Can OExchange Become The Standard For Sharing?

Today Clearspring, in conjunction with a number of other large technology companies including Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, have announced OExcahnge, an “open sharing protocol”. The service attempts to define how sharing platforms can read and set users’ sharing preferences. The two largest companies that are currently absent from supporting the standard are Facebook and Twitter.

As I articulated to the team behind this, I’m a little bit confused about why a publisher would support OExchange. Just as OpenID didn’t have a marketing team to promote the service, OExchange doesn’t have a marketing team either. Instead, companies like AddThis (owned by Clearspring) and ShareThis, do the job of building partnerships with publishers.

The argument for supporting OExchange is that if you want to share information on large publisher sites right now, like the New York Times, you have a limited selection of destinations that you can publish to. While most users are on Facebook, Twitter, and other common sharing platforms, there are plenty of other communities where users prefer to share their favorite content.

The positioning of this standard is that other companies, like AddThis or ShareThis, can provide value beyond the basic offering of OExchange. The only problem I see here is that publishers won’t see a substantial benefit of implementing OExchange over the existing sharing widgets provided by Facebook and other large social platforms.

While there are plenty of other sharing platforms, the argument behind there being “multiple places to share” is becoming less relevant. Instead, Facebook and Twitter are looking to monopolize the “sharing” ecosystem. AddThis and ShareThis are in turn forced to perform the marketing to publishers on behalf of smaller social platforms. It’s why AddThis and ShareThis are such great services, however in order to get this open standard to work, the companies will need the buy in of the largest sharing platforms.

You can view the full details in the video below or via the OExchange website.

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