I’ve noticed that URL shorteners are popping up left and right. They’ve been around for several years now, but have exploded recently with the sudden popularity of Twitter. These web services provide short addresses to links that are very long and difficult to insert into a status update or text message. Since Twitter allows only 140 characters of text, nearly every link in a Tweet has been shortened. I’ve even seen links in my local print newspaper that have been shortened with TinyURL.
Some have a growing concern about the security and stability of such services, and the potential fallout from their long term use. These concerns range from hacks to the sites themselves, potentially turning innocent links into malicious ones, masking the true address of the site you are about to visit, and the adding of a middleman layer that adds more bulk to the entire web.
Here are some links to a few popular URL shorteners. A simple search on Google or Yahoo will bring back dozens of such sites hoping to snip your URLs. It’s become quite a field day of startups.