The Value of TinyURL

Posted on December 11, 2006

David Berlind at ZDNet sees great value in the Internet's leading URL shortener. Berlind says in an article that the TinyURL site, a website that makes long URLs shorter so they can be posted in emails and newsletters, is "is the next YouTube." He goes on to say that is even better than YouTube and says TinyURL is very important to Madison avenue types.

Berlind explains how TinyURL has great value to marketers. He writes, "The lightbulb in my head went off when I realized that multiple submissions of the same URL to TinyURL generate the same exact TinyURL. In other words, if you and me both enter the exact same long stretched out URL from some car manufacturer's Web site into TinyURL.com, we'll both get the same exact tiny URL back. So, let's triangulate the data. TinyURL.com knows the exact Web addresses people are turning into TinyURLs. And, TinyURL can easily figure out how many people are accessing each URL. And, with the help of a college intern, TinyURL.com can establish a industry category (eg: automobiles) for almost every URL that it shrinks."

David Berline has made a very good point that TinyURLs database of URL usage is valuable. However, a lot of people never use TinyURL and some websites may be in there more frequently just because they have more annoyingly long URLs than other sites. TinyURL is worth something but it isn't anywhere near as valuable as YouTube. TinyURL also has some competition including Shorturl.com, Snipurl.com, Metamark and many others. But none of these sites have the brand power of TinyURL. TinyURL is a terrific service and likely contains a goldmine of data about what URLs users are shrinking but it isn't worth hundreds of millions or anything like that. The technology is very easy to duplicate so TinyURL's value would only be its database and its traffic. If a new service comes a long and start using it than the URLs TinyURL has information about will be old URLs, so the service will have to stay very relevant with users to retain its value.