After publishing my review of Adjix, the service which pays users to shorten URLs, I received a bit of a backlash from Performancing readers. According to a few commenter’s, by writing a review of Adjix, I was promoting spamming and scamming. Taking your feedback to heart, I took the criticisms of the service and emailed them to Joe Moreno, the Founder of Adjix hoping he would respond. He did, and this is what he had to say.
As you know, we just launched Adjix this past Tuesday and it’s received a ton of attention. We’re still adding features and I’m hoping that the blogging community will give us a chance to act on their feedback. We have alternative solutions in the works. The more choices our Adjix users have the happier they will be.
Claim number 1 – On every level this is wrong, wrong, wrong. The only people who will make any money at this are the scammers and spammers who don’t give a flying rats about losing credibility and readers. The rest will rightly avoid it like the plague.
First, let me say that we’ll shut down any spammer’s links. Everyone hates spam and we intend to freeze any spammer’s accounts. Our tag line is Short Links. Tiny Ads. Big Payoff. The payoff isn’t just monetary. Part of the payoff is the detailed click-thru information our users get.
We’ve seen comments like this:
It could be just as hard to get rich off of Adjix as it is to get rich off of Adsense, etc. In this day and age, information is power. I use Adjix in e-mail and blogs so I know how many clicks my links have received. Maybe this type of information is what the blogging community has been waiting for and Adjix is in a position to deliver it.
Also, one thing people tend to overlook is the fact that, if a person finds an interesting article and posts it to Digg, both Digg and the author’s website generate revenue off of our “crowd sourcing”. There is nothing wrong with this since we all have bills to pay for bandwidth, hosting, developers, etc and Digg adds value (adding value is key). If an Adjix linked article was submitted to Digg, the Digg community would see the number of clicks on their link.
Claim number 2 – What Adjix are doing is not creating a redirect to the original page. They are creating a new page on their server. Watch the URL, it never changes. If you view the source, what you will see is a page that contains some basic html and a frame set containing a url the brings in the original site into the Adjix page.
Yes, this is true. We’d like to know if there’s an alternative way to do this???
Regarding TInyURL – my hat’s off to Gilby – he’s the inventor of shortening links.
If your user chooses to bookmark a page on the site, they are bookmarking the Adjix page, so if they bookmark anything other than the home page of the site they wanted to visit, what they will get when they click on that bookmark is the Adjix page displaying the home page of the original site. Which will firstly confuse them and then no doubt annoy them as they have to find that great article again they wanted to re-read.
This is a great point. Thanks to Kim A for pointing that out on your blog. We’d love to hear some suggestions from the developer community on alternatives. Additionally, we’re discussing some alternatives, too.
Claim number 3 – The Adjix faqs state that
/The key advantage of Adjix ads is that they are displayed, at the
top of each Web page, until the page is reloaded./
. Absolute rubbish – click on an Adjix page and reload it – the ad stays where it is, because it is hard-coded into the page.
Not only are you destroying the usability of the bookmarks, because the page uses old fashioned frames you are making it impossible for those using assistive technologies to get any information from the page, apart from the ad that is.
Your claim is noted and we misspoke when we stated this on our website. I assure you that we had no intention to deceive.
We’ve clarified this point with the following:
The key advantage of Adjix ads is that they are displayed, at the top of each Web page, until a new URL is entered in your browser.
In the end, the Adjix user community will drive us based on their feedback. Again, let me say that I’m amazed at the attention Adjix has received. We know we’ve fired a shot that’s gotten people’s attention and now we’re going to refine it. The more people we please the better Adjix will be.
So there you have it. Straight from the horses mouth. I really don’t believe that Adjix has ill intentions. However, now that the founder has cleared some of the confusion, I’ll allow you to make up your own mind.
Interesting discussion. I suppose I had never thought about the “hijacking” of others’ content to make a few pennies–I’m not real experienced yet–but in a sense don’t we all re-purpose ideas in some fashion? Adjix has been joined with twitter and I love the technology. Maybe I’m wrong, but I kind of think of the ads as comparative to a commercial that runs on network television during a show’s time slot. Advertisers have to pay to use the network. Linkers are the media placement folks. Articles or content are made by producers. Nothing stops the owners of content from making their own links or advertising on the network.
