Tag Archives: URL Shortening

Poll: What Are Your Favorite URL Shorteners?

If you use Twitter, you probably use URL shortening services every day. If not, you probably still find a use for one now and then. You may shorten a long address down so you can read it over the phone (or in a podcast), or you might want to just take it down to size so it looks better in an email, blog comment or forum post.

What is your tool of choice? Are you one of the many Bit.ly users, a Tr.im fanatic, an Ow.ly devotee, or one of those still loyal to ye olde TinyURL? Maybe you use more than one?

Please take a minute to answer this poll. It would be interesting to see which services are more popular, and to learn of lesser-known ones.

What is your preferred URL shortener?

  • Bit.ly (52%, 17 Votes)
  • Other (Please leave a comment) (24%, 8 Votes)
  • TinyURL.com (18%, 6 Votes)
  • Ow.ly (15%, 5 Votes)
  • Tr.im (12%, 4 Votes)
  • Is.gd (9%, 3 Votes)
  • Su.pr (6%, 2 Votes)
  • 3.ly (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Digg (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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(If you’re viewing this in an RSS reader, you may have to click through to the original article to vote.)

Tr.im URL Shortening Service to Shut Down

Nambu Networks has announced that they will be shutting down their Tr.im URL shortener. New links are no longer being created, and existing short URLs will cease to function on December 31, 2009.

Regretfully, we here at Nambu have decided to shutdown tr.im, the first step in shutting down all of our products and services within that brand.

tr.im did well for what it was, but, alas, it was not enough. We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate.

This is what a lot of doomsayers (doombloggers?) have been afraid of. Imagine the millions of Tr.im short URLs that will no longer work once the service goes down, despite the fact that the location they point to still exists: Link rot, as it is called, on a massive scale.

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Is Ow.ly Framejacking?

The popular URL shortening service Ow.ly has recently come under fire on Twitter, and is being criticized for “framejacking.” (Framejacking is an unpleasant trick that was employed quite a lot in the late nineties, where someone would load others’ web pages into a frameset along with their own branding and ads. Example.)

I ask you, is what Ow.ly does bad?

Ow.ly Toolbar

How does this thin toolbar, as you can see above in the image, harm you or your website in any way? The bar is thin and unobtrusive. There are no paid ads, and the Ow.ly logo is tiny.

I argue that Ow.ly is useful to your social media-connected readers, and to you. The short URLs are easily shareable on Twitter, like any URL shorteners’, and the toolbar puts Tweet and Share buttons in easy reach, which can score you some retweets, Diggs, and Stumbles, which may lead to more traffic for you.

As a prolific Twitter user, when I read an interesting article, whether it be from Twitter or no, the first thing I do after is post it to Twitter. I have a handy bookmarklet that opens my desktop client (Tweetie) and dumps the link and page title into it. Not everyone has such a thing. People who enjoy Twittering, but aren’t quite as obsessed as I am, often use the Twitter.com web interface. Ow.ly’s convenient Tweet link makes posting an article a snap. Which saves the poster time, and it benefits the publisher.

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Revenge of the DiggBar

Digg LogoYou probably remember the controversy over Digg’s “DiggBar.” Marketed as a URL shortener integrated with Digg, with some other sharing options as well, it had a rough start because of a few technical and behavioral problems that web publishers weren’t too happy about.

Well, the DiggBar is “evil” again.

A few days ago, Digg threw the switch on a change to how the DiggBar works. No longer do Digg short URLs (e.g. http://digg.com/u39A9h) automatically redirect to their target. They now point you to the Digg page instead of the source.

A new entry surfaced on the Digg blog a couple days later, with this explanation:

As we’ve stated in the past, the DiggBar is meant to streamline the Digg experience and provide our registered users with the opportunity to catch up on comments, related stories and additional source content. Our strategy with Digg short URLs is to facilitate sharing of Digg content, not to be a conventional redirection service.

They pulled a bait-and-switch, moving from something that made sense, and could potentially bring more traffic and content to Digg, to something that users won’t find anywhere near as useful. People want to share content, not pages that link to content.

Ow.ly: What’s You’re Take?

Ow.ly is a URL shortener that has gained a measure of popularity of late. It ties in with the HootSuite service, which allows you to schedule tweets, manage multiple Twitter profiles, and track link statistics. Ow.ly and HootSuite together are sort of like an amalgam of Tweetable, Bit.ly, and TwitterFeed.

Ow.ly

But let’s focus on the URL shortener for now. Ow.ly has a clean, easy to use interface. The resulting URLs are along the lines of http://ow.ly/fA3N. As of yet, there is no API available, though one is in the works.

Time for the controversial part.

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StumpleUpon’s “Su.pr” URL Shortener

URL shorteners have been popping up by the dozen lately, or so it seems. Already established sites have been racing to release their own services, and some publishers have even started snapping up short domains to aid the sharing of their posts while retaining some brand recognition.

Now StumbleUpon is trying to get their foot in the URL shortening door with Su.pr. Their service includes basic statistics, like Bit.ly or Tr.im, but they provide a lot of other interesting functionality as well.

Su.pr integrates with Twitter and Facebook, allowing you to compose a message, shorten any URLs you may have in it, and publish to the two sites with a single click. You can even schedule the postings to go up at a later date and time.

Su.pr by StumbleUpon

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Exclusive URL Shorteners: Why?

A few weeks ago, I happened across NytUrl.com, a sort of TinyURL site that would only redirect to pages on the New York Times website.

Why? Well, there are a ton of reasons but the big one is that by using this shortened URL you, and your audience, can be assured they are going to NYT web pages, and not someone singing on YouTube or anything NSFW.

More recently, the popular blog TechCrunch purchased the domain Tcrn.ch, and are using it to serve short URLs for their posts (e.g. tcrn.ch/17f). If you look at the bottom of the page, by the comment form, you’ll find it right alongside the trackback URL.

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DiggBar: The Plot Thickens

I previously talked about the controversy surrounding Digg’s new DiggBar. It continues, and gets more interesting.

Digg claims that the DiggBar is not a bad as people are making it out to be:

We took several steps to ensure that search engines continue to count the original source, versus registering the DiggBar as new content. We include only links to the source URLs on Digg pages to allow spiders to see the unmodified links to source sites. These links are overwritten to short URLs in JavaScript for users who have this preference.

That sounds like a good idea. I checked the source code, the article links point to the original URL rather than the Digg short URL. While that’s nice of them, it doesn’t change the fact that the Digg URL is being propogated around the internet instead of the original URL, and that URL points to a page on Digg’s servers, rather than doing a simple 301 redirect, which instructs search engines to ignore the first URL and go directly to the original source. More PageRank for Digg, and none for you.

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BurnURL: Social URL Shortening

BurnURL LogoSince TinyURL made the concept of URL-shortening huge, and since Twitter has made it more important than ever, there have been a lot of sites springing up and offering similar services. There’s the ultra-tiny is.gd, the statistic-centric TweetBurner, and a smattering of other TinyURL clones. Heck, it’s not that hard to roll your own private URL shortener if you have a reasonably short domain. (You could use GoCodes…)

Yet another shortener has sprung up, and this one is a bit different.

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