Announcing LinkBlip

Posted on 7/2/08

When it comes to trying something new on the web, I'm all about keeping the amount of time I invest insanely low. This is probably why I use CakePHP, it lets me build web apps very quickly and minimize the risk in case they fall on their face when I launch them.

LinkBlip is exactly one of those types of projects. I built this app from start to finish in a little under 4 hours.

LinkBlip

The concept is really simple: it's a way to monitor when someone has clicked a link you sent them. Have you ever sent someone an email and never heard back? If you send them a LinkBlip URL, you'll automatically be notified by email when they click on it. It also tells you what city and state they were in when the clicked the link.

It's basically like an email receipt, although less annoying and you don't know it's happening. Plus you get to see what city and state they're in.

Regarding user-experience, the entire site is basically two pages so there wasn't much work to be done there. I mostly focused on highlighting two things:

  1. Making it crystal clear what LinkBlip was and how it works. If users are going to commit to the idea they need to understand it first. I tried my best to outline LinkBlip in plain english without overloading the copy.
  2. Make it easy to bookmark for later use, because although many people could find this useful they probably aren't going to need it the first time they visit the page. It's the kind of thing you'd refer to later.

Feel free to post any feedback or suggestions in the comments.

Comments

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Due to the high volume of spam and the fact that I barely update this blog anymore, new comments have been permanently disabled.

  • Pete W writes on 7/2/08
    Genius idea! Bookmarked
  • Rhea writes on 7/2/08
    Interesting concept and a handy tool for the belt.
  • Justin Tsan writes on 7/2/08
    One of the most important tools in internet marketing.
  • Matt writes on 10/2/08
    Why can't the URL be something like http://example.com? Why does it have to have a third level domain (http://www.example.com for example)?
  • Matthew Inman writes on 10/2/08
    Hey Matt, thanks for pointing that out, it's fixed now. It was actually a bug in CakePHP, the web development framework I use.
  • Ryan writes on 16/2/08
    Great concept! I would love to have the source code if possible to learn from it... would you consider making it open-source?
  • Jon writes on 16/2/08
    Great idea. Why didn't I think of that?! Is there a way to receive a notification every time the link is accessed? Right now it looks like the user is only notified the first time someone follows the link.
  • Jan writes on 16/2/08
    Nice. But how bout you add a message saying that you won't harvest/sell our addresses? :-)
  • robb writes on 16/2/08
    didnt work
  • Laz writes on 16/2/08
    Ok, great idea but I was notify but it didn't show from where someone clic my blog.
  • Murphy Mac writes on 16/2/08
    Very interesting, tons of potential.
    I posted a link in Twitter and it was clicked in about 5 seconds.
  • Carola writes on 16/2/08
    I love this!! I often wonde if my site is getting hits when I send out emails and such...now I know... Way cool! Thank you
  • Carola writes on 16/2/08
    well it worked once and now it wont work at all? I am sad...
  • Alvin writes on 16/2/08
    Very cool. I like it!
  • Michael writes on 16/2/08
    I sent the link to myself and when I clicked on it, I received an email saying someone from Philadelphia, PA clicked on the link, but I'm from St. Louis, MO !!! Otherwise, EXCELLENT idea!
  • harold milner writes on 17/2/08
    great tool however I am in Sydney Australia and in testing it shows that someone from Mountainview CA clicked on the link.
    Can you find a way to place a cookie in the site so it at least holds the senders email.
    Thanks v much.
    If you wish to reply
    m
  • Tomo Krajina writes on 17/2/08
    Very nice idea!
  • Alan writes on 17/2/08
    Just tried it on a test link from Toronto and it tells me that someone from Vancouver, BC clicked on the link. Whya
  • Paulo Migz writes on 17/2/08
    I know I'm savvy enough to understand how it works, though I was trying to think what exactly this line was saying: "ok send me an email when someone visits the above URL" while the only URL above that submit button was the one i just inputted. A more intuitive text to that submitted button would be "Generate your LinkBlip now!" just a suggestion, anything else is a true masterpiece. brilliant.
  • Tony writes on 17/2/08
    Great tool for marketing. To make it even better is there a way to capture the email address?
  • Kenny writes on 17/2/08
    The notificiation didnt arrived :S
  • Russell writes on 17/2/08
    how about a bookmarklet for this service?
  • Lisa writes on 18/2/08
    This is brilliant, but tells me I'm in London, when actually I'm in Leeds!
  • Carola writes on 18/2/08
    The url is only allowing me to use it one time and then I cant use it anymore? And the location of where it was clicked is way way off...
  • Matthew Inman writes on 18/2/08
    Hey everyone, thanks for all the feedback.
    Regarding the inaccurate locations, this isn't something I can control. We use a 3rd party geoip database.
    The rest of the features I'll definitely look into. I want to add multiple URL tracking and the ability to be notified every time someone clicks a URL, not just once.
  • Ryan writes on 18/2/08
    And what about making the code publicly available? :)
  • Matthew Inman writes on 18/2/08
    Ryan,
    Unfortunately I'm gonna keep the code to myself for a time being :) It's actually not that complex, anyway. I use CakePHP, so all the repetitive tasks are handled by the framework. The rest of it is just some basic IO combined with GeoIP targeting. A clever programmer could re-produce this very easily.
  • Tinux writes on 18/2/08
    Very nice!
  • littleclown writes on 19/2/08
    Great idea. First of all I have some suggestions:
    01. Multiple notification, not just single, but you already know that
    02. Login where you can view all results from all your links - when, how many, who.. etc.
    03. Coz autogenerated links is based on your domain, maybe is not bad idea to generate BB & HTML code, like [URL=http://lburl.com/3eifo]http://google.com[/URL] to make the visible link more real. Who wont to post it to html site or html e-mail or just some bb based forum, to be able to do that elegant :).
  • Nick writes on 19/2/08
    It would be great to get a text message every day with stats! Check out our Mozeo Platform, we have a free API with ad support and a Paid API.
    E-Mail: nick@mozeo.com
    Web: http://www.mozeo.com
  • William writes on 20/2/08
    Very nice idea!
    It works even in Denmark.
    It could be very helpful and possible if you could supply with the IP address from where the "click" came from.
  • Matthew Inman writes on 20/2/08
    William, I considered making the recipient's IP address visible, but I decided against it for fear it was too invasive.
  • Tricia writes on 20/2/08
    Great idea. Tested it and it worked well, however my goegraphical location was way off. Is this for the USA only???
  • abhinav writes on 21/2/08
    please also mention how to stop it ????
  • Nancy writes on 22/2/08
    Is there a way to omit or disguise the "lburl.com" from within the Linkblip-generated URL? Anyone who may be the least bit curious about the link in their email would Google lburl.com and would quickly see many examples of lburl.com being referenced back to linkblip.com. This might make them reluctant to click on the emailed link once they realize that it would be monitored.
  • Jack writes on 24/2/08
    How it can be disabled from sending email
  • Matthew Inman writes on 24/2/08
    "How it can be disabled from sending email"
    It should only send an email once, so after the first click you won't get anymore emails.
  • Ben writes on 25/2/08
    The info of when and where it was clicked was wrond
  • ryanknapper writes on 28/2/08
    This is an awesome idea, as most "Why didn't I think of that?" things are. Good luck in selling it, you deserve to be rewarded.
  • Ron writes on 1/3/08
    how many times does it work?
    i tested it, and it only shows the time of the first click
  • Stuart Levine writes on 2/3/08
    I like the concept, but it's not working completely. For instance, I received the following response on the website:
    "This link was clicked 1 hour, 16 minutes ago by someone from , ."
    In other words, the information as to place was cut off.
    Also, it would be helpful if the IP address was also shown.
  • Daniel writes on 5/3/08
    Linkblip rocks. Thank you!
  • Fabio writes on 10/3/08
    Very great, as always common and simple things are the most genial ideas.Just a question, if i want to see (in the mail that u send to me once the contact as clicked) the e-mail of the contact is possible?
    In that way i will have full trace of what i want.
    i think it wuold be easy to tell the program "give me the string of the e-mail adress of the recipient", or not?
  • Massimiliano Cuccia writes on 21/3/08
    >the ability to be notified
    > every time someone clicks a URL,
    > not just once.
    **EVERY TIME** is the key!
  • Asty writes on 25/3/08
    It does not show the geografical location neither person's IP.
    I would be happy to use it if it'll work properly, but not as it works now.
    Also - it would be useful if reports being sent every time someone clicks the link, not only once when first person access My link.
    So in view of said above - its much more better to use standard FREE counters which are using in websites...
    I'm sorry... maybe next time.
  • Netty Gritty writes on 6/4/08
    i love this!
    please create a feedflare for it, so we will be able to use it in conjunction with feedburner "email this post" feedflare.
  • pig writes on 25/4/08
    Very nice!! I love it. It's simple but useful!!
    Also check out SpyPig.com -- a free email tracking tool that lets you know when your email has been read by the recipient.
  • Jen writes on 25/6/08
    I really like this concept and was planning to use it. My only concern is that the URL's I currently send out have the articles name I am referencing in it and the LinkBlip URL is to vague. I am worried that people will not want to click on a link. It almost looks a little like spam and I am not sure that I would click on a link like that. Great idea though...I just have to figure out how it can work for me...thanks!
  • MiladMaster writes on 24/7/08
    hi dear
    i created a link in linkblip and now i want to edit or delete it. it's very important for me. please say me how to do it.
  • p@r@noid writes on 30/10/08
    nice work dude..!!
    congo!!!
  • M**** writes on 6/1/09
    "...If you're interesting in buying, please email me: oatmeal@gmail.com".
    You have a typo... Just a heads up. :)
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  • Return Receipt writes on 27/5/09
    great website. you can also check http://www.getnotify.com. It is a Free email tracking service which notifies you when your sent email gets read.
  • laptop battery writes on 9/3/10
    I love this!! I often wonde if my site is getting hits when I send out emails and such...now I know... Way cool! Thank you
    http://www.shopokey.com

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