“As to the reply from Adjix:
if a person finds an interesting article and posts it to Digg, both Digg and the author’s website generate revenue off of our “crowd sourcing”. There is nothing wrong with this since we all have bills to pay for bandwidth, hosting, developers, etc and Digg adds value
Come on, there is everything wrong with this. Firstly you are taking the original website and placing it in your page for the sole intent of making money out of content that you had nothing to do with. Morally wrong without mentioning copyright laws etc. ‘We all have bills to pay’??? Then find a way to pay them that doesn’t involve taking other people’s content. What value are you adding to the original site by doing this? None, and could potentially damage the original site, who might have existing advertiser contracts that conflict with your ads, along with all the usability and accessibility concerns I have already raised.”
I’m not conversant in the techno-speak about Adjix programming relative to the original content pages(web sites)that the ads are placed above, but why is it spamming? We read content on blogs all of the time that have banners and ads displayed. The blog owner had monetized the site. You can click and read or not. Just like you can eliminate TV commercials using TIVO. Maybe someone will make an Adjix app that can turn the ads on or off. Individual sites like twitter will decide on a case by case basis whether to accept Adjix or other forms of ad revenue.
Lastly, maybe original content owners won’t mind the viral exposure that offers a wider reach especially since they can choose to use the network themselves as well. If in question, linkers can always just ask. Or Adjix can just have a release form that content owners can sign. More administrative work for sure, but my point is that there will be solutions.
I personally can see Adjix being used in great ways to raise money for non-profits, promote green business, sustainable economies, renewable energies, election campaigns what not. I’m not in the business to moralize about new technologies, but to see how they might function as a greater good, and disseminate information, build knowledge and so on.
This is my perspective: give Adjix a chance. Give peace a chance. Cheers!
It’s new territory and as a micro-marketing specialist I both admire and use the technology.
Sweet: Al Gore called and he wants you to join his support group, We Thought of it First.
No one’s impressed.
Whoa welcome to 2005, that’s when i built a short URL service with all those features and more “and” there’s zero advertising what so ever.
Users can sign up for an account, they can track clicks on links, they can mask the destination URL so my short URL stays in the address bar or reveal it and several other things so why the big fuss about this one? I guess the difference is i don’t pay people to click because i don’t stuff ads everywhere, it’s just a genuine 100% free service.
It strikes me that Performancing is not the place to take a new product or service to have the community here test it. I think this might be one of the changes that has taken place here over the last few months or year or so.
One of the things that I found very interesting about Perfomancing in years past, is that this community was open to new ideas and actually tried things out.
This service is by no means perfect and as a tool could possibly be used for good or for bad, but I’m struck by how everyone here has flamed the service and concept without getting in and testing things out and providing some hands on experience with it.
I have no problem with everyone’s opinion and perspective, hell this is after all a community of bloggers. Couldn’t expect any less, but where’s the substance?
Offering a free linking service alternative doesn’t solve the core problem I think people are having, which is the method you use to display the intended site and ads. I think you’ve already read the many different concerns about your URL shortening method, so i won’t explain any further. Monetizing the URL’s that people provide really is a great idea. I remember when people thought it was a silly idea to get paid for recommending a product or service, and now it’s called affiliate marketing. Obviously you are providing a very common service to the everyday user by simply shortening the URL, so minimizing of the effects to the end user is of utmost importance if you don’t want to be seen as how people are commenting now.
Here are my suggestions: instead of framing the sites, use a gateway method where the link visitor is shown an ad before they visit the site. You can either have them automatically redirected after a certain amount of time (giving the visitor a chance to look and perhaps click on the ad), or display the ads near a “Continue to the site” link hoping they accidentally click on the ads (a common tactic ;P). Even using popups or popunders and instantly redirecting to the intended site would work better. You really have to do away with what you have now or it will never work out.
Ok, gang. We, at Adjix, are hearing your concerns.
Over the weekend, we implemented an ad-free link option on Adjix. It works just like you’d expect, except that you can see your link data for each link when you log into your Linker account. I’m sure most of you will feel that this is a step in the right direction.
