Widget creation platform Clearspring has acquired AddThis, a bookmarking and sharing button, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition moves Clearspring closer to becoming a service that lets users share content from any website.
AddThis will initially remain its own service. Clearspring reports that the two services combined will reach approximately 200 million users and 300,000 publishers.
As far as widget platforms go, Clearspring has branched out to allow users to share content across a number of social networking and blogging sites with one click, which overlaps with AddThis’ content-sharing abilities. So this area will be a focal point for the two companies’ integration.
Clearspring has also extended its platform to include advertising widgets and analytics. In fact, AddThis already used Clearspring to power its own analytics for the content-sharing widget it provided to site owners, and the acquisition will make more of Clearspring’s analytics and tracking options available to AddThis clients. The Clearspring Launchpad, which powers much of ClearSpring’s current analytics and tracking services, will eventually be re-branded under the AddThis name.
Aside from the assimilation of AddThis technology, a big goal for Clearspring is to leverage AddThis for the creation of a universal sharing service. This will include features that enable users to share any content from the web regardless of whether or not a site owner has installed Clearspring or AddThis widgets to their site. I wondered if this plan included a user back-end to track the items individuals have bookmarked and/or shared, or a browser bookmarklet. Clearspring CEO Hooman Radfar didn’t get into any specifics, but said that Clearspring wants to put the sharing environment where the user is. Taking AddThis in a more user-friendly direction fits with Clearspring’s existing emphasis on ease-of-use. Meanwhile, AddThis’ biggest competitor ShareThis already has a number of features moving towards a similar universal sharing environment, and other companies such as Vysr are using different ways of creating a browser-based sharing tool.