16 May 2009

Make Extra Money Using Monetized Short URLs in Articles and Twitter

You've all heard of Tinyurl: the short URL service that turns long unwieldy URLs into short ones you can easily post on forums, chatrooms or micro-blogging sites like Twitter. Well, that's nice but now I've found two services that have monetized the short URL market - adf.ly and Linkbee.

How They Work

Linkbee and adf.ly work in very similar ways. Just as you would with Tinyurl, just input your long URL and the services will abbreviate them for you. The diference is that when someone clicks on your link there is an advert before they are taken to the actual website. You are paid for every click-through. As both systems are fairly new the rates tend to vary, but even so, it is an extra bit of income for your contextual links.

The adf.ly service just has interstitial adverts, which are monetized landing pages before automatically going to the actual link, with the user able to click directly to the target website if the advert is of no interest. Linkbee has both interstitial adverts and the option of displaying a banner above the website, which is within a frame. Indeed, Linkbee also has an option not to show any adverts at all so you can also use it just as you would Tinyurl, or any other URL shortening service. The other neat thing about Linkbee is that you can also pick your own link URL (so long as it is still available).

Short URLs in Twitter

If you're using the micro-blogging service Twitter then you'll know that any URL you may enter is automatically abbreviated. Now you can use your own abbreviated URL and make a bit of money out of your tweets. I've tried it and, so long as you keep your URL short then Twitter doesn't abbreviate it a second time. This is also useful in terms of branding your links, which is impossible to do with automatic URL shortening.

Short URLs as Marketing

Tinyurl has been around for a long time and although you can select your own short URL using, for example, your website name, the chances are that anything really good and meaningful has been taken a long time ago. However, both Linkbee and adf.ly are fairly new and there are many good keywords that are still available. So, even if you're not interested in monetizing your links you can still use these services to capture and keep those marketing keywords that are important to you. Once you have created a short URL nobody else can use it (otherwise complete confusion would reign) and you can also change the target URL whenever you want too.

Make Money from Short URLs

However, the main benefit from these services is that you get paid for people clicking your links. Remember that people are more likely to click contextual links than they are text adverts (unless they are really interested in the advert). The actual payouts vary a lot and you will need to check their current rates but are generally about one to two dollars per thousand clicks. This does not, at the moment, seem very high, but remember that this is now an additional revenue stream to any adverts you already have. Both Linkbee and adf.ly will pay via Paypal and have similar minimum payouts of about $15-$20. This means you will need quite a few thousand clicks before first payment but, as already stated, treat this as a nice little bonus. If you publish a lot of bookmarks then this will be a good source of traffic, although do read the TOS of each site as some will allow only the original URL to be posted.

Overall, this seems to me a welcome step forward. Will users be irritated with the adverts? Well, they are not pop-ups or pop-unders so they are really no more intrusive than many corporate websites that have adverts crawling across the screen with a well-camouflaged 'close' button. The links still go to where they are supposed to go, so you're not redirecting users to an altogether different website. It is best to experiment and see if you get any feedback. With Linkbee there is the option to have no adverts at all and it is simple to change this status to any existing URLs you may already have created.

One last thing is that both Linkbee and adf.ly have referral programmes so you can make a bit of extra money by getting your friends to join or promoting your affiliate link. In closing, I think these will be great for Twitter and contextual links.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting twist on URL usage that I never thought of. Definetly worth keeping in mind. Thanks. - Phil


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