URL shortner gets tr.immed; GM goes online

There are a couple businesses in the news today which have an interesting connection: GM and tr.im.  One that is closing its doors because it couldn’t make money; one still exists even though it couldn’t make money but it making thoughtful use of its second chance.

Tr.im is a URL shortener.  If you’re a user of Twitter or any other microblogging service, this type of tool is important – when you communicate in 140 characters, shrinking the web addresses of articles and links is critical.  The problem for tr.im is that there are a few other services out there that are just about identical – bit.ly, ow.ly, is.gd, take your pick, and they all have two things in common: they pretty much do the same thing as every other service, and they don’t have any obvious monetization opportunities.  Tr.im has been on the outside looking in in terms of use and traffic, therefore the site is shutting down.

General/Government Motors was in a similar predicament – offering a product that others could produce cheaper and losing money – but one government bailout and structured bankruptcy later, and GM is announcing a new way to sell cars: eBay.  Prospective car buyers will be able to drive prices down – no pun intended – from “buy it now” prices by underbidding.

Sure, it sounds like GM got the idea from a Video Professor infomercial, but it’s a good shot in the dark to increase car sales and build a stronger business.  More important than another venue to sell cars, eBay gives GM a way to determine the worth of their cars to consumers – important data that can help set prices in the future.

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