Oh, this is rich. The Nambu Network, owners of the URL-shortening service Tr.im announced today that the service will go open source on or before September 15 of this year. That’s odd since the service has now gone from completely shutting down, to trying hard to sell, to bringing the service back up so it can sell, to now going open source in just 8 days.
Let me be clear, going open source is a great idea, I’m not sure if it will help Tr.im all that much, but on paper it sounds great. That’s what they should have done originally. But in a post today on Tr.im’s blog the service first apologizes for this whole fiasco, and then attempts to place blame elsewhere. As I read it, it’s either Bit.ly’s fault for making a low-ball offer to buy the Tr.im, Twitter’s fault for picking Bit.ly over Tr.im as its URL shortener of choice, 301works.org‘s fault for being a “public relations stunt”, and yes, even TechCrunch’s fault because we “simply repeat vertbatim what twitter/bit.ly feeds [us]”.
Let me again be clear: We received no shortage of tips from very good sources last week about what Tr.im was doing behind the scenes while all of this played out. Not one of those tips was from either Bit.ly or Twitter or anyone directly related to them. Instead, they came from third-parties who were actively or passively pursuing a Tr.im acquisition. For example, we heard the $80,000 to $100,000 figure Nambu wanted for Tr.im from no less than three sources. And even more sources came forward to say they had heard that general price range as well and thought it was unreasonable, especially considering how Nambu handled the Tr.im situation, losing user trust in the process. So is it really any surprise today that they announce they’re going open source?
Does it suck that Twitter’s choice of Bit.ly made it hard for services like Tr.im to operate? Sure. But plenty of others are still out there doing it rather than descending into conspiracy theories. And it’s just poor form to drag other services into this mess, like Gnip, which is trying to do a good thing with 301works.org. Yes, it was Bit.ly’s idea, but Gnip is now handling it as a independant third-party, and no shortage of other URL shortening services have joined on. Obviously, some of those services probably don’t like that Twitter chose Bit.ly, but they deal with it and realize that a movement like this is worth teaming up with rivals for the good of all of them.
“It saddens me that this is how Tr.im is portraying 301works,” Gnip’s Eric Marcoullier told us today. He went on to reiterate that Gnip is simply serving as an independant third party for the project, attempting to do something good and useful. And while a ReadWriteWeb article on the matter today seemed to suggest that Tr.im was working actively with Gnip for this new crowd-sourced Tr.im, Marcoullier notes that anyone is free to push data through Gnip, but that he hasn’t specifically talked to Nambu about how Tr.im will use it. He also notes that since Tr.im will now be open source, he hopes the community behind it makes its data a part of 301works.
We have reached out to Tr.im to try and clear up their misplaced anger about this, but have yet to hear back. If we do, we will update.