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Janet Roberts

TinyURL is Back Up and Running
By Janet Roberts



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Good free services still exist on the Web. A handy one is TinyURL, a link-shortening service that allows you to shrink a long, likely-to-break URL to a shorter one.

TinyURL was down for a while, though. This message greeted visitors earlier this summer:

"Creation of new TinyURLs have been temporarily disabled. Due to the abuse of this service being used for spamming, we have to temporarily disable this service until all these issues have been resolved."

TinyURL isn't the only free link-shortening service out there (see below for a link to a previous Ezine-Tip on MakeAShorterLink.com and other link-shortening or redirect services) but it does have an advantage: The links don't expire, according to TinyURL creator Kevin Gilbertson.

This is good news if you archive your newsletter, because it means fewer broken links when people search your archive later on. You might want to consider it if you use lots of links with 50 characters or more, because those break more often.

A few more facts about TinyURL:

It's free for now, Kevin says, because donations made at the site via PayPal cover his costs.

"I may make a membership in the future where it'll offer advanced features such as being able to change a link and being able to name the TinyURL so the random characters that are at the end of the TinyURL are whatever you want it to be," he said. He is also thinking about adding banners or other ad formats.

Gilbertson created TinyURL because he "needed a way to make a long URL smaller to be put in outgoing posts to newsgroups or in emails. I needed the smaller URLs to prevent wrapping from occurring and to make the URLs fit in better in the middle of a paragraph. I originally created it for use with a script I wrote that gateways a USENET newsgroup and a Web-based forum together (http://www.unicyclist.com/forums )."

To use TinyURL, paste your URL into the blank on the site and click the "Make TinyURL!" button. Your link will look like this: http://tinyurl.com/11ly

Here's another Ezine-Tip that talks about using a link-shortener instead of adding < and > around a URL or asking readers to cut and paste (54 characters long).

Ezine-Tips for August 16, 2002

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