Is.gd is an English-language URL shortening service founded in 2008 by Andy Carthy, previously known for founding the popular website Bebo in 2005; when AOL purchased Bebo in March 2008, Carthy became one of the first members of AOL's new "internet incubation" division focused on providing resources to web startups. Is.gd was originally created as part of the same division at AOL before becoming an independent company; its investors include DC Thomson (publishers of long-running British comics The Dandy and The Beano) and BSkyB.
Is.gd allows users to create their own custom short URLs with tags that can be used to track sharing/usage statistics or purchase click through advertisements against them. British Telecom also offers a paid-for link shortening service similar to Is.gd, but with shorter URLs and additional services accessible from the click through page.
In 2010, Is.gd redesigned their website to allow it to be accessed via mobile phones or other mobile Internet devices, such as netbooks or tablet computers. In April 2011, Is.gd was selected by Google as one of nine new Search Lab winners for its Canadian Search Apprenticeship Program; the winning website was featured on Google's homepage in Canada for three days that month under the "Sites Worth Visiting" section of its search results pages.
Is.gd is currently ranked 13th among English-language link sharing sites according to Alexa traffic statistics (as of May 2011), with an estimated 1.5% of global Internet users having visited the site in February 2011 (4 million visits per month).
The domain name is.gd (that's "point-D") was registered by Andy Carthy on 11 October 2006; after AOL purchased Bebo, Carthy met Alex de Rochefort and James Oliver while running an early version of Is.gd at AOL's London Offices during 2008. De Rochefort and Oliver became co-founders of the company when it became independent that year, with additional investors gathered from their social networks.
Is.gd had one staff member prior to becoming independent in January 2010, plus five members of staff working on design/coding projects for clients. As of December 2010, the company employed four people full-time, with plans for up to ten members of staff within a year. The main Is.gd website is written in PHP and uses MySQL as its back end, while it implements Facebook Connect to use users' public information from their Facebook profile without requiring them to register separately on the site.
Is.gd's ad sales are managed by Adelphic Ltd., which shares office space with Is.gd in London; however, no ads are displayed on individual user pages or blogs hosted through the service. A variety of payment models are offered for advertisers including CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and direct deals between advertiser and publisher. User-uploaded files are stored on Amazon S3 with streaming backup to servers in the UK and US, while domains are registered through Gandi.net.
Although intended for users in English-speaking countries, Is.gd is accessible to visitors using non-ASCII characters (such as Cyrillic or Greek script), with pages automatically converting into their native scripts "where possible" before being returned via HTTP; this functionality was enabled by default but is now opt-in due to potential security issues associated with browsers not supporting full international Unicode workflows properly at that time. Is.gd uses TLAs (three letter acronyms) throughout its user interface because of problems rendering three letter top level domains containing diacritical marks on most computer browsers; the company also offers a .ly top-level domain, which can be used with diacritics and is popular for URL shortening among Libyan internet users.
Is.gd restricts its services to one free account per person or organization, although additional accounts are available on request to Is.gd staff depending on how many requests have already been received from an individual's email address that month. Each account allows users to create up to 1,000 custom URLs with exceptions being possible in some circumstances by contacting Is.gd using the online contact form/Ticketing system linked from the bottom of every page of their site. Customized URLs function much like existing "vanity" short URLs offered by other link sharing service providers, but with the addition of a "naming convention system" that automatically generates unique keywords from a base phrase supplied by the user; for example, Is.gd provides a variety of standard/default naming conventions such as "myname-0", "myname-1" and so on, which will each generate an auto generated URL containing "-0", "-1" or other numbers at random intervals within it. This feature is designed to allow users to easily share links with friends without requiring them to manually exchange explicit short URLs in advance, although there are currently no plans to release additional public naming convention libraries beyond the default set.
Is.gd was one of ten international finalists in The Next Web 2010 Startup Competition after achieving semifinal stage nominations among more than 500 applications, with subsequent endorsement from the [TNW Conference Organizers] and [TechCrunch Conference Organizers]. Is.gd reached the final round of voting for Directories: URL Shorteners at the 2010 BOBs (The Best of the Blogs), hosted by Techdirt; they were also an invitee to speak at Mashable's Social Good Summit in New York on September 26, 2011.
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