Melbourne-based start-up Trunk.ly has lured global customers and become one of the top 20,000 websites in the world, less than a month after launching a new kind of social bookmarking service.
Trunk.ly, which launched in December, is focused on recording and indexing online social media links and providing users with a personal search engine.
Operating on the philosophy that link sharing is “inherently social”, Trunk.ly says that it is trying to change the nature of social bookmarking. According to Alexa, it broke into the top 20,000 most-visited sites in the world 20 days after its launch.
According to Trunk.ly co-founder Tim Bull, bookmarking is no longer a solitary activity where users record things for their own personal reference.
“For many people, it’s now this rolling social rumble of tweets, retweets, [Facebook] ‘Likes’ sharing, commenting and general discussion,” Bull says.
“You go to a website and they’re promoting Facebook ‘Like’ buttons and they’re promoting Tweet buttons,” Bull says.
“If the goal of that is to share with your friends, why then also bookmark it? It’s two clicks. What if we made it one click?”
“What if we just let you do your normal social behaviour, and started tracking and pulling those links back together?”
Bull attributes the timing of Trunk.ly’s launch to the rumoured demise of competitor Delicious.
“We had in our mind this lovely little timeline that sometime about now, we would throw open the doors of Trunk.ly – we would go out and drive some press and see what happened.”
“All of a sudden, Yahoo made this announcement [about the demise of Delicious] and we just went, there are all these people out there who are Delicious users, panicking and looking for Delicious alternatives [so] we just have to throw the doors open.”
Bull says despite the frenzied nature of Trunk.ly’s launch, the timing proved to be perfect.
“We’re getting a lot more indexing traffic from Google [and] we’re starting to get a lot of long-tail search so that offers us a really good opportunity to start monetising around some of that,” he says.
“The short-term plan is that we have to start making some money from this thing… How we turn on advertising on the site in a way that actually gets people to click on the ads but doesn’t really annoy everybody.”
A self-funded start-up, Trunk.ly is yet to generate revenue so advertising is the company’s immediate focus. According to Bull, the bulk of Trunk.ly’s customers are located in the United States.
“One of the appeals of Truck.ly was that it’s a product that appeals globally from day one. I think the top country that uses us is the US and we’ve got quite a lot of followers in Italy, Germany, France and China,” he says.
“Australia’s actually number 10 on the list [but] there’s nothing that Trunk.ly’s doing that’s not also appealing to the Australian market.”
Bull says the challenge of being a start-up in Australia is access to investment.
“There is a lot of work starting to happen in the start-up community but there’s just not the volume of investors in Australia,” he says.
“The investors in Australia are typically more risk-averse and they’re also not familiar with the start-up industry, so what that means is that your funding terms are typically much poorer.”