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R.I.P. U.NU

Saturday, October 2nd 2010 1:47pm

Last March, long after doing research and experiments, I started and never finished some blog entry entitled "How to Choose a Link Shortener" or some crap like that. Everyone loves chain-links dipped in shortening and deep fried. Ouch, my toof! Should have tried url shortening...

I had chosen u.nu which died a month ago. Sounds like they put up a good fight...

Since the beginning, it has been plagued with abuse from spammers and other no-goodniks. Despite considerable efforts to stay ahead of the game, the abuse has been relentless. By the end, hundreds of thousands of URLs in violation of the terms of service were being blocked daily, but many were still sneaking through. [...] on September 3, 2010 the server was disconnected without notice by our hosting provider in response to reports of a number of links to child pornography sites.
[...]
Our apologies to the legitimate users of the service. Hopefully you will find another URL shortener that meets your needs.

I chose u.nu because it has a 4 character domain name, an API, no extra bells + whistles (stats), and, when I started with it, the link keys were only 4 characters long. k.im was very comparable and suffered a similar fate. tr.im is down too!

Over a year ago, David Walsh wrote an article that really stuck with me : What If: TinyURL Sold to a Porn Company. It was not David's random juxtaposition of the term 'porn' and an image of Christina Ricci that struck me, but the actual message of the post — That, for whatever reason, your precious URL-minifier could one day disappear without a trace leaving you and/or your community with a library of broken, useless links across the web. At least these defeated sites seem to honor grandfathered links for a few months following, a sort of sitting duck service. ;D/

My whole reason for using this type of online utility was to save visual space on IRC esper.net #botb where long, unruly URLs would pop in from Battle of the Bits site activity. The links now come in their full SEO friendly form in the chat room. BotB has it's own plans for a private link shortener. Maybe something with an API and limited to the BotBrs.

There are quite a few solid URL shorteners still in service. TinyURL.com is the longest standing one I know of, predating the fad by at least six years. bit.ly is the twitterers' choice with stats for all your links. goo.gl is google's brand but the API has been hidden. There's also is.gd and ow.ly still in service but they don't compare to lt.tl with Homer Simpson rocking out on the couch and it's foreigner English.

posted by Langel

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