Short is… sexy (and useful)!
Not talking about myself, of course. But, as URLs can grow really long, formfields can be (too) small, email might break them and Twitter limiting your tweets, we now really need URL shorteners. TinyURL.com was the first one (2002), but has been surpassed by dozens that provide shorter URLs: simply by using a shorter domainname themselves. Bit.ly is the one I see most these days (it seems there are about 100 of them – check out this 2008-list).
Alas, it is still not the shortest one: r.im (don’t ask…) and my favorite (as it is close to my company name): 3.ly (‘threely’) – can’t get any shorter than that! For the geeks: ‘.ly’ points to….. Lybia – yup, the colonel is watching your shortening. And ‘.im’ is Isle of Man. Some of them come with plugins, add-ons and what not: probably handy if you are shortening all day, but I just visit the site that I happen to remember that instance – weird actually, as I bookmarked none of them so far.
One caveat: if they go belly up, your links are gone – so, use it wisely (always bookmark the full, original link in your browser or online favorites) – I do use them in comments I post, as it looks better (and doesn’t mess up the post), but those links might become dead ones, some day – perhaps rendering part of the above useless too!