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Josh is right, URL shorteners are risky

Friday, April 03, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named silo.gifRight now, these days, URL shorteners are a necessary evil. It's part of the price we're all paying for Twitter's building on SMS, I guess. I hardly use SMS, so this is a price I'm not happy about paying. Permalink to this paragraph

Joshua Schachter writes today about their dangers.  Permalink to this paragraph

We need to prepare for the day when N of the URL shorteners go out of business. When that happens a large part of the web will die. It will not be a good day. Permalink to this paragraph

Plan on it, like we should have planned on housing prices turning down, and the economy falling into depression as a result. Plan on it like we should plan on the polar ice caps melting and the oceans rising 100 feet. Let's get used to planning for the obvious failures in our future. We're going to get good at it, or suffer. Permalink to this paragraph

One easy way to lower the cost of URL-shortening is to use our own domain names in place of tinyurl.xom, bit.ly, tr.im, et al. Any one of those services could take the lead here by allowing for that. Let me map my own domain onto theirs, easily back up all my data, and give me the ability to switch services when I want, or when I need to. Permalink to this paragraph

PS: Twitter could fix this problem right away if they wanted to. Jason Kottke explains how.  Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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