Today is the 12th hackathon I’ve done since joining AddThis back at the start of 2011. While I definitely spent many all nighters working on AIM in its early days, I never got the chance to work on projects not related to my day to day job.
Earlier this spring we released a major new product called Audience Discovery, and the dev team that works on the product crushes it. But before we started investing in the product, there were the hackathons. While I joined AddThis to run our publisher web tools, during my interview I was exposed to all of the fun side projects that we built on top of our data.
So how did we get from a hackathon project to a product used by Fortune 500 companies? Here are some screen shots showing how a simple hackathon project evolved over time.
Hackathon Fall 2011 – Excel outputs, heaven help me
Hackathon Winter 2012 – An early test of search data and flot.js output
Spring 2012 – More flot.js output using free form inputs
Hackathon Summer 2012 – Who could forget our London Olympics Project
Hackathon Fall 2012 – County Level Candidate Data. We predicted every county and state correctly except Arapaho County, CO
Hackathon Spring 2013 – Using D3.js to output new Audience Interests data type
Hackathon Spring 2014 – Using NVD3 to output bar charts on new data types and analysis
Audience Discovery Spring 2015
None of this could be done alone, and a big thanks goes out to all the engineers, designers and dev ops who helped along the way.
Update – Hat tip to Aaron Jorbin for catching that you need to be an Admin to do this and you can’t be using MultiSuite. Â If you are using MultiSuite then you need to be a super admin.
The best content on the web is not limited to big publishers, some of the best writers on the web are really passionate bloggers. Â One of the challenges we bloggers have is to keep our visitors engaged on the site and introduce these visitors to otherwise undiscoverable content.
At AddThis, we are trying to solve this problem with the Trending content box. Â With AddThis installed on 14M+ domains and seeing 1.3B users our data network and data processing capabilities can surface the most social content for your WordPress blog. Â You may be asking, “how hard is it for me to do this?” Â As with any of our tools, they are super easy to install and you get awesome real-time analytics as well.
Here are the step by step instructions to add the Trending content box to your WordPress Blog.
Sign in with your AddThis account, if you don’t have an account or don’t use our sharing tools, sign up. Â It’s free and enables visitors to share your content to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and 300+ other services.
Customize the Trending content box. Â Pick the colors of the box, the size and how many links you want to display.
Copy the code and log into your WordPress blog.
Choose Appearance->Widgets and drag the Text widget to your Main Sidebar
Paste the copied code into the Text Widget and hit Save.
Your blog’s top social content will now appear in the sidebar of your blog helping you keep visitors engaged. Â If you are looking for more advanced features or want to hit the API for the feed directly, checkout these docs.
We had a great idea back in September when we were creating the 5th Birthday Infographic for AddThis, and planning the year end infographic we release in December each year, that wouldn’t it be great if we could give our publishers their own infographic. Â The design and development team of Jeff, Foo and Aaron did a great job of getting these graphics out to our publishers this week. Â Now publishers who use AddThis can have a nice recap for their 2011 that they can post on their blogs Â Here is mine:
2011 was an incredible year for social sharing. Â I spent the free time over the past 2 weeks processing incredible amounts of data (we process 70+ terabytes per week!), and Jeff did an awesome job turning my spreadsheets into a great infographic. Â I am really excited to share with you the great nuggets we were able to find amongst the 11MM+ publishers and 1.2B+ users who share through AddThis.
A few friends recently have asked which platform they should use to start a blog. Â Invariably the decision comes down to WordPress or Tumblr. Â Currently I am using WordPress that I have hosted at Dreamhost. Â I have used both blogging platforms extensively and have observed some really big differences in each platform’s ability to help you get visitors. Â Here are some observations I have made using my own blogs’ data and from data we have internally at AddThis.
