What Bugs Me About Shorten Url's

April 29, 2012 Written By

When shorten url’s showed up for the first time they were great. We were starting the 140 characters era, and we wanted to share our stuff on the web. The problem was (and still is) that many url’s that point to the stuff we wanted to share were way to big. Just look at those url’s from amazon.

But this beautiful creation got us one …tiny“ problem. Actually, the shorten url’s didn’t have nothing to do with the problem. The problem started when certain services we all use to share stuff with our pears started embedding shorten url’s as a feature to their service. So when you’re sharing your link you don’t have to worry about shorten it. The link will be shorten for you. Great right? This started because it was a real pain in the ass to share a big link (also this is a big 1st world problem right here). We had to copy our link, login (or not) into our shorten url service or choice and shorten the url. Then get back to our sharing service (maybe twitter?) and share our thing. Now the sharing service does all this for you, and life is beautiful again. Or is it not?

The problem: With so much automation on this process the user has no saying on what should be shorten and what shouldn’t. You may ask, but why should I care if the link get’s shorten or not? Ok, let’s use twitter to illustrate all this because twitter is the one I use the most, therefore the one I can get you more examples.

I’m sharing an awesome …lol cat“ video from youtube and the link gets automatically shortened by twitter.


Twitter doesn’t check if the link is smaller than the shortened result. If I’m using my own shorten url system to shorten the url twitter doesn’t recognize it and will shorten a shorten url (this will cause a terrible url inception effect).

Just picture that awful shorten inception on your phone with only a crappy 3G connection? You get redirect to twitter shorten url service, then to your own shorten url thingy and finally you’ll get to your content. Great right? Since the link is now shortened if my followers use a twitter client that has youtube integration they can’t see the youtube video on their client. Because the client will not recognize it as a youtube link and will open the browser (If you remember when tweetdeck was awesome, and all those cool integrations like instagram and youtube you know what I’m talking about, they actually correct all this. How? They made tweetdeck a complete crap). Just out of the box, these problems may be the ones that bother me the most. Because I love all those cool integrations specially if you’re a android user, and you’re used to every time a link points to a website that also has a app you get to chose if you want to open that specific url on your app and not your browser.

Ok maybe only twitter has all these problems at once, but if you think about it, twitter was the one that made people think about shorten url’s. Twitter was the one that created that need.

Twitter, stop breaking things and give us the choice if we want to use your shorten url thing or not. And if we are using it, please don’t do stuff for us, do it the same way tweetdeck used to do (back when tweetdeck was awesome) the link only get’s shortened if I actually need the extra characters to write my message.

PS This article ended up being more of a rant about twitter than expected, sorry about that.


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"What Bugs Me About Shorten Url's" via @marcogmonteiro