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Sharing Links, Spreading Awareness: Bitly Collaborates With the Red Cross

Timed in honor of #GivingTuesday, the link-shortening service is joining with the the international relief group to encourage donations with the help of a new link shortener, Hope.ly.

Timed in honor of #GivingTuesday, the link-shortening service is joining with the international relief group to encourage donations with the help of a new link shortener, Hope.ly.

Link shorteners have become something of a virtual lifeline, making it easy to share quick links on social media and track their reach.

Now the creator of one of the most popular link-shortening services is offering up a lifeline to the American Red Cross.

On Tuesday, Bitly joined the humanitarian organization in announcing a collaborative effort called Hope.ly, a domain shortener that includes a little extra with each link that is shared: a pitch to donate to the Red Cross. (Check out an example here.)

The effort, conceived by the ad agency BBDO New York, was designed to replicate the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge without putting the onus on users to create content to share. In this case, the message is added onto a link users were going to share anyway.

“Charities generally are trying to get large-scale social reach in the same way that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge did,” BBDO New York Executive Creative Director Tom Markham told The New York Times. “This idea is kind of in that space, but it’s tied into the act of sharing, as opposed to us trying to come up with the content that is super shareable.”

Brian Morrissey, president and editor in chief of Digiday, an online publisher that covers digital media and marketing, told the Times that he liked the ease of participation of Hope.ly. However, he said he had reservations about the amount of real estate the bright-red donation screen takes up on first click.

The partnership could be a very effective one: Approximately 600 million links are shortened through Bitly each month, and those links are clicked on up to 8 billion times monthly. If even a fraction of those users decided to share content through Hope.ly links, the reach could be massive.

“The social-media community shows this propensity to give, so that tells us it’s a group of people that as an organization we definitely want to be in front of,” Laura Howe, the American Red Cross vice president for public relations, told the Times.

The link shortener will be available through December 31.

(Hope.ly screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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