What is URL Shortening?
Remember when you had to type in long lines of garbled data to get to your favorite websites? If you wanted to share links with a friend or post affiliate websites on your businesses page, traditional URLs would clutter the page with ugly links. URL shortening cleans up the World Wide Web by using an HTTP Redirect, so that long, complex strings of data are unnecessary for finding a website.
Shortening URLs is aesthetically pleasing and conveniently saves space in printed (and electronic) ads. For example, consider this gaudy link to a bed comforter link on Amazon.com:
This link can be instantly shortened to http://goo.gl/Z3LXi by using Google’s free URL shortener, goo.gl.
Bloggers, Tweeters, and even news sites have jumped on the URL shortening bandwagon to provide their readers with eye-pleasing shortcuts. Given the limited character capacity for tweets, shortening URLs seems to be the best way to save space on Twitter, as well as Identi.ca and SMS, when referencing a web page. Social media sites and blogs need to keep their readers’ attention as efficiently as possible.
While the ability to shorten URLs has caused spamming problems and security concerns in the past, the benefits of shortening URLs is a new frontier in internet entrepreneurship.
Companies with a strong online presence and lots of traffic have become savvy to the benefits of shortening URLs. Many companies hire webmasters to shorten the links on their websites. Usually, the shortened links will earn a webmaster a fixed dollar amount per link hits, most often paid out through Paypal or Alertpay. Shortened URLs generate higher traffic because users are more likely to click a short link than a long one. Often, the redirect will send someone to a short 10-15 second advertisement, which is the reason that URL shortening pays.
Many websites are free to join and offer incentives to their payment plans on top of link-hits. There is usually a minimum payout for each site. Listed below are some common shortening URL websites and their payment terms:
- AdF.ly is a free site that pays $4 per 1000 visitors. User referrals will earn 20% commission.
- Adm.as asks visitors to complete a quick survey which can earn $0.50 to $7.00 on a NET 30 basis.
- SSL.GS is a free site that pays for every link you share, including links placed on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—virtually anywhere. Earn $5 for every 1000 visitors.
- WWY.ME is a free site that pays $4 per 1000 visitors, similar to AdF.ly.
- Nov.io is a free site that pays $5 per 1000 visitors. Referring users will earn 20% commission.
- Xa.ly is a free site that pays $4.50 per 1000 visitors. Referring users will earn 20% commission.
- AdJoin.Me is a free site that pays $5 per 1000 visitors, with a 20% commission on referrals.
- GD.IS is a free site that pays you when someone buys something when redirected by your link.
- Bee4.biz pays up to $3 per visitor and pays out through Paypal as well as Moneybookers and Amazon vouchers.
- iLix.in pays from $0.50 to $5.00 per 1000 visitors.
- Adh.am pays $10 per 1000 visitors, as well as 20% commission on referrals;
- Tinylink.me pays cash after visitors complete a redirected offer.
- Ushorten.me pays you to share adult content exclusively.
There are many more websites that pay you to shorten URLs. Remember that payouts are typically larger with member sites. However, it may be a good idea to test the waters with a few free sites first. Try not to exhaust your resources, and follow the guidelines for any shortening URL websites to ensure that you get paid. It’s as easy as that. The potential for profit is endless if you’re even only a novice internet surfer.
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy and save money with NerdWallet’s business credit cards.