Innovation That Matters

shrtn lets consumers earn money while sharing links

Work & Lifestyle

Twitter and Facebook users are familiar with URL shorteners, the web tools that turn long and unwieldy links into short, shareable ones. Bristol-based shrtn is adding to that concept by helping social media users earn some extra cash while sharing product links. Like other shorteners, shrtn has a simple interface that lets users enter long URLs, which are then shortened to something like (linking, in this case, to Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From). The big difference with other services is that shrtn has signed up with over a hundred online merchants, and adds affiliate identifiers to their URLs. Ever time an item is purchased through a registered user’s shortened link, shrtn receives a commission and passes part of that on to the user. So if someone short-links to their favourite perfume on, and one of their friends follows that link and buys from, the user receives a cut of the affiliate earnings (shrtn pays out 70–80% of the total commission). Users receive their earnings through PayPal, or can choose to donate them to charity, in which case shrtn adds an additional 20% on top. By simplifying affiliate marketing for ordinary consumers and keeping the experience unobtrusive for those who click on links (it doesn’t add pop-ups or insert elements into the user’s browser) shrtn seems like a win-win for all involved.



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