Strong opinions, weakly held

The downside of URL shorteners

Delicious creator Joshua Schachter has a good post on the downside of URL shorteners. I think his prescription for addressing them as a problem are right:

One important conclusion is that services providing transit (or at least require a shortening service) should at least log all redirects, in case the shortening services disappear. If the data is as important as everyone seems to think, they should own it. And websites that generate very long URLs, such as map sites, could provide their own shortening services. Or, better yet, take steps to keep the URLs from growing monstrous in the first place.

Update: Looks like there’s a larger conversation about URL shorteners going on. Kellan Elliott-McCrea posts about how sites that provide their own shorter alternative URLs should annotate them, and about Flickr providing its own short URLs.

John Gruber linked to David Weiss’ piece on the security implications of URL shortening services. Weiss’ blog is seldom updated, but the posts look to be of exceptionally high quality. Subscribed.

In 2007 there was a big discussion of the problems with URL shorteners. Here’s my post from back then.


  1. have you ever seen urls as hideously cumbersome as raleigh’s? e.g., urban design center:


    that’s obscene! somebody should be flogged! city of raleigh HOME page:


    somebody needs to fix the website architecture at raleigh-nc.org to get all the implementation details out of the urls. its downright embarrassing for a city that wants to be a tech center. and its been like that for a long time–they need some major embarrassment to make them straighten up.

  2. If you have a wordpress blog, then use your own shortening service: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/short-url-plugin/

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