This morning Clearspring officially announced that they will soon deprecate the company’s Launchpad widget platform, integrating features directly into AddThis which will become Clearspring’s central platform. The shift makes a ton of sense, as the concept of “widgets” doesn’t resonate as strongly with users as “sharing” does. While Facebook and other social platforms want to be a centralized place for the content a user shares, AddThis serves as the sharing switchboard.
Clearspring also wants to participate in the 1 billion user race, as its reach has grown from 200 million users last year to over 600 million users as of today. That means Clearspring has data on almost have the world’s global internet population which is now approximately over 1.7 billion (source). While it’s easy for some to write off Clearspring’s latest shift, the company now has access to a massive amount of data.
Whether it’s the platforms that users are sharing most through or the articles which are being shared most, AddThis has the potential to provide not only media companies but social platforms and most importantly search engines with valuable user data. Given that the majority of web users are not busy building their own websites and linking to other sites via traditional web pages, search engines need to gain access to the valuable “sharing” data.
That’s why both Microsoft and Google have announced partnerships with Twitter for having unfiltered access to their data. While sampled data is often enough to determine what content is most popular, having the largest sample size is still a competitive benefit. Facebook continues to dominate the world of online sharing, however there is still a large percentage of the world which doesn’t use Facebook or like to share information via other channels like Twitter, or even email (gasp!).
However users share information and whatever information users want to share (including widgets), AddThis is positioning themselves as the single sharing platform to share anything, anywhere. Now all we need to find out is what Clearspring plans on doing with all that data.