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109 comments

Just what we need (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561644)

Another way for marketers to track your usage.

Re:Just what we need (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561728)

On the plus side, if all marketers are using the same domain for tracking URLs, then it only takes one line in /etc/hosts to block them all.

And am I the only one who just does not click on any 'shortened' URL because you never know what it's going to take you to? OK, so www.fluffybunnies.com could still take me to a goatse site, but it's far less likely to do so.

Re:Just what we need (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561832)

And am I the only one who just does not click on any 'shortened' URL

You aren't the only one. I won't click on them either. I probably wouldn't go to your fluffybunnies url either and tend to stick to just the few I have 'whitelisted' in my brain. A certain citrus celebration themed URL comes to mind when discussing URLs that sound safe on paper...

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561984)

All shortened URLs point to rickroll du jour, or goatse.

Re:Just what we need (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562042)

Rickroll is the goatse du jour for 2 years ago. People were sending troll links to one another long before /b/tards realized that "Never Gonna Give You Up" is a shitty song with a shitty music video.

Re:Just what we need (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563242)

I use them, because they have their use. I just tend to use ones that don't involve user tracking and always give someone a heads-up on where they're going.

That said, there are plenty of url shortening services that have analytics built in. HootSuite is a popular one for business users.

Re:Just what we need (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33567388)

Why should we believe your "heads-up"? It's not like goatse trolls tell you where they are taking you (although they usually use an unmangled URL).

As a matter of fact, why don't goatse trolls use shortened URLs?

Anyhow, clicking on a shortened URL can get you fired, arrested or divorced. Why would you do it?

Re:Just what we need (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563248)

How do you know if a URL will produce a 301 error? Because that is what they do. So all you should be able to do is get a message of where a redirect is send to and ask permission to do so. Or in case of TinyURL enable the preview.

Re:Just what we need (1)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561898)

Or you could just not click on the short link. I mean...the host file solution would work to but it's not l like they can track you if you don't click on the link. And since you're already not clicking on the link maybe you shouldn't both with the host file.

Re:Just what we need (0, Troll)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562682)

Yes, but, what about my wife and kids. Blocking access at the router allows me to enforce my ideology on my family. While I'm at it, I might as well impose my ideology on any wifi router I come across that still uses the default password.....

It wouldn't be hard to turn this game-changer into a non-starter if all the hackers and admins out there decided to band together.

Re:Just what we need (2, Interesting)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562240)

i click on anything i feel like - and my usage is tracked by the governmental organization i work for. the solution is no-script and a firewall that works. come on, we are supposed to be nerds - how is not clicking an option?

Re:Just what we need (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563104)

We are nerds; and, as such, tend to use wise judgment on how we want to spend our time ;^)

If one likes spending their time waiting for combofix and whatever else scanning their PCs for an hour, then fine, that person may click that link. I'd rather engage in other nerd-like tendencies...

/Mom! Where's that sammich! The Beast is gettin' hungry in his lair...

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33563150)

And am I the only one who just does not click on any 'shortened' URL because you never know what it's going to take you to?

What the hell Slashdot? I come into this thread with 10 mod points determined to mod up the first person to link to a URL expander, and there's not a single one.

Let me help. [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Just what we need (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563336)

Since my main browser has Javascript turned off, I'm a little less concerned about where it'll go. Also, Firefox and Chrome have malware protection lists these days.

Un-bit.ly links (3, Informative)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563662)

Check out the Browser Extensions section of http://bit.ly/pages/tools [bit.ly] for an addon that will show you the unobfuscated links. As an example, here's a bit.ly link for my site: http://bit.ly/bHnUhd [bit.ly]

I would expect similar tools to pop up for any URL shortening service that becomes decently popular.

Re:Just what we need (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565372)

I the only one who just does not click on any 'shortened' URL because you never know what it's going to take you to?

this is why I like tinyurl and the fact that you it gives you a chance to preview the target URL.

