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URL shortening services

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday May 9, 2009 )

URL shortening services have been around for many years, but Twitter’s burgeoning popularity has thrust them into the spotlight. So which is the best service to use?

Given that Twitter only allows you to enter posts 140 characters long and that doesn’t leave a lot of space for the actual information and a link, URL shortening services can help regain precious characters. Some take it a step further and allow you to view clickthrough stats.

The best round up I’ve seen of the various popular services available and the advantages and disadvantages of each is by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land.

I’ve been using TinyURL up until now, but after reading Danny’s post and also learning that a couple of‘s investors are also financially involved with Twitter; I think I’ll be making the switch to that.

However, while these services are free and are very easy to use, there’s a few concerns such as the user not really knowing where the link goes until they click on it, the possibility of shortened URLs being recycled and of course, what happens if the service disappears.

The way around this is to install your own shortening script; either under your current domain (great for branding, but probably hefty on the character count), or register a short domain just for the purpose. A free script to do the job called Phurl can be downloaded here.


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