Most people that use Twitter are familiar with URL Shorteners such as t.co, bit.ly, ow.ly etc. It has always bothered me that even though these URL shorteners save space when posting URLs in a tweet, they still take up valuable real estate in the 140 character maximum. I bought kris.ly earlier this month because I was interested in owning the metrics behind the links that I post instead of using a traditional URL shortener owned by someone else. I had a few minutes last night and we set it up.
Companies like Pepsi (pep.si) and Nike (swoo.sh) are just a couple of examples of brands taking advantage of custom short URLs for branding. During the few short minutes setting kris.ly up last night I started wondering why we don’t see more individuals, and especially companies (large and small) taking advantage of this simple branding opportunity. It seems there is a healthy mostly untapped market out there for the right guy or gal looking for a nice lifestyle business. My plate is clearly full so go for it!
Why not create your own URL Shortener Business?
This business would be almost free to start and would generally entail setting up a quick website and tweeting to people and companies that could use the service. You wouldn’t even need to buy adwords to make this work. The model would be simple: Charge companies $3-5k each to set them up with their own custom tracking system and vanity short URL. Charge every individual like myself $1,500 to set them up with a short URL and tools. You can then charge an annual fee to host the service for them. At 10-15 sales a week you are making nice money and residual income with an extremely minimal time investment of less than 10 hours a week setting up the URLs and closing the deals.
It’s relatively inexpensive (Domain name ~ $100.00, Hosting ~ $0 – $8 a month, URL Shortening code is FREE open source), and the system can be set up in about 10 – 15 minutes if you know what you are doing. You can host multiple short URL sites on the same hosting plan but as you grow you may have to rent a dedicated server ~ $300/month.
Without office space and employees you can see that it is reasonable to expect a healthy 95% margin on company accounts and 90% on individual accounts.
I did go on a bit of a tangent here but I mainly wanted to say that I like my short URL kris.ly and I know others would likely pay to have one of their own. Good luck and if you need advice on setting it up don’t hesitate to contact me.