Yesterday, upon hearing that the URL shortening service Tr.im was shutting down, Bit.ly, the largest URL-shortener, stepped in with a proposal. The offer wasn’t to buy the service, but rather to propose that Bit.ly host Tr.im’s URL-mappings indefinitely, or that they join the 301works.com project, a sort of archive for shortened web links. Tr.im parent Nambu Networks has rejected that ideas, and instead wants to sell the service, Bit.ly writes today.
And that’s too bad, because while the idea wasn’t a perfect solution, it would have at least saved many of the URL’s shortened with Tr.im that are now scheduled to stop working by the end of the year. Bit.ly’s idea behind 301works is essentially to let all of the URL-shorteners bulk-upload links every week, which would then be stored on that service. “We thought this was a useful idea — something that was inexpensive to execute and important for the industry,” Bit.ly writes.
But when the idea was first proposed back in April, Tr.im and the other URL-shorteners turned it down initially. The main problem is thought to be privacy (some shortened-links are private on some services). But Bit.ly also thinks the reluctance to get on board may be related to one company ruling all of this, so it has reached out to some non-profits in the hope that they can take over.
The reason why Bit.ly wants this 301works service should be pretty clear. There’s a large uproar right now following Tr.im’s demise on whether or not anyone should actually be using URL-shorteners just in case something like this happens. Even the all-powerful Twitter-endorsed Bit.ly could go away some day, is the thought. But an archive of these links that is maintained outside any one service could help put people’s minds at ease.
Bit.ly says that using Amazon’s servers, it could have 301works up and running in a matter of weeks.
Again, this all sounds nice, but if the other guys don’t get on board, which Tr.im clearly isn’t ready to do, it’s kind of pointless. Bit.ly says that if someone does buy Tr.im and wants to use 301works, to let them know. Clearly, Bit.ly has no interest in buying the service.