URL Shortening Service : The Otherside of business

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Posted by Amish Keshwani | Posted in SEO, Social Media | Posted on 11-03-2010

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Hello Friends,

In the morning, I was reading one of the online newsletter which I have subscribed to get updated with the industry news. It was basically a marketing newsletter which logically described the reason to buy a product, but the arguments have inspired me enough to think more about the topic & I thought that, it might inspire you too 🙂

Link Shortening Services : Risk or not to risk ?

Being in the search industry for 5+ years, I have witnessed many changes and updates of the search industry and I have learned that, it’s very important to analyze any new services before using it. One of the such most popular service is “URL shortening services

Before going further, lets discuss WHY people felt need of such service. With the increase in usage of micro blogging sties like TWITTER where there is limitation of 140 characters; people felt a need to some solution to shorten the URL, so that they can utilize the 140 characters at most. Not only Twitter, LinkedIn & other such Social networking sites have put this limitation on the users. Few of the market watchers caught this opportunity & introduced the URL shortening service to help the people and that too free 🙂

The Other side of the business

Now, every new invention has 2 sides, following this universal rule, many spammers have start taking a benefit of the other side of this new service. As reported by leading virus security company Trend Micro in March-2009, such URL shortening services had become a popular tool for spammers and phishing scams. Spammers create short non-descript links using these URL shortening services which redirect users to malicious websites where users became victims of phishing attacks. Read more details at TrendMicro Blog. But this is something happened a year back, they might have improved upon too & again we are more concerned about SEO point of view.

Well, Being a SEO, Links will be more concern for me & you. Imagine that, you have used these URL shortening services (On which you don’t have any control) everywhere on your social media marketing campaign and suddenly these free services are “down” or out of business? Can you imagine the punishment for broken link by Google & forget about the Google, what if you have daily 100 visitors coming from various social media to your site where you have used these URL shortening service? Answer is simple : Just seat back in you chair & watch your daily visitors graph going down as you cannot control third party services.

If you are a strong person believing in only positive sides of life, and feel that such kind of breakdowns will never happen, then also, by reading this post you must have started thinking that, what will be the way out of this ?

Yup, this is the same question came in my mind when I read such peace of thought in one of the newsletter for which I have subscribed. Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, that newsletter was promoting some paid services in the same business, but I think there must be some other way for this. What I think is, combination of both, URL shortening services & Original URL will be the ideal way to be on the safer side. For example, you can use URL shortening services on Twitter & LinkedIn, but on Facebook, you can use the original URL as there is no limitation of 140 characters and again, I have got the news that, Google has initiated their own URL shortening services, so, nothing better than that 🙂

The moral of the story is, We need not to follow each & everything blindly which others are following, but take some time to analyze its impact, apply the logic & try to balance the new approach with the traditional approach. “A Calculative Risk” which we take in normal business life will also apply to online business. What do you think? Have you ever think of the other side of URL shortening services? Please share your thoughts in comments; I am eager to hear from you.

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