There has been some discussion on URL Shorteners at work and some individuals just don’t get it… So, I decided to create a list of the ones that I’ve used or have been exposed to and a brief explanation to what they are.
Q: What is a URL shortener?
A: A URL shortener is an application/service that will take a long URL (Example: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/oprahs-first-words-on-twitter-hi-twitters/ ) and will shorten it (Example: http://tinyurl.com/ca2q2p ).
Q: Why should I use a URL shortener?
A: To keep your URLs short and neat when posting to blogs, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Some applications, such as twitter, only allow a certain number of characters to be typed. A standard URL might be too long.
Q: How long are the shortened URLs good for?
A: Some services will redirect the shortened URL to the longer one forever and some services will not. Depending on what you’re using the shortened URL for I would double-check with the service to verify the longevity of the URL.
To streamline your use of shortened URLs most of the above examples have browser plugins for Firefox or even a drag and drop feature to create shortened URLs. You might even notice that some applications have a URL shortener bulit in.
Play around, have fun, and I hope this helped.