Calgary based startup Tynt and their product Tracer were blogged about by writer Zachary Seward at the Nieman Journalism Lab.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is an extension of Harvard's Nieman Foundation and one of the better places on the internet to discuss the future of journalism and publishing.
The article focuses on Tracer and how it is creating a new metric that measures reader engagement. Tracer tracks copy and paste activity and automatically adds a link back to your content when it is pasted somewhere else.
Under Creative Commons License:Attribution No Derivatives
Tracer put that in because I copied what last sentence from the Tynt FAQ. Seward explains.
You can imagine why that would appeal to publishers, and though Tracer only launched on March 1, clients already include Politico, the New York Daily News, Hearst Corp., Time Inc., The Wall Street Journal, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Then cuts to the chase.
In truth, it’s annoying, if not a dealbreaker, to find unwanted text attached to what you’ve copied. And the referral traffic from such links is, by all accounts, modest. But I’m much more impressed by Tracer’s backend, which allows publishers to see which pages — and, even better, which parts of those pages — are most frequently copied.
The attribution feature is a mite annoying but it is a feature that can be turned off. Seward is right in that the backend of Tracer is where the magic happens. By being able to track who copied what and where publishers can get a handle on that nebulous thing called user engagement.
Anyone with a mild addiction to web analytics will love this stuff, as it reveals new data about how readers engage with content. I’m not as clear on how publishers might adjust to the information.
If you're a Tracer user, what's your take on the product? If you're an online publisher and don't use Tracer does this product interest you?