I am surprised it has taken twitter so long to do their own shortener - I've suggested it quite a few times in the past - and also recommend they rewrite old tweets to replace shortened URLs where possible. OK, sucks to be bit.ly and others, but all shorteners need to accept they're just a hack to make up for people's lazyness or crappy services like twitter.

Re:Just what we need (3, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562330)

I dislike unnecessarily shortened URLs. It's like people who will abbreviate every word they can in a text message when they're not sending anything near the limit. (Or worse, in contexts where there are no such limits.) Now there are programs for tweeters that will automatically shorten every embedded URL this way. I'd much rather they only shorten them when needed.

Meanwhile news sites should be paying attention to which stories get more traffic and proactively provide their own short paths to the story for purposes of tweeting.

And if Twitter wanted control over shortening services, they should just adopt their own syntax for it. "^code" could be remapped in their own database to hyperlink on display, mouse-over could still expand before following, and would take far less space than "http://T.co/code". And they still could do it through a redirection URL so they can track click-through like FARK.com does, using scripting to rewrite the status bar to hide the full redirection URL.

Unless they really want to track the sharing of the links off-site, just to have the most information possible. (And the Referer [sic] header handles differentiation there.) Then they could combine it all: ^code in sight maps to http://t.co/code [t.co] cite which redirects to site, with mouse-over showing full site's URL cite to user's sight, but copying the link and pasting gets the tico code cite.

Re:Just what we need (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565024)

I think it's a fair compromise with the multi-platform nature of Twitter. Twitter was originally designed as interaction between cell phones and their 160 character limit. They are now trying to incorporate metadata for syndication along with the 140 characters, but they need a compatible way to send that info. Most Twitter services will display the full URL rather than the t.co URL. But devices and services limited to the original 140 character limit on Twitter will use the t.co abbreviation - and http:/// [http] is required in that case so that it can be universally recognized as a URL.

Re:Just what we need (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565026)

I dislike unnecessarily shortened URLs.

Yeah, seriously.

There's this online shop I buy stuff from - they've been around a long time. They've got a three letter domain in .com - yet rather than host shorthand links on their own site when they post stuff to Twitter, they use bit.ly and save one character of space. Less than that when you consider, if they did their own shortening, their URLs would only have to be unique for their own content... So instead of "http://bit.ly/" followed by five characters they could have "http://---.com/" followed by three or four characters... I don't get why companies are apparently so eager to put their business in someone else's hands.

Re:Just what we need (3, Informative)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562432)

Not only that, any links via URL shorteners are rendered useless if the service goes down.

Re:Just what we need (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563078)

Any service is invalid when it goes down. Why give a url at all? That host could go down, rendering your link invalid.

More realistically - the original content remains valid even if the shortener goes down. All a shortener does is provide a convenience (especially useful when the recipient has to type a url manually). If you're using it to provide the sole and permanent record of a resource location, you're doing it wrong.

it's also not particularly hard to find a plugin that fetches the destination url automatically for the paranoid; and the better services allow you to set an option to always preview. (Though I guess the paranoid would dislike the cookie this requires, as it allows the clickthrus to be attached to an ip )

But I digress. My point is that shorteners obviously serve a useful purpose or they wouldn't exist. Certainly you wouldn't rely on one to be an informational source of truth - but they were never intended for use that way.

Re:Just what we need (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563276)

That host could go down, rendering your link invalid.

archive.org, google cache.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33564906)

And if those both don't contain the page or are having service issues, you're out of luck.

Re:Just what we need (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33564076)

My point is that URL shorteners obfuscate their content.

Yes, the host could go down and all the content goes down but now there's another link in the chain with all the weaknesses and none of the strengths. If they mirrored the content, the story would be different. In their current form, it's just something else to fail.

Re:Just what we need (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33564730)

Any service is invalid when it goes down.

