If you regularly copy and paste headlines or paragraphs from newspapers, you’ll have run into Tynt Insight. It’s the software that inserts the irritating "Read More" URL into your blog posts, emails and documents. As John Gruber at Daring Fireball writes, Insight "is a service that breaks copy and paste."
Damn, that “read more” link again! In truth, it’s annoying, if not a dealbreaker, to find unwanted text attached to what you’ve copied. And the referral traffic from such links is, by all accounts, modest. But I’m much more impressed by Tracer’s backend, which allows publishers to see which pages — and, even better, which parts of those pages — are most frequently copied. In a creepy twist, Tracer also counts how many times text is highlighted on a page, even if the user never reaches for the [command] and C keys. (Or ctrl and C for PC types.)
I’m not sure precisely what that’s measuring, but it feels like engagement. Readers who are moved to copy a passage are likely sharing that content with friends — in an email as much as a blog
Insight threatens to do for web content what dial groups have done for political debates. Wherever campaigns have had enough money to pay people to listen to candidates speak and rate everything they say using a dial or keypad, leaders’ debates have degenerated into a string of pre-tested sound bites. No doubt some journalists will feel under pressure to write the kind of punchy sentences that readers like to post on blogs and email to their friends.
Elsewhere: At Reuters, Felix Salmon complains about the text FT.com inserts every time you copy and paste from their web site (someone should show Felix what happens when you copy and paste from the Financial Review).