[ANSTHRLD] URL Shortening Considered Harmful

Jennifer Smith jds at randomgang.com
Fri Apr 9 23:12:55 PDT 2010

Hmm, a very good point.  In general I vastly prefer seeing the full
URL; what prompted the suggestion to use a URL shortener was a URL
that linked deep into a book on google books (notorious for impossible
to decipher long URLs), causing the entire ILoI page to scroll

I suppose the 'real' solution is to have the ACE code insert a line
break manually every so many characters of a 'word' of the display
version (not the actual hyperlink, of course). Unless someone has
another suggestion for avoiding that problem?


On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 11:01 PM, Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com> wrote:
> 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."
> <http://www.dancrae.net/index.php/2010/04/05/gnip-betaworks-create-short-url-seed-bank/>
> includes
> "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
> TinyURLs.
> 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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