UPDATE (Oct 26, 2010) :: I disbanded my original URL shortening service and have created a new one with an even shorter URL! I’m leaving this page up for posterity, but I’ve changed the links where applicable. Also, I wrote about my new URL shortening service, so you may want to head on over there first!
This time, it’s mine!! After I got onto Twitter and Facebook, I starting noticing all these little weird looking links and came to realize they were just pointers to much longer links. URL shortening services have sprung up just about everywhere. The issue of really long links is more of a problem to Twitter users because you only have 140 characters to type your message, but they’re starting to gain traction for just about every use. Use my new URL shortener to shrink you long urls today!
You would want to/need to shorten a url when you don’t have much space to post one or you want to make it easier for someone to remember. Now, there are tons of sites out there that can shorten long links into something tiny, but I didn’t want to trust my links in the hands of some fly-by-night service. Instead, I opened my own service and now I’m offering the service to everyone.
What is it?
Take this link for example: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FKindle-Wireless-Reading-Display-Generation%2Fdp%2FB0015T963C%3Fpf_rd%5Fm%3DATVPDKIKX0DER%26pf%5Frd%5Fs%3Dcenter-1%26pf%5Frd%5Fr%3D0Y2V14K8W4X1MTQ9XB9B%26pf%5Frd%5Ft%3D101%26pf%5Frd%5Fp%3D1253201642%26pf%5Frd%5Fi%3D507846&tag=ledfrog-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325. It’s a direct link to Amazon.com’s Kindle page. Now, imagine you’re on Twitter and you want to send that to your followers. It’s not going to happen.
Instead, you drop on by my new site and create a link that looks like this: http://xi.io/8m. Much nicer, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, this URL went from being 358 characters long down to only 15! That’s a difference of 343 characters!! You can use these links for any purpose and the best part is, you can also search for keyword text, so instead of getting a randomly generated number, you can get a text phrase (if available).
How is this site different?
It’s not so much different in features as it is in name. Other services such as goo.gl, bit.ly and u.nu all offer the same services, but as you can see, they all use International domain names.
Personally, I find two things wrong with this. The first reason is that the links are not universally recognized by a lot of Internet users. If fact, I’ve talked to some people that say they never click on links like that at all! This can provide low click-through ratios for your links.
The second reason is that these domain names are controlled by the countries who own the extension. This can, although probably not likely, lead to the domains becoming obsolete or even being taken back by the local government.
What can you do with a shortened URL?
The uses for this service are only limited to your creativity! Here are some ideas:
- Use shorter links for Twitter posts
- Cloak affiliate links
- Mask a long URL for marketing materials
- Use a shorter URL for your site to make it easier to tell your friends how to get there
This service is free and allows you to make an unlimited amount of links. Check it out by going to xi.io now!