Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
URL shorteners are a dime a dozen and don’t seem to survive long. Many have come and gone, of which the list of URL shortening services in the MakeUseOf Directory holds proof. While regular URL shortening is nothing new or exciting anymore, there are still several pretty cool services out there that offer a little twist that keeps them interesting.
In this article I will show you 6 of the coolest URL shortening services that do more than simply shorten a URL. They can scan the inserted URL for malware, warn the unsuspecting visitor of unsafe content, check whether the visitor is human, unite multiple URLs into one, protect the URL with a question, or simply make the shortest and most weirdest looking URL you have ever seen.
In case you didn’t know it yet, NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work. If you want to share a link that matches this description, then you should pick isNSFW. It allows you to further specify how the underlying website is not safe for work, by picking one of the following ratings: offensive, gore, nudity, or XXX. You can also specify a custom alias.
Once the link is used, the visitor is taken to a screen that previews the full URL and warns them of the rated content.
fur.ly [No Longer Available]
With fur.ly you can shorten and assign multiple long URLs to one short URL. This is a great way to share a collection of links with your friends. As you type URLs in an empty line, a new empty line will appear. Before you hit > Go at the bottom of the list, you need to enter a CAPTCHA.
The result is pretty cool because it automatically opens the first URL and lets you move through the other ones via tiny a fur.ly toolbar at the top of the page. You can view a drop-down list of URLs or view the usage stats for your short URL.
There are several services similar to fur.ly.
- You should have a look at if you care about safety because it scans all the links for potentially dangerous content using WOT. Unfortunately, image previews are not working.
- Viewista is interesting because it lets you combine multiple links and decide on a default view mode in which they will be shown. You can select from a slide show (like fur.ly), vertical, two column, horizontal, or 2×2 grid view. The visitor of your link can also switch back and forth between different view modes.
Finally, find more interesting tools in these articles:
- Shorten Multiple Weblinks Into One With BridgeURL
- 3 Web Tools To Collect And Share Bundles Of Interesting Links
Interested in security, but don’t need to shorten multiple URLs? Try imfy.us, which creates secure short URLs with anonymous referers, anti-bot protection (entering a CAPTCHA required), and unique thumbnail previews of the site you are about to visit.
It may be a little annoying, but you actually have to enter the CAPTCHA in order to be let through to the full URL, not to create a short URL. This could be an argument against using imfy.us, but the idea is that the URL is protected from random or mindless clicking through.
Saf.li [No Longer Works]
Saf.li is another URL shortening service that takes security to heart. It checks every link for malware with BitDefender before it is shortened.
You can instantly share a link created with Saf.li via Twitter, Google, and Facebook or simply copy the link to your Clipboard. Furthermore, you have access to statistics for your short URL, which among other things reveals the scan status for antivirus, anti-phishing, and java script.
There is a lot of potential for fun in this tool as it allows you to protect your short URL with a password, riddle, or question.
Tiny Arrows creates the shortest URLs on Earth by working with the Unicode standard IDN. It makes the links look kind of funny.
Moreover, when you use one of their short URLs, you are shown an eight seconds preview of the URL you are about to visit. You can skip the preview temporarily by clicking > Go Now or forever by choosing > Never show a URL preview again.
For more options, have a look at this article: 6 Interesting Flavors of Short URL Generation & Manipulation.
And if you’re sick and tired of short URLs, how about swimming against the stream and making a URL huge instead? Just for the fun of it, check out [NO LONGER WORKS] huge URL. Because bigger is better, right?
What is your favorite URL shortener and did you like any of the twists in the ones above?
Image credits: Skobrik