August 11, 2009

Link Shrinker Tr.im Shuts Down

After just one year in operation, the Web-address shortening service tr.im is going out of business. In a blog post, its founder announced that they are shutting down because their increase in popularity has caused them to need "significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate."

Nambu co-founder Eric Woodward wrote that after approaching potential investors, there was no one who would take over the site from Nambu Network, not even for a "token amount of money." And tr.im customers are not willing to pay for such a service.

Even though tr.im is no longer letting users shorten Web addresses, their links that already exist will continue to work until the end of the year. Nambu will decide at that point if he wants to extend the deadline. 

Such Web address shortening services convert incredibly long Web addresses into just a handful of characters. This keeps addresses from taking over multiple lines in things like e-mails and news stories. It also lets users stay within the 140-character message limits at the social-networking site Twitter.

However, a rival service called bit.ly was recently made Twitter's default shrinker of choice for users posting long Web addresses. Before that, Twitter was using TinyURL, which is on the forefront in the link-clipping space. Upon switching, one of Twitter's lead engineers Alex Payne admitted that Twitter had found TinyURL unreliable.

Woodward made a statement in an interview that his company does not feel it is worth pushing forward with tr.im now that Twitter has made the switch.

Another blog post stated, "This shutdown was also not born out of any bitterness towards Twitter. While we are disappointed that users cannot choose their URL shortener, that is Twitter's decision to make."

Previously, if users did not like TinyURL, they could seek alternative services like his. But according to Woodward, that opportunity has disappeared.

"You just can't stop them," Woodward said. "Unless Twitter opens up the option of using more than one shortener, there's just no way to compete against them."

According to stats tracker Tweetmeme, Bit.ly accounted for 80% of the shortened links on Twitter in the last 24 hours, followed by TinyURL with 14% and Is.gd with 2.4%.