Is the Business of Shorter URLs Worth Big Money

Posted by Victoria Revay

Should investors be gambling their investment dollars on fast-growing, but revenue-free startups?

If the recent $2 million investment into Betaworks' in-house project bit.ly is any indication, maybe.  Bit.ly is like some of Vancouver's very own url-shorteners, like Invoke Media's ow.ly (related to Hootsuite) and tr.im, all of which do the same thing.  They take a convoluted Web address and make it shorter. Great!  But as Peter Kafka points out in this post, where is the money?

Kafka says many of bit.ly's competitors like tinyurl generate revenue by running Google ads.  But bit.ly won't sell ads and it's free to users.  As well,

...it plans on distinguishing itself by tracking all the clicks and streams that come through the service and using the data to provide interesting analytics and insights into who’s looking at what on the Web, in real time.

Bit.ly's people also say that:

...revenue will come sometime down the road, from something else–when they figure out what that is.

So, what are investors really investing in?  Kafka says it's the possibilities of Twitter’s real-time search capabilities.  What do you think?

 

Company:
HootSuite Media, Inc.
Website:
http://www.hootsuite.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

HootSuite is a social relationship platform for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute social media strategies across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences... more

Company:
ow.ly
Website:
http://ow.ly
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ow.ly is a URL shortener and sharing tool. The ow.ly toolbar allows users to instantly share or retweet links. HootSuite users can track the success of their ow.ly links. more

Company:
tr.im
Website:
http://www.tr.im
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

tr.im is an established URL shortening service that prepares great-looking short URLs for services like Twitter. If you send URLs out on Twitter, tr.im is not only the best name, it is one of the shortest. tr.im constantly collects and can then present cool graphical statistics on your URLs, such as how many times they were visited, from which locations, and referred by which websites. With tr.im you know exactly... more


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Victoria Revay

Victoria Revay

Like many, freelance journalist, Victoria Revay is ambitious and adventurous by nature.  Since leaving television news, Victoria has worked for Nowpublic.com, she has been published in Western Living Magazine, Blackbook Magazine’s Jet Set Travel Guide, Western Living Condo and Travelmuse.com, and she’s hosted an online entertainment show. She recently returned from her travels, blogging across... more



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