URL Shorteners

Today Youtube anounced http://youtu.be. Seems like an yet another unwanted service, when the web is littered with URL shortening services. Something occurred to me later and I started feeling that it is justified. 

Developing one service that can compress and uncompress URLs? that is a good idea but not when its a whole product. We should start looking at URL shortening as a feature in a service rather than a service by itself. It responds to the request of a user “give me a shorter URL for this article/video/blog..”.

Yes, youtube can use bit.ly, but what happens when you rely so heavily on a different company

1. One day they close their shop [check out what happened to tr.im]

2. They get into an exclusive agreement with one company and let others wonder.

3. They get to monetize the links. Not the content owner.

We also know that the URL shorteners are a big headache to to search engines. And most of us agree that it fragments the web, instead of tying things together. 

Now when every service has its own feature to shorten a URL they have the following advantages.

1. They control the links to their pages.

2. The person who clicks on a URL has an idea which site is going to.http://youtu.be gives a better sense of security than http://bit.ly

3. Search engines can modify their algorithms to index them better. [All you tube short urls follow one common structure.] Search engines can maintain alias URLs causing lesser fragmentation.




Get it? Makes better sense when shortening a URL is a feature and not a seperate service. I want to see more of them now.

Let me know what you think.