Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tr.im Shuts Down, Bit.ly May Come to the Rescue

Tr.im, a popular URL shortening service, announced it would shut down; "Regretfully, we here at Nambu have decided to shutdown tr.im, the first step in shutting down all of our products and services within that brand.

tr.im did well for what it was, but, alas, it was not enough. We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate.
" (http://blog.tr.im/post/159369789/tr-im-r-i-p).

Combine this with the resent Digg redirect controversy (Berman Post: Digg Redirects Shortened Links) and people may be right to worry about URL shorteners. The problem is that not much can be done about them in a 'Twitter (or micro-blogging) world'.

Tr.im followed up to alleviate some user concerns; "We wanted to make another update to make one thing clear some users have missed from the homepage notice: All tr.im links will continue to redirect until at least December 31, 2009. We will not be turning tr.im off for redirections.

Also, the API will continue to operate until further notice. All software and services have plenty of time to remove tr.im without user disruption. The only thing down is the tr.im website itself, and URL statistics presentation.

We have received more than a few emails from people asking about buying the domain name ASAP, and redirecting all traffic. For the record, I will not sell the domain name to spammers or speculators for any price. All links will continue to work until the end of the year as promised.

Some users have suggested this was a ploy for publicity to sell tr.im. I can assure everyone that that is not the case. We made our best efforts to sell tr.im before this announcement.
" (http://blog.tr.im/post/159489555/tr-im-to-december-31-2009).

Still not good news, but less bad. The only good outcome from this, or the only not bad outcome as far as confidence in URL shorteners are concerned, is for someone to rescue Tr.im. Rescue meaning take over the 'Tr.im' URL and make sure the redirects remain intact. The two parties with the most to lose from a loss of confidence and consequently the most likely to step in, are Twitter or Bit.ly (the current default for Twitter). There is word that Bit.ly has already started making moves in that regard (http://mashable.com/2009/08/10/shorturl-savior). There are persistent rumors that Twitter is looking to acquire Bit.ly, so there may not be much of a distinction of which one does the rescuing.

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