Cryptocurrency is the democratization of traditional currency. They are not regulated by any single regulator. They are accessible to anyone with technical access and understanding. More importantly, their existence is maintained, tracked, and managed by the people who use them.
This concept is considered to be a larger platform for the form of asset token; through asset token, physical and conceptual assets can be “democratized” in the same way. For example, a local business owner can token the ownership of his business, just like a small-scale company issues shares, and partially pay employees in the form of token ownership of the company. Similarly, you can also invest in the “share” of your favorite new songs, and if it becomes a breakthrough success, you can eventually use the royalty share.
Now it seems that the “smart link”, which integrates the smart contract with the existing online link structure, can be used as the basis of a new online transaction mode. But how do they work? How do they work compared to modern links?
What is smart link?
Let’s start with a short definition of “smart link.”. “The function of smart links is very similar to that of traditional links, but it has a simple, technology driven Transformation: smart links track when links are shared with whom through embedded smart contracts. Whenever a link generates traffic, it will generate revenue driven behavior, and the sharer will get a certain proportion of the revenue.
Link itself has long been a democratic function in the network landscape. Users are free to use links to refer to research, recommend resources, and direct traffic as they see fit. They use links regularly and reliably to build a complex highway on the web. Google and other search engines have taken advantage of this for a long time, using the number and quality of links to assess the subjective “authority” of each web domain.
If two sites have the same topic, but one of them has more than three times the number of supporting links, the site will be considered more trustworthy, so it will rank higher in the search engine. In turn, search engine optimization (SEO) has emerged to enable companies to control their ranking strategies, and SEO link building has become one of the most popular marketing strategies on the Internet.
To some extent, users have been able to control how links are created and shared, and how to support the businesses and organizations they like. But adding a smart contract will make them a more active and rewarding player in the system.
2Key network has designed the initial structure of smart link, but this is a concept that will develop in the future, as 2Key improves its method, and other companies and organizations test this idea under their own conditions. At present, the general approach is to track everyone who comes into contact with the link and associate the wallet with that person. The wallet can be “unlocked” through any offline browser.
Suppose that this can be used for any cryptocurrency network, even for tokens that do not yet exist; for example, companies can pay link sharers because they generate traffic for the site in the form of site ownership token. It’s a wild concept, and it’s the last link imaginable in the long development chain, but based on the technology we can get at present, it’s certainly imaginable.
Contract creators will be those who control when and how smart links pay off. They determine the value of each web visitor and distribute the reward accordingly.
In principle, this could be a huge step forward in online marketing and advertising, while also encouraging more online interaction and transactions. However, there are some complex factors that will inevitably break the status quo.
Will smart links be considered sponsored if content is embedded?
This is a dilemma between morality and pedantry. If you embed a smart link in your content, hoping to bring traffic to the product page and generate revenue, is this a sponsorship link?
As a reference, sponsored links is a modern advertising strategy, in which advertisers pay for their links to appear in search engine results, in the text of articles, and sometimes even in articles disguised as organic articles with major publishers. At present, the standard best practice is to mark sponsorship links as “sponsorship” so that readers and users can clearly know that these links do not appear organically.
Smart links can be considered “sponsored” in several different ways. Most importantly, money is changing hands; if links generate traffic and users who share links make money, it can be considered a transaction. The inclusion of smart links is also unlikely to be purely or organically motivated; most users who share these links are at least partly tempted to generate revenue.
However, there is no guarantee that the traffic generated by smart links will be profitable; remember, it depends on visitors submitting some revenue generating actions. Most importantly, in a future where most (or all) links are smart links, would you consider sponsoring all links? What’s the point?
If smart links don’t indicate sponsorship, will they violate the search engine’s terms of service?
At present, Google (like other search engines) has strict policies on how to build links. Because its search ranking algorithm relies heavily on the evaluation of organic and unbiased links as a measure of credibility and authority, it does not encourage “link plans” to cheat its algorithm or lead to unnatural links to a large extent.
For example, if I link to a bicycle website because I find it very useful, the link can be considered organic; if the bicycle website pays me to link to them (I don’t mark it as sponsorship), the link violates Google’s terms of service; It believes that this connection is organic, and its existence is due to a form of bribery, rather than the result of winning trust.
What about smart links? Do they have to be marked as sponsors? If not, will they violate the search engine’s terms of service? We may need to make rules to avoid links falling into grey areas.
Smart links replace slave networks
The most popular is Amazon Associates, which allows individuals to link to a single product page on the web and then receive up to 10% commission from any product sales they initiate. It’s a good deal for everyone, especially if you have a blog or other platform with a lot of traffic.
But smart links may eventually make affiliate links obsolete. First, they are able to track data more reliably. They are also decentralized, which means you can create them without the help of middlemen. The emergence of smart links will inevitably disrupt the affiliated link industry and may completely redefine it.
Other smart link uses
Smart links can also be used to make supporters of charities more democratic and powerful, bypassing the Internet conspiracy that allows Internet companies to profit from charitable activities. Charities can choose to provide links to donation pages through more organic channels instead of competing for hits on paid advertising platforms, paying ridiculous prices for each click. According to their goals, they can sign smart contracts to pay users for their efforts to make charities more visible, or let users choose to redistribute their payments in the form of additional donations.
The marketing perspective itself is more valuable here, because those who are motivated to share these smart links are more able to direct charities to the highly relevant target audiences who are most likely to support them.
The future of smart links
Obviously, smart links are still in the early stages of development. There are still many problems to be solved, including how to ensure safe and accurate tracking of smart links, how to consider smart links in the context of marketing and advertising, and how to make it easier for new users to learn. In addition, there are many ways to experiment and develop; with the development of smart links, they can track more variables in user behavior (including how to share links and how to follow links). They can also be used in a variety of different distribution networks.
In any case, smart links are a natural evolution of standard hyperlinks, which may further democratize the web. In the next few years, we may see a comprehensive revolution in the way we trade (and advertise) online.
Editor in charge: CT