Monday, March 30, 2009

tiny.url Breaks My Security Model

Since using twitter, I've noticed a lot of people use services such as tiny.url or tr.im in order to shorten URLs. There's a problem with this though: I now have no idea what website I'm about to visit. If someone I trust has posted the link I'm reasonably likely to click on it, but for other people I tend to avoid these shortened links because I have no idea in advance what they are.

What is really needed is for the shortener service to show you what site you're about to visit first, so you can make a more informed decision about whether to visit the site or not. Hmm, maybe I should be sending this as a feature request to those sites instead of randomly blogging about it...

8 comments:

Pavol Rusnak said...

Tinyurl allows you to preview the link. Some services do this by default.

Just use http://preview.tinyurl.com/sticklog instead of http://tinyurl.com/sticklog (preview url is also shown when creating the link).

bcw said...

You can also visit http://tinyurl.com/preview.php?enable=1 to make the preview page the default (it sets a cookie).

Faded515 said...

The bit.ly add-on for Firefox is handy if you use Firefox

ComputerDruid said...

livejournal recently addressed this here: http://news.livejournal.com/114123.html (at the bottom)

Its a reasonably good approach that should probably be implemented elsewhere (like twitter)

benji said...

You can always use curl to do an HTTP HEAD:

e.g.

curl -I http://tinyurl.com/2x6rgl

Pollywog said...

There is an add-on for Firefox that allows one to check URL's before visiting them. It is called the Netcraft Toolbar.

It can be found from Firefox's Tools > Add-ons menu.

Thomas said...

I recently extended choqok (microblogger) locally to do a HEAD on such a URL and instead of the short url put the full one in the view instead.

That solves the issue for me ;)

Now if choqok had some way to review patches I could maybe push them upstream...

مهرداد said...

@Thomas
Use KDE review board: http://reviewboard.kde.org/
and set the people that should review to my account (momeny)

I'm the Author and developer of it ;)