I rarely use profanity on my blog, but what Twitter announced they are planning to do today is bullshit! Today they sent an email out to all subscribers with a couple of announcements. The first dealt with authenticating against the Twitter API. Fine, whatever. The second was a HUGE shocker.
Update 2: t.co URL wrapping
In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service t.co, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link. Wrapped links are displayed in a way that is easier to read, with the actual domain and part of the URL showing, so that you know what you are clicking on. When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.
You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year.
When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.
What does this mean for me?
A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for 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.
You will start seeing links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened links and lets you know where each link will take you.
When you click on these links from Twitter.com or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time.
What Does This REALLY Mean?
So, what Twitter is telling us is that EVERY URL sent will be shortened to use THEIR service. Not only does this screw other shortners like Bit.ly, it completely screws individual users – like YOU and ME!
For example, I make my own short links on One Man’s Blog when I post things here. Like for example you can get to my Lady Gaga post by visiting http://onemansblog.com/gaga, even though the real URL is http://onemansblog.com/2010/01/05/sexy-hot-and-nude-5-lady-gaga-videos-get-210-million-views/.
See how that works? The benefits of shortening the URL are:
- Its easy to remember, and short for inclusion in social media sites like Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc.
- It allows me to track the number of clicks through the link.
- It builds inbound links to MY domain, OneMansBlog.com
Twitter is effectively telling us all that they don’t care if we want to use our own link shorteners, they are going to FORCE us to use T.CO. Even though I’ve never heard a single person complain about the status quo. And I can’t believe they even had the balls to tell us this is for our own protection. They are going to scan the links for malware? WOW! That is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. They really expected us to buy that?
You know that giant Twitter Fail Whale that we constantly get when Twitter is over capacity? Well, guess what. When they are over capacity your links are not going to work. Just imagine, Twitter will be responsible for routing every single URL ever posted. There is no way that is going to work.
Oh, and did I forget to mention? After they inject themselves into the middle of every single URL posted on Twitter they can do anything they want to with those redirects. They can decide after a certain period of time to redirect them to their own site, or an advertiser… they can start injecting pop up ads in front of every user who clicks a link… and God knows what else they are planning.
If ever there were going to be a revolution against Twitter, this should be it. 140 characters is not enough to tell a complete story, so we ALL use links. And right now Twitter is planning to steal them all. I can see nothing but evil coming from this move and I’m absolutely shocked by this decision.