Some time ago at Fon we decided to improve on TinyURL and came up with Fon.gs or Fon Get Simple as we call it. The idea was that as opposed to TinyURL at Fon.gs you could both shorten and choose the name of your domain. Plus Fon.gs is already consideraby shorter than tinyurl.com. But of course what we wanted to do is to find an inexpensive way of having our company name, Fon circulate on the internet. I am glad to see that our “Toovertorial” worked and already over 2 million fon.gs have been served. Other Toolvertorials from Fon include Gspace the free cloud storage tool which is used by half a million people around the world. And Twitxr, the twitter with geolocation and picture upload to Facebook and Flickr that is used by around 70K people per month. Less successful ones such as Unfolding News (the search engine for news as they unfold real time) which allows you follow a certain topic minute by minutes as news are written about it and Gmail uploader, a tool that allows you to load old Outlook emails into Gmail (Gmail is great for search but when you open an account you wish it had your emails). Now of all these tools the most successful one has been the Fonspots software that allows your Linux or Mac connected to 3G to turn into a Fonspot. This tool is the most relevant to our business at Fon. My advise to other start ups is that in difficult times when advertising and even PR is outside of your budget try having your coders spend a few hours developing “toolvertorials” people will remember you and like you more when they use them.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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