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The game is all about URL generation. Taking one (normal) URL, and creating a more useful one. How? The possibilities are endless.

URL shorteners have known a lot of fame lately, and although they’ve repeatedly appeared in articles, they’re mentioned in this article as well. But infinitely more interesting are the other, more special flavors of sharing URLs.

Shortening URLs (bit.ly)

The big hype started with shortening URLs. Suddenly, people started realizing that big URLs could be kind of awkward. URL shorteners usually use a small domain and suffix to create a referral URL. When someone uses the tiny URL, they’ll be forwarded to the ‘real’ URL. And that’s how people can actually stay under the 140 character limit, or even tell each other the address of a website in writing or over the phone.

sharing urls

At the time of writing, bit.ly is on the rise. Besides shortening the length for sharing URLs, it also features tracking and sharing functionality. Other popular shorteners include, but aren’t limited to [NO LONGER WORKS] TinyURL, BudURL and Tiny.cc.

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Dissolving Shortened URLs (untiny)

To everything there’s a downside. The same is true for URL shorteners. Since you can’t see the long URL, you are oblivious to the real ‘content’. What isn’t true for sharing URLs among friends, becomes exponentially more dangerous for links on unknown websites or Twitter accounts. For all you know, that seemingly harmless URL could be hiding a virus or an NSFW website.

sharing urls

URL dissolvers have made camp right across from the URL shorteners. The websites look mighty similar, but now you can reveal what’s behind those URLs. With Untiny, you can also extract URLs right from your address bar, by using “http://untiny.me?url=” and suffixing your short URL, e.g. “http://untiny.me?url=tinyurl.com/ericlewis“.

Sharing Multiple URLs (Krunchd)

Say you want to share the top 10 URL shorteners with a friend. Sometimes, your URLs aren’t as long, as they are many. A URL shortener doesn’t cut it there. But imagine the child of a link list and a URL shortener. You could refer to a number of related URLs by using a single, shortened URL.

sharing urls

Krunchd does just that. It takes a bunch of URLs, and forces it into a single shorty. You can add up to 30 different URLs this way, and there’s no need to sign up. Finish up by entering your email address (optional, but needed if you plan for revisions) and naming the collection.

Your Krunchd URL doesn’t just take you to a list of URLs, though. You’ll be taken to the first site in the list, and can swap to other items with the flick of a mouse, or even share it again over one of many social networks.

Monitoring URLs ([NO LONGER WORKS] LinkBlip)

Admit it, you’re always a bit curious if someone has clicked that link you mailed a few days ago. And sometimes you should. There’s a great number of professional situations where it really matters if you got through.

[NO LONGER WORKS] LinkBlip is a different kind of URL shortener and monitor. Now, if someone clicks said link, you’ll be instantly notified over email. Note, this should probably only be used if the information is important, intended to be accessed by a small number of people, or if you’re utterly unafraid of a mailbox tsunami.

Self-Destructing URLs (VapURL)

Other links just aren’t meant to be seen by a whole lot of people. Think about important documents, or that surprise party you’re planning behind your best friend’s back. What’s needed for those is the URL equivalent of those self-destructing CIA tapes.

With VapURL, you can create a time limit for your important URLs. After a set number of visits or hours (or days), your URL will vaporize, never to be seen again. Do note that there are still plenty better security measures than VapURL. If you want absolute guarantee that information doesn’t leak or get exposed, use that mouth thingy we’ve been working on.

Lengthening Normal URLs ([NO LONGER WORKS] HugeURL)

Ok, this last one isn’t as useful as it is funny. Use HugeURL to transform your medium-sized URL to a dizzyingly large, finger-achingly long URL. Never mind short URLs. Bigger is better, right? Also useful for an especially irritating IM or email correspondent.

That concludes our URL manipulation round-up. Do you know any other cool and useful twists on URL generation? Be sure to let us, and the other MakeUseOf readers know in the comments section below!

  1. gfgfgf
    April 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I use adf.ly ( http://adf.ly/ )

  2. ÎĦΣçҜәѓ™
    April 30, 2010 at 2:06 pm
  3. Aibek
    April 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    My personal favs are Untiny and Krunchd

  4. Dane
    April 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I've used SnipURL for a number of years and like the additional management features.

  5. Anonymous
    April 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    LinkBlip is a fake. It does not redirect anything at all. Made several attempts, no result. It displays an ads page for all the created short links.

    • Simon Slangen
      April 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      It seems the domain they were using to shorten the links has gone dead. Try TraceURL instead

  6. althafhameez
    April 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    But you missed the MOST important one!
    SHADY URL
    For e.g. check these sites out.
    http://5z8.info/warez_j4b3w_op...
    http://5z8.info/dont-just-driz...

    ^^ Yes I know they look scary but they actually just link to makeuseof.com courtesy of shadyurl.com
    Brilliant to prank a few friends!

  7. Anonymous
    April 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    But you missed the MOST important one!
    SHADY URL
    For e.g. check these sites out.
    http://5z8.info/warez_j4b3w_open_exe_begin_transfer
    http://5z8.info/dont-just-drizzle_j8m6e_worm

    ^^ Yes I know they look scary but they actually just link to makeuseof.com courtesy of shadyurl.com
    Brilliant to prank a few friends!

  8. Nat Jay
    April 27, 2010 at 5:47 am

    These services are great for shortening Amazon links and sending to someone in a chat session or email. Good for collaboration and short-term brainstorming sessions as well. The only caveat is the longevity of these services and the monetization model that these service providers have in place.

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