I think the point GrumblyStuff was trying to make is url shortening services create an additional point of failure. So if Twitter starts using T.co for all of its links and then there's a problem with T.co, then *no* links on Twitter will work anymore until the problem is resolved. If you had used the original url, then the link would still be functional.

Of course, that's probably not world-ending stuff, but it's something to keep in mind when using these services. If bit.ly closed its doors, for example, then every bit.ly link on the Internet would suddenly become useless.

Re:Just what we need (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33566114)

Bit.ly, at least, has promised archive.org a full dump of their database in the event that they go out of business. IIRC, YMMV.

Re:Just what we need (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565042)

Any service is invalid when it goes down. Why give a url at all? That host could go down, rendering your link invalid.

Right, but by using a URL shortener, you've added a second possible point of failure. So instead of your content being unavailable when your site is down, your content is unavailable when your site is down and also when the shortening site is down.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33565574)

I wouldn't worry about that. They'll stare at the graphs just like they did with the other tools. Then, unencumbered by insight, unhindered by understanding, unburdened by self-knowledge and inspired by another vapid 1 minute promo video they will demand a better tool. They will demand their company spend fortunes and that 'technical people' be bought in to make it work as they imagine. They will imagine that it will correct fundamental flaws with the old tool but will only, in fact, be delaying by another couple of years the inevitable and eventual moment of clarity where they wake up one day in a cold sweat gripping by the realisation that it is not what the tool is lacking that is the problem.

L.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33565940)

Another way for marketers to track your usage.

In what noticeable way will that affect you? By funding websites that you can use for free?

T.co just looks suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561664)

I don't want Twitter in my taco.

Better Goatse Redirects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561690)

Did Mr Goatse finally manage to find the end of his rectum?

Will Rob Malda ever escape from his sphincter of doom?

You'll have to visit T.co/unicorns [t.co] to find out.

*shrug* (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561702)

From the article:

This is why short URLs are so important. URLs survive the share. Because the interested reader is forced to go to the URL shortener to map the short URL to the real one, whoever owns the shortener sees the engagement between the audience and the content, no matter where it happens. That's why URLs are the new cookies.

As long as you keep the URL shortened and are sharing it on Twitter. What about when you cross those boundaries and share on Facebook (which is the biggest social network) or e-mail or chat or whatever? Once you take the ball out of Twitter's court the analytics become useless from t.co--just like any other URL shortener.

This is a non-issue for the privacy geeks as they'll just share the original URL and not do it via Twitter.

Honestly, Twitter traffic is fairly useless for anyone as the visitors tend to be one-time flybys who spend less than a few seconds on your endsite and just end up lowering your time on site and raising your bounce metrics. If you want engagement you better be using some other network to get your funnel working the way you want.

Re:*shrug* (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561752)

The fun part about this article is that the text and comments appear to show that marketers realise we hate them but the continue to do these things anyway.

I believe we have a name for people like that?

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562028)

I believe we have a name for people like that?

Politicians?

Re:*shrug* (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561786)

I never click on a shortened link. You never know when it migh be a redirect to goatse.cx or worse.

Re:*shrug* (2, Funny)

gatzke (2977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562010)

Worse than goatse? Example, please...

Re:*shrug* (4, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562060)

I dare you to click (NSFA): http://bit.ly/4ieaw [bit.ly] :-)

Re:*shrug* (2, Insightful)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562268)

Scientology? that's hilarious. see my previous comment - safe clicking enabled by no-script and a firewall that works

Re:*shrug* (2, Interesting)

gamricstone (1879210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33566502)

I have never visited the above site before, and currently have no-script enabled in firefox. The above page still automatically redirects for me. I've purged my whitelist of any websites I don't frequent, but am still unable to cancel the redirect. So I ask, how did you configure no-script not to redirect from the above url? *Note I have visited sites before where the redirect was canceled by no-script, listing the targeted url for redirect.

