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Comments seem to be offline for the moment, so I'll reply here: to Nicole's post:
With more than 20 million Twitter users trying to cram their message into 140 characters, URL shorteners have become a necessity. However, much like Twitter, it can be difficult to find a way to successfully create revenue from these services.
tr.im's founder, Eric Woodward, seems to have reconsidered shutting down the service.
As a fan of their brand name as much as the service, I was disappointed in the haste and tone of the announcement. Haste, in that there was no warning to users. Tone, in that their "us versus Twitter" laments ignored, again, their users. From the comments alone on tr.im's blog, there seems to be a collective desire to make his service work. Some interesting ideas from users willing to pay as well as some intriguing entreaties from the open-source community are appearing, but both camps value transparency — something that is only now appearing from the company.
The "Link Economy," as Jeff Jarvis has put it, has real value.
The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity. There is also an opportunity to add context (here are lots of links about Darfur but here is a page that will explain what they mean). There is also a need to add reporting and new content and information atop a link ecology. There is a need to create infrastructure for linking (full disclosure: I am involved with two companies trying to do this — Daylife and Publish2). There is a crying need for advertising infrastructure and networks to help the recipients of links monetize them.
Knowing where conversations are flowing, what topics have traction, and returning readers to original sources are (or should be) prized commodities.
URL shorteners can offer that and more, but it may take some far-sighted investors to see the value in competing with bit.ly's backers.
I think the tr.im brand, as sullied as it has been by this episode, still has the potential to offer a premium service — if for no other reason than the domain itself is near perfect.
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