May 02, 2011

OneTrueFan Shifts Horizontal Network to Horizontal Bar

I've long extolled the virtues of OneTrueFan, the logical successor to the soon-to-be deceased MyBlogLog, spawned by the latter's founders, racking up one's visits around the Web, duking out top positions like Foursquare mayorships. I eagerly added code to my blog as one of the few active widgets I run to get a better sense of the frequent visitors and encourage community. Meanwhile, as I experiment, the network is growing up a bit and making changes. You can see one of those changes with the house ads running on my site, which you can trust I get no pennies for, and a refocus that takes the activity within the OneTrueFan network and makes it live completely within the bottom bar - an extension to most popular browsers, instead of on the company's Web site.

Unsurprisingly, initial feedback on OneTrueFan made the casual comparisons to Foursquare, along with some questions around security - where one had to trade off a third party watching what sites you visit and how frequently for a few badges and informal competitions with friends and strangers. I enjoy seeing people post they've taken the OneTrueFan badge of one Web site or another to Twitter, and the occasional emails I receive saying someone or another has kicked me off the top spot of one of my former top hangouts. But OneTrueFan isn't toying with being a silly gimmick for a sliver of early adopter Web centrists. It's very possibly creating a horizontal social network across the Web for disparate sites to understand their loyal visitors, and for those visitors to learn what stories people like them find intriguing through share history.

OTF Leaderboards from Across the Web

As you can see from the browser bar below, or if you have the extension installed yourself (and I wish you would), OneTrueFan has provided more transparency in how the service assigns points. The site speaks to wanting to encourage sharing of good content to other social networks, and that absolutely comes into play - meaning a popular Twitter or Facebook user who gets a lot of clicks can pass by a regular, but more reserved, visitor who regularly stops by each day.

The OTF Bar Encourages Sharing and Shows Community

OneTrueFan spells out the point system as follows:
  • Daily Site Visits are 10 points apiece, per domain or subdomain
  • Each page view adds 1 point.
  • Each page share adds 5 points per network.
  • Each clickthrough on a share gets 1 more point.
Simply stated, if I visit a Web site today, share a story and get 10 click throughs, I could get a possible 25 points, good enough to start creeping up the leaderboard. For small sites that don't get much traffic from early adopters, this could be a top position, but for more addicting and popular networks, it could take hundreds to appear in the top visitors chart. For example, one needs 221 points to be atop, and 260 to lead CNN, but the top LinkedIn score has tallied more than 1,100. Good luck being top dog there.

The OTF Bar on Hacker News and Checking Chris Yeh's Share History

I spoke with company cofounder Eric Marcoullier last week about the move to push more content into the bar and away from the destination site, and he said it was a move to encourage publishers to implement the bar themselves, as I have. Rather than push users to their site, the activity remains on the active domain. As the world knows, we have more than enough destination sites masquerading as niche social networks, and OneTrueFan (or OTF as we often call it), is trying to do something different, which brings value to bloggers, publishers and the occasional visitors alike.

The OneTrueFan site Still Shows Player History

Winning the OTF badge from a site doesn't yet create the prestige that racking up badges and mayorships does on everyone's favorite location based services, but it could, especially as more people get comfortable with sharing their browsing behavior. After all, you can easily tell the bar to stop tracking your visits to specific domains, and all known adult sites are automatically hidden. I've taken to putting the OTF bar on all browsers I use on all machines, and it's one of the few extensions I've embraced. In a world where a lot of activity can be siloed, or where we rely on teh sharing buttons that come from the publisher to get the best content downstream, it's nice to take the OTF with me and get credit for sharing the best stuff to my networks. You can get your bar at