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Site Maintenance Tomorrow Morning

All,

We will be performing routine maintenance to the site tomorrow morning, 08/31/2010 @ 4:00am EST. The maintenance is expected to last about two hours. During this period, there will be no access to the Forum nor will modifications to email templates be available.

Please note that this maintenance will in no way affect sharing, analytics or overall button performance.

As always, thank you for using AddThis.

The AddThis Team

Planned AddThis Firefox Toolbar Downtime This Saturday

Hey guys, starting at Noon this Saturday July 24th and going for 4.5 hours, the AddThis Firefox Toolbar won’t be available for download. This is due to some planned maintenance on behalf of Mozilla Add-ons, where the AddThis Firefox Toolbar is hosted. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. I’ll update this post, when the maintenance is complete.

Updated 7/27 – This planned maintenance got moved by Mozilla to Saturday, July 31.  Will update as we get more information.

Kicking Off Q2: Margaritas and Practicing Downward Dog

To start the quarter off right, here at Clearspring (the company behind AddThis), we brought the whole company down to World Corporate Headquarters in McLean, Virginia (VA) for some company meetings and bonding time.

It’s always a blast to be able to see everyone.  Here in VA, we talk to our New York City and Los Angeles offices all the time on the phone and via e-mail but it’s SO much more fun to hang in person.  Plus, you can just get so much more done.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

My favorite feature of the AddThis browser extensions for Firefox and Internet Explorer is that it’s easy to customize my browser menu with my favorite services. Did you know you can Translate any page on the fly? Make The Book Of Eli downloadprinting easier by removing all of the navigation and other page elements, leaving just the content, with one click? Quickly share a link using your computer’s email application, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and other email services? These and other services save me time and make sharing easy.

Sometimes we get asked why anyone would need over 230 AddThis services – why so many? The answer is, AddThis is used by hundreds of millions of people all over the world, and there are lots of different ways to interact with a webpage. Some services are more popular than others in different countries, and everyone has their own favorite ways to share. We created the AddThis Service Directory so anyone could submit their service; the AddThis menu then optimizes and personalizes the list to show the right services to the right person at the right time.

To demonstrate, here is a list of my favorite services that I’ve selected to be in my Firefox AddThis menu, using the Options… feature to create and order my list:

jimsfavorites

I can add any service from the complete list on the left, and change the order of my selected list using the arrows on the far right.

Here’s a little more information about my favorite services; clicking one will share this page so you can see how each works.

  • Email Program: This service allows me to share any link to my computer’s default email application, opening a new message with the link already in the message body. No more copy-pasting links.
  • Blogger: Share any link to one of my Blogger blogs. Blogger’s compose window let’s me pick which blog to share to, where I can save the post for later or go ahead and publish. Easy.
  • Twitter: This lets me tweet any link; AddThis will automatically shorten links only if needed.
  • Facebook: I post a lot of design-related links to Facebook, our most sharing popular service.
  • Translate: Handy if you encounter a lot of pages in other languages. This service uses Google Translate to instantly determine the language and translate the page. You can even continue to browse the site in your own language thanks to Google’s use of frames.
  • PDF Online: Quickly save any page as a PDF.
  • Google Reader: Post and tag a link to your Google Reader shared items.
  • PrintFriendly: Strip out navigation, ads, images and any other page elements you like to print only the content of a page. Quick and easy reading as well as printing.
  • Print: I can use control-P, or use my browser’s menu, or some other way to Print. But hey, I’m using this menu all the time, so it’s convenient.

There are lots of other services and utilities to discover – what are your favorites? As always, we love feedback, so let us know how we can make AddThis even better.

Jim Lane, Director of User Experience for AddThis

A quick post-script: You might have noticed that Email Program is not yet available in the current version of the Firefox extension. You can get this service by installing the latest experimental version of the AddThis for Firefox addon on Mozilla. Just visit that page on Mozilla.com and scroll down and select “Get the Newest Version Now”. You heard it here first!

