Brad Feld

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Short URL’s Are Entertainingly Out of Control

Dec 19, 2009
Category Technology

I’m really pleased that FeedBurner has finally implemented a Socialize feature.  With a few settings, I can now connect my Twitter account to my FeedBurner profile and, when I post something to my blog, have it automatically tweeted out.  There are plenty of nice options to help me format this and the traffic data is supposed to show up in my Google Analytics account, but I haven’t seen it yet.

While I love that I no longer have to do anything to tweet my post (no Mom, that’s not an obscene thing to do, although it sure sounds like it) one thing annoys me.  The short URL.  It’s…  That’s both (a) not so short and (b) not what I want.  I want  That’s my happy short URL that I get from using 

I’ve now gone through the following Short URL evolution with Twitter.  I started with TinyURL and manual shorted my URL’s before I tweeted them.  That was a long time ago.  Then Twitter started automatically shortening them with TinyURL and that made it a little easier.  Then Twitter started using to shorten URLs so I switched to  Then I started using TweetDeck with automatically shortened things using and that made it even easier.  But then we got our own customer URL shortener ( via  And I shortened things manually for a while.  Then I installed Tweetmeme on my blog and shortened things using again for a few days until I figured out how to using the API to use at which point I started using again until FeedBurner Socialize came out.  Now I’m using

Confused yet?

Oh – and my stats are totally foobared.  I’ve got partial stats about click throughs in,, and Google Analytics.  I realize this is totally self imposed as I shift from shortener to shortener, but I’m just trying to get to the nirvana of (a) using a shortener that I want (, (b) not having to do anything to shorten a URL  (e.g. I want it integrated into my workflow), and (c) having stats about click throughs.

When I went looking around to see how many distinct URL shorteners there are, I was surprised at how lame the Wikipedia page for URL shortening is.  I expected a comprehensive directory – no suck luck. A Google search on URL shortener  wasn’t much help either.  A Bing search on URL shortener was a little better (eek!) and ironically pointed to a Google Knol on URL Shorteners.  Of course, Joshua Schachter’s fantastic rant On URL Shorteners was appropriately at the top of Bing’s search results (Joshua now works at Google if you missed the irony of that one.)

I finally found a Mashable directory on URL Shorteners (90 of them) but it’s from January 2008 – ergo very obsolete.

This is now officially a complete mess.  And it’s going to get a lot messier with the brand spanking new Facebook short URL  I can’t wait to see Microsoft’s URL shortener – I’m guessing something like Microso.ft/bing/.

Someone please stand up and help stop the madness.  Al Gore, where are you when we really need you.