I’m glad I don’t run a URL shortening service – it’s a sector with rampant competition, vendors introducing their own offerings and difficult routes to monetization. All of which made me really interested to talk to BudURL yesterday about a relaunch that is coming for them today.

BudURL is a shortening service that has been around or a couple of years but, rather than focusing on the consumer space, they’re targeting enterprises. They’re all about building out extended functionality to the shortener, currently it’s limited to things like notations and tagging, integrated analytics and mobile functionality. BudURL is well aware that shortening is merely a feature and that to build a viable business they really need to find a way to create a compelling offering for businesses. Their existing generation of QR codes from shortened URLs gives a taste of where their intentions lie.

The release today however sees them move more towards their obvious aim of being a campaign management application. BudURL is introducing functionality that sees them become more of a campaign management offering, tying together shortening, with mobile features and custom landing page creation – aware that marketing departments often have difficulty getting campaign landing pages created within their enterprise CMS, BudURL is providing functionality that sees users create, and BudURL host landing pages. This concept is very similar to something I’ve seen from a stealth startup – the idea that easily set up, externally hosted landing pages are a valuable offering to businesses. Having spent some time wrangling enterprise content management systems, I’m starting to warm to the idea of external landing pages, especially when they are integrated with other forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) and tied to commonly used analytic offerings (in the case of BudURL, Coremetrics, Omniture, Google Analytics, and WebTrends).

BudURL is pushing its value to enterprises, and differentiating itself from the other shortening services, in five major areas:

  • Security & Support. Third-party security scans, SLAs and 24/7 customer service
  • Analytics. Real-time link tracking, customized 404 link reports, activity audits to track short link conversation, plus downloadable statistical data.
  • Integration. Integration with Omniture, Coremetrics, Google Analytics, WebTrends, plus a comprehensive API for other integrations
  • Ability to use across a team. Ability to track multiple team members’ activity and manage levels of access, across departments and roles
  • Mobile Functionality. QR code integration, on-the-fly mobile optimized landing pages with Facebook “like” integration

In terms of pricing, for the basic tier, users pay $8/month. For higher functionality, BudURL Pro allows multiple domain support as well as third party analytics integration and QR codes for all short URLs for $48/month.

I like what BudURL are doing, it’s closer to a real product offering that a simple feature addition to other’s platforms. With this new release BudURL might just have a viable business, but I’m still glad I don’t run a URL shortening service!

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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