Obviously, Linkers don’t get paid when they use the ad-free option (but, the big “payoff” is that Linkers still get their link data).
Here’s a demo & details:
It’s been less than a week since we launched so we’re learning and growing.
Except, there’s not much to rant or rave about your twitter account created last thursday without any links to yourself or any identifiable URL or location (except UK). It seems even more hypocritical now that it’s obvious you don’t tweet – or, prefer not to reveal yourself.
But, as a petlvr we used to have a budgie so you can’t be all that bad 😀
its boxofbudgies Hart, bob on over and have rant there if it makes you feel any better.
1) That the “twitter” comment referred to in the article (august 21) subsequently posted another tweet on august 23 recanting that decision due to complaints .. http://twitter.com/Adjix/statuses/896138586
2) that despite that I will never use this service (or whatever you call it) .. I feel sad for people like Jeff, Performancing community and ME have to listen to the rants of people like KIM A (Not Verified) user. What’s your twitter URL Kim? Who do you work for .. Adjix Competitor? It’s obvious there’s something seriously wrong with your statements – the overzealousness of it all (i.m.h.o.) is too overwhelming for me.
One link I saw on Twitter was for a very upmarket hotel in LA with a beautiful site, and above this sat your add for takeout pizza. Not how the site owner would ever have intended their brand to appear.
* I’m sure that very upmarket hotel in LA was proud to receive recognition from another source of marketing – the internet.
No, I wouldn’t. The only way in my opinion to make money out of url shortening is to get some ad placements on the service page. Then you are providing a service and the revenue is from your own efforts. Just as TinyURL do – they have succeeded because of this model of just doing what is right.
Services like adjix and linkbee will never enjoy that success, because users dislike the idea behind it. There will never be an adjix link on the front page of Digg, because Digg users will be far more likely to bury something that they think is taking advantage of them.
As for getting statistics, there are plenty of tools out there to gain information about links.
Would you be fine with the service if it added the option to monetize or not monetize the links? For instance, use the URL shortener service primarily for its ability to give you detailed statistics on the links?
Pity you have chosen to publish this as a new article and give yet more attention to a ‘service’ that really doesn’t warrant it- surely asking the Adjix guy to respond in the original article’s comments wold have been more appropriate.
And I am further wondering why you are doing this, when you don’t appear to have the courage to live up to your statement in the first article, that you were going to use Adjix until mid September? I don’t see you using Adjix at all – why is this if you felt strongly enough about the service to publish another article about it?
As to the reply from Adjix:
Come on, there is everything wrong with this. Firstly you are taking the original website and placing it in your page for the sole intent of making money out of content that you had nothing to do with. Morally wrong without mentioning copyright laws etc. ‘We all have bills to pay’??? Then find a way to pay them that doesn’t involve taking other people’s content. What value are you adding to the original site by doing this? None, and could potentially damage the original site, who might have existing advertiser contracts that conflict with your ads, along with all the usability and accessibility concerns I have already raised.
You cheapen their brand by placing your adverts at the top of their carefully crafted layouts, and worse by making it scroll with the content.One link I saw on Twitter was for a very upmarket hotel in LA with a beautiful site, and above this sat your add for takeout pizza. Not how the site owner would ever have intended their brand to appear.
People like the Adjix developer need to take on a bit of personal responsibility for their actions, and stop this crazy drive to ‘monetize’ everything. Some things just don’t want to be – Twitter being one of them. You don’t have a right to make money out of an audience just because it exists and you can, by whatever unscrupulous means you can devise. Add something of worth yourself, contribute in a positive way, and you will find far more avenues opening than this sleazy method will ever open.
As this article, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10023972-2.html?tag=mncol;title rightly points out:
Muhammad – as Adjix does not operate outside of the US, there is no point in your using it.
Adjix should be making this much clearer up front to their users. No one has a right to profit off anothers’ work in this way. If making a few pennies from Adjix is so important to you, write some great content of your own and link to that with an Adjix link. Don’t hijack other peoples sites and content to do it.
really look like a scam or bad thing to me. It’s new to the market, and we should give it its fair share of time to set things straight. I’m using Adjix nicely, w/t any complaints by people… good you published this to clear things up, Jeff!