Twitter and Facebook have become incredibly powerful platforms for celebrities to connect with their fans. With a short, positive message attached to a simple link, stars like 50 Cent and Lady Gaga can launch an artists career or send a penny stock through the roof.
While skill as a curator of online treasures is one of the essential skills for a modern web personality, sharing short links that direct fans away from their Facebook or Twitter feed is, in a deep sense, counter intuitive for celebs. Shouldn’t the attention stay with the star?
Enter Bre.ad, a custom link shortener funded by Lady Gaga’s manager and digital guru Troy Carter. Like bit.ly, Bre.ad allows users to create a brief, twitter friendly hyperlink in place of a long URL. But when users click through a Bre.ad link, they are brought to a splash page, where they spend five seconds reading a custom message and viewing a branded image, before heading off to their actual destination.
So long as the tech sector stays red hot, we are going to be seeing an increasing number of these pop projects. While the pitch might sound appealing to a celeb on paper, the end user experience is quite frustrating. Who wants to click a link, only to spend five seconds, an eternity in web time, staring at the same tweet against a billboard background, before landing on the actual link?
Bread CEO Alan Chan has spent the last four years living on the LES and building a clothing company, Arbitrage. He cooked up the idea for Bre.ad because he was frustrated by the way self promotion worked on Twitter and Facebook.
Chan will have a big advantage out of the gate. Social media stars like Lady Gaga and 50 Cent are going to drive a ton of attention to the service right away. Big brands like Pepsi have already signed on to the service as well. Perhaps used judiciously, Bre.ad could be a good addition to the arsenal of SM savvy celebs.
But it clearly has not been user tested for mass adoption. The service bills as one of it’s key features, the fact that users can type Bre.ad in front of any URL and get a custom short link. But that is nowhere near as easy as simply copying and pasting the link, which is now automatically cropped in Twitter or Tweetdeck.