URLs are an out-of-control madness. Some stream on for what seems like pages--a jumble of meaningless information that serves to confuse all but the clever little goblins that devised them. Thank goodness for URL shortening and those who bring us its blessings. (They still don’t make sense, but at least they are a lot shorter.) Bit.ly, a purveyor of shortened URLs, is announcing it will take its service one step further with a pro version.
Bit.ly’s pro version will provide custom shorten URLs which publishers and bloggers will be able to use to point to pages on their sites. Bit.ly says the shortened URLs will provide transparency--users will know where they are going before they click. And real-time information about a page can be had by including a “+” at the end of the bit.ly link.
The pro service will also come with a dashboard that will allow publishers to track more information about their bit.ly traffic--a real-time view of how content is being distributed across networks, such as Twitter, MySpace, in email, SMS, or included in instant messages.
Welcome to the wonderful world of URL shorteners, where internet links hide behind abridged monikers to sheath their unwieldy length. You may have seen them fluttering about on the Internet; they’re currently infesting Twitter feeds, blog posts, Facebook status updates, and yes, even in print publications. Long winded web addresses, with tracking codes and web stats, have become so passé. Linking to one will make you seem like a Jurassic entity, which is why URL shorteners have shot up in popularity. The first of these services, TinyURL began rapidly proliferating when social networking and blogging stormed the web scene. Users everywhere needed a simple way to share their favorite links and ensure that their web friends and followers had an accessible way to navigate their content. With the advent of microblogging sites where every character counts, more of these services have emerged to become an essential part of internet life.
We take a look five popular URL shorteners, evaluate the merits of each, and ponder on the future of this link shrinking technology.
URL shortening service Cligs has announced that it will be closing up shop later this month. The service will stop accepting new URLs on Sunday, 25 Oct 2009 at 12:00:00 GMT. The owner of Cligs indicated that there would be a tool available at some point for users to export their data.
Cligs reported there were a number of reasons for the move. Of the chief reason the site says, “There comes a point when you need to actually hear the message the market is telling you, and not just listen and ignore it.” The owner of Cligs noted that since it was not winning the market, devoting additional time and money to it made less sense. This tends to remind one of the recent almost-closure of Tr.im a few weeks back. In a follow up post, the Cligs owner said he would be open to selling the service.
This is all partially your fault. You use Bit.ly, don’t you?
I suppose it's not enough for a popular online service to face the reaper, come back from the brink of extinction, and turn open-source. No, there has to be some kind of controversy surrounding the whole affair--can't just fade quietly into the open-licensed light nowadays.
Such is the situation offered up by the death and resurrection of tr.im, a popular online URL shortening service whose recent entrance into the open-source community has been met with a touch of scandal. Perhaps scandal is the wrong word, though. Scathing might be better, given the tone of some of tr.im's blogging and actions as of late.
It's easy to talk about open-source as if it's some large, altruistic community that wants to do nothing but share-and-share alike. Everybody's friendly. Everybody's happy. Just a ton of developers churning out free code for everyone to use, distribute, and polish into a scintillating hunk of software that's going to revolutionize the world! Or, at the very least, stick it to Microsoft.
This is an idyllic fantasy. In the real world, businesses and developers don't always play nicely. You've already read about the back-and-forth bombing wars between the PortableApps and LiberKey developers. You can now add tr.im to the list... but who exactly are they fighting?
Click the jump to spawn onto the open-source battlefield!
Driven in large part by Twitter and other microblogging sites, URL shortening services are growing in number and popularity. This begs the question, is there any advantage to using one over the other?
Royal.Pingdom.com set out to answer that question by rounding up the most popular (and some less popular) URL shortening services and analyzing how much overhead each one adds to accessing the target URL, and how reliable each one is as measured in uptime.
The results are pretty surprising. Of the services tested (Bit.ly, TinyURL, Ow.ly, Is.gd, Su.pr, Sinpurl, Cli.gs, Tr.im, and Twurl), Is.gd ranked fastest with the least amount of overhead at 163ms, with the slowest service, Sinpurl, trailing significantly behind at 847ms. Bit.ly, which dominates the Twitter scene, took the No. 2 spot with 261ms overhead, while TinyURL sat squarely in the middle at 412ms.
But it's the uptime that most people are more likely to be concerned with, especially after the near-meltdown of tr.im, who recently went offline before re-opening and vowing to keep the service alive. Based on Royal.Pingdom.com's 30-day test window, Ow.ly ranked highest with 100 percent uptime, while Bit.ly was not far behind at 99.98 percent uptime. Su.pr, TinyURL, and Is.gd all recorded a 99.9 percent or higher uptime.
Take a peek at the full results here, then hit the jump and tell us which URL shortening service you use most.