Widget creation platform Clearspring today announced that it acquiredAddThis, the popular bookmarking and sharing button. According to Clearspring, this acquisition will allow it to reach a total of 200 million users and 300,000 publishers. AddThis is currently the most popular bookmarking and sharing service on the Internet, while Clearspring provides widgets and analytics for every conceivable social network and publishing platform. With this acquisition, Clearspring aims to become the standard content sharing platform for both publishers and users.

Clearspring cites a total of 20 billion views per month for the combined Clearspring and AddThis property, making it one of the web’s largest properties in terms of audience.

Monetizing a Button

The AddThis platform, which we also use here on RWW, should be a good fit for Clearspring, though it is not quite clear how Clearspring could monetize the service.

For users, AddThis is simply a convenient way to share and bookmark interesting sites. The problem with this, of course, is that a bookmarking button is extremely hard to monetize. Unlike some of its competitors like delicious or ma.gnolia, AddThis is not a destination site for most of its users, but simply a feature provided by the publisher.

Clearspring is clearly looking to expand its audience, but, as Josh Catone points out, it also gives Clearspring access to an enormous vault of data about sharing on the net, which it could use to build an advertising and marketing platform. Over time, it will be interesting to see how Clearspring plans to integrate these two products.