The Internet today is brimming with social sharing buttons. As social networks now drive more traffic than virtually any other kind of site, there is hardly any site left today that doesn’t at least feature a Twitter and Facebook button to make sharing stories easier. Spread.ly is the latest entrant in the market of third-party sharing buttons and introduces an innovative twist to social sharing: deals.
The service, which is based in Germany, lets you share stories on all of the major social networks (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Buzz), but more importantly, it gives publishers the option to reward sharers by giving them access to coupons, discounts and other deals.
For users, Spread.ly works like most other sharing buttons from companies like AddThis and ShareThis. You click on the “like” button, enter your social networking credentials (to sign up for Spreadly) and start sharing your stories.
For publishers, installing the button is as easy as downloading a WordPress plugin or copying and pasting a code snippet into their themes (you can see what that looks like underneath the Spreadly logo at the top of this page). Publishers also get access to detailed analytics (including demographics, clickbacks, reach etc.), but the feature that really sets this service apart from the competition is the ability to offer sharers access to deals.
As the company’s CEO and founder Marco Ripanti told me, Spreadly will remain free for smaller sites. For larger ones with over 100,000 impressions per month, the company plans to charge for access to its service.
Spreadly’s self-service deals platform allows publishers of any size to incentivize users to share links to news stories or products with their friends. For now, the system is very straightforward, but later this month, the team also plans some additional features that would allow companies to only offer deals to male or female users, or those with large social networks, for example. This will allow companies that want to use the system to only target those users that can bring them the best return for their investment. Deals can be set to expire after a certain number of likes and publishers remain in full control of when and where the deals appear.
Overall, this seems like such an obvious idea, I wouldn’t be surprised if Groupon or one of its clones showed interest in partnering with Spreadly soon.