Can Su.pr Short Links Save StumbleUpon? (250 Private Beta Invites)

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Any self-respecting Website these days has its own URL shortening service for easy syndication of links across Twitter, Facebook and other status streams. There are services such as bit.ly and TinyURL. Digg has its controversial Diggbar (which helped lift unique visitors by 20 percent). Hell, even we use our own custom short URL domain (tcrn.ch) via Awe.sm.

Now, StumbleUpon, which was recently freed from eBay’s clutches, is rolling out its own URL shortening service, Su.pr. It is in closed beta, but we have 250 invites for the first TechCrunch readers to enter the promotional code: suprtc

We first caught wind of Su.pr back in March when StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp appropriately enough Tweeted about it. Su.pr lets you shorten a URL and share it across Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. What’s more, it gives you a dashboard to help you keep track of how many times your su.pr links have been shared, across which services. You can see how many times each link has been clicked on and retweeted (along with the number of followers for each retweeter). It also lets you schedule shared links across those services for any time you want.

The analytics are key. They are similar to what you’d find using bit.ly, except that Su.pr is plugged into Stumbleupon, which gives each link an extra distribution push. Each link can then be voted upon by the StumbleUpon community, and if it becomes popular, it can take on a new life. For StumbleUpon, it is a way to seed the service with links people are already pushing out to their real-time streams. StumbleUpon links take longer to gain momentum, so one benefit is that it could extend the life of good links.

Camp calls them “Su.pr links” because they take wrap the pages with a toolbar up top that entices people to vote the page up or down and Stumble to another page. “We are trying to give people a stumble experience through syndicating links,” he explains. Right now, however, Su.pr is using frames like the Diggbar, instead of redirecting straight to the underlying page. However, Camp says by the time Su.pr launches in public, websites will have the option to register with the service and host the toolbar themselves on their own URL (using a line of Javascript). His team is also developing custom short URLs for large sites which can tap into the same analytics backend (and further help push more content into StumbleUpon).

There is definitely a need for tools like these because Website publishers want to know not just what is happening on their sites, but what is happening to their links across the Web. But will it be enough to reignite interest in Stumbleupon, which languished under eBay’s ownership?

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