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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Get Your Geek On : URL Shorteners

   We are in an instant age for sure and can share all kinds of information on the fly. The need to convey information via a link makes for lightning-fast sharing. We've seen them on all social networks and in Blackberry messages. The micro-URL is the focus of questions from many tweeps, and here are a few.

 "What are those short-form links? Are they generated randomly? Where do they come from?"

  The shortened URL has been around for at least a decade. They were designed to fit links into tiny places, such as e-mails and webpages where 150-character links couldn't previously go. was one of the first large-scale services and has been around for a very long time, helping people make enormous links easy.

  Secondly, most are not generated randomly. Startup shorteners almost always use a predictable sequence : joe.yo/1t ; joe.yo/1u , etc. They cycle through letters and numbers with only rare exceptions to the rule.

  You may notice that many of the URL shorteners have unfamiliar domains. For those not in the know, the domain consists of the letters after the dot, an example would be .ca for Canada. Each nation has its own top-level domain and it is a good idea to know this in case you take particular objection to a country's practices.

  My most obvious personal objection is to the,  or any other .ly service. Why? Because it is the top-level domain for Libya. Libya is a country known for promoting terrorism and enforces Sharia law, including in internet practice. Any .ly website that offends orthodox Muslim sensibilities, including any discussion of sex, can and will be shut down. Every time you purchase or use .ly domains, you are supporting a terrorist regime. Sorry, the truth sometimes sucks.

  Well that blows, so how about the other ones? I'll make you a quick list of the most popular for you to scroll and decide for yourself who you dig.

.gl (ie : - Greenland (democracy, commonwealth of Denmark)
.me (ie : - Montenegro (democracy)
.co (ie: - Colombia (democracy)
.gd (ie: - Grenada (democracy, commonwealth of UK)
.it (ie: - Italy
.ms (ie: - Montserrat (British overseas territory)
.lt ( - Lithuania (democracy)
.vc ( - St. Vincent and the Grenadines (democracy, commonwealth of UK)
.us ( - USA
.in ( - India
.eu ( - European Union
.be ( - Belgium
.md ( - Moldova
.ma ( - Morocco (constitutional monarchy)
.ca (ie: - Canada
.im ( - Isle of Man
.nu (ie: - Niue (constitutional monarchy under UK)
.tl (ie: - East Timor (democracy after fighting for independence from ...)
.id (various) - Indonesia

Hope you found this somewhat interesting. Surf wisely :)

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