Monday, December 04, 2006

Bigger than YouTube: Tiny URL the next killer app?

Enter a long URL to make tiny:

I've known about Tiny URL some time now, and I've always wanted to do a post about the annoying glut of Too Long URLs (web addresses). Some web dev guys will throw a fit, but I declare, along with Jakob Nielsen, that there is NO excuse for a long URL, ever.

I've seen massive and complex sites use simple, short, even guessable URLs for web pages. does a very good job of this. Every site can have brief and simple URLs.

What's wrong with long, bizarre, unguessable URLs? Well, besides the fact that the site is probably poorly organized, too much "done by committee/bureaucracy", you have the problem of TRUNCATED web addresses. That's right. Truncated. Chopped off. In many situations, the long URL will either get shortened by the email client or web site you try to post it to, or it will remain intact, but will break a layout.

We've all seen how a truncated URL leads to nowhere, a "page not found" error message. Or how it stretches across a blog post, then transgresses the sidebar border and overlays other text. It looks stupid.

Now, David Berlind predicts that the service that corrects the Long URL Syndrome, Tiny URL, may be the Next Big Thing for ecommerce.

His reasons are quite studied and astute. I think he may be onto something.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I have even seen big companies such as maxim magazine use it to link to funny video clips

Web Design

Billy Dennis said...

You can't rely on commenters to use TinyURL. If they are sophisticated enough to know about it, or courteous enough to use it, they are simply going to use HTML to embed a link around a short word.

There is a great Word Press plug-in that keeps commenters from dropping this huge URL-bombs on your site:

It's called WP-Chunk.

It's saved me a world of time and effort. For print publications, it works wonders, though.

carrie said...

interesting. i've always wondered about tinyurls but never looked into it.

Kay Stoner said...

TinyURL is the best! Especially if you're building sites with domain names that are longer than you'd like (because someone else snapped up the domain you had your heart set on) or you've got patently uncool server space you really need to use, without looking like a 1996 throwback (like when AOL was still on the leading edge -- if it ever was, which is up for debate, of course). TinyURL also spares affiliates the pain and suffering of having people strip off their affiliate codes when they follow their links. It baffles me why people would do this, since following an affiliate link doesn't make a product cost any more, but it enables some probably-needy web-preneur to earn some coin whilst doing what they love much more than their day job. With TinyURL, you can mask your affiliate links and have a better chance of earning your commissions.

What a great idea it is!