The past few days there has been a lot of buzz for  short urls.
First, it was the announcement that tinyurl will support custom aliases for shortened urls, to make them more readable and memorable (see here).

Yesterday, it was the launching of a new short url service, bit.ly, that brings lots of new features hailed by many users.
As I read through Marshall Kirkpatrick’s excellent write up of bit.ly in RWW, I felt that a kind of injustice was done on my friend Panos who has developed a similar service (urlborg) some time ago, but has not received similar attention yet.

Trying not to be partial though, I decided to make a comparison table, to, first, see for myself, if what I was feeling was justified, and then post it here, for others to see too.

Features Bit.ly Urlborg
User Account No Yes (google accounts)
History Through cookie for the last 15 links shortened Total history of urls shortened as well as those clicked
Custom Url By modifying each url separately Through short domains
URL Previews Yes Yes
Thumbnails Yes No
Cached copy of every page Yes No
Media player in url preview No Yes
Mobile version of page in preview No Yes
Coupling Google Maps links to Yahoo maps links No Yes
Referrer tracking Yes No
API Yes Yes
XML, JSON for traffic data/thumbnails Yes Unknown yes
Submission Bookmarklet Yes Yes
OSX service No Yes
Scalability EC2 & S3 Google Apps Engine
Open Calais semantic analysis Planned
Geoparsing Planned

As one can see from the table above, with the exception of the planned features of bit.ly, urlborg, stands pretty well against it.
As a matter of fact, urlborg is better in history tracking because, by emplyoing the Google account mechanism, it can keep track of all short urls created and/or clicked by a certain user.
Urlborg does not support thumbnails, but offsets the lack of this feature by other (mobile page preview, coupled map urls, media player) which, depending on the use, might be more important to a user.
Referral tracking is something missing from urlborg and it should be there. But the support of short domains prevails in significance to the support of custom urls, (or aliases in the case of tinyurl).

From the above, I think that my gut feeling is justified and that urlborg should receive some more attention. It deserves it.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Short urls contest: bit.ly versus urlborg

  1. urlBorg’s API is available in both XML and JSON formats. Stats are also available through the API.

    The “custom short domain” goes beyond a simple feature. It allows site owners to keep ownership of the short URLs created, as the live in a short domain they own and not the default “ub0.cc” domain.

    Thank you Nikos!

  2. I am a user of urlborg and I find it nice and clean.
    I tried bit.ly. I don’t find anything special to make me change to it. Just one feature may be useful -to me- (but I suppose vrypan can incorporate it in urlbord) the one with the custom keyword, which on the other hand is of minor importance.
    Needless to say I was impressed by your comparison! Nice work.

Comments are now closed.