A while back I reviewed 3.ly, a website that makes short URL’s as short as conceivably possible. And so life progressed, day in day out, and all my URL’s were shortened with 3.ly. This mostly comes in handy when sending tweets on Twitter, but I also used them to shorten Google Maps links in emails. Those are quite possibly the longest URL’s around that people use on a frequent basis.
Unfortunately not all is well in the world of short URL’s though. There are those that use them for nefarious purposes. Behind the nice short URL links sometimes lurk the demons of the web that we all hope to avoid. Viruses, banned sites, are just a few of the things that can happen if you click somewhere without looking.
For the particularly cautious user we have a new site, one which decouples the short URL from its hidden long URL. DeTinyIt takes the short URL and tells you if it’s likely to be a dangerous site and it also will return the destination that it points to.
My first experience with DeTinyIt was an absolute failure. I entered the short URL that I had previously created as a test. It didn’t do anything other than tell me that likely this URL wouldn’t cause catostrophic damage. Great. Then I got to thinking that DeTinyIt was not named De3lyIt. In turn, I created a short URL using TinyURL, and it worked like a charm. I guess it pays to be the biggest fish in the short URL industry.
I would almost condemn DeTinyIt to depths of web obscurity, if it weren’t for the FireFox plugin. Who has time to cut and paste short URL’s into the DeTinyIt website?I know I’d just as soon click it and hope for the best. The FireFox plugin allows users to hover over short URL’s and it will provides all the information in a tool tip within the screen. It’s simple and easy.
I did check DeTinyIt with Bit.ly, another URL shortener. It seems to work just fine. So my only admonition to the DeTinyIt folks is to go down the list of URL shorteners and test it against each one. I will say though, it’s always nice when someone builds a product with simplicity and foresight. For this, I applaud the folks at DeTinyIt.
Thanks for the write up and thanks for alerting us to 3.ly. 3.ly uses a slighty different system to most redirect sites but we’ve now included it! The firefox plugin could do with some reviews if you’re up for it
Once a few people have rated it we can then make it live on the main addons site!
I’m always a sucker for a developer making changes per my suggestions, so I gladly provided a review of the plugin on the Firefox page. The bestest place to test such a tool is Twitter, which quickly confirmed that it works as advertised. I also noted that the website now can accept 3.ly addresses, but the plugin does not yet. I’m sure you’ll sync those up over time. I also noticed the shar.es short links don’t work, which come from ShareThis.com. That’s fairly popular so probably a good one to move higher up the list. Speaking of the list, here’s an exhaustive one in case you happen to be bored one afternoon.
SlapBack: We’ll get working on shar.es tonight. :) I’ve also popped up a list on short URL services that are currently supported:
Quite a few you see :)
We regret to announce that DeTinyIt has died. No cause of death was declared, but its contribution to the web will always be cherished.