Manage You Own Short URLs For Fun and Profit

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 08:15 AM with 7 comments

psURL logoYears ago I read an interview of Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee where he said he was surprised people and business would promote URLs, displaying them in print, advertising, et. al. Not surprising as the idea of the Web is all about linking. Some URLs are better for this as they are short and easy to remember, and others are long and cumbersome.

It is the long URLs that are made easy with services that all you to create a unique, short URL that redirects to the long one. This presumably started to make them easy to type and handle, and they became exponentially popular with short messaging services like Twitter. And Twitter actually automatically rewrites short URLs using the original service, TinyURL.

But have you seen some of these URLs? Where in some cases you can pick a text string, most common ones are taken and the new URL is structured as a domain name followed by random characters. It is short but not memorable. And do you have control over it? Unfortunately no. That is, unless you manage your own.

This is exactly what I decided to do – create a Web application for creating and managing short URLs. I call it psURL.com. For example, the short URL to the Dunkirk Systems, LLC Web site is http://psurl.com/dk. You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to do this? Here’s a few compelling reasons:

  • Control your own destiny – I have written on controlling your own destiny before and it something I firmly believe in, especially in turbulent economic times.
  • Brand your short URLs – You can choose your own domain name to synchronize branding with your company and give further meaning to them.
  • Choose the URL string – No need for random characters, as what goes after the domain name is under your control.
  • They can be changed – Did the long URL itself go away, or do you want to redirect the short URL to something else? You have the ability to easily change the destination URL.
  • They are measurable – From basic logging and reporting to third-party analytics tool integration, you can measure them like any Web page or Web site.
  • You can monetize them – Where this is not in place right now, it is possible to add interstitial pages to display ads before redirection is complete to the final URL.

Dunkirk Systems, LLC has developed the first release of its short URL application and is offering this as a hosted service. Of course you would have to choose your own domain name, but many good names are still available. Whether you choose to manage your own short URLs or not, it is good to know this is an option that works to your advantage.


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