tr.im’s farewell to URL shortening

August 10, 2009

It’s not everyday one hears a company say its business didn’t stand a chance.

But that was basically the gist of the announcement by Vancouver-based Nambu Networks when it said that it would pull the plug on tr.im, its 12-month-old URL shortening service.

“There is no way for us to monetize URL shortening — users won’t pay for it — and we just can’t justify further development since Twitter has all but anointed bit.ly the market winner,” read the surprisingly blunt notice posted on the tr.im Web site over the weekend.

URL shorteners compress lengthy Web site addresses into pithy links that are better suited for sharing on social media services like Twitter, in which a person’s messages are limited to 140 characters.

Bit.ly, backed by a number of venture capital investors, is the default shortener on Twitter — Web links pasted into Twitter posts are automatically shortened with bit.ly.

So bleak is the outlook in the URL shortening game, according to Nambu, that it couldn’t find anyone to take the business off it hands for even a “token” amount.

“We quietly contacted a number of people within the Twitter development world, and nobody wanted it in exchange a token amount of money. No one perceived any value in it, or they wanted to operate a shortener under a differently branded domain name,” said a blog post explaining the news on the Nambu site.

In an interview, Nambu’s Eric Woodward would not delve into the specific amount of money the post was referring to, but he acknowledged that “token” is a subjective term that some people may define differently than he does.

But regardless of the amount, the problem for any potential buyer is the same, he said: “If they pick it up they’re just going to have to compete with bit.ly.”

Meanwhile, the demise of tr.im is causing worries about the fate of the millions of tr.im-ed links scattered across the Internet, creating trouble for the Web sites that depend on those links for their own traffic. Nambu said the firm will continue to support the shortened links through December 31.

After that though, the links could simply stop working.

Social media blog Mashable:

“Tr.im’s shutdown is going to result in a mess unless it’s bought. Its death reopens a very real and very important debate on the future of URL shorteners and the entire link-sharing ecosystem that Twitter has built.”

2 comments

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sites without new inovation will be colapse

All these silly knockoffs, including Bitly, and the “pie.im” kind of drivel that the previous poster mentioned, are new kids on the block. If you care about your short URLs, then tinyurl and snipurl have proven that they can weather storms. Tinyurl is a one-feature gimmick and doesn’t allow the functionality that snipurl does, so if you truly want to hold on to short urls and manage them, track them, share them, then snipurl is the way to go. I was trying tr.im for a while until snipurl launched their “http://sn.im” variation. Short enough, with loads of features and a nice interface.