Posts Tagged ‘ad revenue’


Are Shortened URLs Short-Changing Your Measurement Effort?

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Short Changed

by Jeffrey Barrett*

URL shortening services have existed since back when URLs had to be under 80 columns to fit in an email unbroken. They have become a mainstay, in no small part, because of the Twitter explosion. These services simply shrink a long URL like http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/?p=230 which consists of 46 characters, to a small one like http://tiny.cc/8Hfyo, only about 20 characters. Go ahead, give both links a try; with either one you wind up at this article.

Everyone loves a short URL when composing in a 140 character bounded space. It leaves much more room for your thoughts, but there is danger in their proliferation. These mini-addresses are wreaking havoc for the destinations of these originates. When you click on a link to a website, such as http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas, logs show where you were when you made that click. But when you click on http://tiny.cc/p4YIm, a truncated version of that same link, it shows up under the name of that service. This is useless for understanding which actions drove you to the site in the first place and tracking the effectiveness of a given marketing campaign. If this was done for an ad driven content site it could impact the revenue of ad sales.

New services, like Tr.im, provide a partial solution to the lost metrics. Unfortunately, if Tr.im – a free service with no business model – folds its tent, you will lose the metrics it does provide. Furthermore, it’s likely your existing systems do not integrate with the shorter services. The end result: the need to manually massage your metrics.

There is a call for technology that will make it possible for people to easily run their own URL shorteners. Still in its early stage, RevCanonical is one possible solution. The application “checks to see if the link owner has published a shortened version of the given page using HTML link element.” Although it has some short comings (Chris Shiflett highlights a few), it is worth keeping an eye on. Your company and clients could benefit from getting behind the sort of technology that is needed to regain the knowledge of where their visitors came from!

If you really want to be prepared, though, it might be time to buy the shortest domain you can that either sounds like your “main” domain or has the key letters of your domain. Then you will be able to provide the convenience of a shorter URL without sacrificing your tracking and metrics.

*Bio: Currently I am the chief architect of BurrellesLuce 2.0, the portal used by thousands of PR professionals to monitor, share, organize, and measure online and print news. I started as a web developer for Merck & Company and I am an accomplished technologist with a focus on large scale system architecture and implementation. With over ten years of experience designing and deploying technical solutions for a wide range of companies, I most recently managed web projects for NBC Universal, where I delivered social networking applications and supported high traffic applications. Prior to that, I served as director of technology for Silver Carrot, a marketing firm, creating and delivering the technology that powered high-performance online campaigns. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about economics and anything that has to do with modeling social interaction and social media. LinkedIn: Jeffrey Barrett; Twitter: @BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Will You Invest In A Twitter Premium Option?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Investing in TwitterAs the Twitter swell surges so has the conversation about monetizing the 140-character tweets. Will this make it easier for the already resource strapped PR professionals or more difficult? Will Twitter start to gather demographic information so messages can more effectively be targeted?

According to the Wall Street Journal article Mashable Chief Executive Pete Cashmore is quoted saying “It’s kind of ironic that we’re monetizing Twitter before Twitter.” For a stand-alone service like Twitter how will their growing market respond? The charm of the Google model is the ability to develop services without a direct pass along to the end user rather through reinvest of advertising revenue for development.

Along with many of our PR peers, my BurrellesLuce colleagues and I are tweeting away and really enjoying ourselves. However, I’m left with more questions than answers about this developing medium. Will @scobleizer have the most revenue potential since he has reciprocal following practices allowing him multiple channels of communication with his sphere of influence? And most importantly will Twitter really be able to “follow the money” or jump the shark?

Yes Virginia, There Will Be Print.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Some very large storm clouds hover above the media world. In some places, the skies have already opened. It will, to no one’s surprise, get worse according to the smart folks at GroupM and ZenithOptimedia. They reported their predictions for the advertising spend for the next year at the annual media conference sponsored by UBS. Ad revenue is, currently, the lifeblood of US media. Based on their numbers, the clouds will not clear until sometime the year after next, in 2010.

The storm has resulted in 30,000 media sector jobs lost this year to date as reported by Ad Age. And there’s the little matter of publications going online only and reducing their newsstand frequency. Oh, and Mr. Zell has steered the Tribune Company into bankruptcy. There will be fewer publications and less clutter on the newsstands. At the same time, the online clutter will grow. Clearly, the landscape is ripe for revolution since the media moguls missed the opportunity to take the evolution route.

The are some small breaks in those clouds for the print media. Case in point: people who get information from print media spend more time engaged with the publication than those individuals who get their info from an online source … and advertisers know this. Granted, advertising revenue has shrunk and will continue to do so at a nearly alarming rate, in part because of the economic debacle around us.

As for Mr. Zell, it must be said that poor timing with the financial markets aside, his grating castigations of the way media companies were being run is showing some merit. (I said some.) As for the bankruptcy, it will play out along with the sale of the Miami Herald, the Rocky Mountain News, the San Diego Tribune and those to come.

These companies will rework their business models and continue to provide value in edited content. Some may close. Remember though, that with just the print version of these publications, we are talking about five million plus readers who spend a lot of time with “their” paper each day and advertisers who still have things to sell to them. 

So, yes, there will be print because print still engages and delivers an influential audience.