Link-Shortener Tr.im Sees Its Life Cut Short
A somewhat popular Web-address-shortening service is closing. Tr.im announced on its home page yesterday that it would shut down by the end of the year, explaining that its business model had evaporated:
There is no way for us to monetize URL shortening -- users won't pay for it -- and we just can't justify further development since Twitter has all but annointed bit.ly the market winner. There is simply no point for us to continue operating tr.im, and pay for its upkeep.
A blog post offered a little more context, noting that its owners (Vancouver-based social-networking-software developers Nambu Network) didn't see how anybody could build a sustainable business out of of link-shortening.
What's the big deal? For the uninitiated, link shorteners, sometimes called "URL shorteners" (see this post for why I don't like the abbreviation "URL"), can condense a long, unwieldy address to one short enough to fit in such tight spaces as a Twitter status update or a printed newspaper article.
As one example, you can convert "http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080701150.html" into "http://bit.ly/XnASk".
For years, the most popular such service was TinyURL.com. More recently, New York-based bit.ly has taken a chunk of its market share with a huge help from Twitter, which made bit.ly its default link shortener several months ago.
(In case you were curious, the ".ly" in bit.ly is the top-level-domain name for Libya, an unsavory association I wasn't exactly thrilled to discover. Tr.im's ".im" belongs to the Isle of Man, which I didn't even know had earned a top-level domain.)
It is, however, a good reason to reflect on the transient nature of link shorteners, as well as any proprietary replacement for a standard Web address. I use these services as shortcuts--I generally use bit.ly, largely because of its hyper-useful bookmarklet that generates a shortcut to a page without taking me away from that page while also showing how many people have already followed a bit.ly link to that address--but I don't do so with an expectation that these links will work in the long run. It's enough for them to function over the few days that the Twitter or Facebook update featuring one of these condensed links will be fresh in people's minds.
There are proposals afoot to archive shortened links in some independent clearinghouse, but anything that requires competing vendors to play nice with each other may be a while in coming.
Do you use any of these link shorteners? If so, which one? And how much of a risk do you feel you're taking in using a proprietary service to send people to a Web site?
August 10, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories: The Web
Save & Share: Previous: New Android, BlackBerry Smartphones Show Old Problems
Next: PostPoints tip: Don't buy cables in stores
Posted by: wiredog | August 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Arlington4 | August 10, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mb129 | August 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ghak | August 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MaxH | August 10, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pattiea1 | August 10, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WorstSeat | August 11, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.