Just How Many URL Shorteners Are there Anyway?
A lot? That's anyone knows. Many sites claim the "ultimate" list of URL shortener web sites but more than 350 or so. That is except urlshorteners.org, which has has listed approximately 1300...
By: Owen Williams
Most sites seem to have somewhere in the vicibity of 60 to 300 or so, but does anyone really know how many URL shorteners there really are?
The answer is a resounding no. In fact, if you don't use Twitter, you probably don't even know what a URL shortener is. For those of you who don't it is a web site that will let you type in, copy and paste in or use a toolbar bookmarklet to supply a long URL, often more than 140 characters (the length limit of a Twitter message, called a "Tweet").
URLs over 140 characters won't even fit in the message space, so a program on the site creates a "short" URL" which is just a meaningless series of letters and numbrs, usually 6 characters or less, that is used to name a link to a web page that just redirects to the big one that wouldn't fit in Twitter, and problem is solved.
With the big money being not in shortening URLs but rather in the value of the demographic marketing data collected by recording clicks for every visitor, IP Address, country and whatever other information is available, such as referring site and page, bit.ly, the biggest URL shortener out there due to Twitter having made them the default shortener a couple years ago, is suddenly being talked about by Yahoo, who eyes them for up to $100 million.
Thus, there are many new URL shorteners springing up every day, all looking for a piece of that pie, and until now no one has known how many.
However, a silent player has crept quietly onto the scene with a list of 1300+ sites listed, squashing the rest of the field. They have not revealed how they may or may not monetize the site, but they seem to be taking their time as they have published the massive list in three large .JPG files so no one can easily rip the data.
Nothing much else is know about them, other than http://urlshorteners.org is probably going to be a name that people will be talking about fairly soon.