New dot US URL Shortener Launches with Unique Features and a Patriotic Angle

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New dot US URL shortening service OneCent.US takes prominent American politicians and US businesses to task for using foreign domain services like bit.ly (Libya) while ignoring dot US domains. They are offering themselves as the "American alternative" to outsourcing US jobs to foreign domains, also boldly boasting ten additional features over and above straight vanilla URL shortening as well as donating 90% of their advertising revenue to charities which users of the free service get to select from to donate to on each usage.

Introducing a new URL shortening service that plays to an American based audience with charitable donation twist:

http://onecent.us is an American owned and operated alternative to bit.ly (Libya) and other foreign domain URL shortening services. They point out that some of the nation's most prominent political figures who heavily use Twitter to get their messages out as well as many television, radio and print news businesses who boast "America" or "US" in their name use foreign services like this. Why?

OneCent.US is free like the other URL shorteners but also makes note on their home page that they are:

1) US based...
2) US owned...
3) US operated...
4) eager to pay US taxes...
5) has US based customer service...
6) is eager to provide American jobs...
7) has no voice recognition system, you talk to a real live American...
8) has a dot US domain name you can trust to be around to keep your links working...
9) donates 90% of its advertising revenue to US based charities based on user voting...
10) fights the loss of American jobs and gross national product to foreign based domains...

The new service also features many optional features, some of which may be unique in the business.

Over and above just providing shortened URLs primarily for Twitter uses, the service allows a user to:

1) create a custom URL name if it's not taken already... this is something that many if not most URL shortening services also have...

2) add prefix and or suffix to a short URL for branding and content... unusual and perhaps rare or even unique...

3) add a movie style rating to give a comfort level to users before taking a link, RatedG, R, even X to warn of adult content... this seems to be a unique offering and also has practical value...

4) adjust the redirect wait time to show a message to the end user...

also a rare or even unique feature, while the very purpose of a redirect page is to get the user there as quickly as possible, a short delay of a second or two is proving desirable by some users as it gives the person who is taking the link a chance to absorb and appreciate a mild message that lets them know that the service is making a charitable donation to a charity selected by the creator of the link.

5) users can select charity from a drop down list to tell OneCent.US who to donate to...

some other URL shorteners do donate a percentage of their revenue to charity, i.e. Good.ly another Libyan domain name, but they donate 55% and keep 45% to run the web site. Plus you have to buy something for the donation to occur. OneCent.US donates 90% of all gross advertising revenue. They do admit that there are some URL shortening services who do donate 100% to charity and they applaud them, but they're defense is that they are a for-profit business and make no pretense about it. In addition, the site provides free advertising to any charity that shows us they are US tax exempt non-profit and/or 5013C.

6) Users can add SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features to their page - this allows them to produce SEO optimized landing pages to hopefully rank higher in search engines to attract and drive traffic to their website, over and above a simple redirect. A few of the newer competing sites offer similar functionality in the ability to add a keyword or in one case a list of keywords for SEO purposes, but this appears to be the furthest anyone has gone and it will be interesting to see if it spawns any copycats.

7) add optional custom page content of any length to the generated page...

Some other URL shortening service allow page previews, which OneCent.US does not do currently, though they say they will add it in a blanket statement that they will not be outdone by anyone. In either case, this is not generally offered by competitors.

8) sweeMail © 2010 onecent.us - Instead of a plain old redirect, this lets the user create a short URL for a preformatted email for their end users to customize and send to either a suggested person, i.e. their Congressman, or just to recommend products, services or your site to people they know. This does seem like a powerful new feature which will likely get some heavy use.

9) Advertisers can name their own price...

Paid text ads on the site run 1 day to 1 week, can auto renew, rebid or expire, or even cancel anytime for a full refund of unused days. Highest bidders take top spots above the fold, and anyone can knock another advertiser out of their top spot when their renewal date comes up. The bidding can be done in increments of only one cent, which is apparently where the site's name comes from.

This is not a new totally idea, but spirited and clever. Has it been done before? No idea. It is though an attempt to add some excitement to the process and let the market seek its own level. The site plans to publish rates and bidding statistics for all to see.

10) Free online real time tracking information is to be available to registered users only-for viewing either online or download in spreadsheet file format...

Tracking is not a new idea, but they say they are determined to be competitive in functionality. They listen to their users and invite all contacts suggestions and/or criticism by email, text message or phone at 1-631-455-8756 7 days a week at any reasonable hour Eastern time, sunup to sundown.

Mainly focused on getting Twitter users to use the service, you can find them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/onecentdotus . You can visit them at http://onecent.us/ed .

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Bill Purkins
OneCent.US
1-631-455-8756
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