Chris has been pushing urlTea as an alternative URL shortening service; and with good reason:
- It offers semantic shortened URLs
- It has some nice APIs
However, I’m concerned about the most important aspect of urlTea shortened URLs: longevity.
Don’t get me wrong – I love what urlTea is trying to do, but I am forced to cast a skeptical eye on free services that don’t have revenue streams to support themselves. I’ve read through the information on the urlTea web site, and I’ve not seen anything addressing this issue.
Perhaps one of you has some information you can share on this topic?
For those that need such a service how about running your own service so that you control the longevity?
The rails based http://elfurl.com/ is now open source: http://www.biggu.com[...]ode-revealed, and I believe that there are a few Perl scripts to do the same.
Well, for one I guess I don’t want the responsibility of keeping the service up and running.
IF it were from some random guy, I probably would be worried. But it’s from Chris Pirillo, which means it’s got lockergnome behind it. I don’t think it’d go anywhere anytime soon.
Where do you get that Chris or Lockergnome is behind urlTea? That isn’t what I read on the web site:
I know basically nothing about Brett Taylor. He does mention that he’ll likely GPL the urlTea code, but this is one case where the code doesn’t matter – the service is the potential blocker.
Hey Alex, Glutnix is planning on GPL’ing this week – and he’s been dealing with his service provider. I’ll blast him this link when I see him online again.
And Mike, yeah… in GPL’ing the code, the hope is that it can find developer support and expand seven ways from Sunday. That’s really one of the key differentiators with this thing.
I’ll be asking our own Web host about keeping things cool. 🙂
I’m not concerned about recouping costs because I don’t think we will be incurring many costs that I don’t already cover for other, more bandwidth and cpu intensive than I can envision urlTea ever being. Think about it: the majority of hits will be redirections — not many bytes, only two SQL queries. How popular can a redirection service get? We’re just a signpost, something on the way to the destination.
Brett – I’m sure you have the best of intentions with the service and I applaud you for getting it up so quickly, however your comment above (the way I read it) does not do much to inspire confidence.
How about a pledge to give at least 90 days notice before turning it off, if you ever feel the need to do so?
Maybe a pledge to give away the domain name to a qualified successor, should you be unable to continue running the service?
You get the idea.
Twitter has 14 million+ posts in less than a year, if the Twitter 3rd party developers start using urlTea as their shortening service it could blow up quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea and I want to be a fan – but your response here has actually increased my reservations about using the service in my Twitter Tools plugin.
I want to say thanks for asking the tough questions — I really appreciate it! You bring up excellent points; points I’ve pondered but not been concerned about right now.
To be honest, I have been taking the ‘cross that bridge when we get to it’ point of view, and I thank you for calling me to be more professional about this deal.
I’m no business man — I’m a web development teacher who is doing this in my spare time, for the love of it, and the lessons I might learn while running it. Thanks for the lesson 🙂
I’ve updated the about page to include policy to elate your concerns: http://urltea.com/about/#plans
PS, you misspelt dilemma 😉
Thanks for taking the time to think about this – I’m very pleased at what you’ve come up with to address these issues. And thanks again for tackling the url shortening problem in the first place.
aaaahh, urlTea seems to be down for the last week or so !!
OoOoO what’s this? a nifty gifty
So I guess the code has been opened 🙂
[…] Their last post to Twitter was 6 months ago. Their Google code page doesn’t have any news. Alex King seemed to predict its downfall but none of the commenters have anything helpful to […]
[…] I do not believe they have something against URL services in particular. Most likely, as Alex King pointed out a while back, some of these services do not have a revenue model, and with arguably lots of […]
I have launched urlzen.com. It is a simple URL shortener with click tracking. It is hosted on Google AppEngine and it not going anywhere.
I have been adding features as people request them. If you liked urlTea then check out urlzen and let me know what you think.
As for the sustainability of urlzen… it is designed to be a free feeder service to statzen.com. More will be revealed about statzen.com this Fall.