Don’t Treat Shortened URLs As Permalinks

How do you treat your shortened URLs? I suggest you treat them like a disposable razor. Use them a few times, then toss it in the trash and forget it. Here’s another reason to treat them like garbage: it seems that the URL shortener is dead.

Razor by by Caro's LinesI learned this lesson the hard way after being burned in the past by URL shortener PopRL (see: A URL Shortener Lesson Learned). URL shorteners will come and go, and when they go they will take all of the URLs you’ve shortened with them. If you’re caught napping, you might miss that your favorite URL shortener was compromised and has started serving porn. For instance, I’d hate for Chris Brogan to find out that the link he gives out in his email signature for where to buy his new book Trust Agents suddenly directs people to a video of a woman farting on a cake.

Here’s the important lesson to learn here: Do not use URL shorteners for anything mission critical.

When you use URL shorteners, make sure that you know what you’re getting in return. It’s a way to fit a URL into a 140 character message. If you nee to use something more permanent, use a piece of HTML instead of a URL shortener. Here’s the code that I use to send people to my facebook profile at

Put this code in a file named index.html in the folder of your choice on your server. Just replace all the [ and ] with < and > an you’re good to go.

Rob Blatt’s Facebook page? Here we go!

Razor by Caro’s Lines via flickr

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