Twitter’s URL Shortener: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

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 or third-party apps will be wrapped with a URL. A really long link such as might be wrapped as for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as 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 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, and TinyURL), Twitter’s entrance into the URL shortening business will probably have no effect upon (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 which was used for direct messages), although thus far it seems like they may simply redirect it towards the domain (at least for now).

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  1. says

    What about branded URLs? I use YOURLS for my short URLs. When Twitter says “[A]ll links shared on or third-party apps will be wrapped with a URL,” does that mean all URLs, or just ones over a certain length?

  2. says

    I think twitter is doing the same thing that other big web companies are doing at the moment, competing with their own ecosystem. First they favored tinyurl, then they dropped it for, which flourished under them, and now they want to kill both in favor of their own URL shortening service. What’ s next?

    Twitter in my opinion are at a critical stage right now, they can grow, or they can implode. The only way to grow is to have a lot of 3rd party applications and support for their platform.

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