Talking tech since 2003

Let me preface this post by stating a few things: I’m well-aware that no one is entitled to anything on the Internet.  I know that these industry blogs (e.g. TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.) probably receive several hundred of emails per day with tips, news, and attempts for press coverage.  I also know that decisions with regard to what will be covered and what won’t be have to be made (and obviously not everything can or should be given press coverage).  Lastly, I know I’m not some extremely well-established entrepreneur or web personality, but I do believe I have some credibility.

I typically do not write about personal matters on BestTechie but since this revolves a new project I am working on (bt.gd) which is tech/web 2.0 related here is the problem I’m facing at the moment.  Today, both Mashable (Facebook Post, Google Post) and TechCrunch covered the new URL shorteners by Google and Facebook.  As I mentioned previously, I’m working a URL Shortener myself and while I’m not Google or Facebook my product (bt.gd) is no slouch nor is it lacking features or ideas for innovating the field.  In fact, it is quite the contrary (I’ll explain our features and plans a little later).  While I realize bit.ly has been dominating the market, I thought we had a fighting chance (honestly) even with bit.ly being the default shortener on Twitter.  I felt if we could get it integrated and implemented in specific applications and sites with our feature set (current and future) we would be able to compete.

Apparently though, no one will take you seriously if you’re not a big (or at least well recognized) name or an established brand (more on this in a few).  Which leads me to the question didn’t every company, website, blog, web-celeb, you name it start off with nothing (or very little)?  Then through business moves, features, innovation and opportunities they were able to grow into what they are today.  What I’m getting at is that many of these industry sites, news organizations, the media, large corporations seem to forget where they started from – which is nothing. Nothing more than just an idea and if you were lucky you had a product/service to show off.

It is so difficult to get into the tech industry with limited connections – forget trying to do it cold (based on my experience with some connections it’s still very difficult).  I bet the same can be said for any industry today though.  Nonetheless, back to my point of this post.  On December 7th, 2009 I sent an email to news@mashable.com (see below) and a few days prior to that I spoke with a writer for TechCrunch who said they may look into posting about it (and nothing since then):

Greetings!

I’m launching a new URL shortener service http://bt.gd (we’re really new!). Before you dismiss it as yet another URL Shortener let me go over a few of the existing features and future plans we have that I believe can potentially be game changing for the URL shortening market place.

Currently, bt.gd has the following features completed and fully functional: Recent Links (saves your recently shortened links without having to register with an account, though we plan to add user account access soon to provide even more features), easily share your links once shortened via Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed, a simple and easy to use API so other applications and services can integrate it, Popular Links page, URL Preview method, a web browser Bookmarklet so you can shorten the URL to any web page with ease, an OSX Dashboard Widget, a Windows Application, a Safe URLs system (powered by our own internal blacklists, SURBL, and soon Web of Trust), and our latest feature (which I haven’t seen anywhere else yet) is a user generated link directory.

The idea behind the link directory is to make shortened links more than just a one-time shared item, but so they can retain their value by allowing people to browse through specific categories (similar to DMOZ and Google Directory, but with shortened links) to find content. We also have future plans for additional directory functionality to make it even more useful for our users. We are also attempting to get bt.gd included in Twitter clients to make it easier for people to use our service.

We believe this is just the start to our service and have a lot more planned. If you have any questions regarding bt.gd please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kindest Regards,

Jeff Weisbein

I received the automated response and never heard back. I just assumed they weren’t interested in any more URL shortening services and that’s fine. However today Mashable makes two new posts on URL Shortening services from Facebook and Google. I realize those are two big names on the web, but they don’t even know much about the Facebook shortener or what it’s being planned to be used for. Likewise for Google, not much on them with regard to features or future plans. Meanwhile I laid out for them and nothing. Nothing at all. On top of that writer Ben Parr writes, “Today may just mark the beginning a new battle for the URL shortening market.”

Again, not to sound like I’m entitled but if it’s so important where’s bt.gd coverage? We have things planned (and some already available to the public) that have not been done before. I’m not just talking it up, I’m serious. Since that email we have implemented Web of Trust to ensure even safer URL’s and we have gotten URL stats integrated completely. In the video above you can see our integration of Facebook Connect in the works which will be the segway to our new feature implementations.

Everyone always talks about how the web can allow people to share new ideas, collaborate, create something from nothing, etc. While it’s true that it can be done for that the likelihood you will ever be recognized seems slim to none and to me that is disappointing.

The sad part about me writing all of this is it will most likely never be seen by anyone who it is directed towards.


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