NEW YORK, NY – Donuts Inc, the company behind hundreds of new domain name extensions has acquired a link shortening service formally known as BudURL, and rebranded it as BL.INK. The service had been around for ten years and was founded by Andy Meadows.
The acquisition took place sometime in 2017 according to a company press release, yet Donuts had been operating it in “stealth mode” quietly building in key features which will enhance the services ability to customize URLs to either free or, more importantly to Donuts, owned short links through a connection to its domain registry business.
From the outside looking in, this is going to mean “big business” to Donuts as not only will it assume the businesses customer base, revenues and technology, but more importantly, it will create genuine demand in unique URLs purely for their cognitive convenience and analytical purposes built into the link shorting service.
Mostly uniquely to this acquisition, Donuts will now allow users of the service the ability to register, for free in some cases (for the first year), a custom domain name (new gTLD) to shorten their links, add recognizable keywords to the URL, and track referral activity with all of the technology already built into the service. This also includes real-time email notifications of click activity.
As an example, a store owner in New York, let’s say a bicycle shop, could utilize the service to shorten and track all campaigns, and instead of using a competing service and have links such as bit.ly/1c92v5e, goo.gl/UC2gVp or tinyurl.com/ngnr2v with the service from BL.INK, they could not only shorten a link to b.link/jygv58 but they could use their own custom owned short link (through the built-in registry service) such as shopnyc.bike/sale21 (much more meaningful).
This combined service and technology creates a whole new level of use for short meaningful domain names, in a scenario where user confusion becomes irrelevant. For instance, link shortening services are already expected to create cool and interesting web links commonly referred to as “domain hacks”. They serve as abbreviated, shorter than normal, web referral addresses which are expected to lead a user to content hosted elsewhere.
If it’s going to be short, weird and unusual anyway, it might as well be meaningful, and it might as well be mine.
This was probably one of the most useful acquisitions the company has ever made, potentially the most useful ngtld acquisition industry wide, as it will not only increase the number of end user registrations for its registry business, but it creates an actual meaningful use for new URLs regardless of their extensions familiarity to consumers.
If you haven’t taken the time to check out the services provided by the new BL.INK (I finally did this morning), I think this one is worth your time. With a little testing, you’re likely to find your own use for the service while ascertaining what I mean about its value to the Donuts registry business.
If I were able to assign an ICANN nGTLD award for creativity in commerce, Donuts would be a winner with this one.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®