When should you not use shortened urls?

URL shortener services are dime a dozen out there on the internet and with the popularity and rise of Twitter I do not think that its about to change any time soon.

At DW we have covered many posts on short URLs from Bit.Ly to Goo.gl. There is a growing trend of some people using short URLs at places other than Twitter and that seems to be a disturbing trend. So I thought I would list down instances where I personally feel a shortened URL is inappropriate.



Shortened URL on Twitter is fine as sharing a link to a blog can be almost impossible within the limit of 140 chars. But that rule doesn’t apply to Facebook and there is no reason to share short URL links on Facebook. Even if you do share a short url make sure you have comments along them so that the person who might click on the short URL will know its a valid link you are endorsing. One of the first virus to have infected Facebook was spread through a short URL. It would send private messages to people with accounts with short URL. People ended up clicking on it.


There is no option but to use shortened URLs on Twitter but never post a link without a comments. You have no idea for checking where that short URL is leading, and hence accompanying text msg about what the URL is all about an absolute necessity.


Again the same rule applies that if you do post a short URL you have to accompany with a description of where the URL leads the person clicking on it. I have not seen this trend often on Emails but it does happen sometimes. It can be annoying to the person reading as he has no way of checking where the URL leads him. Ideally never use short URL in emails as it seems like either you are spamming or maybe you want to hide the link for some reason.

I follow these rules and its better to have your own rules especially if your are a blogger. Short urls are great for Twitter but also a very handy way for sending you down to a infected website and making you vulnerable.

My advice is avoid using a shortened URL when ever possible. What do you think?


Saeed January 22, 2010

I agree with what you have said about Emails and Twitter. I remember reading a post saying Why you should use shortened urls in Facebook some time back in Dw itself, I guess. The content was like if the link is reported as spam, whole domain gets blocked on Facebook, hence you should use only shortened ones.
I exactly don’t remember, where I read that post…

Aditya Kane January 22, 2010

Usually using short url in fb is not a problem, but a virus did spread on fb because of a short url mainly because people thought it was safe on FB. Anyways FB is trying out its own url shortener so lets see. 😉