A Short URL Soap Opera
The fate of URL-shortening service tr.im has the head of one web-based business charting an unusual course. By that, we're talking about open source.
That service's founder, Eric Woodward, says he will donate the tr.im domain name and the service's source code to the public. Why would he do such a thing?
A week ago, tr.im was on the verge of shutting down as tens of thousands of URLs being created with it daily were sapping resources from his company, Nambu.
Moreover, after Twitter chose another shortening service - bit.ly - as its default shortener tr.im was on the outs, given Twitter's role in the short URL world.
But after being inundated with pleas from users, Woodward did a 180 and said tr.im would stay up - and given up, to the open source community, which will be able to build up on it and utilize tr.im's stream of click data.
"The usage of URL shorteners needs to transition into the public domain," reads one populist blog, arguing that by favoring the URL shortener bit.ly, Twitter controls the flow of shared link data in a way it would not otherwise be able to.
One need not be an expert in Ft. Lauderdale computer repair to figure out that a rise in URL-shorteners - sites that take an unwieldy URL and offer a short alternative - will create huge numbers of new addresses.
In turn, this increases the size and density of the Internet.
But the durability of URL shorteners - and the hundreds of millions of URLs they shorten - is not guaranteed. If a site such as tr.im were to disappear, many threads that connect the Web would be eliminated in an instant.
The perils of this so-called link rot have contributed to the urgency of saving and consolidating URL shorteners, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.