Tr.im: No, We’re Not Closing After All…

Remember all the hoopla about Tr.im closing down their service? Well, they changed their mind.

We have restored tr.im, and re-opened its website. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the popular response, and the countless public and private appeals I have received to keep tr.im alive.

We have answered those pleas. Nambu will keep tr.im operating going forward, indefinitely, while we continue to consider our options in regards to tr.im’s future.

They still want to sell, but they’re not shutting everything down as they had initially intended. (As @atomicpoet put it: “Seriously, can’t these guys even commit to the cause of quitting?”)

Tr.im still claims that the reason that they want to get out of the “URL shortening business” is that Twitter has stacked the deck against them.

Twitter has stacked the URL shortening business opportunity overwhelmingly in bit.ly’s favour, as twitter.com currently operates. This is not whining, as some have suggested, but a simple reality. If we post a link to this blog article by its title Twitter switches our tr.im URL to a bit.ly URL. bit.ly has a monopoly position that cannot be challenged with reasonable investment or innovation unless Twitter offers choice.

I find that state to be patently ridiculous. Before Bit.ly was Twitter’s default URL shortener, TinyURL was…well before Tr.im got into the “URL shortening business.” Not only that, but I’m willing to bet that most people shorten URLs before they tweet, rather than letting Twitter do it for them. I do. I spend a fair bit of time on Twitter, and most of the links I see coming in (other than ones using Tr.im) are shortened with Ow.ly or Is.gd, with a smattering of Bit.ly ones here and there. It’s hardly a “monopoly.”

And what does it matter, anyway? If you have enough people using your service, you can monetize it. You may not get to the point where you can be the biggest URL shortener, but that won’t stop you from paying for the service and generating a profit. All that’s missing is a monetization strategy.

I can think of several ways to monetize Tr.im. Premium accounts with more analytical features, developer keys with a higher rate limit for the shortener’s API, just to name a couple.

Twitter isn’t stopping you from succeeding, Tr.im, you are.

  • http://www.wardmin.org Wardmin

    Hey. I have been using tweetable and I love it. With Tr.im doing the whole Easter dying and resurrecting thing, interest has moved to plugins for wordpress that shorten your own urls for you… http://www.yoursite.org/xxxx Can Tweetable work with one of these plugins? So that it tweets the custom shortened url instead of using tr.im or bit.ly ? Thanks

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/redwall_hp redwall_hp

      Not at this time, though I may refactor the URL shortener-related functions in Tweetable in the future, and add some filters and hooks in so other plugins could hook into Tweetable and extend the URL shortening capabilities. (And if I did that I would, of course, eventually have my own GoCodes plugin support doing that…) Also, this would allow PHP-inclined Tweetable users to hook a custom function in to add API support for a third-party shortener that they prefer to the included options.

      In the meantime, I'm pretty sure you'll be safe with Bit.ly. They have some major funding firepower behind them, a serious business plan, and they're in it for the long haul. (If you take a look at their About page, you might note that they're a Betaworks project…the same people who fund Twitter.)

      • http://www.wardmin.org Wardmin

        Thanks a ton for the reply. Very much appreciated.