May 12, 2007

URL shortening services on Twitter

Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters. If someone mentions a URL in a Twitter message a lot of the available characters are already taken. To overcome this problem, Twitter in its web interface for creating messages converts sometimes long URLs into TinyURLs. In a TinyURL, the "long" URL is being replaced by a shorter URL of the form http://tinyurl.com/?????? where ?????? Is an automatically generated combination of letters and digits. Besides TinyURL there are other URL shortening services available. Twitteriffic also uses TinyURL. Twitteroo used to generate urltea.com URLs, but recently it has implemented rurl.org.

According to Google, these are the most popular URL shortening services used on Twitter.com.

Very often used
TinyURL.com - references

Sometimes used (more than 1000 references found)
urltea.com - references
snipurl.com - references

Occassionaly used (between 100 and 1000 references found)
rurl.org - references
tweetl.com - references
dwarfurl.com - references

Exceptionally used (between 10 and 100 references found)
urlx.org - references
kurl.nl - references
tinypic.com - references
shorl.com - references

Extremely rarely used (less than 10 references found)
digbig.com - references
snurl.com - references
shurl.net- references
doiop.com- references
shorttext.com- references
301url.com- references

Some of the other URL shortening services offer extras compared to TinyURL.

  • a shorter URL (unfortunately only a few characters less)
  • click stats : how often is the link clicked
  • some degree of customisation for the generated URL
  • guaranteed ad free.
  • guaranteed no links to spam or porn sites
According to its disclaimer TinyURL is a free service that is offered without any warranty. A similar disclaimer can be found for all other free URL shortening services. It is not unlikely that one or more of these free URL shortening tools will stop working in the future. Especially because their business models are not very clear. Who is paying the bills for the network costs, the storage capacity, the redirecting service, ... ?

Why would someone use another URL shortening service instead of the default URL shortening service in the tool you are using while twittering ? Perhaps access to click through stats or a personal taste for one of these services perhaps combined with a dislike of the default service. Personally, I am a bit of lazy, so I am not going to invoke another service to convert a URL if Twitter (or one of the applications I am using to post and read Twitter messages) will do the job automatically for me.

55 comments:

CleverClogs said...

Hi,

I highly recommend giving SnipURL a try, especially because of the following features I haven't seen in other tools:

- its clickthrough statistics feature, which lets you track how often a certain URL is clicked.

- its URL editing feature, which lets you edit the originating URL. This prevents shortened URLs from growing stale, or even 404.

- its free nickname feature, which lets you assign aliases to any SnipURL. A fine example is this URL: http://snipurl.com/Twitter_Grazr_Themed This takes you straight to the Twitter Grazr that I enjoy maintaining, a live feed grazer that lets you browse 30+ Twitter-related blogs and search feeds.

I've noticed myself that Shanx, the SnipURL developer, is very open to suggestions.

Cheers.

Rick Hansley said...

I second Snipurl. Been using it for ages now. Tinyurl is the only other one I use sometimes but it has no click stats, no nickname for the URL, no privacy filter as I can guess some tinyurl and go there. All the others are me-too websites that have popped up. Tiny and Snip are the oldest ones, and still the best.

invest in... said...

HI i suggest to use http://ix.lt service it is for free and quite new so you will be able to choose attractive tags for your site!

Anonymous said...

As far i know, the shorest url redirection service is http://dn.vc and it feature masking.

text said...

i prefer http://textsnip.com for large text blcks, I cant even make custom urls that are easy to remember if i want.

Pixites said...

let's go tweetburner.com these days, great insight in popularity, excellent ui, etc, andsoforth!

garth said...

Here's my own measurement of five services, taken today:

tinyurl.com: 164,000 matches

is.gd: 60,900 matches

snurl.com: 52,800 matches

twurl.nl: 34,500 matches

urltea.com: 4,510 matches

Yours,
Garth.

bvlg said...

hi garth,

thanks for the update

arvindn said...

hi

thanks for the info. if you look at recent data the picture is somewhat different. here's what i get from running a query on the last 2 days of twitter data:

tinyurl 6644
urltea 0
snipurl 30
rurl 7
tweetl 0
dwarfurl 0
urlx 0
kurl 1
tinypic 0
shorl 0
snurl 107
is.gd 626

basically tinyurl, is.gd and snurl and snipurl are the only ones that are being used. i think eventually is.gd will win out simply because it's shorter.

URL Shortening said...

There's loads of URL shortening scripts/websites out there; probably due to sites like LinkSpare.com selling copies of it.

Jacky said...

I recommend http://sn.vc it got useful features that others might not have.

bnem said...

I'd imagine that the business model for these sites centres around the fact that they're accumulating a database of the most popular URLs on the web.
Valuable information if you know who to sell it to...

john said...

Hi.
I use twitter a lot om my mobile and did not like the tinyruls because I most likely could not read the links on my mobile anyway... so http://mtny.mobi/ was born. this puppy makes links readable on any device. (uses 301 ;))

Anonymous said...

How about keyword linking ... my company frapple.com has reinvigorated keywords. Unlike AOL or RealNames frapple is designed to function from any website, totally manageable with real time stats. Once a keyword is set up the link can be typed into an input box or hyperlinked ... enter this code in your browser: http://www.frapple.com/search.cfm?SearchCode=baz The keyword is: baz or it can be typed at www.frapple.com

hamidou said...

