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Proposal To Preserve Shortened URLs In The Event Of Failure

 12:41 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Proposal To Preserve Shortened URLs In The Event Of Failure [online.wsj.com]
The Internet Archive and more than 20 Web companies are banding together to preserve the historical records of the abbreviated Internet addresses that are passed around on services such as Twitter. Companies participating in the archiving project will periodically record the short addresses they generate, along with the original sites they point to. The Internet Archive will store the information privately.

If a provider closes or ends its service, the Internet Archive will give 301Works control of the site so that it can support continued operation of the shortened links. Consumers will also be able to enter shortened links to see the full versions of them, Mr. Boyd adds.



 2:14 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

It is quite a mess these little shortens have created. I've stayed away from them for this reason. I simply created my own for use in Twitter (which happens to be the only place I use it...).


 2:23 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

The internet archive is like Google. Good, but worrisome. Particularly when they use their authority to start generating standards. yeah, this one's OK, and the next one's OK, then all of a sudden we have nofollow being used commonly.

There's little about URL shortening that needs to be preserved for history IMO.


 2:40 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why preserve the URL shortening, when the valuable info is the actual target URL? Why not de-short the short URLs in the fly and keep the long ones in the archive? After all the archive does not need to follow the message length rules of Twitter, its just a copy of Twitter.


 2:50 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am still not comfortable with the idea of shortened URL's. I agree that they only need to save the original URL.


 6:14 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

the IA would be saving both the shortened and original URIs not just messages.
this is necessary because shorties are used everywhere - twitter, other sites, emails, print…


 6:20 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I welcome the move.

Whether you like the use of them or not, shortened links will become worthless in years to come if they cannot be retained somehow.


 11:50 pm on Nov 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Other that Twitter, what purpose do they really serve? On a web page url length doesn't matter, its the anchor that's shown. In emails there is no size constraints.

I don't like shortners simply because they hide the destination. I got an sms from my phone company containing a short url. I didn't even open the link because the message could technically have come from anywhere.



 3:40 am on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

In emails there is no size constraints.

true, but practically speaking, after 72 or 80 characters you can certainly have line break problems with urls, especially with forwarded emails.
urls of this length are quite common with the "SEO plugin"-generated title slugs spit out by many CMSs.
many times i have performed the following process:
- copy the "2nd line" of the url
- click on the "head" of the url"
- quickly click the "stop" button on the browser before the inevitable redirect occurs
- paste the rest of the url in the address bar
- click the browser "go" button
not what i would call user friendly.

also, as i mentioned previously a long url is relatively useless in print advertising.
and completely useless when vocalizing urls, for that matter.
"slash, slash, dot, dot, dash, dash, buh, bye"


 7:50 am on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is a huge security problem with shortned URL's. A shortened URL could be from ANYWHERE...why take the chance?


 8:02 am on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

For anyone who cares, there's a firefox plugin called longurl. Mouse-over shows the ultimate destination link plus a snippet.


 9:49 am on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Any URL that leads to a site you do not know could take you anywhere.

Also, it is not really a security problem per se: I take it we are primarily talking about being taken to unpleasant material (with the risk of being accused of being viewing illegal material), rather than your PC being compromised.


 8:57 pm on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would have hoped that IA parse their pages and store the long URLs automatically in their archive.


 11:03 am on Nov 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

this is a new project and should not be confused with the Wayback Machine which is an archive of web pages.
what g1smd suggests is a great idea but would have to implemented separately from the short uri preservation.
as i have mentioned previously (twice) short uris are used in places such as email, print ,etc which would not benefit from an archive of web pages.

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