TOASTING YOUR BUSINESS

A Toast To On-Computers

Bre.ad isn’t for making toast but for toasting your business or cause when you share a web link.

It’s a free tool on the web. Bre.ad shortens long web site names and inserts a note the programmer calls “a toast.” The toast is your own personal billboard. Viewers see it for five seconds after clicking on the link you’ve sent, and then the tiny billboard fades out and you go to the linked page itself.

Five seconds seems like a long wait when you’re used to moving around the web quickly. But it gives the “toast” a chance to register an image and message. We tried it with a cartoon picture of ourselves and the message “Here’s the latest from On Computers.” It worked fine. We don’t have a commercial site, but thought this was pretty clever for anyone advertising their business or promoting some issue or cause.

Once you sign up and upload the image you want to use, add a message. To shorten and share a link, type “Bre.ad/” (without the quotes) in front of the address to share. A page pops up to let you share that link through an email, Twitter, Facebook and the Bre.ad site itself.

The web tool was funded by Lady Gaga’s manager, who’s obviously good at figuring out how to get publicity. It’s a clever alternative to other link-shortening services, such as TinyUrl and Bit.ly. This last one, by the way, just started adding its formerly paid “pro” features for free.

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