Friday, September 03, 2010

How do you feel about twitter hijacking your sites url's?

For me it doesn't matter so much if twitter switches all shortened urls to twitters new url shortener,, as long as they allow some sort of tracking system for users and you can still preview links in some twitter apps. But what commenter 'mahboud' below on says makes sense to me. Why can't twitter move to a larger character limit rather than limiting everyone to only 140 characters? Why hasn't cell phone technology improved to allow this? I know when I have gone over the 140 limit on my cell texting it has looped my message into a second message. I have also received text messages that do that, so why can't twitter tweets do that? and have helped resolve some of the character limit problems, but then you are redirected to those sites and not the actual blog or site you might own, unless your site url is shortened. Then you run into the problem of shortened url's that you must take a gamble clicking because there is no way to know where they redirect to unless you install powertwitter in your browser and tweet from the web or you use apps like hootsuite or tweetdeck which shows you where the shortened url redirects.

However, as points out, if all links are shortened through twitter with then twitter's service is likely to go over capacity more often, leading to more dreaded 'fail whales.' In addition, will it lead to twitter adding popups in the redirects or full page ads before the site you intend to visit is shown?

I don't know what twitter plans to do about improving their service reliability as many continue to get the 'fail whale' or because of api limits are restricted from posting if you exceed the limit. While twitter has a right to develop a business model and try to monetize their site, advertising links inserted before directing someone to the desired link could become annoying and deter some users from using twitter, but many may not mind it as long as the service remains free to use.

What are your thoughts?

Amplify’d from
September 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm

The problem really is the 140 character limit. Being able to tweet an entire URL, and for people to see where they will be redirected, is a great safety feature.

The ability of you and others to know whether your followers followed your link to the NY Times or Gizmodo, etc., is not of utmost importance. You could point to a link onto your site, where you summarize and link off, and if I know your site, and trust it, then I would have no issues clicking it. If I see a shortened URL, then I have to wonder where it will take me and whether I should trust you and trust that you haven’t been hacked etc.

I think it is stupid, that in 2010, we still have to live with limitations of pagers from the 1980s. Why 140 characters? The phone carriers make tons of money off of SMS. Why not give them a reason to go to 300 characters? Or 500? And since presumably, Twitter knows when they are pushing a Tweet out for SMS vs client or web consumption, why they don’t handle splitting over multiple SMSs, instead of dumbing down the entire experience?

I know some people think it is cute that everyone has to make their tweets fit and it’s a fun challenge up there with Haiku and one-line shell scripts, but then we don’t limit our monitors to only support the bit depth of our cellphones, or limit our keyboards to have 12 buttons.

The insanity of the situation is clearly visible when someone retweets another person’s tweet, and the addition of the Twitter id forces truncation of the original, and any URL contained at the end.

If you’re going to start a movement, start one to remove the silly 140 character limit.

Update 2: URL wrapping

In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link. Wrapped links are displayed in a way that is easier to read, with the actual domain and part of the URL showing, so that you know what you are clicking on. When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.

You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on or third-party apps will be wrapped with a URL.

So, what Twitter is telling us is that EVERY URL sent will be shortened to use THEIR service. Not only does this screw other shortners like, it completely screws individual users – like YOU and ME!

Twitter is effectively telling us all that they don’t care if we want to use our own link shorteners, they are going to FORCE us to use T.CO. Even though I’ve never heard a single person complain about the status quo. And I can’t believe they even had the balls to tell us this is for our own protection. They are going to scan the links for malware? WOW! That is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. They really expected us to buy that?


You know that giant Twitter Fail Whale that we constantly get when Twitter is over capacity? Well, guess what. When they are over capacity your links are not going to work. Just imagine, Twitter will be responsible for routing every single URL ever posted. There is no way that is going to work.

Oh, and did I forget to mention? After they inject themselves into the middle of every single URL posted on Twitter they can do anything they want to with those redirects. They can decide after a certain period of time to redirect them to their own site, or an advertiser… they can start injecting pop up ads in front of every user who clicks a link… and God knows what else they are planning.


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