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Social services widget creator AddToAny has announced the launch of a new version of their share widget today. Back in June they launched "smart menus" within their widget. Mashable has a good overview of the new features which include counters for Digg and Delicious, more color selections and the ability to prioritize the way sources are displayed in the widget.
They have also added the open share icon which is similar to the orange RSS icon that is the standard. There are also more email options similar to the email a friend widget from SocialTwist. In September, AddToAny competitor AddThis was acquired by Clearspring.
One question I’ve been struggling with is if anyone actually uses these "share" widgets. I’ve found that on CN there’s nearly no usage, on HTMLCenter there’s a bit more usage but still tiny. The individual icons for each service seem to work much better on my sites. Adding more features is great but getting more usage is critical. On sites that I manage for clients in a variety of categories, usage is also low. There are a good number of these share widgets and the one who figures out how to get actual interaction will be the category winner.
Add To Any is announcing an update to their service that could help publishers get more viral distribution. With today’s update, users who click the Add To Any button on a Web site or blog will have their favorite and most visited services appear first in the list. Named "smart menus", the personalized menus require no user involvement. They pick up the visited sites from the user and show those first in the list. They describe the technology as, "Behind the scenes, the widgets process a predefined link list of all services, and determine which services have been visited via a special property that browsers give to visited links. This works in all modern browsers and is near-instantaneous."
For users of less popular services, the smart menu launch will mean that it’s more likely a user will use the Add To Any menus more than in the past.
Add To Any’s business model is simple: paid service inclusion. Services pay a fee to appear in the Add To Any listing. I wonder what today’s announcement will do to their business model. For example, do paid service still appear first or will my recommended services always be forced to the top of the list?
I have a couple quick widget updates on this rainy Tuesday evening. AddToAny is one of the most popular content sharing widgets and they have relaunched with a new look and the sharing widget has some new, useful functionality. As compared to ShareThis and AddThis which only show the top services, AddToAny now shows all services and they offer a filter box which allows you to type in a letter and filter the list to your favorite services.
I am always impressed when a service pushes past the top few services — there’s so much great stuff out there, this can help users to find new offerings. I’d be very interested in hearing from you whether you prefer the individual icons for each service or one drop-down offering like AddToAny offers. Which provides the most usage for your blog or Web site?
JustAddMe is a new widget which allows you to show off the social services you use for easy "friending" or adding to a particular service. The following services are currently supported: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Technorati, MySpace, Ning, Flickr and Digg. We’ve embedded the widget on the right panel of the site.
As for how either of these widgets will generate revenue, your guess is as good as mine. I assume they could both jam some sort of ad — or highlight a service for a fee.