Not being a great ‘ideas’ man myself it’s never actually happened to me - but it must be really annoying when you develop something that you think is the bees-knees, you’re positive that it’s a real winner but then it doesn’t really ‘catch the wave’! How disappointing must that be? And then, maybe when you’ve just about given up hope, something else becomes hugely popular and almost by accident, your ‘killer application’ is a perfect-fit, it comes of age and takes off big-time.
IMHO such is the current role of the URL shortening companies: if you’ve never heard of URL shortening/condensing, then you’ll need to be aware that these companies developed an application that took really long ugly URLs and hugely reduced them in length-size. They’ve been around for a while (TinyURL for example has been around since 2002) but there was never that much of a compelling interest in their services but then … along comes the current social media behemoth Twitter with its twit-posting service that’s predicated on limiting the number of characters in every post to 140 characters.
So there you have it – a massively popular posting service where character saving isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ but it’s an absolute must that’s suddenly found it’s place in the market. Twitter have aligned themselves with TinyURL as their default solution but there’s loads of others out there and who knows which is the best to use, when so many are offered and new ones seem to appear each day? Well look no further! That much read Internet icon Danny Sullivan has posted a detailed analysis after reviewing various services and how they stacked up in a variety of features and you can read it all here (for reference I’ve shown the long and short URLs).
In terms of what’s the best URL shortening service to follow, I’ll add no further commentary to what Danny’s written apart from to give personal added focus to the passage he writes on Stability. If you want the ‘little URL’ in your Tweet-post to live on, there’s little point in aligning yourself to a ‘shoestring’ company that’s not going to give adequate support because as Danny says, “Nothing is more annoying than tweeting a link using a URL shortener and then having people tweet back at you that the link isn’t working, because the URL shortening service has gone down.” … or if the service just suddenly shuts down for whatever reason and all your links are ‘toast’!
Ultimately, you’ll make your own individual choices and Danny’s review is fantastically helpful in that regard. There’s little doubt that TinyURL has got the wind in its sails at the moment, although personally I’m a devotee of the newer service Bit.ly.
So URL shortening has at last Twittered to its place in the sun – well done to the innovators for holding on: rewarded at last!