The world of URL shorteners is being hotly debated this week, and seeing tremendous change, with bit.ly making news by raising a new round of venture funding, and the release of DiggBar. In this wake, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land asks openly, “which URL shortening service should you use?“. Joshua Schachter says they add a layer of indirection to an “already creaky system”, and Jason Kottke adds on, saying they “suck” in general.
But as the use of Twitter explodes, so does the use of shorteners, as many are debating the number of characters they have left for tweets, or what one service gains them over another, as Twitter’s built-in limitations make their use a necessity.
The New BurnURL ShareBar 2.0
Amid this backdrop, I have been closely watching the development of a URL shortener which does things differently – not requiring any software download or login, and not being married to any one social service – and working to determine the intent of the sharer, and mood of those who read the destination content. Round 2 of BurnURL, a URL shortener and share bar from the team at ReadBurner, where I am an advisor, is aimed to not only help information distributors pass links to friends on Twitter and other services, but to help information publishers gain feedback on their content.
Burning a link on the BurnURL site
Getting a “Burned” URL to share
The new BurnURL ShareBar, released this morning, is retroactive with the more than 20,000 BurnURLs that have been issued since its initial launch, and adds on some features which I believe will make it extremely competitive with some of the more well-known products out there, including:
Integrated Sharing to Many Social Services
Every BurnURL ShareBar shows a “share” button letting visitors of the page further distribute the content, to social sites including StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Mixx, FriendFeed, Digg, Facebook and Twitter.
Sharing to Social Services via BurnURL
Sharing by E-mail via BurnURL
From the new ShareBar, you can now e-mail the content of any Web page to any number of friends, just by clicking Share, and selecting the e-mail tab. You can send it to multiple friends, and add a custom message.
A Tweets Button that Shows Mentions of the BurnURL
By clicking Tweets in the ShareBar, you can see all mentions on Twitter of that specific BurnURL. For example, see how widely my highlighting of TechCrunch’s post rumoring Google was in late stages to buy Twitter was disseminated by clicking this saved search.
The new ShareBar integrates Twitter search results for the “burned” URL
Mood Mining Ratings
Rather than a simple up or down vote, Digg or bury, like or dislike, BurnURL is looking to get the mood or emotional feedback from readers by using emoticons. Now, instead of voting a story down as “bad” because you disagree with its premise, you can tag the link as funny, interesting, boring, sad, or even exciting.
Information distributors and publishers are also likely interested to see how far and wide their shares have gone. For example, my share of that TechCrunch article has already gained more than 400 unique impressions. The new ShareBar now shares both unique views of that link and the total number of views. And as the post on the ReadBurner blog reads, you can expect more statistics to be developed in the future.
BurnURL shows more than 400 visitors from my shared link
A former TinyURL advocate, I have been using BurnURL exclusively since its initial launch – not because of my relationship with ReadBurner, but because I like the product’s flexibility and promise. Techies can argue all day about whether URL shorteners are a good idea or if there are some better than others, but I believe BurnURL is taking a different approach that is social and informative, in a world when shortening is still necessary.