I was talking to a good buddy of mine out in the valley about the component services required to build an open content sharing solution. Specifically, we discussed an open infrastructure that would enable web application developers to build sites that enabled users to move images, videos, widgets, etc from their site to other endpoints. In the context of that discussion, however, we spent a lot of time discussing a very narrow topic. What’s the future of URL-shortening?
For those of you that are not familiar with the URL-shortening space, it is a web service (typically exposed on a website via a simple form), that enables a user to take a BIG url and make it smaller. Why the hell is that useful? Well, for services like Twitter with character limitations – this service is essential. A big huge url string will take all of the space you would use all the characters within your message. Some leaders in the space are Tinyurl and Bit.ly.
At Clearspring, we are interested in understanding the future of these solutions because of our AddThis Sharing and Bookmarking service. AddThis is a sharing tool that publishers can quickly add to websites and enable users to post URL-based content to places like Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook and more. As we started exploring, I started to wonder…
- 1. Should a sharing service build their own url-shortener, or integrate?
- 2. Assuming you integrate, what’s the business model for the url-shortener?
- 3. As sites become more used to exchanging data, will url-shortening even matter?
I am a big fan of these services. There are probably a ton of applications for their data, but I still have questions. Would love to hear any thoughts on this.