Support » Plugin: Shareaholic | share buttons, related posts, social analytics & more » duplicates in Related Content
Actually, I was wrong… you CAN verify this happening here:
peteratomic: I’d be more concerned that a “social bookmarking” plugin is surreptitiously scraping/crawling all of my content and, instead of providing links direct to your content, they are first re-routing all links and clicks through “traffic.shareaholic.com”.
I’d also be concerned that a plugin is now using other people’s content, your content, to embed links to themselves and to their join pitch page (look at the little double square icon to the far right of the thumbnails. Click it and you’ll see you end up on a page trying to convince you to signup for their service).
WHOA! Didn’t notice that! Thanks for the tip! Know any other plugins that do the same thing? Tried a few a while back and didn’t find something that works well.
peteratomic: I cannot recommend any of the Related Content / Posts types plugins as we simply do not utilize them. In many cases, they can tax a server’s overhead with numerous queries and use inefficient caching, or they use a third party server, not to mention the data mining going on, to scan content and embed the links via third party server. This puts your page load times at the mercy of the speed of their servers, as well as any congestion between your server and their nearest server. If it’s not stored and cached locally on our own server/database, we will not use it.
That said, you can try looking at the plugin repository here at WordPress itself. There’s a bunch of them listed. http://wordpress.org/plugins/search.php?q=related+posts
If you’re concerned about privacy or data mining of your content, then I would suggest reading the documentation on each plugin for disclosure on the practice. I do know a popular one that’s been around for years is “Yet Another Related Posts Plugin”, but there are indeed others. I have no personal experience with YARPP, so am unfamiliar with pros and cons of it. Certainly I would suggest reading reviews prior to using any plugin for questionable behavior.
Similarly, there are far less intrusive Social Network/Sharing plugins available in the repository.
nRelate is a good one that won’t slow your site down, but if you want to be able to manually handpick the related posts then go with: http://wordpress.org/plugins/microkids-related-posts/
When providing related content, there are three ways of implementing this feature:
(1) The user can manually select the recommended content for each page, which can turn out to be a very tedious process as this would need to be done every time new content is posted.
(2) Use a SQL search, such as YARPP, but this puts significant strain on the database, and can potentially slow down the site, which is a reason why some of the larger hosted solutions don’t allow this plugin.
(3) Use an external service such as Shareaholic: we need to process you content, usually via a crawl of your content pages (and only when you have the Related Content app enabled); then, once we know more about the content, we can provide Related Content recommendations. To make the recommendations better, we need to know whether people are clicking on the links (hence the redirect through traffic.shareaholic.com), and we also provide this detail back to you in the form of analytics. Any related content provider, such as nRelate, is going to be doing something similar to this.
The duplicate recommendations, when you click on each, could you please check if the URLs are exactly the same? If they are different, I’ll just need the title of the duplicate entry (as displayed on the results) so that I can investigate the URLs more closely.
I’ve cleared our cache of the generated Related Content results to perform a new crawl once the Related Content app is activated. After the recommendations reappear, please check through your site for any similar occurrences, and I’ll be happy to help! 🙂
C Reign: I understand this fully. But it’s hogwash (for lack of a better word) to spin the redirection of content links through your own site in order to select related content. More likely, and believable reasons, are as follows:
- You are embedding backlinks to your own site (redirection) and thus, eliminating any real SEO benefit to the publisher, to the point is a selling point to bother with your plugin. ALL the links point back to your site. At the same time, using publisher’s content to instantly create backlinks to your own site and bolster your own backlink profile.
- Mining data fills a data need that is used to create media kits for your advertisers, based on aggregate data and usage, collected from your plugin users. This translates to a revenue stream for you. Let’s not kid ourselves, you’re effectively selling data access as your own CEO has stated that is the basic business model.
- You are adding a second icon link into everyone’s pages that link back to your join page, attempting to convince them to join. Once inside, then you can try to get them to install your extensions, apps, etc. for stuff like delivering advertisements and coupons and such to people who install your extensions. This additional link also creates a wide backlink profile to your join page and the shareaholic site overall.
- The fact “Related Content” is enabled by default is alarming, at best. At the very least it should be Opt-in with a full disclosure that there is little to no SEO benefit, and that you are collecting data from both publisher’s content and surfers, as well as using their sites to embed links to yourself. Being honest is not a bad thing.
