July 18

Is Sexy Bookmarks Sending Data From Your Blog?


Open ShareDo you use the social WordPress plugin called Sexy Bookmarks by Shareaholic? If you look at the bottom of this post, you’ll see that I do and have used it on this blog for a while (even before Shareaholic took them over).

Yesterday, I was working on one of my other sites OnlineCopywriting101.com and noticed that some of the pages were loading really slow and I then noticed the reason. In the task bar of my browser, it said…”Waiting for map.media6degrees.com”! Panic struck me!

Had I been hacked? Did I have malware on my site? Good grief!

So I quickly Googled the site and found some old posts where people were complaining about a plugin called AddToAny that was sending tracking data to this site. I’ve never had that plugin, but I suspected if that social plugin was doing it, maybe others are too.

Further research uncovered a new setting in the Sexy Bookmarks plugin that allows it to send tracking data to Media6Degrees. Besides the fact that it was slowing down my site, I don’t really like the idea of sending tracking data that I have no access to and can put in my privacy policy. So, I’ve turned it off on all my sites that use the plugin.

In case you want to turn it off (or on), here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the Shareaholic link in your WordPress Admin Dashboard left sidebar
  2. Look for the Functionality Settings section (see image below)sexy bookmarks settings
  3. Select “No” next to “Track Performance”
  4. Save Changes

How do you feel about plugins sending tracking data without letting you know?

[UPDATE] There is a new version of Sexy Bookmarks, so read my Sexy Bookmarks Update post.

Christine Cobb

Christine Cobb

is a web technology consultant, a small business online marketing consultant and provides information for new bloggers and affiliate marketers.
Christine Cobb


adwords, sexy bookmarks, social plugin, tracking data

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  • I also panicked when I saw a link to media6degrees by looking at Window>Activity in Safari. Searched google and found your site. Thanks for the article, this definitely saved me from reading code to look for this tracking link. cheers!

  • Hi Chris,
    excellent! I had a few links on my pages at one time, and they took forever to load. I just pulled them, got in touch with the site owners and did a more local link with them. Then my (crummy) website was loading neatly.

    I hadn’t realized that this was what they were up to though.

  • Sorry for not replying earlier, I didn’t expect a reply 🙂

    I just noticed it was very slow to load, and started wondering.

    Well, you have to, don’t you? Otherwise you simply wouldn’t get anywhere! Affiliate marketing is *way* harder to do than most imagine, and way less profitable. Never mind, as long as I get to eat, right?

    Did I hear somebody say “ambition” ?

  • I am surprised that they would be allowed to track the information without your consent. Is there some terms or conditions that you agree to when you install or download the plugin? If not, something doesn’t seem quite right.

    • I found this in their terms of service:
      “In order to provide certain Services, you must allow us to use raw data related to the use and distribution of Your Content (“Data”) that will be collected as part of the Services. You hereby grant Shareaholic a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide and irrevocable right and license to utilize the Data to track, extract, compile, synthesize, aggregate, and analyze such Data, including, but not limited to, the creation of anonymous and promotional tracking data (“Tracking Data”). We reserve the right to use, reproduce, distribute and display Tracking Data, in our sole discretion.”

  • Hi Chris. Thank you for posting this great article. I use the same plug in on a few of my sites, and I never knew that it was exporting data! I went to all of them this afternoon and did what you suggested.

    • Click “Add Plugin” in the WordPress dashboard and put Sexy Bookmarks in the search box. It should be the first one in the search results.

      Update: Looks like the company that took over Sexy Bookmarks has changed the name in the WordPress directory, so try searching for Shareaholic instead.

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