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Microblogging: Advantages and Disadvantages of Shortening the URLs

Perhaps the main benefit is that a short URL is easier for copying into a forum post, or into an email. Not to mention when posting on Twitter where the poster is limited to 140 characters for the entire post. Especially if you want a Twitter post to be passed along by others, you want the address to be as brief as possible to make room for their introductory words.

But are there other reasons why and why not we need to use these services? Here are the advantages and disadvantages to using URL shortener services.

Advantages:

> Shortened URLs can appear cleaner in the body of e-mail, rather than the long URL, which may break once you hit send.

> This is a great way to create a URL that is both short and memorable and reusable.

> URL shortener is also beneficial in using Twitter which allows only 140 characters per tweet, thus giving you ample space to briefly describe your webpage.

> Using this service means that their links can be reused. The service can then monitor the traffic that has used the link and provide statistics for you to use.

> You can brand your shortened links so they may contain keywords to help you remember or your own brand name to share with others.

> A shortener can hide a link, if you don’t want anyone to see the original URL. It also hides any unsightly links.

> If you are picky about which URL shortener service to use, then you can choose one which will have the redirect capability. It means that the shortener service will pass along page rank information to the target page by using 301 redirect. This way you don’t lose page ranking with search engines.

Disadvantages:

> Shortened URLs can be manipulated so that you think you are going one place when you really are being taken somewhere less desirable. Even if the short address hasn’t been manipulated, URL shorteners generate such a random group of characters that they don’t give you a clue as to your click-through destination.

> On many shortened URLs there is no text which creates a desire for any user to click on it. No one knows where the link leads to, so there is nothing to compel anyone to follow it.

> If the shortening service you used for any reasons decides to shut down, all of your created shortened links will no longer work.

> Some services do not provide a redirect and you lose SEO opportunities. In some instances, search engines do not recognize the redirect.

> Since there are so many phishing scams online people distrust the shortened URLs now.

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