What is the business model for a URL shortener service?


How do URL shortener services make money?

Like https://bitly.com/, http://qurl.com/, http://urltea.me/, http://blue.gg/ There's no ads whatsoever on those sites.

I'm really curious, so they are able to live off donations (if any) alone ?

In other words, I'm interested what will the business model of these companies look like?

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asked Jul 24 '11 at 02:38
317 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

1 Answer


Bit.ly makes money through its enterprise service, offering custom shortened URLs (using its technology to manage shortened URLs through a branded domain, like pep.si) and advanced analytics.

Other sites are making money simply through advertising on their main site. TinyURL gets ~3,000,000 monthly unique visitors, which translates into an even higher number of page views -- the banner ads displayed on the site likely provide a good amount of revenue. URLtea.me looks like it has paid links on the front page -- because so many people are linking to the URLtea.me domain, those links likely pass a high SEO value.

Blue.gg seems to be a promotional effort / "cool factor" property for a digital creative agency. I imagine a substantial number of less popular URL shorteners are run by people simply for the cool factor or convenience of personalized, super-short links. Because these services are only redirecting people rather than serving up content of their own, the bandwidth used is really very low -- many services aren't being created to make money, because they don't cost that much money to run.

answered Jul 24 '11 at 10:41
Jay Neely
6,050 points

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