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

Filed as News on June 9, 2010 3:54 pm

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).

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  1. By redwall_hp posted on June 9, 2010 at 5:34 pm
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    What about non-Bit.ly branded URLs? I use YOURLS for my ntgo.us short URLs. When Twitter says “[A]ll links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL,” does that mean all URLs, or just ones over a certain length?

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  2. By Steven Finch posted on June 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm
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    Twitter launching there is own service is a good idea, but they will never be able to offer as much as bit.ly and other services.

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  3. By AAfter Search posted on June 10, 2010 at 6:04 am
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    Good decision, but what’s about bit.ly?

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  4. By z2z posted on June 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm
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    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 bit.ly, 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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  5. By furl.me posted on October 29, 2010 at 11:49 pm
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    It’s an interesting move for the good of twitter but I’m not sure how this will affect other url shortening services.

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