Smart Links Are Back On This Blog

When we did the redesign last summer, we nuked most everything that was on this blog in favor of a light and clean blog. I hope we've kept it light and clean since then.

One thing that went was smart links. Smart links are provided by our portfolio company Adaptive Blue, who also makes the Glue plugin. The idea behind smart links is to provide some context and some power to the link. With smart links, you get the value of Glue without even having it installed.

Smart links work with all sort of links. Here are some examples.

I am reading a book called Turning Learning Right Side Up by Russell Ackoff. It's a very thoughtful analysis of what is wrong with our current education system and what we can do to fix it.

I own a lot of comScore stock. This week they announced a good first quarter and guided the street to EBITDA this year of $28mm. They have over $70mm in cash and a market cap of $340mm, meaning an enterprise value of $270mm, less than 10x EBITDA for the premier Internet measurement firm. I think this stock should be significantly higher.

One of my favorite wine discoveries recently is the Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos. I was introduced to this wine by David Lynch, general manager of the John Dory, and I believe we've managed to drink all of that wine they had in their cellar. I sure hope they get more.

You get the idea. Smart links work with books, electronics, movies, movie stars, music, people, recipes, recording artists, restaurants, stocks, and wine. Here is a list of all the sites that are supported by smart links.

I'm happy to have smart links back on this blog. I hope you are too.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. john

    At 8:11 am PDT 5/2, the comscore link shows a 404 error, the wine link says “could not load tooltip”, there is no smartlink for the restaurant. the book link seems to work tho i would promote some of the actions to the top of the control and demote the avatars, but that is just my opinion.

    1. fredwilson

      yup, i noticed the same exact things. not the most elegant re-launch on this blog. but it is what it is. i hope the adaptive blue team can figure out what’s wrong.

      1. Fraser

        Definitely not the re-launch we were hoping for. We’re already digging into the issue and hopefully will figure out what’s wrong shortly.

      2. Alex Iskold

        Issues are fixed except for the tip on the Wine, should be fixed soon as well.

    2. Fraser

      We’re evaluating ways to elevate a selection of actions into the tooltip.The avatars really shine when you have the browser addon installed – you get a filtered view that shows you which friends have interacted with the item across the web. Surfacing your community like that is a useful piece of info.

  2. Thomas

    Unsolicited advice: They’ve got some smart-link real-estate tweeking to do. Book SL: make cover visible – too small. Icons of other commenters(?) doesnt add any value…what’s the concept there (others who have read it/discussing it?)…unclear. Stock SL: chart too small, SL dominated by the two boxes which isn’t information, just a link too information. Need to put more value add in the SL pop-up and make the links smaller; guarantee it will drive more click thru. The principle is you have to show value before ppl bless you with their attention in the form of a click thru. Wine SL: “could not load tool tip”.

  3. James

    Fred,I upgraded to the Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 today, and Blue is broken on it (grease-monkey is broken as well). Otherwise, this sounds pretty cool.

    1. Eric Friedman

      Most plugins and add-ons do not work with the latest FF beta (at least for me) – even ones put out by Mozilla. I think in time as this release gets closer they will start working, but from a developer standpoint it may not make sense to roll out updates just yet.

  4. LukeG

    Such a better user experience than link ‘enhancers’ that pop up a snapshot (or anything, really) when you hover over the word or phrase itself. Nicely done.

  5. example

    They don’t seem to have any affect in google reader.

  6. Adam

    I love Smart Links. I just wish they opened a different tab in the browser so I can keep your blog open. Thanks.

  7. Bruce Colwin

    I’ve been using Snapshots on my blog, which seems to be slowing down the site quite a bit. I like the fact that Smart links let the reader view the content without having to click away from the site, as opposed to just seeing a page image. Hopefully, it’s faster than the Snapshots plug-in on my WordPress blog. I also like the ability to share the content by clicking on “action” – however I think that functionity is a bit hidden. (Though I’m a bit less concerned about the reader sharing the linked content then sharing my content.) I also think that perhaps “Summary” should be the default view when you rollover a Smart link.

  8. OurielOhayon

    I love smart links. i am using for that so far which lets you decide what to add in the links. did not know adaptive blue was on it too. will try then

  9. kidmercury

    this is brilliant, i think the interface is brilliant too, pretty idiot-proof and requires minimal thinking. i love the user icons, that is the best part in my opinion, gotta take the social element to the max.there were some page loading issues for me, although that was only a slight lag so not disabling.

  10. disqus_nmYlWpJDro

    Just admit that smartlinks are just vehicles for more advertising. And those hovers/popups have always annoyed users, and always will. “Provide power to the link” is the best piece of newspeak I’ve heard in a long time!

    1. briandbutler

      Yes, its an advertising platform. But, its clever…and by embedding adverts into the text of what you write anyways… it might be a clever way to monetize blogs.You know… at first, I wasnt impressed with “Smart Links” at all. I mean… why not just use an easier service like TechCrunch’s MashLogic which makes all phrases into linkes (wikipedia,etc)… but, then I saw this comment, and I realized the value….Unlike MashLogic which might be really great for users experience, it doesnt help writers to monetize their blogs. This SmartLinks does. And, that makes it attractive for content contributors. The danger is… that writers start changing the content in order to incorporate books, titles, and in the process steer away readers that become annoyed by product placement plugs.Innovation suggestion: Imagine if the same tools could be extended to commentators… then, I might just comment referencing a book title, which could have a link, and if someone clicked on it, bought the book…then the commentator would benefit. (same dangers as outlined above would still apply)

    2. fredwilson

      there is no advertising on the hovers and popups

  11. Ed

    Sorry to see this, it makes the site much, much slower to load I’m sorry to say. o be honest, this is my only complaint about your blog. Great posts, great discussion, terrible page load times.

    1. fredwilson

      How do you know its smart links and not the other hundred scripts I’ve got running?