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URL Shortener Tr.im to Shut Down
engine




msg:3969185
 2:35 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

URL Shortener Tr.im, to Shut Down [news.cnet.com]
With so many URL shortening services out there, this was bound to happen to at least one of them: Trim is shutting down. According to a blog post by parent company Nambu Networks, it was an expensive and fruitless effort.

"We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential," the post read.

Those expenses may have been particularly encumbering recently when Trim was hit by a denial-of-service attack last week that knocked it offline.

Where does that leave us with any URL shortener service?

 

Propools




msg:3969242
 4:06 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think that it's kind of like I said in an earlier post: [webmasterworld.com ]

So, I guess the jury is somewhat back...........If you want to shorten URL's, do it in house?

Seb7




msg:3969292
 5:40 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I dont get how these short url websites make any money at all.

fredw




msg:3969329
 6:35 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Distressing news.

This is a terrible catch-22. I've thought about doing one in-house for my own sites' use, but you're getting yourself into the same problem, committing yourself to provide a service in perpetuity. If it's only to your own sites you're pointing to, that may be of less consequence, but the committment is still there. Then there is also the general trust factor, one might click on a link from tinuyrl.com before they'd click on [myurlshorteningservice].whatever.

What we need is a global, central url shortening scheme, in the same way domain names work...

Propools




msg:3969339
 6:48 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

fredw
So, really we just need for Big-G to step up to the plate right? :)
But wait, how would that fly with their own URL schema?
The future doesn't look to bright for short url's does it?
- OR - is the URL shortening business future so bright, it's gotta wear shades [bit.ly]?

walkman




msg:3969354
 7:13 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Got a $5 domain name and an hour? Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a short url company.

They are several good ones and frankly that's all we need with all the combos available

fredw




msg:3969375
 7:32 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Propools: If you had asked me that last month, I'd have said Definitely, A Google url shortening service would be a perfect answer. HOWEVER. I recently made the decision to rely on Google Voice as my primary voice contact number, and that service turns out to be not reliable, and Google seemingly non-responsive to the complaints. So, unfortunately, it seems we can't even rely on Google any more...

StoutFiles




msg:3969376
 7:32 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

There shouldn't even BE a URL shortening service. People should have short URL's to begin with instead of http://www.example.com/categories/websites/shortening/url/hot_to_shorten_your_url_by_either_going_to pointless_websites_or_by_just_having_shorter_paths_that_dont_need_to_be_so_long.html

fredw




msg:3969378
 7:36 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry, Mr. Files. There are reasons for long urls. My news sites, for example, have urls like this:

www.mysite.com/myniche/news/200908101201/this-is-the-title-of-an-article-you-can-read.html

Now, all I *really* need to get my system to display the article is something like:

www.mysite.com/200908101201

but the rest is for SEO and News Bots. Also, Google News requires the full date and time to be in the url as well.

So, there are usually good reasons for urls to be long.

Propools




msg:3969397
 8:01 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

fredw,
So, unfortunately, it seems we can't even rely on Google any more...

Does that mean Google is getting closer to being like Microsoft? LOL ;)

StoutFiles




msg:3969409
 8:37 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

but the rest is for SEO and News Bots

Which is a shame. Meta tags should be all of it.

carguy84




msg:3969421
 9:00 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I never understood the reasoning behind URL shorteners. I want to see where I'm clicking before I click. And how can they possibly make money? From the pageviews of setting up the URL? That can't be many compared to the number of people clicking the link.

webastronaut




msg:3969425
 9:06 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't even get why people use URL short services. The only one I've ever heard of is tinyurl.

The only reason I can think of is offline ads to get to a certain page but online I hate doing redirects because of how search engines get messed up dealing with redirects in all shapes and forms.

I know that quit a few people use URL shortening services in emails but I find too much spam to even respond.

What is the main reason to use these services?

BradleyT




msg:3969440
 9:41 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Count me in the crowd that doesn't get it.

I'd much rather see example.com/iowa-corn-harvest-up-82-percent.html than bit.ly/2af79c. I still load up google chrome with no javascript when I'm about to visit a URL shortened link from a less than 100% reputable source. At work I won't even click them.

