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Case Study: Highest Paying Link Shortener

There are many ways to make money online, one of them is earning using short links. However, on the market there are numerous URL shorteners. How to choose the right one? Which of them allows you to earn the most?

These questions bothered me so much, therefore I decided to do my own research. Earlier, here, I explained what actually are shorteners, how they work, how I choose services for testing. I also examined selected shorteners support and did forums research. You may like to give it a quick read before reading this article.
In September, I checked how much I can earn with every shortener. All the data is presented below.

Driving Traffic for Selected Shorteners

As you could read in my preliminary case study, I choose following shorteners for tests purposes:
  • Adf.ly
  • Shorte.st
  • Bc.vc
  • Linkshrink.net
  • Clk.im
In the previous article, I briefly described all the services: their design, support and also information found on the Internet.

Now let's get to the tests description.

I bought some pop-under traffic and my pop-unders were displaying selected shorteners interstitial.

I was conducting an experiment for three days in a row: September 24, 25 and 26. In that I bought mixed traffic from following countries:
  • Mexico
  • United States
  • Brasil
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Indonesia
The table below shows the quantities of purchased traffic to a particular country.

Data collection and analysis methods

Below I have given the definitions that will help you understand, how I analyzed data in my case study:

  • Impressions - the number of purchased pop-under views
  • View - the number of impressions counted by shortener
  • Revenue - how much I earned with each shortener during the test
  • vECPM - eCPM per view

eCPM (Effective Cost Per Mille) is calculated by dividing total earnings by total number of vimpressions in thousands. It is a excellent performance measure for various ad units. It's great to use eCPM to compare your experimental results.

Mexico Traffic

Adf.ly and Shorte.st are the biggest players, so I decided to drive them the most of the traffic. As you can see, Adf.ly counted more views from the same number of impressions than Shorte.st, but despite this I earned almost twice more in Shorte.st.

BC.VC and LinkShrink.net are on the same level. They counted ridiculously low number of views so I earned almost nothing with them.

Clk.im counted well, but they haven't statistics for particular countries. I can see only aggregated data.

United States Traffic

Do you see that? Adf.ly counted so many views but my revenue was only $0.06! I found that Adf.ly considers US traffic as Worldwide RON. I do not know what that means, but the consequence is that the eCPM is very low.

In turn, Shorte.st for only 558 counted impressions (views) gave me $2.00! I wish they hadn't counted more views.

BC.VC and LinkShrink.net are jokes (again). Clk.im counted well. For US traffic, the clear winner is Shorte.st.

Brasil Traffic

In terms of Brasil traffic, Adf.ly is the winner. This shortener counted best and the revenue was also the highest. The second place belongs to Shorte.st, third to LinkShrink. BC.VC doesn’t require comment. Clk.im counted well, but not as well as they had counted Mexico traffic.

Spain Traffic

This time Shorte.st won. For the same amount of traffic, Shorte.st paid more than twice as much as Adf.ly. Clk.im counted so well that they even gave me one extra view ;)

And I don’t even want to write about the other two services. :)

Italy Traffic

Here Adf.ly is the winner. They counted more than Shorte.st and also paid more.
As usual, I don’t have data from Clk.im.

As for the other shorteners, I am starting to regret that I spent money to buy traffic for testing them.

Indonesia Traffic

As for Indonesia, the first place went to Shorte.st, second to Adf.ly, then was nothing for a long time. The last places belong to LinkShrink.net and BC.VC.

And as above, I cannot comment on Clk.im, because they don't provide data for particular country.


My research shows that I earned the most with Shorte.st as you can see in the table above.

And now I will describe details. In the table an abbreviation I2V Conv. Rate means how many impressions was converted to views. In other words: how many views were counted by each shortener. The rank in this category is presented below:
  • Clk.im (best)
  • Adf.ly
  • Shorte.st
  • BC.VC
  • LinkShrink.net (worst)
Views AVG. eCPM. : I calculated this value by dividing my revenue by views (counted by shortener). I multiplied the result by 1000. Here’s a rank:
  • BC.VC (best)
  • LinkShrink.net
  • Shorte.st
  • Adf.ly
  • Clk.im (worst)
Impressions Avg eCPM is calculated by dividing total earnings by total number of impressions in thousands. So we can compare it with Views AVG.eCPM. Let’s take a look at results:
  • Shorte.st (best)
  • Adf.ly
  • Clk.im
  • BC.VC
  • Linkshrink.net (worst)
In conclusion, for traffic which you deliver, you’ll get the best eCPM and consequently, the best revenue by using Shorte.st.

Even if I have so high views avg., for the eCPM measured in BC.VC and LinkShrink.net, I would not like to use them. It's impossible to earn well with those services and no one like to be underpaid, right?

There are plenty of paid link shorteners on the market, but to earn well, you have to pay more attention to matching service with region where you deliver the content. I hope that my research will help you monetize the content efficiently and enjoy a good earnings!