Publishers Shorten Yourself

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.

Now.

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 said this last month in “Solving the TinyUrl centralization problemsomething 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

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