I’ve been using ShareThis on my blogs and recommending it to my clients for a while now. I explain to my clients that ShareThis is a “passive broadcaster” of their content, giving their blog and web site visitors handy tools to email posts or articles to others, to easily blog about the content they are reading or to link to the content via any of over 30 social media and networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Mixx and del.icio.us.
For a while now, ShareThis had only one direct competitor – AddThis.
When I first went to sign up for one of these services, it seemed pretty much six of one and half a dozen of the other when comparing the two. I went with ShareThis because I liked their button, not a very strategic decision-making process, but when two services are quite comparable, it really boils down to going with either other people’s recommendations or with your gut.
There’s a new kid in town, however, giving both ShareThis and AddThis a run for their money.
A vision of Grouptivity, according to the company’s founder Ankesh Kumar, is to make sharing web content more powerful than ever. Kumar says that while sharing via bookmarking sites and social networks is important, his company has found that so far 80% of site visitors still opt to share content via email. So Grouptivity facilitates emailing content – integrating with users’ email account address books – rather than trying to change their more common behavior. ShareThis offers similar email integration while AddThis focuses more on the publisher.
Besides being an application that resides on the blogs and sites of content producers, Grouptivity is also a tool for the site visitor who can finally save all of the things they’ve forwarded on to others or linked to on their social networking sites in a single place. Grouptivity becomes the repository for the content that you’ve found interesting enough to share so you can find it again and share it in other ways. ShareThis has a similar functionality (ShareBox) while AddThis again focuses on the publisher versus the user.
Grouptivity let’s you connect with “friends” in a social networking way and view your friends’ recent activity to see what content they have shared. And yes, you can also add content privately to your account in case it is something you want to refer to later but don’t want to share publicly. Grouptivity also adds private discussion forums to start a dialogue around shared content.
Another aspect of Grouptivity that sets it apart from similar services is the exploration of monetization and revenue sharing between the company and content publishers. This model will need time to prove out, however, it is an interesting addition to content sharing services. Grouptivity also allows content publishers to “own” their user data so you can build relationships with the people who are sharing your content. ShareThis, for example, provides you with stats but not with detailed user information. You can export user data as CSV, Excel or PDF files.
Companies like Grouptivity may be the third or fourth to market but get the benefit of expanding on existing services. First or second to markets like AddThis and ShareThis have to work twice as hard to hold their positions.
Do you think Grouptivity has a real chance to overturn the market hold that ShareThis and AddThis currently has? Is monetizing and sharing revenues with publishers the winning ticket?