What's on the Other Side of that Link?
A couple years ago I wrote my own link shortener (see Don't be a Tool of Viral Marketing). Link shortners are those things take big urls like
and turn them into http://bit.ly/qrkUV5, or because I wrote my own, http://t.conquent.com/P000. Short, sweet and fits on one line. Particularly nice for things like Twitter where you only have 140 characters, or email where word wrap would whack my long url.
My whole reason for writing my own URL shortener was… well, mainly to see if I could do it. But, I use it because it's good to promote Conquent rather than bit.ly every time I publish my blog. And it turns out there's another, really good reason to have your own, branded short URL.
I was emailing a client one day about this very topic and I grabbed a bit.ly link randomly from twitter. Really bad idea. I mean disastrously bad idea. I mean the link went to a sex doll covered in… let's just say it wasn't something I should be sending around the Internet.
But because a short url like bit.ly is so ubiquitous, you find everything from moms sharing baby photos to pornos sharing babe photos -- honestly, even if you know the person, you don't always know where that t.co or bit.ly link is going to take you.
Companies like Youtube and Google (oh, wait, they're the same company) have started using their own youtu.be and goo.gl links. The New York Times has nyti.ms and the Washington Post has wapo.st. You see one of those and you assume you aren't going to stumble into some kind of perverted scene (well… reporting on Congress might not be good for the faint of heart).
So, to sum up. If you're promoting a brand, you should get your own short URL so people trust your brand, trust your content and trust in all those people sharing your link aren't sending you to a porn site.
Unless you want them to go to a porn site, that is…
If you're interested in URL shortening technology, contact me using the form on Conquent at http://conquent.com/contact.cqs -- I'm sure we can get you set up in a jiffy.