Just what are Digg, Mixx, Delicious, Reddit, Furl and the multitude of other ‘sharing’ and ‘bookmarking’ services? And more importantly, why should a website owner pay any attention to them? Often sharing and bookmarking services, and the ability to post to the services are combined such as with the tell-a-friend, add-this and ShareThis services (see the end of this post for the badges for these services).
Sharing services such as Digg are typically a means for a viewer of content on the web to let others know that they find that content interesting. Most offer a voting mechanism so that it is evident how many people found the content interesting (some, such as Mixx also allow ‘negative voting’ so that people can mark the content as undesirable to them). Many allow commenting on the submission.
Bookmarking Services are much like the bookmark facility on your internet browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and so on). Bookmarking is your recording of an Internet page which you may want to access again. The advantage of online Bookmarking Services (e.g. Google Bookmarking or Live) is that they are available to the individual no matter what computer they use (they just need to sign in to their online bookmarking service).
The poplarity and frequency with which the web community access and submit to bookmarking and sharing sites is enormous. Within two months of ShareThis launching, their button had been shown on over 26 million web page views whilst Tell-a-friend recorded 216 million views within five months of their launch. The image below (from addthis) illustrates which are the most popular bookmarking and sharing services.
Website Owner Advantages
Sharing and Bookmarking Services offer website owners two main advantage:
- Links: Every time someone shares or bookmarks a web page an additional link to the shared/bookmarked page is created. These links are indexed by the search engines (e.g. Google and Yahoo). It is common knowledge that search ranking is weighted heavily by the number of links to every web page i.e. the more links the more ‘important’ the search engines deem the page.
- Expanded Audience: Sharing and bookmarking services (especially sharing services) list the pages submitted to the services. Anyone visiting and searching the sharing (or bookmarking) service may be presented with a link to the original content. This translates into a greatly expanded potential audience.
Ultimately bookmarking and, in particular, sharing is what Web 2.0 and the socail media is all about; linking similar content, people and interests.