At some point in our lives, chances are, we’ve all used the services provided by a URL shortener. They’re a great tool to utilize, especially when posting content to a micro-blogging platform like Twitter where every single character counts! Now it may seem that a URL shortener can’t really get much better, but a new startup called Bre.ad is seeking to change that mindset.
Bre.ad is, as expected, a URL shortener. It shortens links, has the ability to sync to Twitter and Facebook and it provides link analytics. What makes this new startup so unique is that it helps users promote brands, interests and charities through a full-page interface. The difference becomes apparent when you click on the Bre.ad link. You aren’t taken directly to the content, but instead, are re-directed to a webpage that was created by the person who originally shortened the link. These pages display messages left by the person who created them as well as 720 pixel by 300 pixel billboards. The user stays on the page for five seconds before being re-directed to the link he/she originally clicked on.
These pages are delightfully referred to as “Toasts” and they can be used to promote anything from a personal Twitter account, to a charity that you support. As a user, you can upload multiple “Toasts” and when you generate Bre.ad links, they will be chosen from at random.
Bre.ad founder Alan Chan believes that people are always willing to promote causes whether they’re personal or business related so his goal was to find a simple, classy way for them to display their passion. While Bre.ad hasn’t gone public yet, its Beta version will be launched in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Lady Gaga, North Face and many other brands already have Toast pages. The site even features an explore option that lets you see which brands, causes and profiles are the most popular.
It’s difficult to judge public reaction to Bre.ad as it’s yet to be released. The service was designed not to feel like advertising but users could avoid clicking on Bre.ad links because they know they’ll be forced to watch an ad. It’ll be interesting to see if people adopt the technology with open arms and if users can find creative ways to convey their messages through “Toasts”. Who knew URL shorteners had so much to offer?!