MBATricks

Tips and Tricks about my MBA experience

 

More and more people and companies are using URL shortners (bit.ly, Goog.gl, tinyurl…) in order to:
1. Shorten their links (which can be very useful for posting on twitter for example)
2. Get some statisstical information on how many people clicked on the link, where they are coming from and which site was the referral…

 

Nevertheless, an important question is: How sustainable are these sites? In other words what would happen if the URL shortner website you are using for Twitter, Facebook or your blog shut down?

 

One simple answer: You will lose all the links you have shared with your followers as well as their related marketing information and this already happened in 2009 with the website tr.im (see Mashable article).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to understand the impact of these sites, I had a look on how often they were used in a social media like Twitter.

Looking at my Twitter feed, out of 176 tweets with links:

  • 81 (46.02%) were using bit.ly
  • 3 (1.70%) were using goo.gl
  • 1 (0.57%) were using tinyurl
  • 9 (5.11%) were using ow.ly
  • and the 82 remaining (46.59%) were using either a direct link or their own URL shortner service.

 

 

Looking at these figures, if a website like bit.ly (for example) shuts down, almost half of the links of twitter will become obsolete (unless they’re bought by another company)!

 

What could be done?

Hopefully before closing, URL shortners will let users export their shared URLs (short and long) and related information.  Webmasters will need to make some work to replace the wrong links on all possible web sites  (unfortunately cannot be done on a lot of places like Twitter) with correct ones and see how they can integrate the information in their new system.

If not… 🙁

 

To avoid such risk, I have personnaly decided to setup yourls on my web hoster and I will generate my own short links. Several companies like Mashable (on.mash.to) or Techcrunch (tcrn.ch) have decided to chose this strategy in order to avoid dependencies, and I think they made a pretty smart choice.

 

So, from now on, all my short links will look like http://vuong.fr/xyzab

 

I know that it is a little bit longer than what bit.ly proposes but I can see several benefits with this solution:

1. As long as I have my provider and system running, my links are not dependent on any other company.

2. As Yourls is an open source system, developers can update its code and create new reports that are not available on other services.

3. The growing community of Yourls will hopefully come with more plugins and integration with existing services.

4. It does not prevent you to use the existing services in order to monitor your shared links

and last but not least:

4. It reinforces my personal brand, by using my name in all the links I share.

5. Search engines will index more links to my websites and hopefully make them more popular.

 

Are you or your company using link shortener services?

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