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Play safe with shortened links

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Well everyone knows what a shortened link is. More commonly used while tweeting, shortened links or shortened URLs have indeed made the life of passionate tweeters a hell lot easier.

But with the growth of these shortened links, came in the negative part of it. Spammers got a way out to do some funny business and now many a times people click a shortened link only to drop their jaws – because they landed on a total different planet which they didn’t expect.

And not just Twitter, it is spreading all across the web.

So how can you play safe when you are flirting around these links? Here are some quick ways to be total safe.

Bookmarklets

There are various javascript bookmarklets available. These tiny lil programs sit glitchlessly in your Bookmarks’ toolbar and on one click you can either expand the shortened URLs or check if they’re good enough to browse.

expandmyurl.com has such a bookmarklet – it works by passing the shortened links to its’ servers and if found fault-free, it changes the link to green. However I didn’t find it’s way of working very concrete.

And so I’d suggest using longurlplease.com‘s bookmarklet. It is very simple – clicking the bookmarlet expands all the shortened URLs on the web page. No making thing greens, no checking it for authenticity.

Add-ons

If you don’t like the idea of Bookmarklets, there are add-ons for browsers that you can hop on to. Bit.ly’s add-ons for Firefox and Chrome are the best trusted and though it’s developed by bit.ly, it supports a wide number of shortening services.

One-time previews

Finally, if you don’t come across too many shortened links every now and then but want know how to play safe, I have a couple of tips but only limited to bit.ly and tinyurl.

For tinyurl links, you can use preview.tinyurl.com instead of tinyurl.com. For example to preview the following link – http://tinyurl.com/238xhqr, go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/238xhqr instead.

For bit.ly links on the other hand, seeing the info about the link is a simpler process; just add a plus sign at the end of the URL. Like if your shortened link is http://bit.ly/90XO2E, go to http://bit.ly/90XO2E+ instead and get all the possible information about the link.

On a lighter side of tinyurl though, it gives you an option to preview all tiny links before going to the actual page. You can enable this feature for your system here – http://tinyurl.com/preview.php.

And then you can always use sites like expandmyurl.com and longurlplease.com to expand individual links but on a personal note, I’d suggest you to use longurlplease’s bookmarklet. Its niche.

So next time when you click a shortened link, click it with a sense of awesomeness, not with a sense of wariness.

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Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm

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