Re:*shrug* (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563582)

Tubgirl maybe? If you can't think of something more revolting than goatse, I envy your lack of imagination.

Re:*shrug* (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562012)

use Brizzly for Twitter. It automatically expands most shortened links for you. No more goatse--or worse (tubgirl?)

Re:*shrug* (1)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562542)

Bonus: it screws up the analytics, since your viewer is effectively clicking on every shortened URL (in order to fetch the proper URL) even though you actually click on none.

Re:*shrug* (3, Funny)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562400)

Win. I personally hate them. So much that I feel like posting this even though I know it adds no value.

Re:*shrug* (1)

Derkec (463377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562770)

It's a matter of trust. If someone I trust sends me a shortened link, or posts via a blog or twitter, then I'll follow that link if what they're talking about seems interesting. Never been burned. Helps not to trust 13 year olds that would send you to goatse.cx. And to answer the obvious retort: Part of that trust is the likelyhood that this person does things that result in their account being hacked.

Re:*shrug* (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563026)

I never click on a shortened link. You never know when it migh be a redirect to goatse.cx or worse.

That is why TinyURL has a previeuw you can enable: http://tinyurl.com/preview.php [tinyurl.com] (Not a shortend link)
  Advantage is that the originator has no influence on it. Disadvantage is that it is needed for each and every different redirector.

A way around is is to edit how the 301 error is handled. Instead of directly going to the new page, first show where it is going. This should be done by the browser. Even better would be to have a seperate and new 'error' message for this.
e.g. 308 "Redirected on purpose"
Similar to 301, but specific for forwarders for the purpose of URL shortening. You could even easily implement that on your own site.

I looked for a plugin for Firefox that could change the behaviour of error 301 to show where it was forwarding to, but was unable to find anything.

Re:*shrug* (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563274)

I never click on a shortened link. You never know when it migh be a redirect to goatse.cx or worse.

Alternatively, you could just use an appropriate tool [mozilla.org] for the task.

personally I find them a convenient thing to have - especially in those situations where copy-paste isn't an option.

Re:*shrug* (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563906)

This is why I suggested a DNS-based URL shortening service. Of course, visually, the URL is the same, but resolution to the destination is dead-simple, easily implemented, and even easily resolved *manually* by users with nslookup or dig. It is also federated and cacheable. I implemented this, wrote an IETF proposal, an implementation, and decided to buy and set up 6o.to [6o.to] which is currently active, although not terribly popular.

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33566968)

I never click on a shortened link. You never know when it migh be a redirect to goatse.cx or worse.

I never click on a shortened link. You never know when it might be a redirect to goatse.cx or better.

Re:*shrug* (1)

onion2k (203094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561824)

Honestly, Twitter traffic is fairly useless for anyone as the visitors tend to be one-time flybys who spend less than a few seconds on your endsite and just end up lowering your time on site and raising your bounce metrics. If you want engagement you better be using some other network to get your funnel working the way you want.

Going by my own experience I'd say that isn't unique to Twitter traffic at all. Most social network traffic tends to be interested in a single content element rather than exploring the site. It up to you as the site owner to grab their attention well enough to change what the user does. That's down to designing the site in a way that interests users within a couple of seconds, pushing relevant items, and so on. Ignoring the traffic because it's not already doing what you want seems a bit silly - the users are coming to your site, which is half the battle, so why not try to engage with them?

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562760)

Honestly, Twitter traffic is fairly useless for anyone as the visitors tend to be one-time flybys who spend less than a few seconds on your endsite and just end up lowering your time on site and raising your bounce metrics

Higher bounces or not, a visit is a visit. They got showed some ads, and presumably they were interested in the content (the tweet piqued their curiosity) so if your ads were well targeted, they weren't wasted impressions. In theory.

Sure, I want higher time on the site, but I'll take whatever I can get.

If you want engagement you better be using some other network to get your funnel working the way you want.

