Can you make money just by sending links around?
The short (URL) answer is yesâ€¦ sort of.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately. In order to share links efficiently on Twitter, you need to use link (or URL) shortening tools, which quickly take URLs that typically have a large number of characters and translate them to a shorter form that can squeeze into Twitter’s 140 character-max requirement per “tweet.”
TinyURL.com has long been my favorite go to way to shorten URLs. For example, the post I wrote yesterday has the following URL:
Plug it into TinyURL.com and you get the following:
It’s a great little service, and no wonder the site proudly boasts that it has already shortened more than 100 million URLs.
Now, Twitter and shortened URLs have been on mind in relation to thinking about Twitter as a “full-fledged publishing platform” (which I explain my thinking on here). Part of the equation has to do with giving “microbloggers” on Twitter the ability to get statistics and, yes, make money.
bit.ly cli.gs and twurl.nl all offer the ability to track clicks, referrers, other linkers and geography from links
Therefore we see that URL shortening services are beginning to fill the need for microbloggers to obtain analytics about the information and link sharing work that they’re putting in.
But what about the making money part?
Adjix has been on my radar for a little while, a service that runs this tagline: Short Links. Tiny Ads. Big Payoff.
Some initial experimentation shows that two of those three statements are correct.
Running the same URL from the example I used above, the nice thing is that we get an extremely tiny URL to run on places like Twitter:
And it’s also a plus that when you click through an Adjix URL, the ad that runs at the top of the page is very unobtrusive. However, you need to rock a lot of adjix ad views and/or clicks in order to make anything substantial:
Linkers earn $0.10/1000 unique link views (10 cents CPM per unique link impressions) and $0.20 for each valid, unique, click-through. In other words, Linkers receive $0.0001/link impression and $0.20/ad click-through.
Yeah, in other words, not so much!
This week, I discovered Linkbee.com, which I’m messing around with at present. So far I’m pretty impressed, though the “money part” will not quite make your typical link sharer rich anytime soon either.
The interface is cheerful and clean, which always helps, and the performance time has been pretty fast thus far, which is crucial when you’re looking to shorten a quick URL and pop it into Twitter (Adjix by contrast can run quite slow). I also like that you can choose how your ad is displayed: interstitial, banner, or no ad at all. Interstitial views pay out at the highest rate ($1.00 CPM) while banner ads pay at $.50 CPM.
While those rates aren’t earth shattering, they’re not miniscule either, particularly when you consider that they’re not relying on a two click CPC model as Adjix is with their “higher” rate. In other words, Adjix gives you a $.10 CPM until the moment that you get someone to click your short Adjix URL and then click a text link that runs on top of the exit page. That’s a lot to ask for, so in my view Linkbee’s model is clearly superior thus far.
With information sharing such an important part of the social media and microblogging environments, I’m looking forward to seeing how URL shortening services continue to evolve.