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At Techcrunch when we removed the share buttons average traffic to each post dropped 20-25%. We saw no jump in number of blog links, or tumblr's, or anything else.

The buttons suck - we knew that a lot of users hated them (it adds 4 * 20 additional HTTP requests to the main page), but they were worth too much traffic to do away with. Social network referrals likely surpass search engine referrals for a lot of blogs and web sites. They have steadily become an important web traffic navigator.

If somebody can figure out how to make those share buttons prettier and more efficient there is probably a product in that. I would guess that most blogs would love to drop the grid of share buttons that can be found on every post.

Otherwise I totally agree with not going for subdomains. We setup each property on a separate domain and initially had some on subdomains. The subdomains didn't rank at all and didn't help our PR or SEO. As soon as we switched each property to a separate domain our search referrals rocketed. For eg. you can now find a crunchbase link within the first 5 results for the name of a startup, while similar records for posts that lived on subdomains wouldn't rank at all. We had around a dozen different domains and frequently linked between them (for eg. each post would have multiple crunchbase links), and it worked really well for search ranking (search engines are ~40% of crunchbase traffic, IIRC) It shouldn't be like that, but it is.

Its nice how the 4*20 requests problem has been solved during the redesign. Now the individual Buttons are only loaded if someone really wants to use them and is hovering over the dummy buttons.

I found that quite nifty and unobtrusive. A smart solution to the problem.

It is much better than having two clicks (which I had prototyped), but the prob is that a lot of portable devices don't have 'hover' - so I don't know if it falls back on anything in that case.

There is a product here - package the buttons together so they only load once, hide them in some way by default, and provide a bunch of analytics. Lots of blogs and websites would pay for that - the current solutions for social button analytics are really bad, or non-existant (you need to know things like click-through rates, which share options are most popular, autohiding some for users who never use them, detect if the user is logged in for each service, how many followers/likes/retweets etc. each user gets from a share so you can identify 'power sharers' etc.) - I don't think that exists.

You can't just keep adding more and more buttons for each social service, and there are some people who will only use, for eg. delicious or pinboard and there are no buttons for them.

I guess http://www.addthis.com/ kind of does this and has a "fallback" option to integrate many services.

Mobile is definitely a problem but the mobile version of the website makes that solveable for the most popular devices.

I guess it's a matter of taste but i find the addthis button bar rather horrible to look at. Plus it does not have nearly the feature set that Nic is looking for. I agree there's a product there.

Share function belongs in the browser or in Web Intents. It would be less work for all the sites, consistent UX for users, and much better page load speed.

At Techcrunch when we removed the share buttons average traffic to each post dropped 20-25%. We saw no jump in number of blog links, or tumblr's, or anything else.

One thing I'm learning about SEO, is that you have to know your audience. This means you should know what they are searching for, and optimise for that. Likewise if your audience is a big user of twitter (which TechCrunch's audience would be), then use that to your advantage.

I completely agree that /blog was better than blog subdomain in the past, but this article has me convinced that google now treats them the same.


Am I wrong?

Wow this is an excellent find and it sounds right. They had something as arbitrary as "pets.example.com" counting for "www.example.com" so then "blog.example.com" should surely be the same as "www.example.com" and "example.com"

Can anyone clarify?

After reading some of the comments, it looks like this only counts for tracking inside of google webmaster tools. It doesn't necessarily mean that this is true for page rank and the "google juice".

If you could, how much would you charge someone to "subscribe" to "buy off" the share buttons for their pageview? Same question goes for ads.

If the price isn't too high, someone should just start selling crapblockers that make everyone happy. I guess the challenge is that you can't price a crablocker until after you've inundated someone with crap for measurement purposes.

Before the big redesign a while back, Mozilla's "memshrink" effort used Techcrunch as a metric because of how much memory it used. Between the buttons, the ads, and the other embeds, techcrunch was a massive massive memory hog on Firefox.

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