Twitter June 8 said it is testing its t.co link shortener to boost security and the user experience and pave the way for its analytics offering for commercial accounts later this year. Twitter watchers argue Twitter's addition of its own link shortening system will in time edge out Bit.ly and other services making their meals off of Twitter and other platforms that leverage link shortening as a main conduit for messaging. But that hasn't yet happened to third-party Twitter developers in the mobile app space.
Twitter June 8 said it is internally testing a way to let people shorten Web
links to share with others, a key move for a microblog service that caps posts
users publish to 140 characters.
The microblog service, which in March began routing links within direct
messages through its link service to curb the spread of malware and phishing,
said all links shared in the Tweet box on Twitter.com or third-party apps will
be wrapped with a succinct t.co URL later this summer.
In a nod to Bit.ly, TinyURL and even Google's own Goo.gl link shortener, a
link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048
could be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj
display on SMS, but it could be displayed to Web or application users as
amazon.com/Delivering, or as the whole URL or page title.
"Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the
obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you,"
according to a blog post
from Twitter spokesperson Sean Garrett.
While security for its users and a better user experience are the main
reasons for this effort, Twitter has another purpose in mind for this impending
brevity of links.
Garrett said routing links through this t.co service will contribute to the
metrics behind the company's Promoted Tweets advertising platform. The tool
will serve as a key quality signal for the company's Resonance algorithm for
deciding if a tweet is relevant and interesting to users.
Eventually, t.co and the Resonance algorithms will be used in its
forthcoming analytics service for commercial accounts.
Garrett said developers who create applications for the Twitter platform can
prepare for this service by testing their code on a handful of accounts for
Twitter employees, including @TwitterAPI, @rsarver and @raffi.
In the meantime, those who use Bit.ly, Goo.gl or TinyURL can continue to use
those services for link shortening and analytics. Twitter will wrap the
shortened links users submit.
Twitter watchers argue
Twitter's addition of its own link shortening system will in
time edge out Bit.ly and other services making their meals off of Twitter and
other platforms that leverage link shortening as a main conduit for messaging.
Twitter wants to control the content that enters its platform, easing the
way to make money from new offerings, such as Promoted Tweets and analytics for
The best way to do that is to offer its own Web services to collect the
information. That will undoubtedly leave some third-party developers in the
Concerns about this came to light in April over the official mobile
applications Twitter launched for BlackBerry
devices. But that hasn't killed off rival third-party
application providers such as Seesmic or Twidroid.
The company also said
it will nix third-party ads within the tweets stream.
And Ad.ly and 140 Proof are still in business for in-tweet ads.