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Twitter announces new approach to shortened links

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 9th June 2010

In a post on the company’s official blog, Twitter has announced that it is rolling out a new link shortener for Twitter.com and native Twitter apps. In addition, it has announced big changes to the way these links will be treated and displayed.

T.co

The first move the company is making is to replace the standard Twitter shortening service twt.tl with t.co. The roll-out will be gradual and will happen across the next few months.

Partially displaying actual URLs

The second development is more radical, as the post explains:

“A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title. Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you.”

As alluded here, the move is surely an attempt to protect users and ensure they know exactly where a link will take them. However, according to the post, the new links will also be used with Twitter’s Promoted Tweets advertising service to provide metrics to advertisers.

This is a big move by Twitter, even if the company has admitted it is still uncertain of how some of the finer details of how the service will work will pan out (it is currently being tested by staff – check out @rsarver and @raffi – so expect more changes after this ‘beta’ trial). It will also be interesting to see the response from services like bit.ly…

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