Are URL Shrinkers Good or Bad Tools for Twitter and Facebook Users?

The internet is famous for sharing links. It is one of the most viral activities online. People can now share ideas and communicate instantly. We used to share via emails and bookmarking with individual posts. Now it’s just so much easier to share via Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites and send a link once that goes out to all your friends and followers. It’s a real time saver and allows you to make many more contacts a day. This marketing tip will help you decide if URL shrinkers are for you.

Some sites, like Twitter, make short URLs important due to their 140 character limit. Less keystrokes make it a time saver as well. These shortened links redirect people back to the original link which may be extremely long and prone to breaking. But, for every good point there may be a bad one as well.

There are more than a dozen link shortening services, which include TinyUrl, bit.ly, Snurl, us.gd, Diggbar and tr.im to name a few.They make it so handy to share links. It would be impossible to share links on Twitter when a URL contains over 140 characters itself.

The bad side of shortened URLs is that they slow down the Web.

It’s just another navigation process to go through to reach your site. They also mess with your SEO. Link juice can be stolen by sites that wrap the site in a frame instead of redirecting to it. Diggbar is an example of this.

The URL shortener may decide that a link is a Terms Of Service violation and just delete it. If the URL shortener accidentally erases a database, forgets to renew its domain, or just disappears, the link will break. If a top level domain changes its policy on commercial use, the link can break. If the shortener gets hacked, every link becomes a potential phishing attack. Kind of scary.

It can be hard to tell what you’re clicking on and this makes it extremely attractive to spammers and scammers. You could be clicking on something unsavory or illegal or even something malicious like a computer worm.

There are several services that will show the link, so you can get around this problem. SafeURL lets you preview a shrunken link’s destination page. LongURL lets you plug in short addresses and see where they really point. You need to be really careful and not click on ANY URL that you don’t know and trust. The results can be disastrous to you and your business. Hope this marketing tip helps.

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About The Author

Carol Hansen, a Twitter specialist focusing on building and monetizing with Twitter. You can connect with Carol on Twitter or Facebook and follow her latest projects, blog posts and cool tips on building and monetizing your Twitter following.


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