Who reads your tweets or why short is beatiful

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I own various blogs. Most of them I channel to twitterfeed to generate notifications on twitter about new posts. I prefer twitterfeed to blog  add ons as it is a generic solution independent of  blog platform. It can be slow sometimes, but, then, who is in a hurry? I do not run news related blogs that sprint to catch the publicity moment.

Today I tried to add a new blog to twitterfeed and this way I noticed that twitterfeed now supports various shortening services, my favorite one included: urlborg.

When I post a link to twitter  I try to use urlborg as much as I can because it provides me with valeuable statistics: how many times my links are clicked.

Without this piece of information I would be practically twitter blind. Unlike blogs, in twitter you only have two measures to testify whether  people pay the slightest attention to what you say:

  • Replies and Directs
  • Clicks on links

The latter would be impossible without the use of a url shortening service that provides stats. And that is precisely what urlborg does for me.

And, now, by employing it in twitterfeed, I can have also stats for the autogenerated links for my blogposts.

I have to say here, that checking the referrers to my blog and the time spent on my blogs, I have observed that people coming from twitter stay the longest. Why is that I do not know, but it is something I cannot ignore.
One could argue that I could derive the  information about twitter originated visitors from other sources too, like Google Analytics.

True, but too many clicks away.

Besides, there is another valuable piece of information in the urlborg stats, that would be lost otherwise: the comparison between links of my posts and all other links. Do the first  carry less value (as they comprise a kind of self promotion) and how much less? This is what I am about to find out. I will keep you … posted 🙂

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Short urls contest: bit.ly versus urlborg

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.