By Ed Oswald | Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 10:16 am
No doubt if you use Twitter or some other sites, you have stumbled across those shortened URLs from services such as TinyURL and others. While it does work well for services where a short URL is necessary, they can just as easily be used for malicious purposes.
When you click on a shortened URL, there really is no way to tell where its going. Thus, you wont know if you’re being phished or worse yet hacked (IE exploit, anyone?) until it has already redirected. That’s a little scary.
This is where a service like Long URL Please comes in. The service is actually an extension for Firefox which peers inside those shortened URLs and actually gives you a shortened form of the actual hyperlink — allowing you to see where it is going ahead of time.
Fear not IE users: the site has also developed a bookmarklet for you to convert those links. Altogether about 30 shortened URL services are supported right now, according to Long URL’s website.
“I built longurlplease to scratch an itch – I don’t like short urls because I have to click on them to see where they link to. Please just show me a long url for a change,” developer Darragh Curran said. He has also told Ajaxian that he’d be willing to help services that make use of TinyURL and others in integrating the service into their own applications.
I think this would be a great idea. While the idea is good-intentioned, how shortened URLs are used and displayed can be potentially dangerous to the end user.
(Hat Tip Ajaxian)