Today is the one year anniversary of the first Sphere Related Content plug-in that ran on TIME.com. It’s been quite a ride since our first Sphere Related Content icon was deployed on TIME.com. To be sure, that plug-in was quite different from today’s version. But our passion to connect mainstream and conversational media content has only gotten stronger. We are strong believers in conversational media. We believe everyone has a voice, and our mission is to create exposure for a wide range of perspectives. By creating connections between contextually relevant mainstream media and blog content, we’re exposing a broader set of Internet readers to blog content, fundamentally involving bloggers in the conversation.
Adoption of our Sphere Related Content plug-in has really taken on its own momentum. As of June 15, the Sphere Related Content icon is displayed on over 1.0 billion partner page-views. One Billion is a cool number but what we find most interesting is that our reach is significant and growing quickly due to the distributed network of partner sites. Consistent with our mission, our distribution success creates more opportunities for bloggers to add their voice to the conversation. That’s super exciting for us to see. We get a lot of notes from excited bloggers when one of our mainstream publisher partners links to their post. In part, they love the traffic but I suspect it goes much deeper than that – it’s exciting to have your point of view recognized and added to the discussion.
Typically, publisher partner sites show contextually related content from their archives as well as blog posts from the blogosphere. Some publishers also point to related media articles from competing news sites or recommend blog sites that post frequently on specific topic matters (i.e., Technology, Sports, Science, Entertainment, etc.). You can see Sphere Related Content on a number of top publisher and micro-publisher sites including (just click on the below links and then look for Sphere Related Content at the bottom of the article and click):
- Publishers: The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times (Tech & Science sections), AOL News, TIME, Dow Jones Market Watch, CBS News, AOL Entertainment, NBC Access Hollywood, Media General Affiliates, AOL Sports, ZDNet Blogs, DWELL, About.com and several more sites covering a broad range of topic categories going live soon.
- Micro-Publishers: TechCrunch, GigaOM, All Things D, Mathew Ingram, Publishing 2.0, Battelle Searchblog, Captains Quarters, Carpetbagger Report, Apple Matters, O’Reilly Radar, Cool Hunting, Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, Venture Beat, Duct Tape Marketing, Reel Pop Blog, Read Write Web, New Tee Vee, Web Worker Daily, Infectious Greed and many, many more great sites in process to partner with the ‘Sphere.
- WordPress.org: the plug-in is available to all blogs running on WordPress.org and it seems to be a hit, becoming one of the 50 top downloaded WordPress.org plug-ins within 3 months of launching.
- Feedburner FeedFlare: we also launched a Feedburner FeedFlare version that enables bloggers using TypePad, Moveable Type and Blogger platform to add the plug-in to their site.
We’re also introducing some new plug-ins, the most exciting is our Political Plug-in which shows related media articles and blog posts segmented by blogs on the left and right – an ideal plug-in for those folks who are political neutral and interested in showcasing both points of view. We also have a Democrat plug-in that displays related media articles, only blog posts on the left as well as recommended left leaning blog sites. And there is a Republican plug-in that displays related media, only blog posts on the right and recommended right leaning blog sites. If you’re a political blogger, this is an informative and fun way to add to your site’s user experience. If interested to add one of these Political plug-ins, please send me a note: Conrad@sphere.com
We continue to work on our next rev of plug-ins, some great stuff is in our labs and we hope to go live before autumn is in full swing. In the interim, we’d really love to get your confidential feedback on our site and your experience with the plug-in. Thanks for helping us make a better Sphere. We really appreciate you taking the time.