Tynt: A business built on ‘copy and paste’

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Who would think that there is a business in providing an online copy and paste service? Tynt believes that there is a very large opportunity even though it hasn’t yet figured out how best to monetise it.

Tynt provides publishers with a way of monitoring how and where content is being shared. A reader highlights some text and pastes it into an email or a blog post and Tynt automatically adds a link to the original content.

A dashboard shows publishers what has been copied and where it is being shared. Multiply this simple action across tens of millions of web pages and Tynt has a real-time aggregate view into trending topics and stories which is faster than can be found on Twitter or Google Trends.

I met with Derek Ball, CEO of Tynt. Here are some notes from our conversation:

- Tynt is growing quickly, it has a tiger by the tail.

- We want to help publishers understand who is sharing their content, it’s not about stopping plagiarism.

- The links also help with SEO.

- Most users, about 70 per cent, share content via email. Facebook is a distant second and only about 4 per cent use Twitter. We find that people are three times more likely to click on a link they see in an email, versus about 1.4 times on Facebook.

- Publishers can see what parts of a story are being shared and then they can add links to their own content on that subject. The more progressive publishers produce additional content on what is hot.

- We considered adding some text ad links to Tynt but it turns out that’s not a good use of our technology. Publishers prefer to add links that are related to their Twitter account or other pages on their site. There’s not much money in text-ad links.

- Publishers use Tynt to gauge the quality of their content. If there is a below normal amount of sharing then that indicates the quality is not good.

- Most people share between 150 and 200 words of a story, and that falls in the realm of “fair use.”

- We haven’t yet figured out our monetization strategy. We know we provide a good service for publishers but we aren’t yet sure what our best opportunity is. If you chase 100 rabbits you will go hungry. We haven’t yet figured out which “rabbit” we should go after, we are looking for a fat one with a limp.

- We believe that our best opportunity is in the aggregate data that we collect and we have an internal team that is looking at our real-time data to see what’s there. For example, we know who the most influential sharers are; also, we can analyse what is being shared in each geographical region and at what time of the day. We see trending subjects a lot earlier than on Twitter or Google Trends. It might make sense to partner with an advertising network.

- There are also opportunities in providing services to brands and how people are sharing information.

- Our investors are very pleased with us and have given us time to figure out the monetisation part of our business.

- It’s very interesting to see what people are sharing but also sometimes very discouraging because lots of people love to share celebrity gossip.

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