I love visiting the offices of a startup. Last week, I was lucky enough to visit the offices of ShareThis and of PhoTrade. Both are based in Cincinnati, OH, and in both offices, the excitement was palpable. Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about PhoTrade; today I want to share ShareThis.
ShareThis LogoShareThis functions on the basis that the main mechanism of communication today is sharing, but everyone isn’t on a social network. I know, unbelievable, right? I forget sometimes that I’m an avid and early adopter. So are a lot of you. But is your mom? That’s why I like ShareThis - they have created a product that caters to the early adopters who are publishers but is truly meant for the average people like your mom and your Uncle Jim.
In fact, ShareThis CEO Tim Schigel informed me that email trumps everything. Despite articles citing the death of email with the millennial generation, it’s still the primary means of electronic communication. When Uncle Jim wants to share a nifty article with your mom, he cuts and pastes the URL into an email. I was initially aghast at this - email?! But I do it everyday. My husband and I constantly exchange links via email. Looking at buying a new Mac, my biggest concern was not switching from a PC, but switching from Outlook. ShareThis takes email into account.
At the bottom of a blog post, or even just an article or web page, you’ll see a ShareThis link. Click the button, and a pop-up window displays. From here, you can share your find to any of the social networks out there. Don’t see the one you’re looking for? Chances are it’s under the more button.
The Post tab lets you post directly to your blog. I was so surprised I hadn’t noticed it until Tim pointed it out. From a blogging perspective, this is brilliant, as I love things that make it easier for me to gather my information together. (This also includes the fantastic option of saving as a draft to your blog.)
The option that makes ShareThis extra user-friendly is the Send/Email tab. Choose this and you can enter an email address[es] and send it off to your friends. This helps quiet the noise. You’ll check emails from your friends probably before you even read your daily blog feeds.
More after the jump.
On a site without a ShareThis widget? That’s okay. You just need to install the ShareThis toolbar. I use it as an add-on for Firefox, but it also exists for IE. This allows you to share whatever you want from the page on which you landed.
That’s all just in the basic, easily accessible ShareThis widget that appears on web sites or using your Toolbar. Going to the ShareThis web site opens up a whole other host of options.
If you register with ShareThis, several things happen. Your contacts (which you can import) are then available to you whenever you encounter the widget. You also acquire a ShareBox. The ShareBox is a great way to save great articles for yourself - almost like a social bookmarking tool. You can then go back and share out the items in your ShareBox.
ShareThis has some fantastic features that are on the horizon. Of course, since they’re on the horizon, I can’t quite share them with you yet, but I am excited.
Happily, ShareThis seems to have a concrete and do-able business plan and strategy for growth. With ShareThis already appearing on major publisher sites (and well on its way to more, I understand), shooting for growth through advertising is more than feasible. Again, I can’t go into all the details, but I would definitely put the ads served through ShareThis on my page. I do want to mention here that, as far as I could tell, the ads aren’t necessarily going to be served by the button, nor will you be required host their ads. I’m not certain on this, but I do believe the guys at ShareThis are smart enough not to drive publishers off with an ad requirement.
ShareThis currently has 15 employees, most of whom are located above a toy shop in Cincinnati, OH. They also have a small but growing San Francisco office and an employee in New York City. With a fresh infusion of cash back in March, they’ve been able to purchase a new, yet fashionably old, building in a trendy part of town where they have more room to grow. Those offices are still under construction. In the meantime, they’re growing rapidly, with 100 million+ unique views per month.
I struggled with this post because I could have written 3-4 articles on different aspects of ShareThis. In fact, I never even touched on all the publisher options for easily installing ShareThis on your own blog. You can read some of that at Mashable and bNet. I left their offices having been infected by that startup air of excitement. ShareThis is doing so well, though, I don’t think they’ll be a startup for long.
And I know, I need to really bother the Tech Team here at bub.blicio.us about adding ShareThis to the bottom of our posts.