Shareaholic **used** to be a respectable plugin provider until recent updates. However, the company is now engaging in practices that, in our view, calls their integrity into question.
1. Data Mining — “Related Content” is a real nice way of spinning “We’re scraping your content, mining your blog’s data and then embedding links into your posts to track everything back through our own site.” Thanks for link juice, much appreciated. Sure they suggest your content that may be related, but in doing so they are redirecting everything back through their tracking service BEFORE the user reaches your content. It is important to note that you are immediately enrolled into this data mining program, as it is on by default and piggybacks onto the Social Sharing plugin itself.
2. Registration Mining — Surfers wanting to share your content are, depending on the social network they wish to share your content on, are funneled into a Shareaholic app that requires them to register first and THEN sends them to the social network they wanted. Do you trust them to not spam your users after this?
3. Storing Data on 3rd Party Services — rather than respecting your blog plugin’s settings, and storing things on your own local database, your settings and data are now stored in a 3rd party cloud service, conveniently spun as their answer to the speed issues which plagued them. In reality, it just gives them more control over your own data, versus storing necessary files locally on your own installation and database. It’s all about the data tracking.
There are a number of issues at play here, beyond the ones noted above. It’s an otherwise good plugin, but the data mining at play here should be fully explained and disclosed. No doubt this is for business reasons and ultimately for advertising/investment reasons. But it’s act the expense of their users’ sites and content. Certainly they’ve lost us a long time customer.
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