Twitter Gets Its Own URL Shortener To Stop Scams; Good Marketers Need Not Fear

Twitter has just announced that to protect people from scams, links in direct messages and sent via email will be shortened using its own URL shortener. It’s a welcome move. Still, I was curious about any impacts this might have for good marketers who are not trying to scam people. Good news, on that front.

To test things, I sent myself two direct messages from the @smx account that I oversee to my personal account at @dannysullivan. The messages had these links in them:

http://searchengineland.com/math-engines-for-multiplying-mixed-fractions-its-wolfram-alpha-over-google-bing-37653

http://selnd.com/du5hRX

When these links arrived as direct messages, as viewed through the Twitter site, they were unchanged. Nothing had been altered. My understanding is that links WILL change in direct messages in the near future, however.

When Twitter emailed me these messages, the links within them had been shortened as follows:

http://twt.tl/q0TtFzY

http://twt.tl/ch4FcsH

From a marketing perspective, I wondered whether Twitter was stripping out my own URL shortening entirely. If so, I potentially lost important tracking information as well as link credit.

For example, let’s take the first URL from Search Engine Land that I had DMed to myself:

http://searchengineland.com/math-engines-for-multiplying-mixed-fractions-its-wolfram-alpha-over-google-bing-37653

We use the Bit.ly Pro service so that if anyone shortens our pages through Bit.ly, the URL should make use of our own selnd.com domain. And that’s what happened with the second URL  that I DMed myself. It was the “short” version of that “math engines” article:

http://selnd.com/du5hRX

So when Twitter “shortened” that already shortened URL, was anything lost? No.

Doing a quick check, here’s what happens:

http://twt.tl/q0TtFzY

does a 301 permanent redirect to:

http://selnd.com/du5hRX

which does a 301 permanent redirect to:

http://searchengineland.com/math-engines-for-multiplying-mixed-fractions-its-wolfram-alpha-over-google-bing-37653

That’s all good. As a marketer, I don’t lose my own tracking. From an SEO perspective, no link juice is lost. And for users, as Twitter points out, it can effectively stop any abusive URLs dead since it never “broadcasts” the “real” URLs that can be harmful:

By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links across all of Twitter. Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we’ll be able keep that user safe.

Moreover, there’s really little reason for marketers to be worrying about tracking links from direct messages or getting link juice from them. To me, if you’re hitting lots of people with links through direct messages, you’re probably on the bad side of marketing already. As for link juice, direct messages are generally private messages that aren’t going to be shared on public web pages, where links may count.

But what if this system moves to be used by Twitter for all links that are tweeted, including those public ones? That’s not the case now, and the “focus” is only on filtering in email and direct messages, since that’s where most attacks happen, Twitter says. But it could go broader.

If so, as long as things work as they already are, there’s nothing to worry about as a marketer. If you use a shortener for tracking purposes, that will still work. And whether you shorten or not, all your link credit passes along to you, even through Twitter’s own shortener.

For more about tracking and link credit issues indepth, see these past posts from us:

For related news, see Techmeme.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Top News | Twitter

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://incrediblehelp incrediblehelp

    Been asking this for some time now. I wish we could shorten the URLs during message creation. Now that would make some sense.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide