Is Twitter Going to Kill Value of URL Shorteners? | DomainInvesting.com
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Is Twitter Going to Kill Value of URL Shorteners?

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URL shorteners became very popular with social media users, particularly users of Twitter. A URL shortener is helpful because it can allow a user to have a longer message if the shortened link is fewer than the 23 characters an automatically shortened link uses (Twitter automatically shortens links to 23 characters with its T.CO links).

From what I have noticed, there are many ccTLD domain names that are used by companies and individuals to act as URL shorteners. Some of these are “branded” shorteners such as Read.bi (Business Insider), NYTI.ms (New York Times), Goo.gl (Google), CNN.it (CNN), ES.pn (ESPN) and NYP.st (NY Post) to name a few. There are also shortener services such as Bitly and X.co to name a couple. Many smaller websites also use their own url shorteners to give them more room for their tweet messages.

According to an article on Bloomberg Technology (Bloom.bg), Twitter plans to stop counting links in its 140 character limit: “The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

I think this could impact the value of domain names that are used as url shorteners. If a long url is no longer taking at least 23 characters from a tweet, there really is no need to manually shorten the url. If that is the case, why use a short, otherwise meaningless, url for sharing links socially? I don’t see a major reason for them besides this. Perhaps they will be used to eliminate very long unembedded links, but besides that, I don’t see a big reason for them.

I don’t believe this is going to have an impact on independently valuable short domain names, but I could see it having an impact on those whose only value is in the short url that can be shared via social media (for instance, I doubt the NY Times will use NYTI.ms if they don’t need to shorten their urls anymore).


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (6)

    R P

    Could impact non .com URL shorteners that are primarily used for Twitter.

    But if you look at the flip side, having a domain name that is descriptive, or helps get your point across, could gain value because the words in the domain are not being counted towards 140 characters.

    May 17th, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Sean Ottey

    Great article, Elliot!

    However, I feel that there is still value in short, branded URL’s. Additionally, I also feel that the removal of the limitation on Twitter creates opportunities for LONGER domain extensions.

    In an instance like ESPN, having the url Es.pn is an excellent visual. Same with Youtu.be. These are clever hacks which don’t clutter up the tweet while still being a clear brand opportunity that will stay in people’s minds after the Tweet.

    Aside from being on message, branded link shorteners also increase engagement, leading to 34% higher click through rates for over generic shortened links. Brands such as the Washington Post, Nerdist, and Smosh, all use branded shorteners regularly in their social media as calls to action. Even with hundreds of country codes, not all brands’ names will find a neat fit.

    New gTLDs are giving other brands a chance to shorten links, too. Liverpool Victoria, for instance, registered LV.SOCIAL to send their Twitter users to posts on their Facebook page. Rightside uses RS.NEWS when sharing links on its social media accounts.

    I do agree that this may impact the non branded shorteners like Bit.ly, but even this can be mitigated with a branded bit.ly account (for example, I use sco.li as my url)).

    As for the other impact, this now means that domains with longer extensions like .ENGINEERING and .SOCIAL are no longer a hindrance to your 140 character diet. Something like YourName.social will now be a way to brand yourself uniquely and descriptively.

    In a situation where a shorter domain doesn’t adequately describe your social space this will mean there is no longer a penalty for using this in your Tweets.

    May 17th, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Derek Loewen

    Interesting point about Twitter. URL shorteners are also helpful as a quick and easy way of tracking outbound clicks. I use bit.ly to do that when it’s not possible to set up Google Analytics on third party websites. In the case of sharing an article from a news site for example, the tracking benefit is also there, since they don’t have control over where the link will be shared.

    May 18th, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Elliot Silver

      Good point.

      From a user perspective though, shortened links make it tough to see where you are going to land. For instance, check out this great article: http://bit.ly/IqT6zt

      May 18th, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Derek Loewen

      Definitely, though you can change the random code to custom text, like bit.ly/mylink.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | May 18th, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Tom Desot

      Great article! Thanks.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | May 18th, 2016 at 10:43 am

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