URL Shortener Released

By Craig Buckler
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There are more URL shortening services than URLs to shorten*. TinyURL launched in 2002, but Twitter’s 140 character limit led to dozens of alternatives including,,, Tweak and the utterly absurd

Do we need another? Google thinks so and has publicly launched The service has been integrated with other Google applications since December 2009 but it’s now open to everyone. has a major advantage over the other options: it’s backed by a company which is unlikely to cease trading any time soon. As users are only too aware, a closed service leads to linkrot — all your shortened URLs disappear in a puff of electronic smoke. As a business model, URL shortening requires huge resources and makes little money.

As well as stability, Google also claims security and speed. Spam links are automatically removed, up-time is excellent, and you’ll rarely encounter a slow response.

Statistics fans will also love the reports. I created this link for — Click it and you’ll see your data instantly appear at

Still not convinced? How about automated QR code generation? Simply add .qr to the shortened URL to view the image, i.e. Rather than entering a web address, a smartphone user can scan this image and be forwarded to the SitePoint home page.

Whatever your opinion of Google’s ambitions or URL shortening as a concept, it’s difficult to deny the benefits of Rival services will certainly suffer, but it’s not as though they had a viable business in the first place.

Will you switch to Do you know of a service offering better facilities? Is URL shortening swamping the web with unnecessary HTTP redirects?

* Obviously, that can’t be true but you get the point!

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  • thehetre

    Thanks for sharing @Craig Buckler.

    I’ve tried Google URL Shortener after receive tweet from @sitepointdotcom. It’s nice in statistics and management data with my Gmail account.

    But have something:
    – Why have not option like allowed user can copy shorter link in clipboard quickly?
    – Link shorter by always without “http://”. For example, just display for full link!
    It’s not smart because user must fill prefix for some URL crawler, etc.

    Finally, maybe create more option for multi-link in one time?

  • As one of those people that run a url shortener it will make it harder (but hay with over 10,000,000 hits so far I am doing ok) but it will just force me to innovate further to retain my small share of the market.

  • “Do we need another?”
    Do we need any?
    -Make pages load slower as you need to connect to an additional site
    -Hide the URI, causing ambiguity for end users
    -Rely on the service staying up
    Here’s a really interesting article on the subject:
    I suppose on twitter it’s useful due to their arbitrary character limit, but this is a bug in twitter and something they should fix their end, not force its users to work around.

    • Totally agree with you. is a known and rememberable URL, how to remember ‘’ ? and what about ‘’ ? and ‘’ ? Don’t click each link, they’re all pointing to the same site… oh you didn’t see it ?
      URL shorteners are only usable for services that don’t allow long inputs.
      But I don’t think Twitter is buggy on this point, it’s just SMS-compatible (SMS have a limitations at 140 characters).

    • Stevie D

      (Do we want to know what irony you were thinking of when you used a URL shortening service in a comment criticising URL shortening services?)

      I have started to use to shorten Google’s own URLs, such as links to Google Maps Streetview, which can run to several lines of text. Apart from that, I have often used – this has the advantage over a lot of services that you can choose what string you want to use. So when I need to refer people to a page with a long and complicated URL – especially if it’s a link that is going into print or that we’re hoping people will remember – I can give them something meaningful rather than a nonsense collection of lower-case, capitals and numerals.

      Sure, in an ideal world, this wouldn’t be necessary, but often we want to refer to sites that we don’t have full control over, and if they have poor URL structures and don’t offer an easy linking option, shortening services can be the best way to go.

    • Stevie D

      PS – I don’t see how you can consider Twitter’s 140 character limit to be ‘arbitrary’ or ‘a bug’ – they are limited by the maximum length of an SMS being 160 characters. While some mobile phones can reassemble multipart messages, this is not robust and would lead to long URLs breaking for too many people.

  • eClare


    I really never liked the URL shortening services, maybe I’m paranoid, but the short URLs are kinda suspicious you don’t really know what inside them until you visit them.

  • JHig310336

    I don’t believe we need another one especially when Twitter is suppose to default all url shortener to by December 2010.

    Twitter has said, no matter what URL Shortener you use, it’s app will convert to They are doing this so that they can used the statistic to properly server their users targeted advertising. has already confirmed that this will impact their business model, even though the two companies are funded by the same Venture Capitalist.

    I use exclusively because it pre-programmed into many of my favorite Twitter apps and mobile apps. I also use because they have an Chrome extension that works well with the browser and website.

    Gave Google URL Shortener a try and like it. Now Google needs to make it an option an the countless 3rd party Twitter apps and develop a Chrome extension. Do that and I’ll jump on board.

  • I don’t know if it is only me or not but on the clicks analytic page the complete URL of site is not appearing. See here

  • muzamilw

    Interesting comments.. I personally believe that url shortener are only required in twitter while elsewhere it is important for SEO activity to have full urls. Furhtermore, it is almost impossible to memorize these urls.

    It will be interesting to see how these all services survice after twitter makes its own url shortener default to

    Just my few thoughts on this topic.


  • Revital Agency

    We’ve been using it with the map urls since they integrated it. Can’t really say I’d use it for any normal linking activities just yet.