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Removing Artificial Sharing Data Caused By Bots

Sharing is at the center of how we discover new and relevant content online. Our goal is to allow anyone to share anything to anyone at any time.

With this in mind, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make sharing with AddThis universally accessible, including by people with disabilities. Because we are so widely used by the federal government, complying with the Section 508 guidelines for Web sites was the first goal.

A week or so ago we published a new version of the AddThis code which moved us towards this goal. We found that, while it made things more accessible to people with disabilities, it also made AddThis more accessible to a slew of bots.

Bots were mercilessly hitting AddThis and causing all these shares to be triggered that aren’t actual shares. It inflated our internal numbers. We saw some sites that were getting as much as a 25% artificial bump in shares.

So… we’re currently working on a set of filters that’ll take out the artificial shares caused by the bots. In the meantime, we’re going to revert to the older AddThis code that doesn’t allow this to happen. This may mean that some of you may see a drop in your number of shares.

If you have any questions about this, drop a comment on this post or drop me an e-mail. – justin@addthis.com

  • Will this affect the sharing?

  • Sheela, thanks for the question. No, this will not affect sharing on your site. Your users will not see a difference. We’re just rolling back to a version of the code that we were using before.