The Wege pointed me to an excellent article by Joshua Schachter on the issues w/ URL shortening services.
It’s consistent my concerns and my Insecurity of Short URLs post.
As I alluded to that post, I see 3 opportunities for URL shorteners, all of them revolve around increasing trust (branding, security, backup).
Let’s take that first one – branding. Another name for branding is accountability. Who really knows where a tinyurl a similar service will point you, but you can be confident a minnpo.st URL will point you to an article on minnpost.com and a grv.me URL will point you to something I authored.
From my perspective there are 3 parties that should have a good short URL corresponding to their identity:
- the author (i.e. grv.me)
- the publisher (i.e. minnpo.st)
- the share-er (imagine a link blog of short urls)
Sometimes all 3 are the same.
Conveniently, as greater accountability is introduced to short URLs, the issues of security and backups address themselves.
Take one step back.
Web publishing engines – like WordPress, MovableType, and all publications engines really – should automatically generate nice long human-readable URLs as well as a short, easy-to-share URLs (at least the URL keys, you can supply your own short domain if you want). (Dave Winer
something along these lines a few weeks back, but I can find the link right now)
One more step back, and you can see this is only an issue now because of the growing popularity of 1 specific website and an expectation that these short URLs are permalinks. If you don’t have that expectation, shorten with RE07.US