Interesting business model proposed for TinyURL

David Berlind over at ZDNet has a very interesting take on how TinyURL could monetise the use of its site.

TinyURL, in case you didn’t know, is a site where you can paste in long URLs and the site spits back out much shorter URLs which can then be used in emails, forums etc. without breaking or line wrapping.

The bones of his post is:

You visit some car manufacturer’s Web page to look at an SUV. You decide to shrink the URL so you can pass it around via email. TinyURL is all seeing and all knowing. Based on the first time someone shrinks that SUV-related URL, it “registers” the fact that there’s some long URL out there on the Web that has something to do with people looking for SUVs. Now, along comes David Berlind and he attempts to shrink the same URL. With what degree of certainty can you say David Berlind is interested in buying an SUV (or helping someone else to buy one). What self-respecting SUV-making car manufacturer wouldn’t want to have its advertisement right there?

The website owner, Minnesota-based Kevin “Gilby” Gilbertson doesn’t do anything like this with the site right now but it wouldn’t take much to roll this out and suddenly you are looking at a potentially very lucrative (and very desirable) site.

The full article is well worth a read.

9 thoughts on “Interesting business model proposed for TinyURL”

  1. Won’t work. Or better: can’t be done. TinyURL only knows the URL. To know that the site is actually on SUV’s they would need to access the page content and interpret it, trying to understand what’s on it. Basically they have to do, what Google is trying to do for years now.

    In other words, they would have an immense development project, which would never justify the return.

  2. Might also be something that could look into (Ireland’s Vinny Glennon).

  3. so instead of being a handy url shortener it becomes ad infested clutter? interesting business idea.

  4. Michael, it’s not as hard as you might think to figure out what a page is about – it’s relatively easy to pick out the words that define the page. Google have been doing it very succesfully. Once you have keywords for your ads you could easily enough match them with the words defining the target page.

  5. I prefer as I can see which URLS I have created so I sort of use it as an online favourites as well.
    It doesnt have adverts as well which goes against the grain of about 99.99% of every other website.

  6. Maybe this isn’t the best business model, but TinyURL needs a way to monetise the site. Imagine what would happen to all those hits (2.2 billion per month) if TinyURL shut down.

  7. I agree that there is a need for and think there must be a way to monitize the site. I began this search today because I was looking for a solution for an shortening links within my company Intranet. Kevin replied that he does not sell his solution to businesses.

    Does such a think exist for businesses to use within their networks?

  8. typo fixes:
    …monetize sp?
    …for shortening links…
    …such a thing exist…

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