Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just Put Your Foot Right Into This Trap....

Am I the only one who hates tinyurl links? :/ I mean, seriously, if you hover the mouse over one of those links, all you get is the tinyurl address itself, which means nothing. You have no idea where it leads, where you might be taken. Whenever I see one I always feel like it's a web leading to a spider that's going to bite me and inject viruses onto my computer or something like that.

Is it really that tough to just use the real URL? Everyone has copy/paste on their computer, right? If anything, it's more work to use tinyurl. Is there even a point to it nowadays, when we don't generally type out the URLs by hand anymore? (And come on, it's been, what, fifteen years or more since we had to do that on any kind of a regular basis...?)

If you're particularly HTML savvy you can even use the href command so that a word or three in your text becomes a clickable link -- I have the command in a file so I just copy/paste it into my post or comment or whatever, then fill it in with the link I want to use and the words I want clickable. There you go, about as easy as it gets without having someone else do the actual mousing and typing for you.

I have to trust someone implicitly to click on a tinyurl link in their post or comment. And even then, I can usually find a good enough reason to skip over it. If folks are hoping for readers to follow their links, using tinyurl loses me.

Am I alone in my unreasoning suspicion...?



writtenwyrdd said...

I agree they are suspicious. Indeed, I saw an article where tiny urls are being used to get around spam filters and lead people to lookalike bogus sites. Usually only the grossly unsavvy get caught by these things, but it only takes a few for those cons to make a mint.

is the command href and /href in the <>'s??? I've wondered how to do a link and never bothered to look it up.

Angie said...

WW -- yep, that's the one. It's easy if you keep it somewhere ready to copy/paste. It looks like this, if I can get the code to work right:

<a href="">My Homepage</a>

Replace the example URL (everything between the "double quotes") with the URL of the target page -- the place you want the reader to go when they click on the link. Replace the "My Homepage" part with whatever text you want the link to say.

I hadn't heard anything specific about spoofs and bogus sites -- I was just thinking about what could be done with it -- but it doesn't surprise me at all that people actually are using the tinyurls that way. :/


Angie said...

Hah, it worked! :D


Anonymous said...

This post made me giggle. The only time I use tinyurls is when I'm twittering, since they don't even let you HTML format.

Angie said...

Aerin -- someone on LJ, where I also posted this, pointed out that it makes sense on Twitter and I'll grant that one. [nod] Tinyurls still creep me out, though. :/ Luckily I'm not on Twitter so I don't have to worry about it there. [wry smile]


Shauna Roberts said...

Gee, I never even thought to be suspicious of tiny urls leading to bogus sites, although they do annoy me with their lack of info of where one is heading to. If one has to type one out, they're more of a headache because they're nonsensical; with a regular url, there's some logic to the link (such as people's Web sites usually have their name in them) so that one doesn't have to copy letter by letter.

Angie said...

Shauna -- it's the first thing I thought of, the first time I ran into one of them. I guess I have a naturally suspicious mind. :)

I'd be happy if they showed you the real URL when you hovered the mouse over the link. As it is, though, there's no way to tell where you're going without jumping through more hoops than I'm willing to bother with.