Why URL Shortening Services Like TinyURL and Bitly Sometimes Don’t Work

Services like TinyURL.com and Bitly.com work most of the time. However, here are a few rules to remember:

  • Account Specific Pages. There are many websites for which, once you login, you will see information specific to your user account that won’t show up for anyone else unless they are logged in as you.
  • Amazon. When on Amazon, if you’re looking at a product, the address for that page is much longer than what you’d actually need to share. Here’s an example of an Amazon link without the extraneous text. The number at the end (B0077L8YOO) is the unique product number. http://www.amazon.com/Fitbit-Wi-Fi-Smart-Scale-Black/dp/B0077L8YOO/
  • Magazines. Some magazines won’t allow non-registered visitors access to much of their online content.
  • Newsletters. When looking at online newsletters, the URL may include your subscription information. Similarly, when you forward an email newsletter, you may be forwarding secure links that allow you to adjust your subscription details or unsubscribe. This includes RSS Feed Readers services.
  • Newspapers. Some newspapers won’t allow non-registered visitors access to much of their online content.
  • Real Estate Website. If you’re on a real estate website and want to share the link to a property you’re looking at, you may be inclined to copy and past the address as the basis for the short URL. However, if you’re logged into the real estate website, then the link you have may only be a temporary link or search result. The link may have ‘session’ information (like temporary random numbers) embedded in it. So, instead, click on the little bird icon for Twitter. This will open a new window preparing to post a generic universal link on Twitter. You don’t need to actually post on Twitter, just take the resulting link and use that. If there’s a Facebook or email sharing option, these will work in a similar way.
  • YouTube. Often when you’re looking at a video on YouTube, the URL address for that video is much longer than needed. It may include playlist information, and information about what page you were on previously. The link may also force the video into full screen mode (which isn’t always the best view). So, with YouTube, it’s best to use the shortest link possible. Usually you can get this by clicking on the share option below the video.
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