TNW Quick Look
Shrtn.co is a URL shortener with a difference – it’s an easy way to earn money from links to shopping sites without having to sign up to affiliate schemes.
- Simple to use
- Built in stats
- Makes it easy to give money to charity if you choose
- Currently only a small number of merchants supported
- Quite a plain UI at present
Affiliate link schemes can be a good way of earning a little extra money. The trouble is, you have to go to the effort of setting up an account with affiliate programmes that support the shopping websites you want to link to. That’s fine if you’re a pro, but if you just want to casually make a few bucks from things you’re talking about on Twitter or on your blog it can be a pain.
Shrtn.co, which has just entered beta, is targeting that casual market with an easy way to generate affiliate links without having to worry about signing up to anything else. Just create a Shrtn account, paste in a URL and you’re given a short URL that, if anyone clicks on it and buys the product at the other end, will earn you a kickback.
Shrtn currently supports 39 merchants, including big names like Amazon, Apple iTunes and Adobe. It really is simple – once your short URL is generated you can see stats for the number of clickthroughs it’s had, how many of those converted into a sale and the amount of revenue you’ve gained.
The service works because UK-based Acquisition Engine, the company behind it, has affiliate accounts with all the merchants supported – they then share the revenue with end users. The question is, is there a large enough market of people wanting to casually share affiliate links to make this a success?
One area where Shrtn could find a real niche is with charities. The company adds 20% of the value of all donations made to charity from its service. That means there’s potential for charities and individuals to set up quick and easy affiliate schemes for good causes.
This is five-month old Acquisition Engine’s first project and plans for the future include adding a browser plugin to inform users of link opportunities, more advanced analytics and a fully-featured API.
Shrtn is a bright idea and even if you don’t get rich from it, it can’t hurt to give it a go next time you’re linking to something for sale online.