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: http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/miley_not_so_smiley_kkA1FpEB2NF5VI07qKvpkJ#ixzz0XpdU9PQL

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.