According to Google Analytics, my Tumblr blog has no Search Engine Optimization (SEO) juice. Â I have almost zero referrers from a search engine. Â This means the only way Tumblr gets me new visitors is from social traffic or people manually typing in my address. Â WordPress does a great job with SEO, and with the All in One SEO Pack making sure my posts are crawl-able is very easy.
Visitors are more likely to share from WordPress blogs than they are from Tumblr. Â WordPress’s platform is easier to customize where the sharing buttons appear on each post increasing the likelihood to share. Â Shameless Plug: Â AddThis supports both WordPress and Tumblr and we give you tips on how to get the most out of sharing with each platform.
When sharing from Tumblr does occur, it delivers social traffic, and in one specific case it delivers a knockout. Â When I see someone share my Tumblr blog post to StumbleUpon, it is amazing to see how much traffic that arrives on my site from StumbleUpon. Â A single share drives on average, 500 views, which is amazing. Â On WordPress a single share to StumbleUpon drives 3 views on average. Â I have asked people at StumbleUpon and Tumblr why that may be and neither company could explain it.
Tumblr’s popularity continues to grow, and if they can get me more SEO juice the platform would be attractive. Â In the meantime, WordPress does a better job at delivering all three types of traffic (direct, social and search). Â If your audience skews younger, and if you don’t care about SEO juice,Â Tumblr is your platform.
If you want to move your blog from one platform to another here are two tools I recommend:
We celebrated a birthday this month, as AddThis turned 5 years old. Â In 5 years we have seen over 1.7 trillion views of our tools, the fall of MySpace, and the rise of Facebook and Twitter. Â AddThis goes way beyond simple sharing tools. Â We process over 70 TBs of data a week so that our publishers can learn what impact their content is having on the social web.
As the director of product for AddThis for the last 10 months, it is amazing to see the evolution of such a simple set of tools become something so essential that over 10 million publishers worldwide use our product. Â Every day is a fun challenge of building a product for over 1.2 billion users.
Five years in Internet time feels like an eternity, and the data we have can clearly show and predict trends happening across the web. Â The infographic we released today shows some of those trends. Â It will be fun to see what trends emerge over the next 5 years.
Last night we hosted the first DC Big Data meetup. Â At Clearspring, when it comes to Big Data we process it. Â 9M domains, over 1B Unique Users per month and over 1 Petabyte of data per year. Â You can check out the entire presentation Matt gave last night. Â A lot of companies talk about Big Data, but in the end its all about how you use the data that matters. Â Check out the presentation below.
So the Oscars are over, and looking back the data was able to predict that Natalie Portman would win Best Actress, but the data was misleading on Best Movie and Best Actor.
Last night we also pulled data as the Oscars were happening. Â It was great to see in real time how our data changed based on what was taking place on the TV. Â Check out the chart below, you can see how searches for James Franco spiked during the opening monologue, and Colin Firth got a huge jump after winning Best Actor.
While Inception did not win for Best Picture (sorry, Jordan), the King’s Speech was a terrific movie, even if it did not capture the internet’s attention as much as the other movie’s out there.
Over at AddThis, we analyzed some statistics trying to predict who was going to win the Best Actor and Actress as well as Best Movie based on how much sharing activity we have seen. Â Predictions are just that, guesses based on what we see is happening on the internet and our network.
While I would love to see Jesse Eisenberg and Natalie Portman win, will it happen? Â It is too hard to say. Â The internet can be a funny place, Jesse Eisenberg may have been mentioned a lot because The Social Network is about Facebook, or maybe he is just that good of an actor in his role. Â Natalie Portman has always been an internet favorite, but her role in Black Swan may have caused an over-index in sharing.
Yesterday we had a great release for publishers looking to have more control over access to their analytics, and even easier registration for new publishers and users. Â For new users, we now support creating an account with Facebook, Google and OpenID making it very easy to get started integrating sharing into your site.
There are a lot of other goodies in this release that we will cover over the next week, but the new account and registration changes are going to make life a lot better for our publishers.