Immortalising Indirection

So it seems that Downes is (rightly) griping again;-) this time against “the whims of corporate software producers (that’s … why I use real links in th[e OLDaily] newsletter, and not proxy links such as Feedburner – people using Feedburner may want to reflect on what happens to their web footprint should the service disappear or start charging)”.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, although more in the context of the way I use TinyURLs, and other URL shortening services, and about what I’d do if they ever went down…

And here’s what I came up with: if anyone hits the OUseful.info blog (for example) via a TinyURL or feedburner redirect, I’m guessing that the server will see something to that effect in the header? If that is the case, then just like WordPress will add trackbacks to my posts when other people link to them, it would be handy if it would also keep a copy of TinyURLs etc that linked there. Then at least I’d be able to do a search on those tinyURLs to look for people linking to my pages that way?

Just in passing, I note that the Twitter search engine has a facility to preview shortened URLs (at least, URLs shortened with TinyURL):

I wonder whether they are keeping a directory of these, just in case TinyURL were to disappear?

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

One thought on “Immortalising Indirection”

  1. > So it seems that Downes is (rightly) griping again;-)

    It seems to me that there is a redundancy in your parentheses…

    Actually, what’s more likely to happen is that the redirect services will be commercialized, eg. the way edubloogs adds advertising link to user content or the way (some) feedburner accounts have advertisements attached to their RSS feeds.

    And if the service goes down, you won’t see it in the header – you’ll just be redirected to spam websites, just the way you are today if you try to access defunct sites or misspelled URLs.

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