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How to get 400 million backlinks in only 3 years

Alex Christie

9 September 2009

If you are on the Internet these days, you will have seen the now famous social bookmarking icons, they weren’t so famous 3 years ago when AddThis started. If you have seen the buttons below, the chances are that a little piece of code from AddThis is responsible for the icons.

Bookmark and Share

What i did not realise was quite how popular they really were, the idea was good a few years ago and to be quite honest I was relieved when somebody centralised all the code necessary to update your bookmarks. AddThis was only launched in 2006 they released a script that made social bookmarking a little bit easier for the public at large. The nice thing is, they have managed to get over 400 million backlinks in only 3 years, no mean feat at all. One of the most impressive widget distributions that I have seen to date.

AddThis claims that it serves over 200 billion views a month  (apparently they managed to get a Page Rank of 10 a few months back). AddThis have a very good service – they simplify the process of social bookmarking, however I do think the backlinks they get out of the equation are a bit sneaky, the URLs are redirected using an onpage redirect and transfer no value to the social bookmarking page which is the intention of the webmaster. In fact they have managed to get backlinks from some of the most respected authority sites on the net, mostly sitewide links or at least from all the article pages.

It does however appear that Google is disregarding (or at least devaluing) the backlinks from the widget as they are probably seriously distorting the web. If you run your own site and are concerned about giving backlinks to a company that has far too many already, I would recommend using the code supplied by each bookmarking services that you want, especially if you have an bigger more influential site.  If you are a blogger or are not concerned about the leakage of link equity (essentially these links are going into a big black hole) don’t bother. I personally don’t think that AddThis deserves all of the value it gets from sites without passing a bit of it on to the services they rely on. I used them in this very article (don’t forget to add the nofollow).

In fact to illustrate the wasted equity s7.addthis.com has over 100 million backlinks according to Yahoo (it may be counting the hot-linking of an image) all it contains is haiku by Issa, a Japanese haiku poet of the Edo period and nothing else.

A world of dew,

and within every dewdrop

a world of struggle

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