In a world of 140 characters, URLs are a thing of the past. As Twitter has grown and gained in
hype popularity, the URL shorteners have seen a similar rise—but the sprint for shortest URL may actually be over.
Back in May, Twitter abandoned its default support of TinyURL, a URL shortener that reduced URLs to 25 characters. Twitter moved to bit.ly, saving its users 6 characters to create 19-character URLs. (Yes, now you can add ROTFL with impunity.)
Now bit.ly is announcing an even shorter URL shortener: j.mp. J.mp will use all of the same tools that bit.ly has, but without all those extra characters. That’s right, now your URLs can be shared in just 17 (or 18) characters. Now you can add that extra ! (and/or 1) to give your tweet the oomph it needs.
Yep, in my tests, bit.ly could produce a string of five characters for its short URLs, and j.mp sometimes produced a string of six characters, thus negating half of its advantage.
Now, is it just me, or if you’re really trying to conserve characters, wouldn’t you make sure that the random string generated is as short as possible?