I think one of the only advantages they have is that since it goes through a redirect script you can get stats off of it. You can easily do that in GA with javascript too though. I think the loss of trust + the dampening effect of PR when you 301 outweigh the benefits.

Propools




msg:3969444
 9:42 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, I wonder if tr.im just never caught on vs. bit.ly?

"tr.im" - # of Google Results 4,330,000
"bit.ly" - # of Google Results 38,100,000

"tr.im" - # of Yahoo Results 7,670,000
"bit.ly" - # of Yahoo Results 80,700,000

Compete Rank:
tr.im - # 2,280 with 844,826 U.S. visitors per month
bit.ly - # 349 with 4,207,152 U.S. visitors per month

It may be a good business decision if one of the wireless providers snatched up one of these guys, then made a good mobile app that everyone would use, then we may truly see the short URL's monetized in a way in which we all should shift our logic.

fredw




msg:3969470
 10:29 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Respectfully, if you don't get url shorteners, then you've never used Twitter.

plumsauce




msg:3969479
 10:47 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

There shouldn't even BE a URL shortening service. People should have short URL's to begin with instead of http://www.example.com/categories/websites/shortening/url/hot_to_shorten_your_url_by_either_going_to pointless_websites_or_by_just_having_shorter_paths_that_dont_need_to_be_so_long.html

Exactly. Find one of those as a referrer, and it's a pain to type in if you can't happen to cut and paste. People who work at the command line despise them.

Additionally, if a page won't show up well without the really-long-file-name then the rest of the optimisation plan is not that great. abcd.htm can do well in very competitive searches, and there is no reason it shouldn't.

Finally, anyone who trusts a shortened url without knowing what lies beyond it is just asking to be had.

In short, long file names *scream* desperately seo'd to death, and shortened url's scream malware.

plumsauce




msg:3969483
 10:56 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then there's this bit:

"Twitter has all but sapped us of any last energy to double down and develop Tr.im further,"

develop?

It's hardly rocket science.

And building something that completely depends on adoption by one particular group is not exactly a good business plan either.

incrediBILL




msg:3969492
 11:20 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Again, many are confusing SEO with jamming content in 140 characters, SMS on a phone.

I don't care how good your URLs is, when push comes to bit.ly/00000 wins over mysite.com/200908101201 when space is the criteria, not SEO.

For those with tinyurlphobia, you can always preview the URL or use a tool like PowerTwitter which previews it for you.

However, the concept that "example.com/iowa-corn-harvest-up-82-percent.html" is any safer than "bit.ly/00000" is quite silly because black hat spamming hackers just love injecting those long SEO paths into sites.

The only safe way to surf either is using NoScript in FF so you can whitelist javascript for twitter and disable javascript for all the links you click by default because silly rules about long vs short urls being safer will bite you in the end and rightly so.

swa66




msg:3969493
 11:23 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe there's those of us who don't get why a modern computer service like twitter needs to have an arbitrary 160 char limit that includes any URL.
Or if it's inspired on SMS on a GSM network, well then there's no need to have URLs there as they won't work there anyway.

Bottom line: Bad design of twitter. URLs can be longer than 160 chars on their own.

Using these short URL services:
- availability: obviously is a problem. If the service folds you've now got millions of broken links out there. But even if they get hit with an outage or a DoS, the impact is way too large.
- confidentiality: Why are those offering this service doing it at all ?
What's to guarantee us that visitor's and site owners privacy isn't violated by these companies ? They're spending money and aparently gain nothing. Falls under the there's no such thing as a free lunch rule and hence there might be trouble.
- integrity: Where are the guarantees that a short URL continues to point where it should point ? You might just have promoted your competitor if they make a deal to send the traffic elsewhere. Als o a hacker getting hold of such a company would ahve a fiedlday sending all the traffic to exploit.

