Think you're tracking just about every possible user metric on your website? But what about, say, copy and pastes?

If you have an insatiable appetite for tracking everything, a nifty little product from a company called Tynt is probably going to excite you. It tracks how many times users copy and paste your content and increases the chances that those copy and pastes will turn into backlinks.

Here's how it works:

  • Tynt's JavaScript is added to your pages.
  • When a user with JavaScript enabled copies text on a page with the Tynt JavaScript, Tynt tracks it.
  • When the user pastes that text somewhere, the text includes a "Read More" link.

You can see Tynt in action on the New York post website. Copying and pasting the first sentence of text from this article produces the following:

Miley Cyrus is famous, but there are still some people out there who've never heard of "Hannah Montana."

Read more:

The purpose is obvious: by inserting a link into the copied text automatically, publishers may stand a better chance of getting a visit if the text is sent in an email, for instance. Or if it's posted somewhere else on the web, it may increase the odds of a backlink. Tynt's homepage claims that "Tynt Insight can drive up to 40% more visits to any individual web page via our automatic attribution link".

As you might expect, Tynt offers an analytics service called Tynt Insight that displays data collected by its JavaScript. This includes the number of copies, the number of attributed copies and the number of views and visits generated by the attribution links. A Pro version of Tynt Insight adds customization of the attribution text, address bar tracking and heatmap functionality.

Obviously, a service like Tynt is bound to raise privacy concerns. After all, tracking users down to a copy and paste is probably enough to force the EU Commission to call emergency sessions. That said, as with most analytics data, the tracking data from Tynt is only really valuable in aggregate form and looks to be a potentially useful tool for publishers wanting to gain a better understanding of which content is most interesting to their users. And if they can obtain some attribution links in the process, that's just icing on the cake.

Patricio Robles

Published 25 November, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (7)

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Patricio, thanks for the coverage of Tynt.  I just wanted to address briefly your note on privacy.  We take user privacy very seriously at Tynt and our Tynt Insight product makes a point of tracking content, not the user.  We don't record any personally identifiable information and the publisher only receives details on their content.

Happy to answer any other questions that come up - but the best way to know more is to try it out.


Derek from Tynt

over 8 years ago


picture framer glasgow

It was nice going through it. keep it up the good work. –thanks–

over 8 years ago


Dave Dewar

I’ve been using Tynt for a couple of months now. It’s one of those nice original tools which comes along every now and again.

It’s not a magic pill to pull in links – you still need to have decent web copy that somebody will want to use!

over 8 years ago


Simon Kemp

I have been using Tnt Tracer for 3 months now, and found it to be a really effective way of tracking copy and paste actions from the Jemms website. We provide cutting edge Javascript applications like iBlick Finder and other Product finders. these products contain Javascript tricks that many would love to copy, and as a result, text is regularly copied from Tynt tracer let's me know who copied text, if I correlate the Tynt metrics with other Analytics metrics - to trace the copyist, and also generates a back link that is often left intact when the text is pasted somewhere. What amazes me is the fact that the Tynt generated back link is preserved even when the copied text is pasted into a Word Document or similar. I really appreciate this great service from Tynt Tracer. See examples of what people are copying from Jemms!

over 8 years ago

Vincent Amari

Vincent Amari, Online Consultancy at Business Foresights Ltd

Interesting regarding privacy.

What would win in a court of law: the user claiming privacy rights, or the content owner claiming protection against copywright infringement?

over 8 years ago


James Morley

I just found this article after spotting that were using Tynt. I would assume that they have addressed the privacy issue and considered it to be OK to use?

about 8 years ago


Josh Klauder

Is there a reason why this is a particular privacy issue? You can already know that a visitor with a given IP number browsed your site. Why does knowing that they copied something create any extra privacy issue? And of course if they are copying content and then presenting it elsewhere as their own original material, they don't deserve privacy anyway.

over 7 years ago

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