Tweet and do that too. There is no XOR.

Re:*shrug* (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563338)

HTTP referrer tells where a user came from to generate and retrieve a shortened URL. That allows shortening services to track activity by domain.

Re:*shrug* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33563720)

My referrer always sends "http://localhost:8080". I wonder how their anal-lytics do with that?

Re:*shrug* (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563390)

Honestly, Twitter traffic is fairly useless for anyone as the visitors tend to be one-time flybys who spend less than a few seconds on your endsite and just end up lowering your time on site and raising your bounce metrics. If you want engagement you better be using some other network

Do you have analytics data behind that statement? Assuming you do, from what kind(s) of business? (Something vague like "major US household consumables e-commerce" if you don't want to give out your workplace).

This isn't a [citation needed] snark, I'm just curious because recently someone claimed the exact opposite - that they see traffic from twitter as having a much higher conversion rate than any other network, which surprised me. For reference, this person was a musician, so conversions = buying mp3s, and they're relatively unfamous non-major-label artists, but not unsigned randoms, they're established within their scene.

While I'm commenting, can't resist snarking at this quote from the article...

Because the interested reader is forced to go to the URL shortener

Forced? LOL, no; count me in with the "no, the interested reader, upon seeing a URL shortener link, decides he is no longer interested" crew.

Honestly, if it's any good whatsoever, within a few days someone (else) will post it on facebook, slashdot, metafilter or one of the other blogs and forums I frequent which have no ridiculous length restrictions on what gets shared.

But I realise this is straying into "get off my lawn" territory, and my behaviour in this regard is statistically irrelevant, and nobody cares that I don't "get" twitter. (I tried, really and truly I did. I signed up and followed supposedly interesting/intelligence sources like NASA and NewScientist and gave it a while to see if any utility accrued, but every time I log in I just see a jumble of TLA ACRNM INTLSM JRGN http://dodgy.url/1m92f [dodgy.url] sentence fragment #stupid and think fuck this, I'll just visit their website.)

Re:*shrug* (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563888)

This isn't a [citation needed] snark, I'm just curious because recently someone claimed the exact opposite - that they see traffic from twitter as having a much higher conversion rate than any other network, which surprised me.

It depends on their definition of "conversion" and from what I've read on the topic their definition is much different than what I use. I have a feeling their standard is clicking the link and doing something stupid like heading through their lame pagination setup.

When these "conversions" actually become repeat customers due to a Twitter click-through then I'll be impressed.

Oh and yeah I have analytics behind it and no I'm not going to even be vague. You'll just have to take it cum grano salis.

Twitter: now with spying! (2, Insightful)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561774)

Twitter, long described as a "semi-open" platform, whatever that means, will now proceed to become a case study in the difference between actually open (user-owned, peer-to-peer) and not at all open (corporate owned, centralized) in modes of communication.

Shouldn't matter (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561814)

If t.co is only used on twitter, then it shouldn't provide them any new information. They should already be able to determine what link someone clicked on: shortened or not - their URL service or a competitor. t.co only helps them if people use it outside twitter. If they aren't currently collecting click analytics on Twitter, then that is their own fault. Not a lack of their own URL shortening service.

spread (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561834)

What this lets them do is track what happens after tweets are re-published onto Facebook.

It does! (1)

webalimaster (1707858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561992)

But URL shortening service can be used anywhere, since what it does is generate hash and do url redirection. Myself I prefer tn0.eu which is even better the other's and gives web developers an API to integrate into their websites.

Attach the stupid URL as metadata (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561846)

If Twitter would just let you attach a URL to each tweet as metadata (like the user name or time it was sent), no one would need any of these stupid URL shortening services. Think! URLs that would work next year when 3 of those services disappear.

I know Twitter was designed with the limitations of SMS in mind, but most recent phones seem to support longer multi-part SMS messages, and most people seem to use a twitter client on their phone now instead of the SMS gateway.