So my bottom line: I'll not use it thanks.
If I need it, I'll do a redirect myself.

edit_g




msg:3969534
 1:48 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can anyone actually explain the URL shortener thing to me? I just don't understand it at all. I can see how you'd want them on twitter, but I really can't understand what their business model is or why people use them on normal sites.

gpilling




msg:3969566
 4:03 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I took Joshua Schachter's advice (search "joshua schachter on url shorteners") and made my own URL shortener site. One 3 character .us domain later and I am in control of my short links. Total cost $14 for 2 years since GoDaddy had them on sale. I used kissa.be for the software and it also shortens and obfuscates email addresses too. It is using MySQL and I can see every link in the database - and delete the spam ones if I feel like it. So the fears about "what will they do with my link" are somewhat justified. You can also get a wordpress plugin if you are using WP to shorten your links

For those that forgot the original reason behind tinyurl it was for broken links in emails.

basenotes




msg:3969592
 5:20 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another reasonable use of url shorteners is to make an url easier to type in from a printed page.

incrediBILL




msg:3969594
 5:27 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe there's those of us who don't get why a modern computer service like twitter needs to have an arbitrary 160 char limit that includes any URL.

Then maybe those of you should read the SMS specs per phone service provider and start causing trouble at the source of the problem, your phone service, and stop picking on products like Twitter that attempt to bind all those disparate services together.

Attack the individual SMS services limited to insanely short messages, they are the problem, not twitter.

Sheesh.

edit_g




msg:3969595
 5:43 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then maybe those of you should read the SMS specs per phone service provider

Quick aside - apparently the reason for the 160 character limit is that it's what can fit within the status message that each phone sends to the nearest tower automatically. So the phone companies charge for allowing you to piggyback your 160 characters on an automatic status message that costs them nothing to send and they'd have to send anyhow. What a business! :)

wolverin




msg:3969616
 7:27 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use my own shortener too. I use a couple of other ones at times too. I'm happy this way myself..

badbadmonkey




msg:3969617
 7:29 am on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another reasonable use of url shorteners is to make an url easier to type in from a printed page.

But that isn't reasonable, which is easier for your audience to type accurately, [tinyurl.com...] or www.domain.com/category/subject/article ...? The branding effect is also lost entirely. The concept is retarded. Webmasters need to make their URLs user friendly in the first place.

Quick aside - apparently the reason for the 160 character limit

Article on this:
[communication.howstuffworks.com...]

Propools




msg:3969753
 1:37 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL,
Attack the individual SMS services limited to insanely short messages, they are the problem, not twitter.

Great Point!

So, might it be that the SMS services(the tail) are trying to wag the dog?

Rodney




msg:3969991
 6:26 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

As to the "why" question, I remember when tinyurl was created over 7 years ago, he created it to address the problem of hyperlinks breaking when they were pasted into emails and newsgroups.

Sometimes long URLs would break if the email or newsgroup reader broke URL into 2 lines. For that purpose, they work very well.

Over the years, people have found all sorts of other uses for shortened links (masking affiliate links, making easier to remember links with the "custom alias" options that URL shorteners have now, making links shorter for newer services like Twitter, etc)

As to how they make money. I would guess that advertising on the homepage of the URL shortening site would be a big part of it.

fredw




msg:3970044
 7:28 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

As I said way above, the loss of an existing, established url shortening service is distressing, so much so that, even though I don't use tr.im (I use tinyurl.com) I have stopped using them altogether.

My main use of tinyurl was posting news links from two specific sites (my sites) in twitter. I have now moved to using my own "short links", not really a "shortened url" with separate database 1-to-1 conversion, but just another, shorter, url scheme my site can recognize. I also got a shorter domain name just for this purpose that does not make me (perhaps, hopefully) lose my brand recognition.

So, now, a full url of mine which could look like this:

www.widgetnews.com/news/blue-widgets/200908111235/widget-prices-on-the-rise.html

can now be represented something like this when I tweet it:

www.wdgtnws.com/4016

and that automagically 301 redirects to the full url.

Since it's not a separate service, just another representation of the data in my database, these urls live as long as my site does, with no further maintenance overhead and/or long-term responsibility.

Thanks, guys, and WebmasterWorld, for inspiring me to implement this change.

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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