Friday, October 05, 2007

Why I Don't Like TinyURL


That’s all fine. But the tinyurl giveth and the tinyurl taketh away. When you encode a Web address as a tinyurl you’re hiding its target. Normally, when I read an article on the Web that has a link, I’ll hover my cursor over the link to see where it points. Even on a site with human-unfriendly URLs like CNETs, at least I can see that the link points to CNET.

With a tinyurl, I know nothing about the link except what the author chose to say about it. I can’t tell if it’s a reference to an article I’ve already read. If I want to find out, I have no choice but to click.


Mr. Chase said...

Because of the timesuck that was my recent move, I've had many calls waiting in my voicemail inbox. Rather than listening to a message, hanging up and then calling the party back, I've been calling directly from voicemail. When I do this, my number comes up on the receiving phone as "Private." Many a friend or family member has answered my call with a deeply hesitant, "Hello?"
Here's the thing, there was a time when the phone would ring, you'd pick the receiver up off the wall and answer with a welcoming "Hello" having no idea who is on the other end.
These people I've called and those who feel put out by clicking on links created by TinyURL are responding to uncertainty as though not knowing who or what is on the other end is a great inconvenience. I understand we have become accustomed to knowing what's on the other side, but surely we have true inconveniences that deserve a good going over.

Chris Lehmann said...

I only like it for twitter. Otherwise, I agree with you.

Tom Hoffman said...

Yes, it is necessary for twitter.

Unknown said...

If you use Firefox & Greasemonkey, the "Tin Foil Hat" script reveals the target address of TinyURL links in a tooltip.

There's one for SnipURL, as well.

Stephen Downes said...

Well I agree. I only use TinyURL when I have to (and I always exchange the Feedburner link for the real link in by newsletter).

But having said that - what's your view on Handle and DOI then? And CORDRA?

Tom Hoffman said...

I haven't been keeping up with those things, so I have no opinion.