I wasn’t planning on writing this post. In fact I was hoping I would never write such post but I felt I needed to warn the fellow bloggers and web site owners who are using (or planning to use) the Shareaholic plugin for WordPress.
Shareaholic plugin review.
I have to admit, the plugin looks awesome. I have been using this free plugin on most of my blogs for years but today I had to disable it and replace by it by another plugin.
Although it might look very clean and professional, Shareaholic has one major flaw – its owners. This plugin works well, lets your readers share your content with ease and it even suggests your visitors to read other articles you wrote in the past (related posts). I am not very technical but I will try to explain how this thing works.
In order to use Shareaholic’s tool the information must pass through Shareaholic’s servers. When the plugin is installed on your site it sends outgoing requests to its servers and then returns the information back to your site. This might also be the reason why Shareaholic doesn’t work on your hosted WordPress blog – some hosting companies do not allow outgoing requests.
Where Shareaholic experience turns sour.
I often discuss different plugins, themes and modifications with other bloggers and Internet marketers in general. Someone recently told me they stopped using Shareaholic because this plugin redirected their visitor to another site. I insisted on using this tool because I have never had such experience… until today.
Today I was looking at one of my posts and I noticed the suggestion box that contained 6 suggested articles; 3 blog posts from my site, a link to my home page and two (2) top suggestions linking to some other sites! Take a look:
This means that I work hard on writing my content, getting visitors to my blog just so I could lose them to some other website because of Shareaholic? Like Sarah Palin would say: “Thanks, but no thanks”.
I also decided to make sure I wasn’t using some very outdated version of the plug-in that might cause these issues. It turns out I am using one of the latest releases, 220.127.116.11 – it is still an ongoing issue.
It is very unfortunate but I have no other choice as to stop using this plugin and replace it by something else at the moment.
EDIT: Reply From Shareaholic
Some of you may know that I offer online reputation marketing services to local companies. When I write new blog posts for the “reputation” blog I usually write about companies who completely failed at the task of customer satisfaction and sometimes even compromised their whole business by doing so. This time I might make a post about Shareaholic, however they will be the company who does it RIGHT and who knows that customers are valuable assets to a business.
About 5 hours after I wrote this review I got a reply from Jay @ Shareaholic, The reply came in form of a comment to this post. You can read the reply in the comments below. Shareaholic probably set-up Google alerts or something similar that notifies them every time people talk about them online – and this is what each company must do! So, 1 point for Shareaholic.
Jay was very nice and understanding in his reply. He explained that the links to other sites can be disabled (which isn’t very obvious and not really mentioned anywhere in the plugin installation). He did admit that probably this feature wasn’t released in a proper way and in-fact Shareaholic should make a bigger effort to tell people about it and how it works. Jay also pointed out the fact that I can simply opt-out from the “Related Content” – then no suggested posts would show at all. Finally, Jay apologized for the inconvenience and promised they will do better. That’s another point for Shareaholic, actually multiple points.
- I strongly believe Shareaholic should not activate this “monetization feature” by default and should instead promote it heavily, explaining to the bloggers all the benefits of it. Personally I do link to other people’s blog posts and articles from time to time because I decide to do so and because I think the content is worth linking to. I need to control the content that I show to my readers.
- Because of Shareaholic’s enthusiasm for their product, fast response and just proper customer care – I would gladly give them a second choice and re-Activate their plugin on this blog. I would also recommend this plugin to others (of course I would explain how to disable 3rd party links as well).
Once you are inside your account, go to Site Tools and slide that white circle all the way to the left, this will disable “Related Content” from other websites: