5 Reasons You Should Use Linktrack

Earlier today, I was asked to “Tell me a little bit about why your company stands out.” That’s a pretty standard question, but not one that we’ve addressed on the site. I hate to waste good content, so here’s my response:

Linktrack stands out because we offer a highly competitive analytics product with an easy to use user-interface. In addition to standard features (like vanity links, custom domains, etc.) we offer unique features like:

  • Password protected links,
  • Links that expire when you want them to,
  • Email alerts when your links are clicked,
  • Our unique Plus+ tracking feature,
  • Public tracking pages
  • and more

Our pricing philosophy is “unlimited everything” where you only pay for access to premium features. We don’t restrict you by number of links, how much you can track, etc. We offer an extremely versatile tool and give you the freedom to implement it however you choose.

Monitoring the v2.1 Update

We’ve been monitoring the update to v2.1 over the last few weeks, and it’s time to declare it an overwhelming success. Not only did we improve the user experience and add some highly anticipated features, but we achieved our primary goal of reducing the CPU utilization on our heavy lifting servers.

Here’s a snapshot showing the before and after CPU usage on one of our database servers:

The end result is a snappier response which is great for our users. It also means we’ve effectively increased our capacity without incurring any new costs (which as an owner is great for me).

click2go.me Domain

For our Professional account holders, we’re adding the click2go.me custom domain name to our list of alternative domain names.

Alternative domain names let you use the Linktrack tracking service without using the linktrack.info domain name. This especially useful if you don’t want other people to know you’re using a tracking service.

Alternative domains are available to all Professional account holders when you make a link. Just look for the “Address” box and pick the one you want to use.

v2.1 Released

You may or may not have noticed that we recently rolled out v2.1 of Linktrack to our production servers. The update itself was a huge leap forward, but most of the public functionality is the same on the surface. We’ve been growing a lot over the last year, and this update was in response to our expanding user base.

Here are some of the changes you might notice:

  • Re-vamped dashboard page to display more useful summary information
  • Added adjustable date ranges on the tracking pages
  • Revised “forgot your password” utility
  • Reformatted the “visitor IP addresses” page
  • Adjusted the layout of our pricing page
  • New messaging and alert system
  • Giant improvements to our API!

In case you missed that last one, there have been Giant improvements to our API!

This update laid the ground work for expansion and added some of the most requested features to our existing API. Now you can use it to create your own custom links (using any of the options and features you want) and check on their status from your own applications.

The API is an industry standard style RESTful interface with XML output. We’ll be adding JSON output in the future. You can get API credentials and view code examples on your “Account” page. Just look for the API link.

As always, your feedback drives our future development. If you have a comment or a question, please drop me a line any time.

Make Tracking Links With the API

We recently expanded our API to assign passwords and keys for individual user accounts. What that means is that you can now make changes in your own account via our API without having to log in or even visit our site.

This comes in response to users who were interested in integrating our service with another program (TweetDeck for example).

To generate your own API key and see some example uses, log in to your account, click on the “Account” link and look for the API options.

We plan on expanding the API functionality very soon, so if you have any feature suggestions or feedback please let us know.

Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance

I signed up for Microsoft adCenter the other day after an issue with Google AdWords.  Shortly thereafter I received an email (text below) describing the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance.  I’m glad to see that AdWords will soon have a real competitor in the PPC advertising market.  Without competition, it’s easy to let your customer relationships become stagnant.

Microsoft Advertising adCenter
Dear Keeton,

Microsoft and Yahoo! have now received regulatory clearance to form the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance in the United States and European Union. This milestone is an exciting step in our effort to give your business a time-saving and cost-efficient way to connect with a larger combined audience of potential customers.

How the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance benefits you
After the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance is implemented, you will:

Reach more potential customers: Search ad inventory from both the Yahoo! and Microsoft networks will be joined in a new, unified search marketplace powered by Bing™ , with a combined audience of over 150 million searchers in the U.S and nearly 577 million searchers worldwide.1
You’ll use a single platform—Microsoft adCenter—to manage your campaigns easier and faster. With just one buy, your search ads will reach users on Bing, Yahoo!, and other premium partner sites and networks, such as The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, msnbc.com, FoxSports.com, Facebook, and Buy.com.

What’s ahead
For now, it’s business as usual; there is no change to your account or service. Your ads will continue to serve on Bing search results pages, and you will continue to receive the same great service from Microsoft.

Both companies are committed to making this transition a seamless experience. Our goal is to bring the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance to the U.S. by the end of 2010, prior to the crucial holiday season, with additional countries following on a staggered schedule beginning in 2011.
As our transition dates approach, we will contact you with information about what to do next. In order to ensure you continue to receive important service updates, please verify your contact information is current in Microsoft adCenter. View our help topic: Change contact information.
How to learn more
In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance by visiting our new resource, searchalliance.com, where you’ll find plenty of additional details, including press releases, FAQs, and more!

We appreciate your business and look forward to bringing you the benefits of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance.

Sincerely,

The Microsoft adCenter Team

Google AdWords: Account Under Review

At Linktrack, a portion of our advertising dollars are spent on Google AdWords.  I’ve personally been an AdWords customer since they first started the program (for this and other projects) and have generally been satisfied with their product.

Recently, my account was placed in a mysterious “under review” status that resulted in a complete freeze of my entire AdWords account (no impressions, clicks, etc.) and no notification via email or status message that anything was wrong.  My only indication was a complete stop of all account activity on otherwise healthy and active campaigns.

After searching the internet for cases similar to mine, I discovered the “under review” scenario that a few other advertisers have experienced.  After reading several horror stories of accounts under indefinite review, I was worried that my account would never be re-activated and that AdWords would no longer be an advertising option.  I’ve since resolved the issue and am documenting my communication with Google to help other advertisers in a similar situation.

Since there was no indication from Google that something was wrong, I had to contact them.  Phone support for my account was unavailable, so I took the email route.  Here is the first response, received approximately 12-24 hours after my request:

Hello Keeton,

Thank you for your email. I understand you’re concerned about your AdWords account not working. It appears your account is under review, which may be the reason for this issue. We periodically review accounts for security purposes and to verify billing information. I’ll consult a specialist team regarding the status of the review and will provide you with an update shortly. I sincerely appreciate your patience.

If you have additional questions, please visit our Help Center at http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/, where you’ll find answers to many frequently asked questions. We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available.

Sincerely,

Sricharan
The Google AdWords Team

This form response didn’t provide any helpful information, so I was resigned to wait.  I used the time to clone my pay per click campaigns to Microsoft Adcenter for display on the Bing.com search engine.  24 hours after the initial email, I received the following:

Hello Keeton,

Thank you for your patience.  As mentioned in my previous email, your AdWords account has stopped running as your account was under review. Our AdWords specialists have confirmed that our system is having difficulty processing your credit card.

Our AdWords Specialists and engineers have worked to resolve this issue. Please re-submit your credit card number or enter another credit card number to process your charge. Your ads will start running as soon as our system successfully processes your payment, usually within the 24 hours following your credit card re-submission.

To edit your credit card information and re-enable your account:

1. Sign in to your account at https://adwords.google.com
2. Click the “Billing” tab.
3. Click “Billing Preferences.”
4. Click “Edit” next to the Primary Payment Details section.
5. Fill in all fields on this page, including your credit card number.
6. Click “Save Changes” when you’re finished.

If you have additional questions, please visit our Help Center at http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/, where you’ll find answers to many frequently asked questions. We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available.

Sincerely,

Sricharan
The Google AdWords Team

This answer was far more helpful and reminded me that I had recently updated my credit card information on the account.  Why I didn’t receive an email that there was a problem with the billing, I will never know.  After updating my credit card information, my account started working after four or five hours.

If you’re investigating your own “under review” account, I hope you find this information helpful.

Hello Keeton,

Thank you for your email. I understand you’re concerned about your AdWords account not working. It appears your account is under review, which may be the reason for this issue. We periodically review accounts for security purposes and to verify billing information. I’ll consult a specialist team regarding the status of the review and will provide you with an update shortly. I sincerely appreciate your patience.

If you have additional questions, please visit our Help Center at http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/, where you'll find answers to many frequently asked questions. We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available.

Sincerely,  

Sricharan
The Google AdWords Team

Now Accepting PayPal!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Linktrack is now accepting PayPal!

If you have a free account and would like to upgrade using PayPal, just log in to your account and look for the “Upgrade to a Premium Account” link.  Premium users who wish to switch their billing to a PayPal account, just look for the “Update Billing Profile” link.

Thanks to everyone who requested this feature.  If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to drop me a line anytime.

Thanks again,

Keeton

Where Do People Click In From?

Today’s guest poster, Jamie from Totally The Bomb uses linktrack daily, so we asked her to tell us why she’s chosen us as her link tracking service.


Thanks Linktrack! I’m happy to be here. Let me just start by saying that without linktrack, I wouldn’t have a clue that social networking even actually worked for me.

For example, I hosted a give away on my blog today. I made four links going to the same place, but I uploaded them in different places. I put one on my twitter feed, one on my facebook, one on contest websites, and one in a mass email I sent out to my subscribers.

I checked on my links right now, and I just discovered that my link on twitter got 250 clicks, the one I did on the contest website only got 16. So, what have I learned from this? Dude, don’t waste my time with that contest website anymore.

Which means that Linktrack just saved me a serious amount of time.

Now, I know that there are people out there who do this social media thing as a business. I just think it’d be really nice to show the linktrack page to your boss and say, “LOOK! That stupid contest website you have me posting to isn’t actually working! Can we try something else?”

Let’s face it, in this whole crazy technological day and age, it’s all about the data, and that’s what linktrack gives us. Real time data about who is clicking our links and where they’re clicking in from. Without it, I wouldn’t have a clue if that stuff was working or not.

Thanks Linktrack, I promise to always use you for all my link tracking needs! You guys Rock!

New Feature: Custom Domains

We’ve had a TON of requests from users like you who want to use Linktrack, but don’t like the long linktrack.info domain name.  We heard those requests and listened!

This week we’re introducing http://vlt.me, the first of many new domain names that can be used with Linktrack. We’re calling this feature “custom domains” and it’s available to professional account holders starting today.  If you’re already a professional account holder, you don’t need to do anything to start using custom domain names. Just look for the “Address” drop down box when you make a link to choose which domain you want to use with your tracking link.

Here’s where we’re keeping track of all the custom domains available.

If you’re using one of our free accounts, this is a great reason to try out our professional service.  There’s no contract or obligation, so check it out today!

So why did we choose the vlt.me domain name? Does it mean anything special?

Not really. We choose vlt.me because it was short and easy to say (over the phone for example), but also doesn’t imply that that the link is for tracking purposes (something that a few of our users have mentioned).

If you REALLY need vlt.me to stand for something, here are some ideas:

Virtual Link Tracking
Very Large Turtle
Vacation Lobster Trap
Vaccinate Live Turkeys
Vacuumed Last Time
Vain Life Test

If you have any others, please let me know.

Thanks,

Keeton