…And I’ve just deleted the #ShareThis plugin from my blog. Here’s why.

The ShareThis people sent me a very nice e-mail:

The ShareThis plugin on your website has been updated!

If you would like to customize the look of your widget, go to the ShareThis Options page in your WordPress administration area

…and the new plugin looks great, and has different themes!

And then you discover that all you have to do is merely mouse-over an icon and it greys out your blogpost and opens up a Share-With-Twitter (or whatever) dialogue.

And plonk, it goes straight in the trash.


3 Replies to “…And I’ve just deleted the #ShareThis plugin from my blog. Here’s why.”

  1. The performance issue is an interesting side line. It isn’t clear that icons are a problem, since I assume Google and Facebook probably want them cached, will likely have cached DNS entries etc. Of course they could reduce the cache time if they wanted to spy on everyone.

    My experience is the biggest common problem is reliability, that such services tend to move the graphics that you link to, leaving you with a 404 (which typically doesn’t cache as well), or their service may simply be down. As such we’ve moved many such graphics to our own service, thus avoiding unneeded dependencies on third parties.

    The security issues of including stuff from other sites are unthinkably complex. Especially when many browsers do content sniffing and similar. One of our sites got blacklisted by Google for serving dodgy Javascript, even though we carefully only allowed free users to serve plain text files (seems IE sniffed it, decided that the content of “text/plain” was “Javascript”, and then executed it – way to go Microsoft).

    If I had my way nothing on our site would link to anything outside its own name, except for purposes of navigating away, but the marketing folk disagree. And then we come to using SSL….

  2. From a performance point of view it would be better not to hotlink to graphics anyway. If you had say Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Digg icons on a page that would be 4 DNS lookups and 4 http requests (assuming they don’t load any additional CSS/JS).

    Whereas putting them in a sprited image on your own server only results in a single additional http request. And if you have sprited images on your site already you can probably save yourself the additional request as well.

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