Why Twitter’s URL shortener is cool and might be even cooler

We’re increasingly using URL shorteners in the websites we build, especially where we encourage users to share the website (and specific pages of the website) with friends in tools such as Twitter.

As an example, the URLs of a recently launched Wiliam website – Cudo – are too long for use in the 140-character limited Twitter, especially if users want to include a meaningful note with their post. Through the use of URL shortening (in this instance, bit.ly), we can make a long URL such as http://cudo.com.au/sydney/cellulite-treament-and-laser-hair-removal-from-body-contour-centre into a much shorter, and manageable URL such as http://bit.ly/b0iNCD.

Bit.ly Logo

In fact, we can generate this shortened URL on the fly via the URL shortener’s API so that we can include unique user tracking code in the URL.

URL shorteners have been around for a while though it has certainly been Twitter that has brought them to the fore.

twitter logo

And now, after a few years of relying on third partner URL shorteners, Twitter has launched their own URL shortening service – with probable ramifications for existing URL shorteners, you, me and Twitter themselves.

There is a great blog on the O’Reilly website detailing what Twitter’s new URL shortener means and why it’s important. It is an especially interesting read for marketers.