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I’m a huge fan of TinyURL, a very clever tool for shrinking long URLs into super-short links. It’s perfect if you want to send an email or text message without the links breaking apart.

The links are tiny, but why are they so cryptic?

For example, TinyURL transforms this long link:

Into this:

It’s way shorter, but you get no clue about the destination page.

Notlong, a competing service, solves this problem by letting you customize the links. Instead of automatically generating a link, you choose how you want it to appear. The result looks like this:

The above link is much cleaner, friendlier, and easier-to-remember than TinyURL’s version.

A similar service, Doiop, also shrinks URLs with your own keywords:

But I still prefer notlong’s version, because it’s just a tad more succinct.

Thanks to Mark for sending this over.


  • Josh P

    gravatarMay 3, 2007
    11:01 am

    TinyURL’s links are cryptic because it gives them a scalable system. Notlong’s method is certainly a good one in theory, but if it ever gained any ground it would just hit the fan because all the “good” URLs would be used already.

  • Raj

    gravatarMay 3, 2007
    1:07 pm

    This is really awesome! I was never quite that fond of the cryptic URLs from Tiny. These two alternatives are much better.

    Thanks, raj

  • mrbene

    gravatarMay 4, 2007
    12:23 am

    Several of the really short and memorable URLs have been snapped up by domain squatters – actually, they’re not called that anymore, they’re “keyword brokers”.

    Additionally, I was able to get 100% hit rate on URLs through notlong.com – since I have a common culture with other English speakers, it’s easy to look at what other people are linking to. Unless I automate it, guessing what TinyURLs exist is hard.

    I would not recommend notlong.com, just as I would not recommend the word “cat” as a password :)

  • Josh

    gravatarFeb 15, 2010
    6:27 pm

    urlshrink.net is another amazing shrinking website. create your own tags, light-weight website, easy-fast signup (optional), tracking (with signup), very simple GET and POST api as well as reverse lookup