Some people might have called it a problem, but chances are that those people weren’t internet marketers who saw the situation as a very lucrative opportunity. While the rise of URL shortening services cannot be wholly attributed to the rise of Twitter, the social media platform certainly played a significant role. When you only have so many characters to use in your tweets, you don’t want to go wasting them with lengthy URLs.
But that’s only a small fraction of the potential opportunity. URL shorteners are certainly useful for shortening long URLs (and even short URLs for that matter), but what if you could make money when sharing these links both on social media and elsewhere on the web? That’s the promise put forth by Shorte.st, a URL shortener that goes even further.
A Shorter URL for Bigger Profits
At its most basic level, Shorte.st works just like every other URL shortening service you’ve likely already used. It takes the standard URL for any webpage on the Internet and shrinks it down into far fewer characters.
I know what you’re thinking. The shorte.st domain name is not the shortest domain name for a URL shortening service. That’s because it’s not the domain name that is actually used for your shortened URLs. Instead, those will be found via the sh.st domain, or through the viid.me domain name, which was already recently added as well.
This being said, the shortened URLs can be even shorter, because as of this writing, the portion that follows the domain is only four characters. Last time I checked, the portion following Twitter’s t.co domain is 10 characters. For instance, I was able to shorten http://www.bloggingtips.com to http://sh.st/1oqg. That’s pretty short. But there’s so much more to this service than just reducing the number of characters.
Should you have any previously generated links created through their sh.st URL and would like them updated for even more security and connectivity in place, this can be done manualy simply by added a few characters to the new viid.me domain shorteners in place. A perfect example of this would be http://viid.me/1oqg -> http://sh.st/1oqg. This way, all Shorte.st users will have their own flexibility over type of domain URL redirects they would like to use.
How Do You Make Money with Shorte.st?
Normally, when you click on any of these shortened URLs on social media or elsewhere on the web, you are immediately redirected to the original webpage. For the person who shortened the URL in the first place, there may be some added benefit in terms of metrics and analytics (which Shorte.st provides too), but there’s more of an opportunity here.
Rather than being sent directly to the original URL, the person who clicks the shortened URL will be shown an interstitial ad first. This is very similar to the pre-roll video ads you’ve likely seen on YouTube. Quality advertisers pay for this space and they’re paying for nearly all traffic from nearly all regions around the world.
The user can engage with the ad (which is what the advertisers obviously want) or they can click on the “skip this ad” button in the top corner to continue on to the page they want to visit. Meanwhile, you’ve earned a hit and are on your way to making money.
The actual amount of money you’ll make will depend on a myriad of factors, but Shorte.st maintains a page with typical payout rates. These appear to be quoted on a CPM basis with English-speaking traffic from the United States offering the most lucrative rate. Less popular geos will naturally pay less.
Payments are issued monthly via PayPal, WebMoney or Payoneer. The threshold for Payoneer is $20, whereas the very low payment threshold for PayPal and WebMoney is just $5. They pay on the 10th of every month. In addition to the payment terms listed above, Shorte.st will also occasionally send out payments twice in one month. This is often done during the months of December, as is their way of sending out a bonus (faster) payment to their site partners. There are also plans in the works to offer daily payments to top earning site partners as well.
Dashboard and Advanced Tools
Signing up for an account only takes a moment — simply provide an email address and password to get started — though you will want to fill in the rest of your account information so that you can get paid. You can start shortening URLs right away though, with or without an account.
The main dashboard is easy enough to follow and the URL shortening bar is always available near the top of the page. Browse around to get your statistics, across all income sources, enter your withdraw information and so on. It’s also through the dashboard that you gain access to some very useful tools.
- Full Page Script: Do you have a blog, resource website, microsite, online forum, or almost any other kind of website? With this handy script, every link on your site will automatically be converted to a Shorte.st shortened link instead. This way, you can ensure you are monetizing all your traffic. Through the options, you can whitelist or blacklist any domains you definitely want to include or exclude too.
- Developers API: Want to do more with Shorte.st beyond the features and functions that they offer? The API allows your creativity to be your guide, taking the Shorte.st platform to wherever you want to take it.
- Quick Link: If you don’t want to visit the Shorte.st website to shorten your links, you can grab the quick link, appending it with whatever URL you’d like to shorten.
- Mass Shrinker: This is perhaps the most useful tool of all. When you have multiple URLs you need to shorten, you can do up to 20 at a time on a single screen. This is perfect for shrinking the URLs for multiple affiliate links or blog posts, for instance.
Watch the demo videos for all of these tools in the How It Works section on the website.
Big Opportunity in a Small Package
In addition to earning revenue through the interstitial pages as part of the URL redirection service, you can also earn more money through the Shorte.st referral program too. For every new user you refer, you earn a commission of 20% for all the revenue they bring in. That’s lifetime.
What are you waiting for? Register for an account with Shorte.st now and start getting paid for every link that gets clicked.