[ANSTHRLD] URL Shortening Considered Harmful

Tim McDaniel tmcd at panix.com
Fri Apr 9 21:01:49 PDT 2010

On the main page of ACE is "Recommendation: when dealing with a very
long URL (such as a googlebooks citation), use http://tinyurl.com/ to
come up with a shorter version. Less readable in the short term
(although the name of the website and/or article should also be
cited), but the URL never expires and can always be used."


"In light of the near-shutdown of Tr.im -- and the actual closing of
URL shortening services like URLTea, Shurl.net, and Qurl.net -- users
of the URL shorteners still standing may wonder what's going to happen
to their favorite services if they, too, go belly-up."

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_shortening> adds "the concern that
many existing URL shortening services may not have a sustainable
business model in the long term ... Users may be exposed to privacy
issues in that the link shortening service is in a position to track a
user's behaviour across many domains."

More, "A short URL obscures the target address, and as a result it's
sometimes used to redirect to an unexpected site. Examples of this are
rickrolling, redirecting to scam and affiliate websites, or shock
sites ...", to the point that MySpace and Yahoo! Answers block

So I recommend NOT using a link shortener.  Instead, you can put some
effort into seeing what parts of the URL may be unneeded, or simply
provide the original URL.

Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com

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