I just went to TinyURL and typed in the URL for an article I co-authored a few years ago (on Human Rights and Music if you really want to know !) it gave me this as a shortened URL http://tinyurl.com/57aamg which is a lot shorter than the real URL:
I'm sure you have seen these little URLs especially if you use Facebook or Twitter.TinyURL is the most commonly used of these services to shorten long URLs.
The advantages of a shortened URL are:
- URL's are embedded in an e-mail message if they are very long can be spread over two lines and can be off putting.
- Twitter only allows you 140 characters so you don't want to be using up valuable space with a very long URL.
- On Facebook you have a limited space for your "Status" entry so again you don't want to take up valuable space with a very long URL.
Of course for people reading the URL there is no indication where it is going to take them whereas a longer URL can give you a clue to the destination. Having said that would you have guessed that the URL I used as an example would have lead you to an article on Music and Human Rights ?
At the end of the day its all down to the reader having confidence in the person that sent it to them or who is using it in their Twitter Tweet or their Facebook status.