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AddThis logo.svg
Type of site
Online advertising
OwnerOracle Corporation
CommercialYes (advertising)
LaunchedOctober 2006[1]

AddThis is a free social bookmarking service that can be integrated into a website with the use of a web widget. Once the widget is added, visitors to the website can bookmark or share an item using a variety of services, such as Facebook, MySpace, Pinterest, and Twitter.[2] AddThis collects users' behavioural data, even if they do not share anything.[3] The site reaches 1.9 billion unique visitors monthly and is used by more than 15 million web publishers.[4] The service operated under companies including AddThis, Inc., AddThis, LLC, and Clearspring Technologies, Inc. until the company's acquisition by Oracle Corporation on January 5, 2016.[5] Most anti-malware software blocks the website as a malicious adware webpage.[citation needed]


AddThis, LLC was founded in 2004 by Hooman Radfar, Austin Fath, and Dom Vonarburg.[6] By 2007, AddThis had served more than 100 million widgets to websites, with website growth at 100 percent per month and some two million views a day.[7][8]

In 2008, Clearspring Technologies, Inc. acquired AddThis, LLC, with the intent of creating a single content sharing platform for publishers under one brand: AddThis. The combined platform per Comscore was 254 million unique users.[2][9] Clearspring upgraded AddThis with widget-sharing capabilities from LaunchPad, then discontinued the LaunchPad offering, reaching 600 million unique users by the end of 2009.[10]

In 2010, the company launched the Clearspring Audience Platform, a service for brand marketers to deliver interest-based display advertising across the web, which topped 1 billion unique users and was used by over 8 million unique domains.[11] Clearspring acquired data science company XGraph in 2011.[12] In September, the company hired a new CEO, Ramsey McGrory, formerly of RightMedia and Yahoo!, with co-founder Radfar becoming executive chairman.

On May 10, 2012, Clearspring changed its name to AddThis, its most widely used product. The company launched three sharing and analytics tools: Trending Content Box, Follow Tools, and Welcome Bar,[13][14] as well as supporting content sharing for Pinterest and Web Intents.[15][16][17] In August, the company began offering social login.[18] In September, CFO Richard Harris took over as CEO.[19]

In March 2014, the company was named number one on the Top 30 Syndicated Ad Focus Entities by comScore.[20]

On January 5, 2016, AddThis was purchased by Oracle Corporation for almost $200 million. Before being acquired, AddThis had raised roughly $73 million to date.[5]

Like button lawsuit[edit]

The company was the subject of a lawsuit by Rembrandt Social Media, which also sued Facebook, for the use of patents that were first implemented in Surfbook and belonging to deceased Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer that involve the "Like" button.[21]

Canvas fingerprint tracking[edit]

In July 2014, ProPublica exposed AddThis for uniquely identifying and tracking users using a controversial technique called canvas fingerprinting.[22] With a storage and user identification method that is harder to block than cookie-based tracking, AddThis was able to more pervasively identify and track users' online browsing history on websites such as and YouPorn removed AddThis after the ProPublica article was published, citing that they were "completely unaware that AddThis contained a tracking software that had the potential to jeopardize the privacy of our users."[22]

AddThis allows users to opt-out of their tracking tools via their corporate website; the opt-out process requires the user to provide name, country of residence and physical address.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AddThis announces public beta".
  2. ^ a b Keane, Meghan (2008-09-30). "Widget-maker Clearspring Buys AddThis". Wired. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  3. ^ Simmonds, Will (2 September 2012). "Who are these tracking companies? Meet AddThis". Abine - Online Privacy.
  4. ^ "AddThis is the largest social infrastructure and data platform". Company About page. AddThis. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "DCInno". DCInno. Archived from the original on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  6. ^ O'Reilly, Lara. "Oracle is acquiring web tracking company AddThis for around $200 million". Business Insider. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  7. ^ "Article: Reaches 100 Million Widgets Served - Social Bookmarking". PRNewsWire. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2010-02-07.[dead link]
  8. ^ Valentine, Mike Banks (11 October 2006). "Facilitating Social Media Optimization (SMO)". WebProNews. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  9. ^ Darcy, Darlene (2008-09-30). "Clearspring acquires AddThis - Washington Business Journal". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  10. ^ "Press Release: Web Widgets meet mobile video as Clearspring and Transpera Join Forces". Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  11. ^ "Press Release: Clearspring, Largest Sharing Platform on the Web, Launches Audience Platform for Advertisers and Publishers". Archived from the original on 2012-01-05. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  12. ^ "Clearspring CEO McGrory on the acquisition of Xgraph". AdExchanger. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  13. ^ "Clearspring Rebrands as AddThis, Reaches 1.3B Users". Siliconangle. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  14. ^ "Extending the Platform with New Traffic and Engagement Tools". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  15. ^ AddThis Blog: Pinterest Available in the AddThis Services Menu and Some Fun Facts
  16. ^ Pinterest grew 52% to 17.8M unique visitors in February | VentureBeat
  17. ^ AddThis blog: A Step for Open Sharing: AddThis Integrates Web Intents
  18. ^ "Digital content tracking platform AddThis adds social sign-in feature to its suite of plug-ins". The Next Web. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Overly, Steven (September 29, 2013). "The Download: Data analytics firm AddThis moves its financial officer into the CEO role". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  20. ^ "comScore Media Metrix Ranks Top 50 U.S. Desktop Web Properties".
  21. ^ "Facebook sued over 'like' button". BBC. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  22. ^ a b Julia Angwin (2014-07-21). "Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block — ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  23. ^ "Oracale Data OptOut". April 15, 2019.

External links[edit]