If you have similar habits, then you will also frequently bookmark blog posts, articles, funny, sad, educational, in short interesting stories. My bet is you don't only bookmark them for yourself but you also want to share them with your friends, colleagues, with smaller, larger communities or with the World. At least that part of the World which has noticed you exist.
John W. Furst for E-biz Booster Blog
For quite a long time I have been using the Sharethis plugin for Firefox, and I also have put the Sharethis widget on my blog (this one) and other websites I control. I don't recall when it happened exactly, but I think it has been a couple of weeks ago, when I received an email from Sharethis.com that said, …
“We are updating our widget.”
“You don't have to do anything.”
Especially the last sentence, “You don't have to do anything!” sounded great. I forgot about it for a while.
Then I started to notice those http://shar.es/… shortcut URLs on Twitter and on Facebook as well.
Nothing dramatic. Just another URL shorten service, I assumed. What caught my attention was actually the .es country-code top level domain of Spain. I am living on Spanish territory and wondered, because .es is not very popular for a variety of reasons, which don't belong in this discussion.
So I took a closer look.
Why do I think those shortcuts are a bad idea?
Mainly for the reason that I as a publisher want to be in control as much as possible. Using a shortcut URL from a domain that is not under my control is like handing over he keys to a third party.
It's like writing your phone numbers in the phone book of someone else.
It also reduces info, decreases usability. The trust factor of shared bookmarks goes down. On Facebook for example: You post a link in the news feed and the source of your link will be stated as http://shar.es/… regardless of the real, original domain. So whoever sees your note will ask themselves,
“Is this info posted on an authority site or not?”
Since I have posted my discomfort on Twitter I got contacted by Erin Robbins(↑) from Marketing [at] Sharethis.com.
We had a good correspondence and it seems like Sharethis reevaluates the situation and is trying to find a solution that will give some control back to its publishers and users.
I noticed that in the meantime they have stopped sending the shortened URLs to StumbleUpon and to Del.icio.us.
John W. Furst
P.S.: Needless to note that I have put the Addthis widget(↑) on my sites and their plugin in my browser in the meantime. I wonder what's going to happen. I really liked Sharethis.
I just got an email from Erin, Marketing Manager at Sharethis.com. I'll reprint it as an update to this post or in a quick new post shortly. Here's what Erin writes:
I thought you might like to know the shortened URL service has been rolled back on every service except for Twitter. We're working on ways to help achieve the same goals without causing issues for users, such as yourself, with regards to bookmarking and transparency.
Sorry it took so long. SHAR.ES is only used for shortcut URLs. As a matter of fact when I first noticed that sharethis.com all of a sudden creates share.es links I immediately thought it has to do with localization (since I am on Spanish territory and .es is the top level country domain).
It turned out to be different though. There's no service on the root domain, but something like http://shar.es/dmhB works Check it out. http://shar.es/dmhB
P.S. A pretty good choice in terms of length share.es/1234 tinyurl.com/123456