Fix the root problem, don't apply another band-aid. By making all the links go through Twitter as a passthrough, they could get this marketing data they want.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562130)

Remember the in-band signalling fiasco a few months ago, where people could make others follow them by sending a message? I think that proves conclusively that the Twitter people are content with having the worst fundamental design principles ever and will never learn, never do it properly, and just don't care. (This, of course, only exacerbates the automatic hatred that so many programmers have for it—not only is it trivial to implement, it's not even done well!)

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562212)

Wrong. Twitter doesn't treat the username as metadata - it's still limited by that SMS size. From the help center [twitter.com] :

Your username can contain up to 15 characters. Why no more? Because we append your username to your 140 characters on outgoing SMS updates and IM messages. If your name is longer than 15 characters, your message would be too long to send in a single text message.

Your real name can be 20 characters long. Although your username may contain only 15 characters, many real names exceed 15 characters. Since we rarely send real name info via text message (except when using the WHO IS command) we added extra characters for folks (like Konstantin Gredeskoul) with longer names. Real names are also used in follow notification and request emails to help accurately identify folks with user names like cupcake25.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

Kristopeit, M. D. (1892582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562296)

and then the database has to handle metadata for every message. forcing a 140 char limit allows for the database optimization required to run such a site free of charge.

the root problem IS YOU.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562730)

The root problem is that you think you need more than 140 characters to do what Tweets are designed to do.

Hint: Twitter is not /.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563340)

The root problem is that you think you need more than 140 characters to do what Tweets are designed to do.

Since when do people use a tool for what it's designed to do? Certainly not hackers.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33564696)

Shirly.

But while I will use a screwdriver as a hammer when a hammer isn't handy, I won't phone up Sears and say they need to make their screwdrivers with claw peens.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565128)

Shirly.

But while I will use a screwdriver as a hammer when a hammer isn't handy, I won't phone up Sears and say they need to make their screwdrivers with claw peens.

Actually, I called and asked them about this. They say I should try the screwdrivers from their hammers section.

Re:Attach the stupid URL as metadata (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562762)

They go out of their way to make you use their URL shortener. They want you to use their URL shortener. If there was an easy way to avoid their URL blocker, they would spend money to make that inaccessible as quickly as possible without turning off their users. URL shorteners are the ideal way to put yourself between the content and the audience: Trivial concept, cheap to operate, innocent appearance. That's why there is a shitload of them, all doing the very same thing. Not one of the people behind these trackers thought "all the existing ones suck, I'll make a better one". They do it because they want to position themselves in the content flow, which they hope to turn into cash flow.

Not upset, Taco? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561852)

So Twitter has a new service called T.co and you're not calling them out for trademark infringement, Taco?

Moving to Colombia? Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33561870)

Glad to see that twitter is moving to Colombia and getting out of our hair.

I'm not clicking no .co links. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562006)

I only trust Columbian products if they come by the kilo.

Re:I'm not clicking no .co links. (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562950)

Many years ago, we got my brother-in-law a kilo of Colombian.
It was from a coffee store, and California sinsemilla was probably replacing Colombian as the stuff the cool kids wanted to smoke, but he'd only recently started drinking coffee.

More importantly... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562022)

How do you pronounce "T.co"

Is the period silent? Do I say "dot"? Do I make a clicking sound like in those African languages?

Re:More importantly... (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562242)

I think you should make a clicking sound. Let us know how it goes ... maybe upload a .wav?

Re:More importantly... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33565136)

How do you pronounce "T.co"

It's an abbreviation. I prefer to just write the whole thing out, "Tiberius Conglomerate"

half the story... as always... (0, Offtopic)

Kristopeit, M. D. (1892582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562256)

and if the users are so inclined, they could feed garbage data to the service, turning it into a powerful analytics tool with completely worthless result data.

Re:half the story... as always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562328)

Prior art - the Slashdot moderation system.

