bit more. A couple weeks after switching to ShareThis, I got an email from AddThis asking why we switched away from them. I gave him some of the reasons the ShareThis representative gave me about why they were better (newer faster widget, more personalization, etc.) and he countered with their focus on performance and providing an experience that is improved in a measured way. I decided to give AddThis another try with their updated widget. Soon after this switch I got yet another email from ShareThis asking why we took them off.
Man, these guys are good at keeping track of who’s using them. Time to decide, which is going to be? Both seem to have similar traffic levels and if you look at different websites and blogs the usage seems to be pretty split 50/50. I read a bunch of articles on “addthis vs. sharethis” and didn’t find anything overwhelmingly in favor of one over the other. So here’s my crude and unscientific approach to coming to an answer (you may not be convinced after reading this, but, hey, I tried and it’s good enough for me).
|The Buttons||AddThis. While they’re both customizable, I find the AddThis button slightly more appealing since it uses the “+” sign instead of the weird boomerang and the small icons of recognizable sharing services makes it clear what the link is for.|
|The Widgets||AddThis. I like the simplicity of AddThis and I like the categorization of ShareThis. This was going to be a toss up, but I think the clean list of links on the AddThis widget is just easier to scan and use.|
Also, the AddThis widget auto-sense where the widget is in relation to the page edges so it’ll either open to the right, left, top or bottom of the button depending on what shows up best. For ShareThis, you have to be explicit about telling it how much offset to use left or right – that’s not fun.
|Performance||.0176 shares per page view||.00782 shares per page||AddThis.|
|Reporting||Each site you want to track needs a separate account. Tracks activity by type of sharing (bookmark, email, etc.) and also by content, sharing service and continent.||Can track activity for multiple domains with a single account. Tracks not only widget activity, but also number of button views, times a widget was opened and also the ratio of both of those to page views. Also tracks top content and sharing services.||ShareThis. It’s really nice being able to track multiple domains with a single account and the information about widget serves/page view is pretty interesting.|
|PickFu Survey||Comparison of which button people would click on.||Comparison of which button people would click on.||AddThis. Feel free to conduct your own PickFu Market Research Survey.|
Final Verdict: AddThis
I found that AddThis had the best combination of ease of integration, ease of use from a customer perspective, best performance and least impact on the web page loading times. It’s a bit annoying to have an account to track reporting for each website you have, but it’s not that bad nor something I check that frequently.
Just my 2 cents for the whole addthis vs. sharethis comparison. Feel free to come to your own conclusions!
What do you prefer as a user? What do you prefer as a website owner?
Justin May 24th, 2009