Executive summary: URL shortening services are proliferating rapidly. These services are meeting a growing demand in the marketplace. People who share links really need short, unbreakable links that don't break the 140 character Twitter constraint. As would be the case in any other market with a glut of suppliers, it's a very good idea for the consumer to know what they want, compare options, and read the fine print.
Here's a quick backstory explaining my interest and motive. Recently, I scanned my Twitter traffic and counted 10 different URL shortening services in use. By "shortening services" I am not talking about URLs generated internally by websites such as yfrog, twitpic, or plixi when you publish a photo from a smartphone to a blog or tweet. I am referring only to 3rd party service providers such 9-year old TinyURL and all of its competitors proliferating of late.
Have a look at my quick & dirty count of providers. This list is sorted by instance then alpha:
Site / Count
- bit.ly / 19
- fb.me / 7
- goo.gl / 7
- tinyurl / 7
- ow.ly / 5
- 3.ly / 1
- cot.ag / 1
- eepurl / 1
- su.pr / 1
- wp.me / 1
Here are the questions, responses, and results:
1. Please select your preferred URL shortening service. If you use more than one, please select the one you use most often. If you don't see your favorite, please write it in the comments.
- Noticed a friend using it, realized how helpful it is, and just used the same one; or
- Compared the features of two or more services and made a selection.
- Translates unwieldy URL into a manageable one using tools available on the homepage--80%
- The link never expires and will not break--60%
- Exposes its data via an Application Programming Interface (API), so developers can edit the program--50%
- Does not require customers to create an account to use the service--40%
- Provides customers with analysis on how many hits the link generated, and the sources of these hits--33%
- The link is customizable, i.e., you can edit the random text and create a custom link--20%
- Offers a fee-for-service model for heavy users--0%
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- automatic URL shortening and auto character extension with deck.ly
- Make Your Own URL Shortening Service http://lifehac.kr/gFDGwA
- How to setup your own private URL shortening service http://bassett.in/14
- How to Setup your own URL Shortening Service with Google Apps http://dsgnr.ly/gJb1En