Formal Fridays

Now, at just about every office in the DC area, you’ll most likely see men and woman wearing suits in every direction that you turn. Well, buried in the heart of McLean, Virginia, just outside of the Beltway with the world’s largest concentration of government contractors, is a stronghold of startup culture. It’s Clearspring’s World Corporate Headquarters. (Note: Clearspring is the parent company of AddThis.)

Most offices in DC will take a break from wearing suits on Fridays and dress a little bit more casual. Well, at Clearspring, we’re pretty casual all the time. We think people do the best work when they’re comfortable being themselves. So… to have a little fun, we have turned the Friday tradition on it’s head and have Formal Fridays. On Fridays, we all wear suits. Well, most do.

Not to get all gooshy but it’s this kind of light hearted yet serious atmosphere that’s created by the amazing people I work with, which helps makes it fun to come into the office everyday.

Yes, Cyrus (smiley guy in the front) is holding a Dalek. Yep, we’re that geeky. Oh, of all the smiling faces in the photo above, take a guess at who the leader of this merry band of suited rebels is. stick out tongue

Enjoy more photos…

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

This Morning’s Outage

Picture 1

This morning, during an update of AddThis, we inadvertently overloaded our main data center, completely bringing down our website and ability to share. The menu and the button continued to load smoothly, as they are loaded off the CDN. For more information, check out the forum post.

We sincerely apologize for the outage. We’re especially bummed about it because it’s our first platform wide outage in over a year. We’re committed to giving you the best performing sharing tools on the Web and have put controls in place so we can prevent this type of thing moving forward.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line – justin@addthis.com

Yesterday’s AddThis SSL Outage

Early yesterday morning, we got reports from some of our users that they were experiencing issues with the AddThis menu over SSL. We immediately found that the problem was on our end, caused by a misconfiguration that had propagated throughout our CDN. This misconfiguration did not affect our standard HTTP version of AddThis.

By mid-afternoon yesterday, we thought we had resolved the issue but continued to get reports of problems in certain geographic areas.

We decided the best course of action was to accelerate the migration of our secure code to Akamai, which is by far the BEST CDN in the business. We had planned on doing this next week for all of AddThis but because of the issues yesterday, opted to move a lot faster for our secure code.

As of this morning, it looks like everything went smoothly with the migration to the new CDN and that this has resolved the outage. You should no longer be seeing any issues. All reports from customers thus far have been positive.

With the capabilities and immense infrastructure provided to us by our new CDN, we don’t foresee having a similar problem like this any time in the future. Secure AddThis users also should see a pretty significant boost in performance.

We sincerely apologize for this problem. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can comment on this blog, drop a note on the main forum thread for this issue, or e-mail me personally. – justin@addthis.com

We Found a Spy in Our Office

Our Office Spy

All morning, we’ve been hearing noises coming from the ceiling of Clearspring’s World Corporate Headquarters in McLean, VA. It sounded like something was in the ceilings. None of us could figure out what it was.

Well, as you can see from the photo above, we identified the spy that had infiltrated our office. It was a bird.

It was pretty entertaining to watch as a handful of our engineers spent a good 10 minutes trying to catch it. We were able to safely get it into a box and release it outside.

Now the investigation begins where we try to figure out who was trying to spy on our office and discover our secret new technologies that will give us world domination. Could it have been Twitter or Flock perhaps? Hahaha. Rimshot

Hope you’re all having a great day.

PS – This is not an April Fools Day joke. We really did find a bird in our office.

Thanks for Your Help with Test!

As most of you know, we’ve been testing some new services that help to promote and recommend content that has been shared using AddThis. Well, the test is over.

The test went really well. We learned some really important things and you all gave us a lot of great feedback.

I’m excited for you all to see what we’ve been working on. We’re working hard to come up with new and interesting ways that we can help get your content shared farther out to every corner of the Social Web.