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Why I hate URL minimizers

There has been a lot of talk about how URL minimizers (tinyurl, bitly, and friends) are ruining the web for various reasons. Most notable among them that the minimized URLs make links rely on a server that may cease to exist before the page with the link. This results in one business going under causing entire chunks of the web to go dead (because there links nolonger work).

This is all true but that’s not really what angers me about URL minimizers on a day to day basis.

  • First and foremost, URLs contain real information about the site they refer to. I will often choose whether or not to follow a link based on its URL. This may be unfair of me in some cases (judging a book by its cover), but its my right. I want to see where I am going.
  • Also minimized URLs are slower to load than direct links. This is simply because there is an extra redirect on the way to loading the page. This is a big issue when you are on a network that is very slow to connect to a server but fast do transfer data once connected. My network at work really sucks and it take a couple of seconds to connect to a server but once connected I can get a full megabyte per second. So the or request takes a noticable amount of time compared to the over all page load.
  • Finally, why don’t people use a damn <a> tag!!! There purpose is to give a nice piece of text to link on. Anyone who is interested in following the link will be using a device that can render HTML (otherwise the link target would be of no use). I know, I know, 140 limit. Why don’t they change that to only could rendered characters and support simple HTML. That way people can use real link and therefor real URLs.
Posted in Computers

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