Re:half the story... as always... (0, Flamebait)

Kristopeit, M. D. (1892582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562470)

i'm as aware as anyone how failed the slashdot moderation system is, but you're an idiot to imply users acting against each other is in some way similar to a system tracking a user. the use of the legal term "prior art" is also irrelevant in this case.

you're an idiot.

Re:half the story... as always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33563396)

Manners wouldn't hurt, you know. Calling someone repeatedly an idiot for an off the cuff remark like the above is... not smart.

TEH GAM CHANGAR (1)

suctionman (1855020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562312)

If they'd just quietly used javascript to track external clicks would anyone notice/care? Sounds like Twitter will have a new database filled with personal data that's worth a lot of money to the right people - but a PR shenanigan from doing it discreetly might stop people from spilling all their data into Twitter's company value. Where's the 'game change'?

It's not a game changer (2, Informative)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33562356)

From TFA:

If you're a nosy marketer, it gets worse. We're moving from a browser-centric to an app-centric world. Every time you access the Internet through a particular app -- Facebook, Gowalla, Yelp, Foursquare, and so on -- you're surfing from within a walled garden. If you click on a link, all the marketer sees is a new visit. The referring URL is lost, and with it, the context of your visit.

This isn't true. All these sites do a 301 redirect (well bit.ly certainly does [bit.ly] ) so you won't lose the referrer or the context. Really this doesn't do a lot for the analytics of a site, apart from it is going to help Twitter work out how many people have clicked on which type of link (and if you're logged, who you are). It's giving them some more ammunition for contextual advertising.

Re:It's not a game changer (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33563366)

In my referral log I see many facebook links which, when I check them out, are the "You are about to leave the walled garden on facebook.com" page. I am unable to see where the actual link was posted within the realm of facebook.

Re:It's not a game changer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33564836)

This isn't exactly true.

If you're using the web client and click on a bit.ly link-- the referrer will be Twitter.com, rather than the specific tweet/user who posted the link. If you click from a client, e.g Tweetdeck, it is stripped.

tweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33562664)

Can someone explain to me, in development terms, why the following statements from the Twitter engineering blog *don't* seem crazy?

"Doubling the throughput to the database that stores tweets;"
"On Monday, our users database, where we store millions of user records, got hung up running a long-running query"

Game over for Twitter (1)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33564118)

The one thing they can do that nobody else can -- because they're the message bus -- is to rewrite tweets in transit.

And if they do this they go straight from, "Doesn't seem all that great, but I might find a use for it at some point" to, "I will never, ever send a single message via this medium.".

That's extremely dangerous ground, I don't think even your average user is going to be happy about their messages being rewritten, much less the trend-setters with thousands of followers who are the source of Twitter's popularity.

I remember thinking a while back, "It would be nice if one of the more open alternatives had a chance to get off the ground, but Twitter would have to do something monumentally stupid to drive their customers away.". Thanks Twitter, for being more monumentally stupid than I could imagine.

TFA, summarized and without the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33565488)

Yet another two-page article by some "social media expert", full of words such as "the long funnel", "asymmetric follow" and "message bus for human attention". I threw up a little bit while reading it, and here's my one-paragraph version:

Twitter can make you use t.co instead of bit.ly and friends, or at least encourage you to do so. Then they know when people follow links in tweets. They can already do this if you follow a link on a site they control, but not if a tweet gets copied to facebook, into chat or some other site they don't control. Knowing what links people follow is good for analytics, and thus good for advertising. Also, they can turn off links pointing to malware. The end.

Why are URL shorteners still useful? (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33566782)

Supposedly, URL shorteners were originally invented in order to allow adding URLs to email without the email clients adding line breaks and messing up the URLs. I remember that being a nuisance, but I haven't tested a long URL in an email in a while. Wouldn't it be easier to just fix clients so they'd handle long URLs properly?

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