At Raven, we experiment a lot. We consider our projects as our own version of skunkworks. Sometimes the experiments are driven by mere curiosity, while others are meant to see how far we can push the boundaries of a service. All of our experiments have one common element, problem solving.
When we first created the kl.am URL shortener, we did it to solve a problem. At the time, there wasn’t an SEO friendly shortener that supported campaign variables (now referenced as tracking tags by Google). Campaign variables are pieces of data that can identify the effectiveness of marketing efforts that involve publishing links.
Campaign variables are great, because you can assign a source, medium, and name, like Twitter and/or Social Media Campaign. Those variables get appended to the full URL before being shortened, and they make it easy to track and view the campaigns in Google Analytics.
So campaign variables is the main reason we built kl.am, period.
Several months after we debuted an SEO friendly URL shortener that supported campaign variables, many existing and new shorteners added them to their service. That includes the most popular and widely used shortener, bit.ly.
With the mass support of campaign variables, it wasn’t necessary for us to keep kl.am running. However, we had grown attached to the little hatchet-footed bivalve, and many other people had started using it too. Unfortunately, as kl.am became more popular (with legitimate users), it also got the attention of international spammers.
Spammers use of kl.am became epic. We didn’t have the resources or time to deal with the problem. We did our best by trying to patch the system with some basic anti-spam measures, but 100% of our development resources were (and are) focused on what’s making us money, Raven. After having kl.am kicked out of several hosting providers, and not having the resources to properly maintain it, we decided to throw in the towel.
We appreciate everyone who properly used kl.am in their campaigns and on a daily basis. Thanks so much for supporting our fun experiment and temporary solution to a problem. I will really miss kl.am.