Times are uncertain for URL shortening services. With Twitter, Facebook and Google all launching their own dedicated solutions, what will become of the smaller guys?
While some, like Bit.ly, have ‘Pro’ features to stand out from the crowd, others could easily disappear, rendering all the URLs created by them useless. The future of one shortener, Is.gd has been secured today with the announcement that it has been acquired by UK cloud-based hosting service Memset.
Is.gd is growing fast, claiming over 25 million URLs being shortened this March compared to just 1.1 million the previous March. Memset intends to maintain the service as a non-advertising-supported, free service. Is.gd founder Richard West is staying with the company to develop the service further, including plans to introduce the option to create custom short URLs for free. This feature is currently available to Bit.ly Pro users, although other shorteners, such as 3.ly already offer the service for free.
A hosting company buying a URL shortener sounds like an odd fit but Memset Managing Director Kate Craig-Wood claims it is merely a fan purchase. “I love Is.gd and use it a lot, and have often worried about a service like that failing or being bought and monetised. As a cloud provider, we have huge amounts of compute resource and bandwidth, so it was a good match for us. The costs are relatively small, and it also makes a great showcase for our network and hardware performance.”
Whether the future of Is.gd was actually under threat isn’t clear. Although terms of the deal haven’t been released, it sounds like a cheap purchase that generates goodwill and publicity for Memset. As an is.gd user, I’m just glad that all those URLs I’ve created over the past couple of years are safe.
We’ve requested further details of the acquisition and will update this post when we receive them.
UPDATE: Memset tell us that they are not keen to publish the precise value of the deal. All they will say is that they did not pay “silly money”.
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