Short and Sweet: the Rise of the Link Shortening Service - What's in it for them?
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Given the inherent problems, what exactly are the benefits of running such a service? That, in truth, still remains to be seen. Gilby apparently makes a living from URL shortening, but nobody is getting seriously rich from Google Adsense.
There is a general sense around the Web, perhaps summed up in Berlind's "Next Youtube" remark, that there must be some way of turning such a high volume of traffic into hard cash. But so far the solution remains elusive.
One possibility, apparently being considered by qurl.com, would be to charge for premium shortening services. One example of this would be to allow users to specify their own preferred shortened URLs (a bit like personalized number plates).
Another possibility would be to charge major corporate users - Twitter, for example - according to the volume of shortened links they run through the system, although it's hard to see this approach sticking. Twitter itself is still wondering how to turn a profit from its immense popularity, and there's nothing to stop it from providing its own shortening service.
Overall, the likelihood is that link shortening will remain a free service, with limited revenue streams for providers. This is certainly the view of David, who has had no regrets over the decision to remove public access to his service. In the end the only people who stood to make any money out of it were the spammers.
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