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Web analytics service Clicky has announced the launch of a URL shortener. I don’t write much about URL shorteners because frankly they are way over-hyped. Dave Winer has been posting a lot about the category so check out his blog for more information and education.
In my scan this morning for the Today’s 10, I noticed that Clicky is now offering a URL shortener of their own. The difference with the Clicky shortener (clicky.me) is that it’s directly tied into your Clicky analytics account. You must have a Clicky account to use the shortener.
They compare the Clicky shortener to the Twitter default shortener Bit.ly. Clicky notes that the biggest difference is that Bit.ly stops tracking the user when they arrive to your site while Clicky continues to track the user within their analytics tool. Maybe one day Twitter will allow users to select which shortener we want to use though that’s doubtful especially with their recent click tracking test.
Clicky now allows for segmentation of users and data by short url. They also boast that their offering only tracks humans not evil bots, search robots and other Internet crud.
In typical Clicky fashion they discuss the revenue model for Clicky.me. There isn’t one – well that’s not completely true. There won’t be any direct revenue from the offering but it should drive new users to the Clicky service and will strengthen the overall offering.
One of the comments on the announcement post wonders if spammers will use it since the shortener will work with the free version. If they moved it to paid-only plans, the new offering could help with conversions.
I’ve been using moourl for my shortening needs as it’s quick and has a cow on the page. The only real suggestion I have for all of the shorteners is to offer the preview option that TinyURL does. I never have a worry clicking a TinyURL as I know I will hit a page from which I can decide to proceed. Bit.ly apparently only offers this if you hack the URL (wtf) and I don’t know if Clicky’s offering allows for a preview but here’s hoping they add it. Safety will become more important with short URLs as more of the evil gets a hold of them.
There’s been a few exciting things I remember as a kid growing up including: when Hogan slammed Andre, getting my first GameBoy and working at the transit museum. But those totally pale in comparison to the announcment made this morning that TinyURL now supports custom URLs.
It’s all the talk this morning! Louis Gray was able to take a 2-line announcement and turn it into a full product review. Louis points to a post by Steve Gillmor – unfortunately my GilmorDecoder hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t comment on that post.
Gray is clearly mislead, it’s probably because he ate too many brats last night. He notes, "You typically had to trust the person or service sending the TinyURL, or preview it to be sure you weren’t being sent to a Rick Astley music video or a malware site."
And now, ladies and gents, here’s an example of why what he just wrote makes no sense :) – Here’s a TinyURL I just created – here, click this: http://tinyurl.com/seagate (don’t worry it’s not malware or Rick Astley). Now do you see why this isn’t going to protect you any better than before? In fact, it might be worse because now the evil people can use URLs that look like legit companies only to send you somewhere bad. I imagine the email scammers will love this new feature.
If TinyURL wanted to offer some new features that would be seriously beneficial, they could add account functionality to save created URLs into lists. They could also offer statistics which could lead to even more goodness as they could show hot and top links and create real content discovery. Perhaps TinyURL could offer a stumbleupon-style feature as well.
In all seriousness, this is a feature that everyone’s asked TinyURL to create but I don’t know if it’s really that important. It will make it easier for the linker but the same for the linkee. I certainly hope that TinyURL users don’t stop linking directly to Web sites and instead link to TinyURLs.
Most times, the TinyURL is behind the scenes and never heard from. Do you think you are really more likely to click a URL on Twitter if it says http://www.tinyurl.com/microsoft than http://www.tinyurl.com/4=*&25c35s? Doubt it. Trust the source, not the URL.
I use MooURL because it’s cuter and looks better.