Delhi and Boston-based Shareaholic, a plugin which makes it easier to share articles across several social networking sites, has raised $2 million funding from General Catalyst Partners, NextView Ventures, Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Nicole Stata of Boston Seed Capital, Edward Roberts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The company had earlier raised seed funding of $355,000. Shareaholic intends to use this funding to scale their team and resources in Boston and Delhi. The company currently employs 8 people, with 2 in India. The company has been founded by Jay Meattle, who previously founded Compete.com.
Launched in 2008, Shareaholic allows users to share articles by offering browser plugins for Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 and Opera; a bookmarklet and a plugin for the music player Songbird. It also offers sharing buttons for publishers on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or any other website. The company claims that Shareaholic crossed 250 million visitors along with more than 2 million browser plugin downloads and 1.4 million WordPress plugin installs in November 2011, as reported by TechCrunch.
Business Model: Shareaholic CEO Jay Meattle told MediaNama that the company’s basic services are free. But if you are are an advertiser and need access to targetable audiences based on the interest and intent signals mined from viewing and sharing habits of users, you will have to pay a subscription fee. It also partners with online shopping sites to offer deals and coupons to Shareaholic users whenever the latter is on that particular shopping site. For instance, if a user is on eBay, he will see deals and coupons from eBay. The company had previously partnered with sites like Savings.com, and Zappos for this initiative. The company is currently building a platform to deliver targetable data and audiences to advertisers who engage in real-time buying (RTB) of display inventory. It also intends to introduce more granular personalization and sophisticated matching in Shareaholic Deals in the future.
What kind of user data is mined? Shareaholic tracks data points like influencer, influencee, level of influence, intent, and topics of interest through browser cookies and analyzes the aggregated user viewing habits (what and who they share with, how influential they are) to create segments. For instance, technology advertisers can target their ads to an audience who share content about iPhone, which, according to the company, will have more click through. It claims that performance with this targeting capability will be much higher than display ad buying without such targeting data, after measuring their click through rates.
Other Players: Shareaholic competes with ShareThis, which claims to have 400 million users across 1 million websites last year; Clearspring Technologies’s AddThis, which claims to have 1.2 billion users across 11 million domains and AddToAny, which was recently acquired by the Seattle-based social commerce website Lockerz.