What should publishers do about embedded content?

Twitter preview of blog post

Embedly is an incredible technology that converts links into embedded content. The screenshot above shows how Embedly’s Parrotfish plugin (for Safari, Chrome and Firefox) works with Twitter.com to convert a shortened URL into an actual excerpt from the content on that page.

Storify and other so-called curation tools (see my What is curation storify) use Embedly, so I’m very excited about this and any other embedding technology, but I wonder how publishers who rely on on-site display advertising feel about tools that basically allow people to view some or all of their content without actually visiting their site.

What should publishers do about embedded content? Here are some crazy ideas.

  • Accept that people get content in new ways that don’t involve visits to your site.
  • Thank Embedly for building attribution, with links, into its API.
  • Understand how to leverage embedded content to build your brand(s).
  • Embed advertisements directly into your content.
  • Figure out other ways to generate revenue.

t.co: Will Twitter charge for statistics?

Every link shared via Twitter will start with http://t.co by the end of this year. That was the gist of one part of an email from Twitter last night. The most important thing for businesses to note is that, with that change, Twitter will start tracking every time a tweeted link is clicked — no matter what shortener, web site, app or client is used to write or read the tweet. Twitter will finally have an accurate way to measure …

  • CLICKS: Using a traditional web analytics program to count the number of times Twitter.com sends traffic to a site, is a gross underestimate of Twitter referrals, because so many people click on tweeted links from applications and web sites other than the official Twitter site. Twitter will process and wrap every link — even links that have already been shortened — within it’s t.co shortener, so they can count every time a link is clicked.
  • IMPRESSIONS: All Twitter applications use the Twitter API, so Twitter knows every time a tweet (and the links within a tweet) is requested. They can’t verify that each request  ends up in the tweet being displayed, but this is the best estimation of impressions, the number of times a tweet is shown.
  • CTR! Since Twitter will have a the number of impressions and the number clicks, they can dived and deliver a fairly accurate clickthrough rate. CTR is used to measure the success of many online ad campaigns.

That kind of information can help shape and measure the return on investment for companies using social media to drive traffic. This is unique information that, if used wisely, can boost an organization’s bottom line. That sounds like the kind of online content for which the Wall Street Journal is able to charge.

What do you think?

Will Twitter start providing these numbers for free, or are they creating the foundation for a new stream of revenue?

Short URLs reveal Facebook sentiment

I recently ran across a shortened bit.ly URL that was customized to read “leaveFB,” as in “leave Facebook.” After reading that post, I decided to dig up some other URLs that express how some people feel about Facebook.

If you’re looking to customize a shortened URL for your Facebook linking, these bit.ly options are still available: bit.ly/admirefb, bit.ly/adorefb, bit.ly/enjoyfb, bit.ly/fbrules, bit.ly/ihatefb, bit.ly/ilikefb, bit.ly/ilovefb<

No more bar atop ow.ly (Hootsuite) links

If you don’t like that strip of social tools that appears when you click on http://ow.ly links, then you’ll be happy to know that Hootsuite, the Twitter client that produces those URLs, has removed its “social bar” from ow.ly links.


Why was that social bar included in the first place? Hootsuite says that it provides “easy Re-Tweets, instant links ratings, and quick access to submit links to Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Facebook, etc.” If those features are important to you , Hootsuite still provides that social bar with its new http://ht.ly shortening service.

For more information, you can read Hootsuite’s blog post without the bar at http://ow.ly/1DCSw, or with the bar at http://ht.ly/1DCTs.