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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] What's the best URL shortener?

From: J.B. Nicholson
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] What's the best URL shortener?
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:58:02 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.6.0

David Paul wrote:
Better question: Should you use a URL shortener at all?

Answer: No. URL shorteners obufuscate the destination of
a link and if the shortening service ever shuts down, all
the shortened URL become dead links to who knows what.

I agree; the only acceptable exception I can think of is if the short URL is a permalink (and the longer URL is not) and the shortening service is the same as the service being linked to. But this is not common.

For example, there are wikis which have two URLs for each page--one URL based on the page title (which changes with the page title thus rendering this URL impermanent) and a short URL which points to the same page regardless of changes to the page (a permanent link to this page). The wiki generates and maintains the table of short URLs; no third-party service is involved. Therefore if one of these short URLs becomes useless the page it pointed to was deleted, or the wiki is not available at that URL. Either way, what visitors tried to get to is unavailable to all.

I don't find tracking visits to be a valid reason for using a short URL. I'm more likely to try and defeat such tracking by posting the ultimate destination URL in an attempt to get people to skip the redirectors and deny them the tracking traffic.

So use the long URL, let the word wrap fail, and live with a line of text that doesn't wrap neatly. It's not a big deal. In hypertext it's simply not a problem at all and CSS can probably style long URLs to only show a portion of the URL in cases where one can only post a URL to make a link.

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