Pingdom has tested the major URL shorteners for speed and stability, in the aftermath of the Tr.im fiasco, with interesting yet unsurprising results.
One thing that has surprised us a bit here at Pingdom is that we haven’t seen any real numbers on how reliable and how fast these different URL shorteners are compared to each other. After all, adding a layer on top of the target URL (the direct link) means slower access and also adds a single point of failure, so these things should matter.
The top five overall are Ow.ly, Bit.ly, Is.gd, Su.pr, and TinyURL. Tr.im came in dead last. Ow.ly beat-out Bit.ly because of a brief downtime during the period that the study took place.
On a related note, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about losing their trust in URL shorteners. My response is to go with Bit.ly or Ow.ly if you’re that worried about longevity. Why? They both (Bit.ly especially) seem to have long-term goals and eventual monetization plans. They’re serious about what they do, and they’re not some fly-by-night operation that could disappear. Bit.ly, I would say, will probably be around as long as Twitter. They have serious funding, from some of the same people who fund Twitter even, Twitter uses them as their default shortener, and they have a grand scheme for the future.