I’m trying not to be critical here. But I think its dishonest for Shareaholic to include other provider’s like nRelate who actually do not embed links into your content, redirecting traffic through them, to inflate their backlinks profile and they determine related content just fine.
To be clear, if Shareaholic stopped the practice of syphoning traffic and embedding multiple backlinks into people’s pages, I think it’s otherwise a great plugin and would welcome it back onto our hosting services (Granted, we’re not that big.. only about 850 WordPress hosted sites using Shareaholic) and a bunch of others that won’t use it. At this point, we’ve discontinued support for it entirely. Opt-in, not Opt-out, is what we expect from legitimate providers. If you’d like to open a dialogue elsewhere to discuss our concerns, and are willing to address them then certainly I/we’d be open to that.
But to spin it like you are simply providing a great thing for free is dishonest. You are most certainly charging a price — traffic, backlinks, upsells to your own service AND people’s data.
ETA: In the interest of disclosure, I do not use nRelate only because I do not place our sites at the mercy of a 3rd party server to deliver images. Unless the images are hosted locally, we will not use it, or any plugin/script, etc that pulls content from 3rd party servers.
Jay from Shareaholic here. Thank you so much for the great feedback. I welcome the opportunity for a dialogue! I’d love to discuss all your concerns. We can also talk about the perceived backlinking issue (we’re actually not as these all 301/302 redirects) and why something like this is needed in the first place.
I can be reached directly at jay at shareaholic dot com. I look forward to it!
Jay, thanks for reaching out. I am away for the weekend but will certainly contact you by Monday.
Incidentally, I was not speaking to the passing of PageRank. I was speaking to the issue of link density/value. Rather than linking directly to one’s content, which provides for a natural progression of information internally, the link is instead sent offsite (outbound link) then redirected back to the site as an inbound link, via your traffic / analytics server. Ultimately, this is still an outbound/external link.
In any case, I will speak with you directly. Thanks again for reaching out.
Since @rongo hasn’t reached out to me yet, I thought I would post an update here for everyone.
I am pleased to report that Shareaholic Recommendations / Related Content has been updated based on your feedback. What this means is that:
1) Linking: Thank you for the heads up (credit: Rongo et al). We made the update and now all Publisher content is directly linked in Related Content — exactly like how nRelate does it.
This update was pushed out about 10 days ago. Please update your browser cache to ensure you’re running the latest version of Related Content to see it in action.
I would reiterate, that we have the best of intentions! When you have a concern, talk to us! The line is always open. We always prioritize what is best for you guys over everything else.
2) Redirects (as and when required): In the cases we need something redirected, all redirects are now 301 redirected, thereby passing any and all SEO benefit back to the publisher. No pagerank is lost.
3) Data: We collect aggregated data for a) To provide you back with Social Analytics (example) Who better to show you social analytics than the folks who provide you with share buttons! We live and breathe this stuff. b) To compute the best content recommendations out there for you. We don’t just pay attention to what readers click on; we aim to ensure they love every page they find. What this means for you is more engaged readers that stick around longer and discover more of your great content. (methodology details) c) IF we ever use your data to generate revenue by selling it to others, we would ask for permission AND revenue share so YOU make money. FYI – we are yet to make money from any of our offerings. We’re lucky we have extremely supportive investors.
As Rongo pointed out, almost all other Related Content plugins tax a server’s overhead with numerous queries and use inefficient caching to the extent that they’re outright banned from running on hosting services like WP-Engine (for instance, Yet Another Related Content plugin is not allowed on WP-Engine as it taxes servers).
It costs us thousands of dollars each month in CDN, server, etc fees to make sure we deliver the fastest and best service to you. We do it because we believe it is the right thing to do as by doing so it makes sure your websites run as fast as possible.
5) SEO: A no brainer now.
“One way of getting search engines to get to your older content a bit easier, thus increasing your WordPress SEO capabilites a LOT, is by using a related posts plugin. These plugins search through your posts database to find posts with the same subject, and add links to these posts.” – Yoast (Joost de Valk)
We have measured that website’s on average see an increase of 7% in monthly pageviews right after they install Shareaholic Related Content….
…and the more your content gets discovered, the more it should get shared. Today, Social signals are crucial for SEO.
“In fact, 7 of the 10 most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media.” – sproutsocial
I hope you appreciate this update. If there is anything else we can do to create the best plugin out there and a kick-ass product for you guys, as always, I can be reached directly at jay at shareaholic dot com. I look forward to your feedback (and incorporating it back into the product quickly).
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