AddToAny: removing the “spy” from the share-ware

Update 02-2015: the information below does not reflect the way AddToAny works now and as such only has historical value. The comment by A2A’s developer below, explains what has been done between 2010 and 2015.

After discovering AddToAny secretly enrolls all of my blogs visitors in a behavioral marketing platform, I disabled the plugin and mailed the author for more information. He answered the media6degrees-integration was a partner-test, only providing them with non-personally identifiable data, which the company indeed can use for targeted advertising. But the good news was that AddToAny would also offer a “publisher opt-out mechanism” shortly. And indeed, last week, Pat announced the brand new a2a api and mailed me the following opt-out code;

var a2a_config = a2a_config || {};
a2a_config.no_3p = 1;

These two lines of javascript, which have to be placed in front of the http://static.addtoany.com/menu/page.js script-include, should disable all current and future 3rd party tracking. I hope the web-guys from e.g. deredactie.be and standaard.be (and there are many others) implement this as soon as possible!

So now we can opt-out from having our visitors being spied upon by media6degrees, what more could one want? Well, since you’re asking, here’s a small list of things AddToAny could really should do;

  • transparency; tell users that their visitors’ information will be shared with 3rd parties (in all relevant places)
  • documentation: show them how to “remove the spy” on the AddToAny api page (“no_3p” isn’t there)
  • ease-of-use: allow the tracking to be disabled with a simple checkbox in the WordPress and Drupal plugins

The opt-out code is a important first step and I’m sure concerns such as those voiced on the WordPress-forums will help AddToAny to further make the right decisions!

7 thoughts on “AddToAny: removing the “spy” from the share-ware

  1. JMB

    Thanks – this is great, and can be implemented straightforwardly by pasting those two lines of code into the “Additional Options” JavaScript box on the AddToAny Settings page from wp-admin.

    I haven’t tested whether it actually does what it says it does yet, but putting it in the WP settings box there does correctly place it above the page.js

    Thanks again for your efforts in getting/posting this!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Which best sharing widget protects the user's privacy, AddThis, ShareThis or AddToAny? - Quora

  3. Pingback: Rechtswidrig: WordPress.com-Stats Plugin | fruity blog

  4. Pingback: Removing Secret Behavioral Marketing from Wordpress’ AddToAny | NeoAcademic

  5. Bill Cruse

    I just, stupidly, installed this crap and now can’t get it to uninstall and find no suggestions on various forums.

    Of course, whoever runs the plugin refuses to reply.

    By the way, it is 2015, sorry they are still in business.

    Apologies, I don’t understand your instructions above. Could you please provide me with a little more detail.

    Many, many, thanks.
    Bill Cruse
    wgac@att.net

    Reply
  6. Pat

    Hey Frank, Bill has spammed AddToAny’s contact form, the WordPress.org forums, and now your comments section — all within the last 45 minutes. So he hasn’t actually waited for a reply, and he’s operating under the fear that AddToAny is less than good software. I’ll reply to Bill personally via email.

    #1: This post is really, really dated. AddToAny actually supports DoNotTrack (thanks in part to Frank’s suggestion a few years back), and is still the only major web widget that lets publishers disable 3rd party cookies. In 2013, I reacquired AddToAny, so Lockerz doesn’t track the product’s usage.

    #2: This old post gives some people the very wrong impression that AddToAny is some sort of uninstallable malware, which has never been the case. AddToAny can be uninstalled just as easily as it’s installed. In the rare cases where uninstallation doesn’t work, some other issue is causing that (that kind of issue usually affects all other plugins, too, and often it’s just the site cache that needs to be cleared to see the changes).

    #3: This post’s list of suggestions (transparency, documentation, ease-of-use) were fulfilled almost 5 years ago to the date. I think it’s more than reasonable to update this post, Frank. :)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>