Just as Twitter shook the developer ecosystem by announcing official apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, Twitter’s roll out of an official URL shortener could once again shake the URL shortening startup industry (like TinyURL).
[A]ll links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL. A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title. Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you.
In addition to a better user experience and increased safety, routing links through this service will eventually contribute to the metrics behind our Promoted Tweets platform and provide an important quality signal for our Resonance algorithm—the way we determine if a Tweet is relevant and interesting to users. We are also looking to provide services that make use of this data, an example would be analytics within our eventual commercial accounts service. (Official Twitter Blog)
The t.co domain (whose extension is Columbian for those who are curious) should help the microblogging company fight against tweet spam who have of late become desperate in their attempts at receiving link love from random users.
While this latest move will probably kill off third party URL shortener companies (like tr.im, and TinyURL), Twitter’s entrance into the URL shortening business will probably have no effect upon bit.ly (whose branded URL’s have become quite popular among journalists and bloggers alike).
Twitter has not yet stated what they plan on doing with their other URL shortener (that would be twt.tl which was used for direct messages), although thus far it seems like they may simply redirect it towards the t.co domain (at least for now).