Most folks who know me can attest to the fact that I am an avid hockey fan. So much so that it's the only sport that makes it even close to being on my radar. Yet a little birdie told me that there is something called the World Series going on this week. And while the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays might be battling it out on the ice, er, field, they are getting social on the Internet.
MLB.com is using a tool bar solution from Conduit, a company that offers Web site syndication through community tool bars. In this case, MLB.com has created tool bars for all of its teams so that fans of said teams can install the tool bar and link directly to team schedules, photos, blogs, stats, and other baseball-type things while they run around the bases, er, Internet. This helps fans stay more connected to their teams and helps MLB.com secure return traffic to their many team sites -- especially helpful during the World Series when people are more obsessed with team news. Here are some examples:
Tampa Bay Rays - Tool Bar on Page (click to enlarge)Phillies Tool Bar - Standalone (click to enlarge)
The other benefit to MLB.com is that by using Conduit to drive return traffic it can better satisfy its advertisers. If sites' usage stats go up and site traffic continues to increase it might convince advertisers -- who are forcing serious budget cuts these days -- to go ahead and take a chance on the main site or one of the baseball team sites.
Conduit isn't only for sports teams: TechCrunch, Roadrunner Records, Habbo, Answers.com, JibJab, Greenpeace and ASPCA are all using the company's various services.
If only NHL.com offered a San Jose Sharks tool bar...
Oh yeah, and go Phillies, er, Blue Rays! Go either team!
Update 10/24/08 8:06 a.m.: Told ya guys I don't know baseball. Even though I knew it was the Tampa Bay Rays I got the Blue Jays stuck in my head (it's due to my love for Canada, I believe). It's been fixed. Thanks for those who pointed out the silly error!