on Thursday, July 8, 2010

You have likely seen shortened URLs with "tinyurl" in the address, such as http://tinyurl.com/28j5aoo. Mostly they are used in Twitter messages {tweets), since they have a 140 character maximum, and so space is at a premium. But short URLs are useful to anyone with a website, particularly if you are advertising a website on print media where a link can't be clicked.

They are very easy to create. Go to TinyURL (http://tinyurl.com/). You don't need to even register. Just copy-and-paste the URL you want to shorten, the site will instantly spit a shortened one back out. It also has a custom URL feature, where you can customize the name of the shortened URL (assuming it isn't taken). For instance, I just created an easy to remember tiny URL for the Computer Applications Training page using this feature: http://tinyurl.com/comappstrain

There are a few security concerns associated with them, such as clicking on unsafe links, or fears the company won't be around to redirect the link in the future. These concerns are addressed more completely in this Popular Mechanics article: http://www.popularmechanics.co.za/content/print_pop.asp?fid=2034.


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