Problems with Using a URL Shortener

 

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There are some problems and criticisms that can come from using a URL shortener on a website address. Some can be directly avoided, but most cannot. So as a website designer or online business owner, it is important to understand the flip side of using a URL shortener or URL shortening techniques on website URLs.

Users maybe unduly impacted with privacy or security problems due to URL shortening. The URL shortener service may open the ability for their user behaviors to be tracked over the Internet. The shorter URL serves as a targeting address and could be used to redirect users elsewhere online. This could be redirection to affiliate websites, scam pages, malware webpages, spyware distributors, bypass URLs or shock websites. Some URL shortening webpages like TinyURL attempt to disable spam links and their redirection capabilities, but this is not always successful. Some URL shorteners also have internal filtering of their created links through services like Google or other safe browsing applications online.

Many website simply do not accept URL shortening, such redirected URLs are blocked automatically. Some websites additionally blacklist URLs that are identified as having redirected website addresses. This is true of many major website including Twitter, Yahoo and Wikipedia, at least for certain URL shortener webpages. These affiliations are an every changing work in progress for the most part. In some cases URL shortening of website addresses will cause them to be shut down by their internet service provider. Usually this is also because they were involved in other illicit practices, but not in all cases. This can cost users money, effort and eventually the end of their business venture all together.

Some extreme situations involving URL shortening can end up on the field of International law. The most common scenario is having used a URL shortener which links to domain names in foreign countries. As such, any problems arising from the URL shortening technique would fall under that countries foreign jurisdiction and laws. The laws on adult content for instance are often much more strict than that of the United States. Failure on the business owner to recognize these potential problems using the URL shortener or URL shortening maybe a major legal issue. Worst case scenario the situation may reflect a lack of due diligence, which can lead to the seizure of assets or holding in very bad courtroom cases.

In general there is criticism that URL shortening promotes unnecessary complexity of user space when retrieving webpages online. The URL shortener causes all access points to require more time and additional requests. Operationally and in application the usage of a URL shortener or URL shortening can be problematic. This is a word to the wise to always know what any design aspect involves and how it impacts users or businesses. It is the online version of always be sure to read the fine print first, but most people do not find this out until far too late in the website business game.