I use http://uzip.org for shortening URLs posted on my tweets. Once the link is shortened, you can directly write your tweet and post it from their site.

ipavemyownroad said...

I have my own service, but twitter web don't use it! Twitter should make their own that stores it on the twit server!

TinyURL has already purged it's URLs from 5+ years ago. We're DESTROYING INFORMATION HERE!

Jack said...

If i'm posting to twitter I'll use www.tinytw.it as it lets you post directly to twitter.


otherwiser doiop.com/ as it lets you specify your own keyword.

daveyboy said...

Here's another offering in the short URL world:

Twitter.com's character limit makes it imposible to post a long URL or link in your Tweets. That's where http://twitt.at comes in. Twitt.at will take a long URL and turn it into a tiny one, so as not to use up the Twiter character limit! Twitt.at is quick, simple and free and has no random 'gimmicks' - just get what you need: a shorter URL!

Anonymous said...

The mac has a great multiple clipboard tool called CopyPaste Pro that has a link shortener built in so you just highlight click a button and you have the short URL in the clipboard to paste anywhere.
http://www.scriptsoftware.com/copypaste

Also it is just as essential as the clipboard itself. Seriously useful.

Barry Peters said...

I prefer to use: http://PonyURL.com - I like the name and it has a nice and simple layout- ;-)

Anonymous said...

I prefer Twi.gy, brings me more followers http://twi.gy

short url said...

http://03e.de the shortest german URL service

Music Reviews said...

I wish there was a way to not use the URL shortening stuff. :(

william said...

i know there are places where you can extend your url, so keeping it short isn't always king - url shortening in its rawest terms has become ridiculous... but i did create a service from scratch (and it's gotten a lot of attention - http://scrnch.me) and would definitely like your advice on it... the features are a bit excessive but way cool and necessary and (definitely) result in a higher roi - both for seo and just tracking/calculations, etc...

Phil Rogers said...

I guess using a different shortening service gives you more control. You know exactly how many characters your short URL is going to be.

I always used to use whichever one is default for the application I am using, so I might get a TinyURL, or a Bit.ly etc.

More recently I've been using http://qkr.cc because it has some basic usage stats, and you can delete or re-use shortened URLs when they are no longer needed.

Anonymous said...

refzip.com is really good

Arturo said...

If you like to shorten and (!) summarize multiple links, than try http://zumlink.com/

Anonymous said...

Someone forgot to mention Linkbee.com

Anonymous said...

Hi

I would like to add my own new site into the arena. It's called ThingyURL.com and allows any number of slashes as an alias E.g. thingyurl.com/si/twit/blog

You can create auto-generated aliases just like tinyurl also.

If you register and specify your email address then you keep track of all your thingyurls and modify them later.

There is also a Google toolbar icon you can install which allows you to create a thingyurl from the site you are visiting - it will even prefill your email address for you.

I am also going to extend it to allow you to send status updates direct to twitter.

Thanks Simon

Anonymous said...

I have been using TinyURL and had quite a number of links using it (and had built up quite a lot of clicks stats etc) however the site went down last week and I have lost all my historical data, anyone else in the same boat? Anyone heard anything about plans to rectify it? The site appears to be back up and looks as though it is working, but doesn't seem to be recording stats or anything?

Guess I should try another - I tried Bit.ly and that doesn't have accurate click reporting either (only captured 1/3 of my clicks)

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Anonymous said...

http://urlz.at is very good!!!

chase said...

5PL.US is a good one as well! It’s only 5 characters + your alias (custom or auto-generated). It’s still a new site so you can get one or two letter aliases no problem. eg. http://5pl.us/c

exile said...

Yes there are tones of services like this… i prefer http://smal.ly they offer me full geo statistics and analytics…

bogdan said...

Try the new http://qls.me and tell me your opinion

Comyonet.com said...

try http://comyonet.com , is more than just a free URL shortening and redirection service, with detailed statistics, path forwarding, grouping links, traffic rottator, etc just visit the website for more features

Globinch said...

Really useful information. URL shortening services are much needed services

Globinch said...

There are some new services from google and facebook. read it here
http://www.globinch.com/2010/06/08/make-long-hyperlinks-to-short-best-url-shortening-services/

Anonymous said...

This one that we use http://www.twurlit.com its installed on a ultra fast dedicated server hence very fast dowenload speeds.

Thanks for a great articale

Admin @ http://www.twurlit.com

ehsan6sha said...

I have heard that most of URL shortening websites are not search engine friendly, but I found this one that I think is SEF, can you let me know if I am wrong?
googel.biz

software test consultan said...

Thanks for this post - I always use tinyurl.com, but now that I see the other options, maybe I'll give them a try. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, but i want to know what can be the disadvantage of using short urls?

Motivate Witihin said...

Thanks for the post. Great useful information. http://www.MotivateWithin.com

globaltestmarket review said...

I use bit.ly to cloak all my links now.

Lydia Grigg said...

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wartrol said...

Snipurl has been great and I also recommend using Bit.ly because it will also track statistics very well. It's kind of funny how many services there are now that shorten urls.

wartrol said...

bit.ly is so popular right now I swear every other email I open contains 1 of these links!

global test market review said...

best url shortener service is bit.ly I think.

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see through toaster said...

There's loads of URL shortening scripts/websites out there; probably due to sites like LinkSpare.com selling copies of it.

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