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Demise of tr.im makes me realize I’d pay for bit.ly


URL shortening service tr.im announced that they will discontinue the service. Apparently, they couldn’t find a good way to make money with it:

We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate.

Seeing the various Techmeme stories about tr.im, I tweeted this:

Cannot take seriously the advice to stop using URL shorteners after tr.im’s demise. Alternative – use full URLs – is unworkable.

In a twitter conversation with Doug Cornelius, what became apparent to me was not that we should stop using URL shorteners. Rather, we need a service we can rely on. The market will converge on a single majority provider, either tinyurl or bit.ly.

As a user of bit.ly, this dawned on me: I would pay to use the service. Well, the value-added part: analytics. Here’s how I could see it working:

  1. Free: anyone can shorten any URL anytime and use it
  2. Pay: access to clicks and analytics for the shortened URL

Not everyone needs the analytics, so for them, the service is free. For me personally and professionally, it is important to understand the analytics. I would pay for those. Say $1 or $2 per month? bit.ly’s click counts were pretty lousy there for a while, but have improved dramatically the past few weeks.

If that revenue model takes hold, bit.ly gets cash to support its basic service. And it apparently has designs on larger types of data mining ahead.

Sign me up.

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About Hutch Carpenter
Senior Consultant for HYPE Innovation (hypeinnovation.com)

7 Responses to Demise of tr.im makes me realize I’d pay for bit.ly

  1. Nick says:

    We’ve talked about where to charge and what to charge for here at pnt.me pretty regularly. It’s something we still struggle with as our goal is to be profitable in the long run. For now we’re just happy to give you your stats for free. :)

  2. The other player in this space should be Google and Bing. All of these shortened URLs generate some information that should be very useful to search engine rankings. The extra data and follow through would provide even more.

    Either of these companies could afford to carry the service as a free service (or perhaps with some of the premium you mentioned) merely to improve its search results.

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  5. I wouldn’t pay. Basically, I think that if Twitter wants that functionality to persist, they should take care of that functionality. Either provide the service themselves, or extend the twit-message scheme, to allow “attached” links.

    Reserving the message for text (not links, pictures, etc), would be a welcome improvement for the users too.

  6. Kevin White says:

    While for me the advantages of paying for the service do not meet the benefit of free url shortening, I do see where you are coming from. I feel that the URL free shortener business has not met its end as a free service. besides, someone will always offer a free alternative. It may have adverts included, but its the mentality of the internet.

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