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An interview with a url shortner. @Covati talks about the business of keeping it short with idek

When the news of shutting down hit the web over the weekend and before the Facebook / FriendFeed news took over the internet, I emailed a friend of mine who runs a url shortener service called, Adam Covati. Adam launched which stand for “I don’t even know” in 2008 and I was curious about how shutting down would effect his url shortener site, the faith in the url shortner business and’s statement that is the winner because Twitter decided to use them and more. So I emailed Adam a few questions and he was kindly enough to reply back. Read below an interview with a url shortner with Adam Covati.

The interview:
Q: What does the shutting down of mean for the success of your URLs’s closure just validates the fact that a pure-play url-shortener is not where I want to be. That’s a tight market with too many players and no good monetization plan.’s success lies in the tools and infrastructure marketers need to measure value in social media and throughout the web.

Q: As stated on their shutting down post, that twitter has chosen as the winner do you agree, if so why or why not?, a simple url shortener

It’s been expected for some time now that twitter would simplify the url shortening experience for its users. The selection of was an easy decision, both due to’s market share and Twitter’s previous decision to acquire summize (now which was also backed by betaworks.

This act wasn’t them anointing as a winner, merely making an easy decision for a partner – one that I have no argument with.

Q: Why did you launch in market filled with other tinyurl shortners?

Back when I launched, tinyurl was still clearly the dominant url shortener, that made no sense to me. Their urls are long and you get no understanding of what people are clicking. Originally I just wanted to try my own at shortening urls and exposing that data to people.

With my background in marketing and analytics, I quickly saw that this was a gold mine for proving ROI in the social media space.

Q: It has been stated never launch a business around Twitter or one site/product. What is doing to not suffer the same fait as

Building an add-on site is definitely a risky proposition, you are basing all chances not only on that site, but also on them not eclipsing your functionality. However, there is also something to be said about proving your value with one, very important site.

This is especially true if the service, such as, can be easily leveraged on many other similar and dissimilar sites. Twitter has been the main focus for idek, because that is where shortened urls are currently most valuable. Branching out to seamlessly support the other major social sites, as well as any other areas marketers want to venture is critical to’s success.

Q: Even though doesn’t have the same traffic numbers that Tr.Im had, does running a url shortener service cost a lof of money even with todays inexpensive cost for storage and bandwidth?

Url shortening definitely a more friendly on the wallet than the internet services provided by many of today’s startups. Bandwidth is pretty cheap because many of the requests made of a url shortener are actually responded to with a miniscule “301 Redirect” command accompanied by a url.

Keeping servers running fast is a bit more expensive because of the immense number of urls shortened and clicks recorded every day. Fast servers, good infrastructure, and time spent optimizing code are some of the biggest expenses.

Q: With the shutting down of, I’m sure it’s going to put a bad wrap on Tinyurl shorteners not to trust them for sharing links to permeant content. What are your thoughts on the future of url shorteners and how will this affect the marketing of

This is the proof point that many have been waiting for. There are a number of opponents to url shorteners out there who say that they add more complexity and uncertainty to the internet. Whether or not you buy this argument, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t needed. Urls themselves have become complex and undependable in many formats. This includes email, sms, as well as some social networks, all places where marketers need dependable analytics.

There wouldn’t be so many url shortening services if the market wasn’t demanding such a service. As we move forward we will see more service failures and there will also be collateral damage as links become unusable. But the internet is a very robust ecosystem, content will not be unreachable and sites will rebound.

In terms of marketing, dependability will be key. This will also be an area for continued investment as moves forward.

Q: What are you future plans for — URL shortening & click tracking

There is a lot in store for in the future, the focus isn’t competing with for dominance of the consumer url shortening space. You will soon see making strides in the support of marketer’s needs in the social media front.

It’s a very exciting time right now throughout all of social media, the competitors are very immature. It’s hard to say if today’s leaders, both in terms of social networks and complimentary services, will continue to dominate or if they will fall by the wayside as upstart services offer more compelling value that meets the shifting needs of tomorrow’s users.


Adam Covati (@covati) is the creator of a url shortening service that provides marketing metrics. He also recently beta-launched, a twitter photo booth for events. He has been building and managing websites for over ten years and thinks he has this internet thing pretty much figured out. For the last 5 years, he has been working on marketing software for both the online and offline world. Adam lives in Durham and spends his days as a Product Manager at Bronto Software.

Disclaimer: I have no investment with Thank you.

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